So you’re running a paid advertising campaign and want to do your first check on how your ads are performing.
You open up your Google Ads manager and see a huge list of metrics.
You’d be there all day if you were to track every metric. From click-through-rate, to bid amounts, to impressions, there are so many KPIs you could be looking at.
However, you don’t need to be checking them all to get a good idea of how your ads are running.
This is our comprehensive list of the performance metrics you should be measuring for your paid advertising campaigns.
1. Return on investment (ROI)
The ultimate marketing metric. Whether you’re running Google Ads, Facebook Ads or LinkedIn Ads, it all comes down to return on investment.
If you work in marketing or even just in business, a question you’ll probably hear 10 times a day is “what’s the ROI on that,” and there’s a reason for that.
Return on investment calculates the investment that you’ve put in vs. the reward, or revenue you get out.
With prospecting ads for ecommerce brands, this ROI is easy to calculate. How much have you spent and how much have you made in sales?
It starts to get a bit confusing when you look at campaigns where the goal isn’t sales, but may be form submissions or just brand awareness.
The problem with measuring return on investment
Tracking return on investment can get a little tricky when it comes to ads where the main goal isn’t money based conversions.
This could happen in a situation where you’re running brand awareness campaigns, or a campaign for app downloads, for example.
So how can you track if you’re getting more out of your ads than you’re putting in?
Ideas for tracking ROI when the goal isn’t revenue
Impressions aren’t everything, but in the case of a brand awareness campaign, they might be the best metric to measure.
To avoid metrics becoming yet another vanity metric, measure them directly against your pipeline. Does the launch of a new campaign with high impressions correlate with an increase in your social following? Or an increase in organic traffic?
These might be good indicators that your impressions are actually leading to a return on your investment.
In the case of B2B companies or businesses with a high average order value, sales processes can take months to complete. The best way to track long sales processes?
Instead of tracking conversions that are happening at the time, take a longer term approach by tracking how your pipeline is growing. This can give you a much better idea of the impact your ads are having on your business growth.
3. Self-reported attribution
When the goal of an ad isn’t to generate immediate revenue, but simply to increase brand awareness, it can be impossible to track where leads have come from further down the line.
Self-reported attribution simply asks customers to report where they first heard about you.
An enquiry that might be tracked as coming from Google organic, could easily self-report that they saw your ad three months ago and only now need your service.
You can mark this down as a win for the ad campaign.
2. Click-through-rate (CTR)
Rather than simply looking at who has seen your ads (impressions), CTR gives you a better understanding of who is interacting with your ads.
Someone who clicks on your ad is, in theory, much more likely to make a purchase or be a potential lead, than someone who simply scrolls straight past.
CTR has a direct impact on website traffic, eventually leading to increased revenue.
However, as with the majority of metrics, CTR can’t always be taken at face value.
The problem with measuring CTR
Clicks don’t always equal conversions, and if they’re not leading to conversions, or even pipeline, they’re probably not the right clicks.
You could be running an ad getting 500,000 impressions and only 3 clicks. However, if those 3 clicks each lead to a £5k conversion, a low CTR might not necessarily mean a bad ROI.
On the other hand, 500,000 impressions and 100,000 clicks, a great CTR, could lead to no conversions. In which case, that’s a terrible ROI.
Click-through-rate should always be measured in relation to conversions and not reported as a standalone metric.
4 quick tips for increasing your CTR
1. Get specific with your CTA
The more specific you can be with your call to action, the more likely people are going to buy in.
A CTA should demand action and tell your audience exactly what they’re going to get from this action.
For example, instead of saying ‘download now’ for a content creation template, you could try using ‘steal our content strategy’ or ‘get our revenue-driving content framework.’
The user can immediately see the value they’re going to get out of it.
2. Personalise your offering
With greater targeting comes greater opportunity for personalisation.
Personalising your ad copy based on specific consumer problems or pain points can greatly increase your click-through-rate, because your audience feel like their problems have been heard.
3. Include social proof
Including proof that others like and use your product or service tells your potential audience that the things you’re raving about are actually true.
People are much more likely to trust other people than brands, so use great feedback to your advantage and drive more clicks.
4. Utilise ad extensions
Ad extensions are one of the simplest ways to increase your CTR. They can include extra information about your company like address and phone number, or have alternative links to your site.
The nature of ad extensions means that your Google Ad will take up more space on the SERP than if you had just one link.
The simple fact that this occupies more space on the page, and gives the user a greater understanding of your website, helps increase your CTR.
P.S. we have a whole blog with more ideas on increasing your Facebook Ads CTR.
3. Impression share
Calculating your impression share essentially allows you to compare your ad campaign’s performance against your competitors’.
It’s calculated by taking the number of impressions you received, divided by the total impressions that were available. Times it by 100 and you get your impression share as a percentage.
Ideally, you want your impression share to at least be over 50% so you’re being seen over half the time. However, 70% is generally a good number to aim for.
The problem with measuring impression share
The issue is, a good impression share doesn’t always equate to more leads or conversions.
For example, a client has a 20% impression share but consistently gets great leads.
On the other hand, another client’s impression share has increased from 70% to 90% but hasn’t impacted the number of leads they’ve received.
These are both quite rare situations, but they do happen. Because of this, a great impression share can’t always be taken at face value.
However, it is a great metric for understanding how successful your ad and ad copy is according to Google.
Google will favour ads they like, so if you’ve got a high impression share, you’re doing something right.
3 factors that impact impression share
1. Ad Copy
You know that great ad copy is essential for conversions. If it doesn’t relate to your audience, your ad is going to flop.
But, did you know that ad copy is also important to Google, and impacts your quality score?
Google scores your ad copy based on how relevant it is to what you’re selling and the landing page you’re sending the user to.
If you have an ad that’s talking about interior design for bathrooms, then you send your user to a landing page about interior design for living rooms, this is going to majorly impact your quality score. This then has an impact on impression share.
Landing pages should be optimised to be as closely relevant and specific to the Google Ads as possible.
Relevancy also plays a role in the users’ experience on the landing page, which brings me on to the next point.
2. Landing Page experience
The last thing you want is for users to click on your ad and find your landing page frustrating in any way. Google doesn’t want that either. It’s not good for business.
Google will assess your landing page based on the user experience it provides, and takes this into account when assigning your ad a quality score (which we know impacts impressions share).
There are a whole host of elements that could make or break your landing page experience, including but not limited to:
1. Page loading speed
4. Credibility of information
3. Expected CTR
A bit of Google Ads inception coming up here.
Google will assign your ad an expected click-through-rate (CTR). This expected CTR is based on the CTR of previous ads, which were also assigned an expected CTR.
Simply, the CTR performance of your Google Ads now directly impacts the performance of your Google Ads in the future.
These are by no means the only important metrics to measure for your Google Ads campaigns. However, these three are the KPI’s that we, as Google Ads specialists, pay attention to when reporting on the performance of our campaigns.