Adwords: 3 Important PPC Metrics & How to Improve Them

Adwords: 3 Important PPC Metrics & How to Improve Them

There’s a lot of useful data in your Adwords account, which can be used to get better quality leads to your website and reduce the costs you pay for clicks…

02Jul 2014

If you’re new to Google Adwords or you’ve been running PPC campaigns for a while, you’ll know how easy it can be to drown in a sea of data. But all this data has a story to tell and you’ve purchased this information, with each and every click charged to your Adwords account. So let’s make the most of this investment and see how you can use the data to increase quality traffic, and actually lower the cost you pay for each click.

1. Impressions and click-thru rate

Impressions indicate how many times your PPC ad has appeared in front of searchers on the Google network. Click-thru rate (CTR) is the rate at which users click through to your site. This is calculated as a percentage of clicks to impressions. Impressions and CTR should always be viewed in relation to one and other. A big impressions number isn’t necessarily a good thing, unless it’s accompanied by a decent click-thru rate. What counts as a decent CTR varies by industry. However, a good rule of thumb is 1% is acceptable, but needs further optimising. Anything over 3% is performing well.

How to improve it

If you’re experiencing a high impression rate but a low CTR, this suggests that your ads aren’t relevant enough to the audience they’re appearing in front of. This is not the end of the world and can be improved relatively easily. View your campaign keyword report and sort the data with the highest impressions at the top. PPC Keywords with a poor CTR, and high impressions are your priority here. For each of your poor performing keywords you need to change the match type so it’s one step more focused. I.E. change broad match types to modified broad match, and change modified broad match to phrase match, and so on.

Monitor these search terms carefully over the course of the next few weeks. If they need further improvement then make the match type one more step focused at a time. Depending on how popular the search term is in your industry, you may need to give each match type several weeks before you can make any informed decisions with the data.

2. Quality score

Arguably, this is the most important metric in your Adwords account. This figure (a score out of 10) is calculated by Google and used to determine what position your PPC ad appears in the search results and how much you pay for each click. They base this score on a number of factors.

Expected CTR – The likelihood of users clicking your ad, based on all the data they have for all of their Adwords users.

Ad relevance – How relevant your ad copy is, based on the individual keyword.

Landing page experience – This relates to how clear and relevant they deem your web page to be in relation to the keyword

How to improve it

Quality Score can be improved but there’s no overnight fix for it, unfortunately. There’s not much you can do to improve expected CTR but if you’ve followed the steps above to optimise your CTR, it will eventually feed into your Quality Score. Ad relevance is well within your control and relates to how often a keyword appears in the ad copy. To improve ad relevance, view your keyword report for each ad group sorted by impressions, as before. Make a note of your highest performing keyword, based on impressions and CTR. Then you should edit your PPC ad copy, including the highest performing keyword within both the ad heading and the remaining ad copy. If your domain URL is short enough (you don’t need to include the www. prefix), you should also include the keyword at the end of your display URL.

If you can’t fit a search term into your ad copy, this tells you that you need to create an additional ad group, with the ad copy tightly targeted to the new ad group’s keywords.

Landing page experience is a whole different topic unto itself. But it’s safe to say if you follow basic search engine optimisation principles, you shouldn’t go far wrong. However, it is worth considering building additional landing pages to focus new ad groups on.

3. Average position

This figure relates to where your ads are appearing in the search results for each individual keyword. If a keyword has a score of 3 or below, it means it’s appearing directly above the organic search listings, with a greater likelihood of receiving clicks. If a keyword scores 4 or more, it is regularly appearing on the right hand side of natural listings, where it is far less likely to be clicked.

How to improve it

The quick and dirty way to improve average position is to throw more PPC budget at the keyword, by increasing the maximum cost per click. You will find that the higher up the search listing your ads appear, the better the CTR. A better click-thru rate will lead to an improved Quality Score which, in turn, will help you move up the listings further. A self fulfilling prophecy, if you like. However, it’s worth noting that if you have a poor Quality Score to begin with, increasing your maximum cost per click can only move you so far up the listings. There will always be other advertisers whose ads Google deems to be more relevant, and relevancy trumps maximum bid in this game.

A far more intelligent way to increase your average position is to follow the steps outlined above; increase your CTR by being more targeted and optimise your Quality Score, with relevant ads and landing pages. If you regularly focus on these metrics, your Average Position will look after itself, and the most important Adwords metric of them all – conversions, will come rolling in.


Have your say!

One comment on “Adwords: 3 Important PPC Metrics & How to Improve Them”

  1. Test COmments

  2. leanmarketing on June 30th, 2014 at 11:20 am

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