These goals drive more customers to engage with your brand and website.
Metrics that align with traffic-focused goals include impressions, impression share, lost impression share due to budget or rank, clicks and click-through rate (CTR).
CTR is the ideal standard KPI because it will measure the efficiency and effectiveness of your ad, the relevancy of your keyword and the traffic driver. Optimization and performance management can directly impact CTR while impressions and clicks rely largely on the searcher’s behavior and the budget. However, it’s important to note CTR may not be ideal for advertisers with small or strict budgeting parameters as low click volume can skew the percentage-based metric.
For traffic-focused goals, watch out for these potential vanity metric traps such as exit rate, bounce rate, time spent on site, SEO rankings, site content, metadata, view-through impressions, session duration, screenshots and mockups.
These goals help you spend your budget effectively and efficiently. Consumer search behavior and interest drive the search channel, so seasonality plays a crucial role.
Metrics that align with cost-focused goals include lost impression share due to budget, media cost, average cost per click (CPC) and cost per action (CPA). If you want to track advanced metrics, look at budget impact, the point of diminishing returns and budget incrementality testing.
CPA is the ideal standard KPI because it will effectively measure valued actions as a result of budget spent.
CPC is not the best KPI for search because it can fluctuate wildly with every single keyword search participating in a real-time blind auction for ranking. Watching CPCs, bidding and market rates by category is helpful when optimizing and leveraging bidding strategies, but you don’t have the direct control to force CPC rates.
Budget impact and point of diminishing return evaluations are costly and require significant volume to be statistically sound. So while these metrics are important for enterprise-level investments, they may be overly sophisticated for your current business economics or budget bandwidth.
For cost-focused goals look out for vanity metrics such as CPM, cost per thousand, (no cost for paid search impressions, so this metric is null and void), service fees, tech pass-through costs, revenue per search, lifetime value, production costs and creative costs.
These goals drive customer actions that lead to performance results.
Metrics that align with performance goals include conversions, sales, leads, phone calls, cost per lead (CPL), revenue, profit, CPA, return on investment (ROI) and return on ad spending (ROAS). To track advanced metrics, look at attribution modeling, media mix modeling and cross-functional lifts.
Profit, ROI and ROAS are ideal standard KPIs because they measure the return on your investment. Unlike the other two metric groups, any of these measurements can be a strong KPI depending on the brand and goals.
If CPA is your KPI, first evaluate and determine a baseline with the volume of those actions, leads and conversions.
For performance goals, watch out for vanity metrics such as page views, and don’t focus much on metrics in other goal groups.
All metrics are important to the larger program in some way, but paying too much attention to any of these can distract you from spending time optimizing toward your primary KPI and can derail your campaign’s overall quality and performance.
To produce results and ensure industry excellence, optimize your primary KPI and spend your time and effort on paid search lead and lag measurements toward quality, relevancy and account performance that matter and make the largest impact.