PPC is an important strand of your web analysis. One of the cool things about PPC data is that you don’t need a lot of history to draw conclusions from it – a few weeks is enough time to give you an idea of how well a campaign is performing.
Google Adwords data is included in your Google Analytics data and includes metrics like click through rate (CTR) and cost per click (CPC). Google recently released AdWords API v201101, which allows you to more efficiently run reports, as well as implement campaign experiments and other recently released advertising features at scale.
But how do you track success after PPC visitors are on your site? What metrics should you investigate to ensure that you are getting high quality traffic and capitalizing on opportunities to convert?
For these types of performance metrics, you need web analytics! Here are 4 important metrics you should review on a daily basis to evaluate PPC campaign performance.
It pretty much goes without saying that conversions are the best metric to determine how a PPC campaign is performing. You should have your web analytics set up to record both online conversions (newsletter subscriptions, content downloads) and offline conversions (phone calls, offline campaigns).
To track online conversions, configure your web analytics to record a conversion every time someone arrives on a specific URL. In the case of web forms, this URL would be something like a thank you or confirmation page. For downloads, you might need to add a piece of tracking code that will register the download as a pageview.
To track offline conversions, see one way of doing this in our previous post on Measuring Success of Offline Campaigns in Google Analytics. There are plenty of other solutions out there for tracking other offline conversions (e.g. by telephone) which will integrate directly into your web analytics program so you only have to access one dashboard.
A bounce is when someone lands on a site and leaves without viewing any other pages. Your bounce rate will vary for each campaign. A high bounce rate may be an indication that your content is not relevant or engaging to visitors.
3. Pages Per Visit
The interesting data comes from a very low or a very high number of page views. Very low could mean that visitors are not finding content useful or interesting, and have resigned to go back to search results to find a more relevant page. A high number of page views could mean either you are producing interesting and engaging content (look at time spent on page for engagement), or that the visitor cannot find the content they are looking for.
In both cases, review the relevance of the page content to traffic-producing keywords, and make sure the information people appear to be seeking is on the landing page, or a click away.
4. Average Time on Site
It goes without saying that a higher time on site is better than a low one. Extremely low (0-1 second) — There is no way to read a page’s content in this amount of time. If there are a lot of visitors spending less than a second on the site, it may be the result of one of two things:
- Invalid clicks – Check with your PPC platform to ensure you are not being charged for these.
- Slow site load time – May cause people to get frustrated and hit the back button before ever arriving on the landing page.
Low (less than 15 seconds) — Generally, those visitors who spent 10 seconds or less on a site quickly decided that they were in the wrong place. This may be because at a first glance they didn’t find any relevant information, see their keywords anywhere on the page, or were confused by the landing page’s layout.
Look at these 4 web analytics metrics and you will have a better idea of your PPC performance. Once you have gathered enough data to draw conclusions about which parts of your campaign work well and which don’t work so well, you can start implementing small changes and tracking the different outcomes. By taking this methodical approach you should be able to optimize your campaigns to get the best ROI.