Using Web Analytics to Optimize PPC Campaigns (Part 1)

By Jeff Campbell, VP Product Development & Innovation

Successful insights and optimizations from Web Analytics (WA) data hinges on analyzing timely, consistent, and accurate/clean data; all online advertising should be tagged with WA URL tracking parameters to provide a complete and centralized view of site activity and conversions. Now that disclaimer is out of the way, here are the first 5 of 10 quick and simple ways to use WA data to optimize Paid Search (PPC) Campaigns:

1. Traffic Volume & Conversion Rate Comparisons – Comparing performance between Paid and Natural traffic, paid engine to paid engine, and Paid keyword to Natural keyword offers a great opportunity to set goals and find new and missed opportunities. If keyword ABC has an 11% conversion rate from Google Natural, but 2% on Google Adwords (paid), a PPC optimizer should be making comparisons between landing pages, copy, etc. to make drastic changes versus minimal ‘tweaking’. Without the WA/Natural performance data to benchmark against, an optimizer would have been content (and quite happy) with doubling the conversion rate to 4%.

2. New Keyword Opportunities – Looking at keyword level performance data from both the natural search engine reports and the internal search box queries is important to do monthly to find new paid search keyword opportunities. Look for new misspellings, high volume converters, or run a vlookup to identify missing paid search keywords. Add new keywords, increase appropriate paid ranks/bids where gaps exist, and focus budget on top converters to find instant gains.

3. New Traffic Source Opportunities – Domain referral reports show where visitors are coming from the associated volume and conversion rates. Look deeper than the big search engines, what do the converting sites have in common? Is there a way to increase exposure to this audience with Display ads or Contextual Ads? Do you notice a lot of mobile traffic converting? Do you see an increased average order size from non-US visitors? Is it time to think about getting budget for PPC mobile ads or international search engines?

4. Budget Forecasting – Flat month-to-month PPC budgets seem to be the standard, yet I have never seen a single business where conversion rates or volume doesn’t change month-to-month. Seasonality is evident in WA data and monthly ad budgets should reflect those ebbs and flows, down to the engine and campaign levels. Just because certain search engines get more press doesn’t mean they should get more budget, unless conversion rates dictate it.

5. Segmenting User Behavior – Using click path tools, do you notice similarities in paid traffic that is different from Yahoo? What about people who search on brand keywords? Visitors who have been to the site previously? You bet – there is no average user, why give them a single website experience? Personalize user experience based on what you already know…or are seeing unfold that visit.

Tune in tomorrow for the remainder of the 10 ways Web Analytics can be used to optimize your campaigns!

Posted by: Jeff Campbell, VP Product Development & Innovation


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