KPI’s for PPC Campaigns – ‘the Good, the Unhealthy and the Underappreciated’

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We understand Sometimes the perceived performance of a Google Ads account depends on meeting key KPIs. “Accelerate transactions”, “Increase revenue”, “Reduce CPCs”, the list of goals can sometimes seem endless. So what is really important?

This article discusses some of the most important metrics in Google Ads and highlights the ones that should get your most and the least attention.

The good

revenue

Starting with an account primarily geared towards ecommerce accounts, revenue should often be the focus of Google Ads accounts looking to grow their bottom line. As is so often the case, everyone wins when an account is making money and growing constantly.

However, when you look at the bigger picture, sales can also be a great way to spot trends not just within the company, but across the industry as well. For example, if you find that revenue from a potential campaign is dropping significantly and there isn’t much account-based evidence as to why it might, it could be a sign of wider competition in the marketplace. From here, you can then go to the Auction Insights section to see how the market has changed and see whether or not increased resistance is affecting your ROI.

It’s also important to note that when considering sales and lead generation campaigns, leads, lead quality, lead sale conversion rate, and sales data are also critical to ensuring quality growth. Understanding this can ensure that not only are you seeing increased revenue, but the potential for longer-term customers as well.

Click rate

While this metric has its obvious strengths, it also brings with it some much stronger, lesser-known forces. Click rates show how relevant your ad copy is for the respective keyword. Going deeper, this metric can highlight audience psychology and improve understanding of audience personalities.

Are users interacting more because of certain calls to action? Do they respond better to certain words in your headline? Have you seen CTR improvements based on audience? This KPI can be a fantastic way to increase relevance and reduce CPCs (cost-per-clicks). So don’t be afraid to test and monitor CTRs as it can save you money!

Impression Share

I have to say Impression Share reports are great. To fully understand your account and gain insight into the role not only budgets, but wider factors play in your accounts, Impression Share reports are the place to be.

Google calculates the impression percentage by dividing the number of impressions your ad received by the total number of impressions your ad was eligible for. From here, you can use the associated metrics (e.g., loss of impression share due to budget / rank and exact matching IS) to better analyze which elements your campaigns need to play a bigger role in the ad auction.

The bad

Quality factor

This is difficult to put in the bad section, but my reasoning has some context. Quality ratings can be a great way to determine which elements of your ads are performing well. However, they should ALWAYS be treated with a pinch of salt.

First, it is important to consider data density when reviewing. If a keyword has a Quality Score of 3-4 / 10 but only got 50 impressions, is this really enough data to pinpoint performance?

In addition, it can be very easy to get a feel for the tunnel vision if you look at the quality scores of a single keyword instead of looking at the bigger picture. For example, if a keyword has a bad Quality Score but continues to generate conversions and / or quality traffic, how important is Quality Score?

Clicks

Probably the most controversial thing ever written – but listen to me. Clicks are great, but clicks out of context are bad. If an account gets a large number of clicks, but those clicks either don’t convert, or the audience isn’t targeted, clicks are the gravestones in the graveyard of wasted spending.

It’s always best to understand the context. It is important to ask the questions: What data is shown in the account? Convert users? Are search queries relevant? What else can Google Analytics tell us about these users? Are they spending time on the site or are they recovering after costing 43p? (A hypothetical 43p, of course!) While clicks can look great, they’re nothing without other metrics.

Interactions

The purist of Google Ads in me still questions the need for this KPI within the Google Ads platform. I can’t begin to describe the unfathomable feeling of anger and frustration that spent five minutes downloading a large data file to see that I forgot to add “clicks” (in context, of course!) And what about his The place was “interactions”.

Google defines an interaction as “primary user action related to an ad format – clicks for text and shopping ads, views for video ads, etc.” While interactions can be useful for cross-campaign review, they can often confuse beginners (and apparently disgruntled purists) with the platform. Since the term “interaction” technically covers both clicks and engagements, it can be very easy to fall into the trap of reporting interactions above face value – not. When using this metric, always consider the interaction it is related to, as you may be reporting data incorrectly.

The underused

Combined SEO / PPC reports

“Teamwork makes the dream come true” has never been more true than with the combined PPC / SEO reporting in Search Ads 360. Search for keywords that caused your content to appear on Google from either an organic, paid, or both perspective ! This can be a great way to better understand which content is driving the highest engagement, and it can also provide information on organic and paid comparisons. More information can be found here.

Impressions

If I didn’t lose you on the click comment, be sure to read yourself and ask yourself what impressions appear in the underused section, right? Well, that’s because people often only look at impressions as a judge of search volume / how many times it’s seen by the audience, but they’re soooo much more than that.

For example, impressions can be a great way to understand performance trends. If you’ve seen more impressions year-on-year for relatively the same spend, and also noticed an increase in quality scores (with enough data!), This could be a sign that account optimization is working. If, following the same analogy, we again see an increase in impressions for the same expenses, but from month to month, this could possibly also mean a fluctuation in search trend data.

Impressions have so many facets that often go undetected. So check your account to see what they could secretly tell you!

Conversions (with the correct attribution modeling format)

As the saying goes, “To understand conversions, you have to understand attribution modeling.” Conversions (similar to other metrics in the list) may not always show up as they appear. Make sure you have the correct attribution modeling for your Google Ads account to best understand the conversions and success of your campaigns.

Often the ‘standard’ attribution modeling that is present with conversions is ‘last click’, where the entire conversion is mapped to the last touchpoint in the funnel. While this might be suitable for your business needs, you may want to better understand the user journey. This is where alternative attribution models come into play. Choose from a range of models, including linear (interactions across all facets of the user journey), first click (which reflects the success of the first customer interaction), or even set up a custom model.

A better understanding of which attribution model works best for you will help you get the most out of your campaigns.

Main food stalls

In conclusion, it’s so important not to bring KPIs to face value. While there may be a broader business focus on increasing sales or traffic, it’s important to understand that many elements come into play.

“Pigeonholing” an account to focus on a key metric can have a detrimental effect on the overall quality of advertising and create more trouble in the long run!

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