Once you get a search marketing campaign up and running, your work is far from over. You need to track your results to see what worked, what didn’t, and what you can tweak for next time.

As anyone who’s ever peeked at the Google Ads platform knows, there are an awful lot of metrics at your disposal when it comes to measuring your results. Which is both a blessing and a curse.

While it means that you can see the data on just about any metric you can dream of, it also means that it’s easy to get bogged down in numbers that don’t matter. So, what metrics should you consider? Let’s take a look at the metrics you should be paying attention to and the ones you can leave off your dashboard.

Clicks Are Nothing Without Other Metrics

Let’s start by talking about clickthrough rate (CTR). It’s hard not to get excited when you see that people are interacting with your ad, so you might see a high CTR and stop right there. But not so fast!

Yes, a solid CTR means you’re showing up in relevant search results and that your ad copy resonates with viewers. But a whole lot of clicks can still amount to zero revenue if you’re not paying attention to the actions that consumers take after that initial click.

Similarly, a low CTR is not a sign that your products, messaging, or offers are terrible. It likely means that your campaign needs to be adjusted for different keywords or that your ad copy is not compelling to relevant consumers.

Consider Conversions

What really matters for most businesses is whether or not those who clicked on your ad are actually following through and taking your desired action. That’s where conversion rate comes in.

This number is a measure of the percentage of people that followed through and did what you were hoping they would after clicking on your ad. Maybe that’s signing up for your newsletter, or maybe it’s booking an introductory call with your sales team. Whatever the action, the conversion rate is important because it gives you a sense of how well your ad is performing with viable leads.

It’s also important to think about what a conversion looks like for you or what action you want people to take on your website. If you’re a restaurant owner, it probably doesn’t matter to you how many people contacted you from your website. You want them to come in and order some food ““ so you might look at how many people viewed your menu and then looked for your address on your website.

If you have a high CTR but a low conversion rate, there’s cause for investigation. Is your desired action not properly synced up with the ad text? Are you making too big an ask and scaring off potential leads?

A high conversion rate means that both your search engine marketing campaign and website are doing their jobs.

Look at Page Depth & Time-On-Site

Getting the conversion is great, but it’s not necessarily everything. For those who don’t convert, what is it they’re doing instead? Are they bouncing right off of your site, or are they spending several minutes, visiting a number of pages, and learning more about your company?

If it’s the latter, then missing that conversion may not be as big a deal. Consumers who spend quality time on your site are likely interested in what you’re doing and may come back at a later date to investigate further or make a purchase.

Google allows you to track the behaviors of visitors once they get on your site, via Google Analytics. The information you gain there can add valuable color to the bigger picture of how your ad is performing.

And, this is a great opportunity to add some retargeting. A visitor leaves your site without converting, sees a display ad for your business, and they just might come back and convert next time. It’s a win for you and a win for them!

The Final Piece: Cost per Conversion

Search advertising campaigns aren’t just about getting seen; they’re an investment in driving more attention to your business, yes, but also about generating revenue. Be sure you’re getting a return on your investment.

That’s why you should also be measuring the cost per conversion. If the amount of money you’re spending to acquire a new customer is outpacing the amount of revenue you’re earning from each new customer, you need to revisit your marketing budget and approach.

One way to bump up your ROI is to ensure you’re taking advantage of the negative keywords function in Google Ads. When you add a negative keyword to your list, you’re asking Google not to display your ad in results for that word or phrase. Negative keywords allow you to target your advertising spend at only the most relevant terms, and help to give your ROI a nudge in the right direction.

When you’re measuring the results of your search marketing efforts, it can be easy to get bogged down in the many metrics available to you via the Google Ads management platform. If you’re smart about the metrics you track, you only need to consider a handful to gain a rich understanding of how your campaign is performing.

If you’d like our help developing a great search marketing strategy and tracking results as a way to continually optimize your approach, check out our SEM offerings.

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