SEM: Measuring Up
Welcome 2007—a year sure to bring the continued growth and maturation of digital advertising. New forms of online advertising have emerged from their infancy stages and now offer advanced measurement capabilities. Marketers can track ad spending down to the penny. Pay-per-click (PPC) search engine advertising, one of the more effective online advertising methods, offers real-time tracking for marketers.
But all this doesn’t mean potatoes unless you have a clear performance measurement program in place, helping you to measure the long-term value of your PPC program.
Defining Measurement Needs
When beginning a pay-per-click campaign, the amount of available data, statistics and tracking information can seem overwhelming. However, there are a few key areas that are important to measure. It’s vital to measure clickthroughs—every time someone clicks on your PPC ad. Many PPC providers offer click detail reports that allow you to view real-time click activity by date, time, cost and even keyword rank.
Some additional “must haves” when it comes to campaign measurement:
Impressions – Impressions are key when you’re first starting out. Say you’re getting a million impressions per month, but you’re not getting any clicks. You might want to improve your ad copy or increase your bid price to get better results for the long haul.
Cost per click – This figure represents what you’re spending each time someone clicks on your listing. Knowing this number for each term you bid on can help you tie certain values to keywords through the lifetime of your campaign.
Conversions – When you’re first starting out, you also should clearly define what you are going to consider a conversion. Is it a newsletter sign-up or is it the sale of a product? It could be a more complex measurement if you are following a B-to-B model, rather than a B-to-C model. Determine what you need to measure depending on your business model. Then consistently track this figure through the lifetime of the campaign.