Not seeing the returns you were hoping for on your PPC campaigns?
There's a chance you might be focusing on the wrong metrics.
As with nearly every online marketing channel, PPC campaigns involve multiple factors you can measure to try to quantify results.
But just as there are vanity metrics on social media, some PPC metrics might not be nearly as informative as others.
It's a pretty common mistake, and it could tank an otherwise viable campaign.
In a recent article from Search Engine Land, Pauline Jakober — the CEO of a boutique agency specializing in Google Adwords and Bing Ads — recounts the story of a client who had exactly this problem.
They were caught up in measuring their “Quality Score,” one of numerous metrics Adwords provides.
Their reasoning was that the Quality Score has a direct effect on cost per click, which is indeed true.
It's calculated from several other metrics, including click-through rate, ad text relevance, and other parameters.
But although focusing on achieving a great Quality Score can bring down the CPC of each ad, it turned out that it wasn't a metric the client should have been focusing on.
Focusing on the ‘wrong’ metrics
One of our clients likes to test things — and we love that about him! Thanks to his willingness to let us experiment, we’ve been able to discover and deploy some highly effective and profitable strategies in his accounts.
Recently, he read an article that said having a high Quality Score can save money on ad spend due to lower costs per click.
This makes sense. But generally, we don’t focus too much on Quality Score as a metric. In our experience, if you have relevant keywords, which trigger relevant ads, which land on relevant landing pages, then your Quality Score will take care of itself.
In this case, our client’s Quality Score was already good (his lowest was a seven), so we weren’t totally convinced that bumping his score to an eight or nine was going to make much difference.
But he was adamant in wanting to try it, so we agreed.
We reviewed his ads and landing pages and bumped up bids to improve his click-through rate.
After a month and a half (with an accompanying BIG increase in ad spend), we did see an increase in sales. But at the same time, we saw a decrease in year-over-year ROI and no change in Quality Score.
How helpful was this exercise, ultimately?
True, it might have contributed to the lifetime value of these clients, but it’s hard to say for sure. Thankfully, it didn’t take long to convince our client to change his focus to other, more relevant and informative metrics.
It’s easy to get fixated on one or two PPC metrics, to the detriment of the others. This is especially true when the metric seems to encapsulate everything into one simple number.
But if you steer your PPC program based on one metric, and one metric only, you’ll probably end up in the ditch.
You can learn more about common PPC mistakes over at Search Engine Land.