PPC Guide: Tracking and measurement for PPC campaigns

This is the first section on tracking and measurement in our PPC Guide.

Creating a new paid search account is the easy part: You’ll need a primary contact and a credit card. But, well before you get started with launching a campaign, there are several foundational steps to take to ensure you’ll get the tracking and reporting needed to gauge performance and optimize your campaigns.

That includes knowing the reporting metrics and what they indicate.

Understanding the reporting metrics

There are several metrics you’ll need to understand when running and analyzing PPC campaigns.

Impressions: The number of times your ads were served in the search results.

Clicks: The number of times users clicked on or engaged with your ads.

Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of people who clicked on your ad. It is calculated by dividing clicks by impressions. CTR is a very important indicator of how well your ads are performing.

Average CPC: The average cost per click paid for the clicks received.

Average position: Where your ads appeared on the search results page (SERP.) The higher the position, the greater the visibility you’ll have. Average position also indicates how your Ad Rank compares with other ads.

Conversions: The number of conversion actions your ads have generated. The actions to be tracked are set up at the account level.

Conversion rate: The percentage of people who clicked on your ads and ended up converting.

Quality Score: Reported at the keyword level on a scale of 1 to 10, Quality Score is an indicator of how relevant your ads, keywords and landing page are to the user. A higher Quality Score can mean lower CPCs and better ad positions.

Dozens of other reporting metrics are available in Google Ads, including the ability to create your own reporting calculations in Custom columns. Below is a screen shot of the reporting columns available in the interface (Fig. 7).

Fig. 7 – Some of the reporting columns in Google Ads

Next up, it’s time to learn about PPC Conversion tracking: What can you measure in our next section on tracking and measurement.

Read more of The Search Engine Land Guide to PPC: