Pay-Per-Click Fundamentals
Illustration by Richard Downs

Pay-Per-Click Fundamentals

with Elizabeth Marsten

Video: Interpreting results

In this lesson, we're going to walk through a We'll be focusing on the AdWords platform in this lesson, but you can easily Ad performance is one of the most important areas of account maintenance.
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  1. 1m 14s
    1. Welcome
      1m 14s
  2. 10m 9s
    1. What is pay-per-click (PPC) marketing?
      2m 2s
    2. Understanding PPC's role in your marketing mix
      2m 12s
    3. Pros and cons of PPC
      2m 30s
    4. Things to know before you get started
      3m 25s
  3. 14m 10s
    1. Creating a Google AdWords account
      5m 56s
    2. Creating a Bing Ads account
      6m 13s
    3. Setting up your account structure
      2m 1s
  4. 19m 32s
    1. Setting up campaigns in your new account
      6m 38s
    2. Choosing geographic targets and location-based settings
      4m 56s
    3. Setting daily and monthly campaign budgets
      3m 52s
    4. Creating ad groups without going overboard
      4m 6s
  5. 18m 32s
    1. Researching keywords
      5m 5s
    2. Selecting keywords
      5m 2s
    3. Selecting the match types for your keywords
      5m 4s
    4. Selecting negative keywords
      3m 21s
  6. 17m 13s
    1. Understanding what makes a good ad
      6m 31s
    2. Writing compelling ad copy
      4m 35s
    3. Testing your ad copy
      2m 49s
    4. Using dynamic keyword insertion in ad copy
      3m 18s
  7. 11m 41s
    1. What is quality score?
      3m 52s
    2. Using and improving your Google AdWords quality score
      4m 50s
    3. Using and improving your Bing Ads quality score
      2m 59s
  8. 16m 2s
    1. Using Google's Display Network
      7m 58s
    2. Understanding the Google and Bing search partner networks and how they work
      3m 51s
    3. Using the Bing Ads content network
      4m 13s
  9. 26m 43s
    1. Reviewing your metrics
      4m 32s
    2. Interpreting results
      6m 7s
    3. Installing conversion tracking
      8m 46s
    4. Troubleshooting common performance problems
      7m 18s
  10. 13m 14s
    1. Using the AdWords desktop editor
      2m 41s
    2. Using the Bing Ads desktop editor
      3m 9s
    3. Tips and tools for using offline editors
      7m 24s
  11. 1m 12s
    1. Next steps
      1m 12s

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Watch the Online Video Course Pay-Per-Click Fundamentals
2h 29m Beginner Apr 28, 2014

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Learn how to develop, launch, measure, and optimize winning pay-per-click (PPC) marketing campaigns in this detailed course. Author and search engine marketing expert Elizabeth Marsten shows you the fundamentals of PPC advertising to help you drive targeted traffic to your website. The course begins with an overview of the PPC world, walks you through setting up Google AdWords and Bing accounts, shows how to set campaigns, explores how to craft compelling ad copy, and helps you measure and leverage results. You'll also learn how to use display and partner networks to increase your reach on other popular websites. Dive in and learn how to leverage this crucial, effective marketing channel.

Topics include:
  • What is pay-per-click marking?
  • Understanding the pros and cons of PPC
  • Creating AdWords and Bing accounts
  • Setting up campaigns
  • Setting daily and monthly budgets
  • Researching and selecting keywords
  • Writing ad copy
  • Understanding Quality Score
  • Leveraging display, content, and partner networks
  • Using offline desktop editors
Google AdWords Bing Ads
Elizabeth Marsten

Interpreting results

In this lesson, we're going to walk through a PPC account and identify what is bad and what is good and the areas you should be regularly checking when evaluating the success of your efforts. Additionally, I'll give you some rules of thumb to use to keep in mind so that you can start to form your own baselines for what is good and what is bad. While each industry and account will be different in performance and goals, in the end only you can make the call on what is working for you and what is not. We'll be focusing on the AdWords platform in this lesson, but you can easily take the tips and methods here and utilize them on the Bing Ads platform.

The areas that I'll walk through in terms of determining good or bad performance are ads around CTR and number of clicks, keywords around CTR and number of clicks. Bids, when to increase or not. Cost per click. As in what is too high. And then conversion rate, what is low and how to improve. Ad performance is one of the most important areas of account maintenance. So regularly reviewing your ads is something you want to keep on your to do list. One area of caution is that you don't want to change your ads too much or too frequently. You must let statistical significance build.

How do you know when you've reached that? One rule of thumb is the 100 clicks per ad. Depending on the amount of traffic flowing through your account this could be reached within a day or within a month, but it's a good number to start with before you do any edits to an ad. Additionally, you want to make sure that you view brand versus non-brand performance separately. As a branded ad, it's going to perform more strongly than a non-brand. You want to aim for the highest click through rate and conversion rates when it comes to success in ad performance, but consider a CTR of 2% or higher for a non-brand ad, good. While anything under 1% should definitely be considered bad.

When it comes to ads that support a keyword list with brand terms, or brand terms within the ad copy, and when I say brand I mean the name of your company or your website. Not a brand name like Nike or Sony, unless you are Nike or Sony, expect that the CTR will be higher on average. You want to aim for 5% or higher when it comes to CTR for branded ads. Keyword performance. When reviewing a keyword list, you want to look for keywords that are generating a lot of impressions, but not a CTR of 1% or higher. If you're seeing high impression rate but low CTR, then that is a keyword that needs to be reviewed.

It could be that you add negative keywords, as your term is generating impressions and searchers are seeing it but not clicking. So it's not what they're looking for. You may also consider changing the match type so there aren't as many impressions available for that keyword. If you see keywords that are generating a lot of clicks and a high CTR but not conversions, you should consider the same options for optimization. Additionally, you want to review the quality score for that keyword, looking for a score of five or higher as well as whether or not the keyword is generating any impressions. And if you're seeing warnings next to the keyword provided by Google around low impressions due to volume, it's not technically hurting your account in a quality score or performance sense.

But it's certainly not helping either. Consider deleting, changing the match type, or making it shorter. Bid performance. Bids are a tricky thing to manage since you can set them at both the ad group and specific keyword level. There is an additional feature in AdWords called flexible bidding that allows you, on a per keyword basis, to choose a different bidding strategy for that keyword than that of the overall campaign. I recommend sticking with the single bidding strategy until you get your feet under you as it's very easy to get mixed up in this area. A few things to look for that tip you off as to whether or not you should increase the bid is if you see that the average position of the keyword is four or under.

But the CTR is higher than 1%. Consider increasing the bid at least 10%. I recommend sticking to bid increases of 25% or less at first to get you started so that you can stay in control of the spin more easily. What I don't recommend is nickel-and-diming bidding, where you are increasing and lowering the bid by five or ten cents at a time, frequently. There is indeed a sweet spot in which an ad group or keywords can find their bid amounts. But there tiny incremental bid strategies often take more time and effort than they are worth. Just remember the amount you specify as the bid should be the most you end up paying.

And you're most likely to pay less, depending on the auction. And remember keep average position and conversion rate in mind most of all when determining how much to increase or decrease a bit. You'll want to make sure that you're still in a good position in connection with your conversion rate. CPC performance. Cost per click is a relative metric when it comes to determining what is high and what is low. Because Google sets the minimum bid internally, some industries will be higher than others no matter what they do. For example, the tech industry, anything around cloud computing, software, software as a service, tends to hover in the five to $20 range per click.

Insurance, real estate, and legal terms are even higher. The highest CPC that I've ever seen was $121 per click for a second DUI attorney term, targeted to the Los Angeles area. The lowest CPC that I've ever seen is five cents for the word, wedding etiquette. What you should watch is what the average CPC is for ad groups campaigns and the account overall to determine what your normal CPC is and base your highs and lows off of that. Your normal CPC will help you dictate when to raise and lower bids as you get further into account management as you have established a baseline.

Conversion Rate Performance. Conversion rate is something that requires conversion tracking to be installed. Which is covered in the next lesson in this section. It does require a bit of technical know-how. But installing it will be one of the best things that you can do to judge the performance of your account. A good conversion should be considered around 5% or higher on non brand terms, and closer to 20% for branded. Ideally, if you are bringing qualified customers to your site through keyword and ad optimizations, your conversion rate should be one of the highest performing metrics. This section is just scratching the surface of what it means to interpret the results within your account for your paid search efforts.

If you do not have an analytics program like Google Analytics, take a really hard look at doing so. Being able to see just beyond the clicks, impressions and costs, in the paid search platform, will not only open many doors into what the other influencing factors are, as well as additional metrics to judge performance on and with a lot of clarity into your site's overall performance.

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