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Written by Sam Yadegar on Jul 15 , 2020

When it comes to measuring the success of your pay-per-click (PPC) program, here are the top metrics to monitor. 

Here, you’ll find:

  • Ways to determine your specific PPC goals
  • How your goals relate to your KPIs
  • How to evaluate your business’s definition of success
  • Common PPC KPIs used to measure campaign effectiveness

Are you measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) for your marketing campaigns? If you’re not sure how your marketing campaigns are really performing, or if you’re struggling to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns, it may be time to revisit your KPIs.

KPIs, or key performance indicators, give your business an effective, measurable way to track how your campaigns are performing. In the case of a PPC campaign, you want to be sure that you’re seeing a reasonable return on your overall investment. 

By establishing your PPC KPIs, you can create goals in Google Analytics that connect with your Google Ads. This way, you’ll have visibility into campaign performance and can begin sourcing accurate data right from the start. If you haven’t yet determined what you’re trying to accomplish with your campaign, here are some factors to consider.

hawksem blog: PPC KPIs

When you’re first deciding on goals, consider your past marketing successes as well as what you want this specific campaign to accomplish. (Image via Unsplash)

What are you trying to accomplish with your PPC campaign?

Typically, the goal of a PPC campaign is to raise awareness of your brand and to encourage customers to click through the ad to your website over your competitors’. Your PPC campaign may focus on a specific stage of the buyer’s journey or encompass specific keywords that are related to your product or service. 

When determining what KPIs to track, make sure you’ve clearly defined what you’re trying to accomplish with the campaign. For example, if you’re creating a top-of-funnel campaign intended to raise brand awareness or spread information about a new product or solution, you may want to focus on direct clicks more than conversions. 

What does “success” look like for your business?

Every industry — and every brand within those industries — has a different measure of success. A brand that has a significant marketing budget, for example, may have higher goals and be willing to spend more on a campaign. 

If you sell high-dollar products or services or see a significant customer lifetime value (CLV), you may be able to spend more to acquire a single customer than if you’re a small business with relatively low-price items or a lower CLV.

When you’re first deciding on goals, consider your past marketing successes as well as what you want this specific campaign to accomplish. 

Ideally, you want to boost ROI through new sales. But if your goals are more focused on raising brand awareness or bringing customers to your website, you may not see that kind of return in the early stages of your campaign. 

Common KPIs to help track PPC campaign success

Taking a look at common PPC KPIs used to measure the success of campaigns can give you a better idea of what you need to focus on when evaluating your campaign. You may want to consider:

Clickthrough rate (CTR)

Clickthrough rate, or CTR, measures how many people clicked on your ad after seeing it. You can assess clickthrough rate by taking the total number of impressions (the number of times the ad was seen) and dividing it by the number of clicks it received. 

For a view to qualify as an impression, the consumer doesn’t actually have to take any action or interact with the ad. However, the clickthrough rate can give you a better idea about what percentage of people you can expect to click through an ad based on the number of times it’s been seen. 

Cost per click

The cost per click determines how much it costs you when someone clicks on your ad. In the competitive digital ad space, particularly when it comes to specific, high-volume keywords, you may pay more per click than you would in the case of lower-frequency keywords. 

However, those higher costs may be well worth it when you end up with a better overall return on your investment for critical keywords than you do for low-volume keywords. 

hawksem: PPC KPI blog

Keep a close eye on your conversion rate as you consider the performance of your campaign. (Image via Unsplash)

Cost per conversion

As customers click through your ad, some of them will explore your site, join your mailing list, or even make a purchase. How much does it cost to convert customers through those ads? 

Your cost per conversion will naturally be higher than your cost-per-click rate. Not every customer who clicks through your ad will choose to convert, whether that means joining your list or making a purchase from your business. 

Notice that your cost per conversion is higher on a specific type of campaign, or based on specific keywords? You may want to consider revisiting those keywords or the elements of your campaign. This way, you can potentially create a more effective campaign that has a higher return on your investment. 

Conversion rate

Not only do you want to know the cost per conversion, but it’s also important to know how many prospects actually convert. If you notice your conversion rate decreasing — that is, that people are clicking through the ad, but not choosing to make a purchase from your business or to sign up for your mailing list — you may want to consider why. 

Is your campaign focusing on the wrong keywords? Does your landing page fail to deliver the information customers need, or not provide them with an effective call to action? Keep a close eye on your conversion rate as you consider the performance of your campaign. 

Pro tip: Quality score is another KPI worth looking into. While this score is determined by Google, it’s based on factors like your expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience. A higher quality score means you could rank higher while spending less. 

The takeaway

The last thing you want is to pour money into a PPC program without a clear goal in mind. Having key performance indicators helps you measure success and better pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in your campaigns.

By knowing what PPC KPIs are most important to your brand, you can build a solid plan to help ensure your goals are met.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

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