SEM: Measuring Up
Please note that these aren’t the only figures to measure. They are just some “must haves” often looked at as secondary data, when they really should be in the forefront, since they can provide great insight.
Tools of the Trade
Once you know what you need to measure, how are you going to pull together and make sense of all that data? Fortunately, there are many tools offered for campaign measurement and management. Simply put, these tools are designed to help you buy more of the traffic that works and less of the traffic that doesn’t. Using these types of tools, you can access reports and detailed analyses of which keywords are driving the right visitors to your site and which keywords are less productive, warranting removal from your campaign. Most programs are easy to use and only require copying and pasting a code to activate the software. Once installed, you can start to identify those clicks that are converting to leads and subsequent sales. You also can measure and compare revenue, conversions and keyword data.
With any PPC provider you can at least track conversions, even if extensive tools are not available. A simple way to do this is to create keyword “buckets.” Put similar keywords in a bucket to track the conversions of those keyword groups on the whole. For example, if you are a clothing retailer, one keyword bucket can be “shirts” and another “pants.” This can provide easy tracking of product groups, and can make campaign management easier. If you’re revising ad copy, you can do it for an entire bucket and not have to revise per keyword.
You can use some third-party services as an ROI measurement tool or as a complete Web analytics software package. For example, Adwatcher is a service that provides detailed information on various PPC accounts, including those you might have with Google, Yahoo! Search Marketing, MIVA and Searchfeed.com. If you’re working with many providers, this might be a good option so you can compare and contrast campaign results through one interface. Using these additional services is also where URL and campaign tracking services come into play; this allows marketers to better determine the conversion rates on each of their campaigns.