To measure success in PPC campaigns with and without conversion data:
To effectively track the performance of the PPC ads, here’s how to measure the success of paid search campaigns with or without conversion data.
One of the greatest gifts that digital marketing represents is the data to know when we are achieving our objectives.
The simplest measure is conversions.
Conversions can track any action a brand finds value from a sale to spending a certain amount of time on a page.
However, not all brands can use conversions.
There are a number of reasons for this:
- The web host does not support the conversion tracking code.
- The brand does not have on-demand access to a technician who can install the code.
- The ad network doesn’t support conversion tracking.
In these cases, a brand may have to rely on metrics outside of ROI and trackable ROAS.
When it comes to developing the strategy for measuring success, be sure to consider constraints and how they might affect how to determine KPIs.
Measure success when accessing conversion data:
Starting with the best-case scenario, the brand has the ability to track conversions and can leverage that data in automation, reporting, and scaling.
Step 1: choose the appropriate conversion action settings:
Ad networks will ask the following when setting up the conversions:
- What action does want to track?
- How long is the conversion window?
- How much is the conversion action worth?
- Want to track every single user or user conversion?
- What attribution model do want to use?
For most brands, the main action to be tracked will land on a specific page.
This page will be determined by the code found on it or by specifying the URL for the tracking parameters.
This action requires the URL to change when the user accesses the order/form submission page.
If the site uses iFrame forms or the URL does not change, one will need to configure an event conversion action.
Selecting the right one for the specific brand and industry is crucial to make sure one doesn’t lose valuable visitors.
However, setting the conversion window too long can lead to false positives and give an ad additional credit.
If not sure what is right for, starting with the default (30 days) is safe.
Brands with longer sales cycles may want to start with a 90-day window, especially if sales take more than two quarters to complete.
Setting conversion values may seem difficult if into lead generation, but it’s a crucial step if going to hold the accounts accountable for ROI / ROAS.
When deciding how much a conversion is worth, consider the following:
- Is the sale complete after this conversion?
- If not, how good is the appeal this lead receives when closing the deal (their overall conversion rate)?
- What is the value of the sale when it is completed?
They also need to consider whether calls, form fills, or chat systems provide a higher quality lead.
They may value a phone lead at $ 500 because their entry team does a great job closing the deal, while a fill-in form at $ 50 because of their historical performance.
That’s why it’s important to set up conversion actions for every major type of lead interaction; One doesn’t want to bundle high- and low-value leads.
Nothing hurts more than double-counting the conversions.
Unless one can work in the auto, travel, real estate, or e-commerce industry, the brand is unlikely to gain value from tracking every conversion a user makes.
Most will want to count “one” conversion action per user.
The final consideration is deciding on an attribution model.
By default, one will be included in the “last click”, which means that only the last entity the user interacted with will be credited before converting.
There’s also the “first click,” which will only give credit to the first engagement in the customer journey.
While the “best” (data-driven) attribution model is a great goal, it requires a significant amount of conversion data – 15,000 clicks and 600 conversions in a 30-day period.
That leaves us with “manual” fractional conversions:
Time Decay – The further away the conversion action is, the less credit the action will receive.
Linear: each commitment receives the same credit.
Position-based: The first and last commitment get 40% of the credit and all other steps share 20%.
It is especially important that match the goal with the appropriate attribution model.
Otherwise, one may end up with very successful “under-delivery” campaigns because they didn’t get credit.
Step 2: set baseline metrics (current state):
It can be tempting to stick with “industry averages,” but the business will have unique market factors that should come first.
Population density, competition, and account age can encourage more aggressive or less aggressive benchmarks.
If the account is “new” (less than 90 days), wait until having at least a full quarter under the belt before setting the benchmarks.
Metrics to focus on:
CTR to conversion rate:
If the CTR is high and the conversion rates are low, that means the landing pages are off or the quality of the traffic could be low.
If the CTR is low and the conversion rates are high, that means that the ad text can be improved.
CPA vs. quality/conversion value:
When CPAs are low and the conversion quality is low, that means having a false positive.
If the CPA is high and the conversion value is low, that means there is a conversion count/structure issue.
It is important to note that “high” / “low” CPAs are subjective to industries.
ROI may seem like an eCommerce-only metric (due to the need for conversion values), but it actually applies to lead generation as well.
If the campaigns can’t deliver at least a 200% to 300% return on ad spend (ROAS), there is likely a structural issue or a part of the business that doesn’t justify PPC.
Not all keywords are created equal and if a valuable term languishes due to ranking (insufficient bid) or budget, prioritize it or reconfigure the automated bids.
Step 3: set realistic growth goals
Once we’ve established the top metrics and benchmarks, it’s time to challenge ourselves to grow.
Goals should be a set month after month, quarter after quarter, and year after year.
The lower the budget, the higher the percentage of improvements that one should be responsible for.
For example, a monthly budget of $ 1,000, which historically generated five conversions per week, jumping to 15 per week is incredible (300% increase)!
A $ 10,000 monthly budget that generates 300 conversions per week jumping to 400 is equally amazing (33% increase).
However, if we only looked at the percentages, we would assume that the $ 1000 budget far exceeded the $ 10,000 budget.
This is why the percentage improvements should be based on historical context and ideally take advantage of enough data to be statistically significant.
One can use the comparison function in the ad network to manage grids and reports.
Measure success when one has no conversions:
While many of the basics will still apply here, there is no denying that will have to adapt the measurement style to account for the ad network’s lack of conversions.
This likely means that will be using manual bidding or data acquisition strategies (smart bidding requires conversions to work).
Metrics at the disposal
This will be one of the most important search metrics because it shows a picture of what the market looks like and how much is captured.
Average CPC for query quality:
While average CPC is important in general, it becomes a bit more important when there is no conversion data.
Understanding which inquiries can be secured for what price is an important step in ensuring that quotes are directed to profitable leads.
Participation rate / Views obtained:
Seeing what content is causing the prospects to not only engage but also share the content is an invaluable measure of success.
It helps to understand if the brand is “landing” or if it is a noise that people are ignoring.
Click type targeting:
Click type targeting because it helps troubleshoot if campaigns are really failing or just not being properly tracked.
Specifically, viewing “real world” interactions and call actions are helpful in guiding a customer who may not be able to track conventional conversions.
Measuring success in PPC campaigns has to be a data-driven exercise, but it must also take into account adaptive thinking.
Never leave a channel just because “normal” conversions can’t be tracked.
Will need to be more attentive to the quality of the query, click, and engagement.