Beyond the Click – PPC that Converts

This week James Svoboda (@Realicity) stepped in for Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) with yet another great question set titled “Beyond the Click – PPC that Converts.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: What Search, Display or Social PPC Settings do you favor for maintaining or improving conversion rates?

  • Start of with ad rotation settings. Change to rotate evenly if or conversions instead of default CTR. – Chris Haleu (@chrishaleua)
  • Rotate indefinitely. – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
  • I’ll admit to having found success using CPA Optimizer from time to time. – Amy Middleton (@amyxmiddleton)
  • Rotate ads for testing. Best CTR ad often may not be best CRO ad. – Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
  • Turn off close varience matching until more negatives are identified. – Tyler Purcell (@tylerpurcell)
  • Rotate Indefinitely and AB Testing like there is no tomorrow. For Display BIG testing of creative and light/dark versions of ads. – Andrew Bethel (@AndrewPPC)
  • I’m curious, anyone rotate evenly for 90 days? – Tyler Purcell
    • Nope. AdWords doesn’t always let the ad run for 90 before throttling. – Andrew Bethel
  • For max learning on audience and location, starting broad and refining as necessary to eliminate waste. – James Hebdon (@jphebdon)
  • Conversion rates are somewhat irrelevant. Conversion numbers and cost is what counts. Use Conversion Optimizer. – Martin Roettgerding (@bloomarty)
    • I partially agree. Advertisers must balance the efficiency of CVR with the volume of cost and conversions. – Chris Haleua
      • Why? If you get more conversions + costs are good, a low CR should be irrelevant. Unless it’s about webserver workload. – Martin Roettgerding
        • Each visit is chance for profit. If ad gets enough traffic to still get conv w/ bad CVR, better site alignment will pay. – Chris Haleua
    • Lots to look at. PPI (profit-per-impression) is generally the best metric. – Jeremy Brown
      • I strongly disagree. PPI doesn’t align with business goals at all. – Martin Roettgerding
        • That’s strange. It combines CTR along with your conversion/ROI data. I want ads that drive high-ROI and volume. – Jeremy Brown
          • No, WE want ads that drive high ROI and volume. PPI goes up with fewer impressions as well – the opposite of what we want. – Martin Roettgerding
            • Interesting. But isn’t Profit-Per-Impression, just Quality Score for Display? – James Svoboda
            • I think you might be thinking of PPI a different way. It’s more about maximizing volume and efficiency. – Jeremy Brown
              • If you use it as a KPI, calulated as Revenue / Impressions, I’d say it can lead you in the wrong direction. – Martin Roettgerding
                • It’s not just revenue, but cost as well. – Jeremy Brown
                  • I’m not against the profit part – it’s the “per impression” I have a problem with. I’ll either blog or shut up about it. – Martin Roettgerding
        • I’ve always viewed PPI as a Google goal. Nice to look at it from their perspective. – James Svoboda
  • Seeing people recommend even ad rotation. This costs you money. – Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
    • I’ve seen AdWords and Facebook slant impressions greatly, so rotate is important early in a campaign life. – James Svoboda
      • Why? What is wrong with them slanting impressions if it delivers you better results? – Richard Fergie
        • “IF” is subjective and does not apply to every campaign IMO. I’ve seen it too often not work out that way. However, theres usually a point where we’ve generated enough impressions, killed lower ads, that we switch settings. – James Svoboda
        • Is it really giving better results?Maybe for the first 10 days,maybe after 90. Without real 50/50 you will neverknow. – Andrew Bethel
        • High CTR better for Google; not always better for advertiser. Sometimes you want lower CTR (get rid of non-buyers). – Jeremy Brown
        • Better results to google isn’t always better to you. Like if they slant before conversions show up. – Tyler Purcell
        • Because it ceases to be a split-test as traffic split changes over time. – Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
      • I see your point, but often seems they skew to one or the other before there’s any significant data. – Timothy Jensen
      • In my experience testing an established ad against a new, the new version never has a chance! – Josh Devlin (@JayPeeDevlin)

Q2: Do your PPC conversions & KPIs vary between Search, Display or Social campaigns? If so, how are they different?

  • Yes. Display and Social are generally more top of funnel. Looking for assists and conversions down-stream. – Jeremy Brown
  • Search focuses more on last click attribution perspectives. Social and Display focuses more on first click or even allocation. – Chris Haleua
  • Always look at the conv paths for those top of the funnel channels. There is value even if they do not convert on the front end. – Andrew Bethel
    • Looking forward to the new AdWords experiments features which will (hopefully) enable me to fairly test this. – Richard Fergie
  • Usually Search = direct sales/leads. Social often is content promotion. – James Svoboda
  • Display also requires an open mind around view-through conversions. I was skeptical at first but numbers speak for themselves. – Chris Haleua
    • Good point. I often relate search as being closer to the point of action. What ever that action is. – James Svoboda

Q3: Beyond Sales or Leads, what other secondary conversions do you track and include as KPIs for your PPC campaigns?

  • Depends a lot on what client values. I’ve used spec sheet downloads, dealer locator requests, etc. – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • ROI, ROAS, AOV, custom profit margin calculations, phone calls, etc. It depends. – Jeremy Brown
  • Although it all ultimately counts as a lead, we track phone & download inquiries differently than registrations & applications. – Amy Middleton
    • And how do you value Downloads in you reporting and marketing funnel? – James Svoboda
      • I use as “secondary” reporting to help demonstrate non-converting customer value. – Kirk Williams
      • We use a Digital Measurement Framework to identify and segment KPIs by messaging strategy. – Amy Middleton
  • Are they adding to their cart or not (engaged users), AOV, Microconversions. Microconversions are HUGE for us. Email Newsletter Sign ups and Catalog Requests are assigned values and optimized for. – Andrew Bethel
    • Are those print catalogs? – James Svoboda
      • Indeed. We are HEAVY in the print game. We know exactly what it costs to mail a catalog and when we are in season these requests are worth A LOT. – Andrew Bethel
  • eBook downloads. – Timothy Jensen
  • Trace user path. eCom: Prod Views, Cart Adds, Orders. LeadGen: Page Views, Leads Started, Leads Completed. Also use bounce rate. – Chris Haleua
  • Newsletter sign-ups has been a big focus for us lately. Lifetime value of subscribers tend to outweigh most other conversions. – James Svoboda

Q4: Do you utilize Call Tracking on your campaigns? And if so, how do you optimize to improve calls?

  • Not much at all. Trying to steer away from phone calls as they cost us a lot more to handle than email/live chat. – Andrew Bethel
    • My experience has found calls to much more valuable in the ecommerce space, where you can close the sale on the phone. – Josh Devlin
      • I don’t know, I think it depends a lot on things like your AOV, avg length/number of calls, etc. – Kirk Williams
  • We use Google call exten. and a number of clients are using call tracking. Vital for some, minor for others. Some we will optimize off call length and others by the number of calls. It depends. – Jeremy Brown
  • I’ve just recently been call tracking with CallRail. Imports data as event in GA nicely. – Barry Abraham (@brickwaybarry)
  • Calls are very important for most of our cleints as they tend to be closer to the purchase/decision point. – James Svoboda
  • We track calls for clients whose main contact is the phone – and we have nominal value to assist optimisation. – Steve Cameron (@adventcom)
  • If you want to improve call “conversion” rates, try adding an overlay-pop up that activates after 20+ idle sec. on page. – James Svoboda

Q5: How often, if ever, do you adjust your Ad Copy based on the results of your landing page conversions?

  • More likely to be the other way around if ad copy is solid. – Steve Cameron
    • Agreed. Ad testing is faster too. – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
      • Ad testing is faster. But landing page testing is more solid for conversion metrics. – James Svoboda
  • I want to say “often”. But to be honest I get distracted by so many simpler optimizations I rarely make it here. Will repent. – Chris Haleua
  • When testing, we often find ad copy that works better and sometimes vice versa with LPs. Test winners in both places. – Jeremy Brown
  • We usually update Ad Copy when we’ve found a Landing Page conversion winner. It helps to keep messaging aligned. – James Svoboda
  • Maybe start with a slant to ads then move more towards LP’s once CTR’s are stable. – Steve Cameron

Q6: Do you import Google Analytics conversions into AdWords? And if so, how do these play into your analysis and reporting?

  • For many clients, they are already doing this. We tend to want consistency and clean data. – Jeremy Brown
  • I tend to only use GA goals as imported conversions to avoid confusion and duplication. – Steve Cameron
    • Yes. I like to comapre things in one UI quickly. It helps spot trends across mediums and campaings. – James Svoboda
  • I only import goals (non transaction) for lead gen only accounts. Don’t wanna muck up my data. – Andrew Bethel

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More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Amy Middleton (@amyxmiddleton)
• Andrew Bethel (@AndrewPPC)
• Barry Abraham (@brickwaybarry)
• Chris Haleu (@chrishaleua)
• James Hebdon (@jphebdon)
• Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
• Josh Devlin (@JayPeeDevlin)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Martin Roettgerding (@bloomarty)
• Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
• Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
• Steve Cameron (@adventcom)
• Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
• Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
• Tyler Purcell (@tylerpurcell)

Streamcaps don’t convert…but who cares?

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; WebRanking SEM Manager in Minneapolis, Minnesota, #PPCChat Streamcap Grabber, SEO Blog Author. Connect with me @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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