The essential PPC metrics every business owner needs to understand

The essential PPC metrics every business owner needs to understand Parallax Image

That first look at an Adwords account can be quite baffling, with its hundreds of filters and many abbreviations.  

If you’re leaving your PPC to an agency or professional, it’s still important to understand the most important metrics, even at a very basic level. Not only will it make your questions more probing, and the results easier to understand, it’s your money they’re spending. Is there any other part of your marketing that has a budget shrouded in mystery? Unlikely.

Impressions – how many people are seeing your ads

If impressions are low, the audience might not be big enough because of budget or they’re just not searching for the chosen keywords.

If impressions are pretty high but the clicks are disappointing, they might not be that interested in your ad. You might need to make more of a fuss about your most compelling offer or niche selling point.

Cost per Click (CPC) – the amount you’re spending to get each click

The less you spend here the better, but it’s not always possible to keep things inexpensive. Some industries have more expensive keywords than others, usually because of the amount of competition and the money at stake.

Keywords for gambling, forex, big data, and B2B services are some of the most expensive, sometimes costing nearly £150 per click. If clicks convert into revenue quite well, then expensive keywords might be worth it, but you need to keep a close eye on your conversion rate to make sure it stays that way.

Conversion rate (CVR) – the percentage of people who click and then convert

If you really don’t have time to deep dive into your Adwords account, then this is the metric to focus on. Conversion rate gives you a broad view of how things are going, and ideally you want the percentage to be as high as possible, but don’t think it’s all going wrong if you haven’t got past 10% - most industries don’t. Keep an eye on how it goes up or down over time, it’s something to quiz your Adwords account manager on.

CVR is affected by so many different things – people’s ability to browse your website, your prices, what you class as a conversion, and where someone is in the buying process. A site visitor might just be researching, but that doesn’t mean they won’t come back.

Days to Conversion – how many days it took a user to convert after originally clicking

This one involves a bit of segmenting, so you won’t necessarily see it at first glance, it’s well worth it though. If your business involves quite high value products or services, and your customers don’t usually impulse buy, there could be days before someone comes back to buy, order or book.

You’ll be able to see when the majority of conversions come back to your site, which can influence your entire sales funnel, when bids or keywords might need to be adjusted, and even when you send out marketing emails.

The knowledge and time of an Adwords professional can be invaluable, but it’s always smart to have a decent understanding of how your PPC account is running - they can be like financial black holes if mismanaged or misunderstood.

The metrics above can be the start of your Adwords cheat sheet. If you keep on top of them, you’ll go into every meeting or call with your agency fully prepared.

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