Are you properly tracking Google AdWords Conversions?

September 14th, 2009 by Mike Tatge

Google has made yet another change to their Google AdWords reports in the area of conversion tracking.

Conversion tracking is one of the most important aspects of any PPC advertising account and you need to be sure that you have this installed correctly. Google AdWords Conversion TrackingConversion tracking allows your account to be managed to the most important criteria for your business – and that is – “What am I getting out of this?”.

What Google AdWords has changed is the name of “Conversions” to “Conversions (1-per-click)” and they have added a new metric called “Conversions (many-per-click)”. The Conversion (1-per-click) field can only be filled once per customer and the Conversions (many-per-click) is incremented whenever any conversion occurs within 30 days after a click.

This can mean a couple of things to you depending on what your conversion structure is.

First, if your conversion is strictly measuring sales, it can mean that you have customers that come back within the first 30 days after their first purchase to purchase again. This is especially common in stores that sell commodities or that cross-sell a customer with more accessories to compliment their first purchase. (By the way – that begs the question – what kind of follow-up do you have with a first time customer to be sure they have everything they need and are you measuring the success of that follow-up?)

Also, if you have setup several types of conversions to be tracked on your site – for example, mailing list sign-up, contact form and sale – the “many-per-click” field will give you information about customers that have performed several goals on your site. You may have customers that do all three and that will show up in the many-per-click field. There are additional fields regarding the type of conversion that will give you the information you need to micro-manage these conversion types as well.

And don’t forget, Google AdWords revenue tracking can be exceptionally powerful for tracking specific revenue achieved for each specific product sold. This is certainly not for everyone, but can be incredibly valuable when applicable and is usually very easy to implement. If you have questions or need help with this, contact a professional PPC Management Company for asssitance.

The bottom line is this – understand what these Google AdWords conversion tracking numbers mean to you and use this valuable information to enhance your sales-funnel on your website.

Click Through Rate (CTR) as a Benchmark

January 9th, 2009 by Mike Tatge

According to Google, “Click Through Rate (CTR) is the number of clicks your ad received divided by the number of times your ad is shown (impressions).”

Every once in a while a new pay-per-click (PPC) advertising client will come in who considers their account CTR to be the benchmarkIs CTR a Valid Benchmark? by which their accounts performance is judged. Depending on the keyword strategy, it is most likely not a good idea to use CTR to judge an entire account’s performance.

True, we know that CTR has a big influence on the somewhat mysterious Google AdWords Quality Score(s). It is also a great indicator for comparing performance on your various AdGroups’ different ad copies. There are certainly many instances when Click Through Rate (CTR) is a very good indicator of performance.

Now, what about when low CTR is a good thing?

There are definitely times you want to eliminate a worthless click from a potential keyword, and while this would have a negative impact on the Click Through Rate (CTR) it would certainly have a positive effect on the account.

For example, a strategy that I recently adopted for a client really drives this point home.

One of my client’s competitors has a very common word for a company name. For the sake of confidentiality I will simply call it “widget.” Well, this competitor name “widget” is also the name of a very popular movie, an artist, a location overseas, a highway landmark, and dozens of other completely unrelated things. As you might imagine, the search volume for this popular term is through the roof, while the percentage of people actually using it for the company name we wished to target is extremely small. So small in fact, that it would almost certainly discourage anybody from even trying it as a keyword.

I thought it was worth trying, and to give it the best chance at success I used only the exact match version of “widget” in its own campaign, with a very specific ad designed to only solicit the searchers looking for my client’s services.

The results were surprisingly great. The campaign resulted in my client converting at half of his target conversion cost. The CTR for this keyword was a downright horrible 0.02%, however this was a good thing as it meant the ad was eliminating all of the unnecessary searchers and only targeting the exceptionally small amount of people looking for my clients competitor. In this case, the exceptionally low CTR was a good thing.

The low CTR also had a definite impact on the keyword’s quality score and forced my client’s minimum bid up to $10/click. Even with the the high minimum bid, the conversion cost was cheap and the quality of leads generated tens of thousands of dollars in new revenue for my client. Winner.

Now, the 0.02% CTR dramatically lowered the whole account’s CTR. If that figure had been used as a benchmark to judge performance, it would have been a huge mistake that would have cost my client a considerable amount of revenue. In this case, the actual conversion cost/rate was a far better benchmark than the pathetic CTR.

The bottom line here is that a low CTR can be a good thing in some strategies and is not always the best indicator of an entire account’s performance. Every account is different, just as every marketing strategy is different. Helping to determine the best strategy for your PPC marketing campaign is just one of the many unique skills that JumpFly PPC account manager brings to the table.

What’s your benchmark?

Google AdWords Editor 7.0 Released for Download

December 17th, 2008 by Mike Tatge

One of my favorite Google tools has recently had an upgrade and is now available for download, AdWords Editor 7.0. The previous version of AdWords editor was 6.5.1. You can find out which version of AdWords editor you are currently using by opening AdWords New Arrival - Google AdWords Editor 7.0Editor, then view Help/About AdWords Editor. AdWords Editor 7.0 is about 16.6 Megs in size and should take about 2-5 minutes to download over any high speed internet connection.

When you open AdWords Editor you should be prompted with the upgrade screen automatically.

Now before you upgrade, there are some important things to consider. If you have comments or unposted changes, I would recommend you click “Backup then Update” when you see the automatic prompt to upgrade. This allows AdWords Editor to create a backup file that includes any unposted changes and/or comments. Once you have installed the new version you can simply import the backup file. Google Help has a great article on the steps needed to correctly import a backup file (AEA). Personally, I always recommend backing up any files before upgrading any software.

It’s also important to note that after you upgrade to AdWords Editor 7.0, you will need to download your account(s) again.

There are some notable improvements to AdWords Editor 7.0.

First page bid estimates are now shown for keywords. The first page bid estimate is the approximate max CPC bid it would allegedly take for your ad to be shown on the first page of Google results. Previously minimum cost-per-click bids were displayed.

Keyword Quality Scores are now displayed in the Keywords tab. This column will display a number from 1 through 10, with 1 through 4 being poor, 5 through 7 being OK, and 8 through 10 being Great. There is a great help article on how AdWords calculates Quality Score, for those interested in jumping down the rabbit hole.

The Keyword Opportunities Tool, still in BETA, now uses your AdWords Editor 7.0 language and location settings. You can change the Keyword Opportunities locale used for the results by clicking the very small blue “Edit” link that appears at the very upper right of the Keyword Opportunities tool window. The sentence will read “Results are tailored to…” There is also a great help article with more information on how to change the Keyword Opportunities Tool’s language and location targeting.

Speaking of Language and Location settings, you can now view your campaigns targeting settings on the Campaigns tab. Now, these columns are hidden by default, however you can select them with the column chooser.

The Keyword Expansion tab now shows “absolute numbers” instead of the odd scaled values previously seen. The numbers supposedly reflect the traffic for the last month.

Adwords Editor 7.0 now has optional usage tracking. This allows Google to collect completely anonymous statistics about how you use the different features. The statistics do not include personal information or any of the contents for your AdWords account. The idea here is that the information gathered will help the design team further understand what needs improvement. This feature is turned off by default, and can be enabled, or disabled, by going to Tools menu/Settings, and then select “improve AdWords Editor by enabling usage tracking.”

When it comes to PPC management, Adwords Editor 7.0 is truly a must have tool. It could very well be the most popular software on my machine. It’s great to see the AdWords Editor design team continue to release new improvements on a regular basis. In a recent meeting with Google, I also submitted my personal AdWords Editor wish list that included separate data for Content and Search, as well as the ability to compare data from different time periods, along with graphical representations, as seen in the Account Snapshot tool. Considering the recent improvements, perhaps my wish list is not too far off in the future.

I recommend you download AdWords Editor 7.0 today.