PPC Campaign Optimisation – Which Data Should You Use?
Choosing the right data to use when optimising your PPC campaigns is not straight forward. Sometimes your choice is made easier by being restricted to only using a couple of metrics, as that is all that can be tracked, but frequently, in this age of Big Data you have more metrics than you know what to do with. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the things to be considered when you go about choosing your metrics.
The first and most obvious question to ask yourself about your objectives is what is the ultimate goal of your PPC campaigns? For online retailers this is frequently simply to drive online sales, but this is only the beginning. Is the number of sales the most important thing? Or is it revenue from those sales? Should you be looking at the margin or profit which is made on each sale? Are you interested in driving sales from returning customers, or do you want to focus on sales for new customers? The answers to these questions will be different for different advertisers, but should serve as a good starting point for advertisers from all different sectors, not just retail.
Another key area to look at is the amount of data that you have to optimise with against your keywords. If your product or service that you are selling is a considered purchase, or of a high value, which involves a lot of research, then you will probably find that you don’t have many orders per keyword per day/week. This presents a different challenge as you can’t rely solely on data from the final transaction in order to optimise your PPC campaigns. You will need to start factoring in engagement or indicator metrics. These are the actions that a user takes on site during the research/consideration phase, which show they are more likely to complete the final transaction in the future. These should obviously carry a lower weighting than the final transaction, but will prove crucial in providing data to keywords which drive clicks but no final orders. Is that spend wasted, or is it necessary to secure orders further down the line?
The two areas above have focused on direct response advertisers, where there is a clear end goal as an objective. But what about if the advertiser doesn’t sell anything through their website, instead running PPC campaigns to bring traffic to site for brand awareness? You should still have objectives for your campaigns, and clear KPIs, but what should they be? Traditionally these KPIs have focused on impressions (or impression share) and CPCs, ignoring what actually happens once the user has clicked on an ad. More advanced strategies look at on-site engagement and interactions, such as page views, time spent on site, bounce rate, brochure requests, video views etc. The focus here is not just bringing traffic to site, but ensuring the visitors are quality users, who show a high brand engagement. Additionally, the focus of different campaigns may be different, according to the campaign type. For instance, if you are bringing somebody to site who has searched for a competitor’s term, do you have a different user journey and KPI in mind to somebody who has searched for your own brand term?
I’ve posed many questions throughout this post which may be useful starting points when thinking about your campaign objectives. I’ve not provided the answers though, as those will be different for every advertiser. If you’d like to hear more about how we, at Adobe, are helping our customers tackle these questions, including hearing first hand experiences from a leading Adobe Media Optimizer customer, then come along to the session which I am co-presenting at Adobe Summit in London. The session is entitled Big Data vs Smart Data: Using analytics data to drive advertising ROI, so I hope to see you there!
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