Google's Search Engine Marketing program has evolved tremendously over the last few years and is still undergoing a rapid transformation. With detailed matrices, measuring tools, advanced analytics, responsive ad formats and intuitive intelligence, Google Search Marketing is a complex product offering capability to transform businesses if set up, monitored and ran correctly.
With the overwhelming granularity of reporting available, one question that advertisers often come up with is, what is the benchmark to measure the success of a Google Search campaign?
The first thing to consider is the business segment or the industry you operate in. Is it niche? Is it too competitive with far too many businesses? Is it a local business? Or is it a global service? Then set your goals or define the intent to drive the search ads- Is it building website traffic? Is the goal to create brand awareness? Generating leads? Making sales online? Sign up for subscription etc.?
After you have determined the goals, look at what mechanisms are in place to measure these goals. Do you have a well-coded website with a mobile-friendly interface? Can the Google ads conversion actions be tracked on the website? Is the Google analytics set up working to be able to feed in the data required to optimise Google Search Ads?
If you have recently built a new website, your focus could be to simply drive relevant traffic to the website. If you are an e-commerce business, you may want to remarket to your website visitors. No matter what you set your objectives as, there are a few basic things that you can look for as a measure of the success of your Google search Campaigns.
Clicks occur when a potential user clicks on your ad. Google Search ads operate on a Cost per Click model. You are charged only when someone clicks your ad.
There are many insights associated with the nature of clicks received. It is important to evaluate if you are utilising your daily budget? Or are you missing out on potential traffic due to limited daily budget? Are there far too fewer searches in a day that you are not getting enough clicks? Are your bids and Quality Score too low to allow your ads enough impressions on prominent positions? What is the time and days when you get the most traffic?
Impressions: Impression are the number of times the ad appears in the search results. The impressions do not cost anything to the Search advertisers.
Click Through Rates
CTR is a percentage of clicks divided by impressions. The formula to calculate CTR is Clicks/ Impressions x100
While some agencies put far too much attention to C.T.R’s, it is not always a measure of success.
Let us say you operate in a niche industry where there are about 100 impressions only a daily basis (due to limited searches on Google). Now if your ad gets clicked on 20 times, your CTR will be 20/100 X100 = 20%.
Now let’s say your business category is very competitive with thousands of searches done in a day or the keywords you are using to drive ads are high volume keywords. If your ad gets 1000 impressions in a day and gets clicked on 20 times, your CTR will be 20/1000 x100 =2%. Also, if you run display ads alongside search ads, the average CTR for your campaigns will be very low as display ads are served many times before they receive clicks. As the denominator increases, numerator decreases.
Did your ads attain a good average position? Sometimes your ads may appear on the first few spots on the first page, sometimes they would be down to 2nd or the 3rd page. This is to allow ad rotation for ads of different advertisers and balance the organic and sponsored results on Google search. An average position from 1-4th is generally considered good.
Did the users find you for the right search inquiries? While keywords are what make your ad groups in your ad campaign, the search terms are the actual search inquiries entered by users to find their way through to your ads. Search terms also help in identifying negative keywords or terms that you do not want to target. It is a great tool to gauge how relevant your keywords are with respect to the search inquiries entered by users.
In line with the goals you define, Conversion actions can be of several types- such as clicks on the phone number in the ads, clicks on phone number on the website, clicks on email links, contact form fills, purchase products, download product brochure etc.
Your agency or the website developer will help you set up the conversion tracking codes on the website that then needs to start sending data to the campaign goals. However, sometimes, there could be issues in conversion tracking due to limited website capabilities, third party-built websites, limitation of resources, tracking code errors etc. However, conversions are a more definitive way to measure the success of your Google ads.
It is ok to be a bit overwhelmed by these terms. Besides their complexity, Google ads is a very flexible, transparent and a pull advertising platform. It does require diagnosis, setting up experiments and testing results, as every day, there are new competitors jumping in the space, technical upgrades and refinements going on alongside Google’s intent to balance the ratio of ad versus organic results.
Even besides being the fastest and the most direct tool of generating leads, the Google Search ad campaigns need their own bit of time to learn and deliver after the initial set up or having undergone significant change.
At Two-Moons, we specialise in Google Search and continue to deliver outperforming results to our Google Ads advertisers. We believe in taking our clients along the journey by educating them about the various aspects of their digital campaigns.