Some PPC professionals don’t put much value on impressions, and while I will admit that they don’t tell the whole story, I do think that they’re important for a number of reasons.
Low impression numbers are the easiest way to determine if you missed the mark with your keywords. Choosing obscure keywords or keywords that are too specific will result in very low search volume, which will be indicated in your impressions data. Similarly, using too few keywords can result in low impression numbers.
Impressions are also the first thing to be affected when the search landscape changes. If new competitors are entering the paid search space and increasing competition or searcher behavior starts to change you’ll see it in impressions long before you’ll see it in clicks or conversions.
And if those reasons don’t convince you that it’s important to look at impressions regularly, a complete lack of impressions will alert you right away that your ads are probably not running.
Click-Through-Rate (or CTR as it’s commonly referred to) is a measure of how often your ads were shown versus how often they were clicked on (so Clicks/Impressions). Your CTR indicates how relevant your messaging is to the things that people are searching for when your ad is shown. A low CTR means one of the following things:
• Your ad text needs to be improved so that it’s more compelling
• Your keywords need work so that they are more tightly focused around a single theme
• You need to implement match-types within your keyword list
• You need more negative keywords to avoid having your ads show for unrelated or poorly related searches
• Your location, time of day, or language settings need tweaking
3. Average Position
Some advertisers think that their ads need to be in position #1 to be effective, but that isn’t the case at all. In fact, studies have shown that positions 3-5 are probably actually the most effective, so I’m not, by any means, saying that you need to keep an eye on your average position to make sure your ad is at the top. The reason I think ad position is important to monitor is because when you are adding new keywords you won’t necessarily know where your bids should be. By looking at average ad position you can tell if your bids need to be raised. (As a general rule of thumb, if your ads are below position 8, I would suggest raising your bid to ensure that they will show on the first page of the search results.)
Changes over time in the average ad position can tell you if more competition is entering the market. As your vertical gets more competitive you may need to raise your bids to maintain the same level of clicks and conversions.
4. Conversion Rate
Conversion rate is going to be most important if your goal is direct-response (i.e. sales and lead generation), but it’s still important when your goal is branding because a conversion can be something like viewing a key page or staying on the site long enough to find out what it’s all about. Therefore, conversion rate metrics are something that all advertises should keep an eye on, paying particular attention to changes over time.
5. Impression Share
The impression share metric shows you how often your ads actually appeared versus how often they could have appeared (so basically, it’s Impressions/Potential Impressions). A low impression share illustrates two things: that you’re missing out on clicks (and possibly conversions) and that you may be underspending in relation to your competition. Usually low impression share is as a result of your budget being too low so if your impression share is low (less than 30%) you should increase your budget as long as your ROI is positive.
One thing to keep in mind though is that impression share is only calculated for the keywords that you’re using, not all related keywords that you could be using. So just be careful if you see a very high impression share (like 95% or more) that you don’t misunderstand that data and think that there’s not any more room to increase spending and expand your efforts; because you can always add additional keywords if you have more marketing dollars to spend.
Not sure what to keep an eye on with your or even where to start? LionShark is the right digital marketing company to get you on track! Contact us to find out how we can help your business succeed online!
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!
Photo from Flickr (e y e / s e e)