Advanced Pay Per Click (PPC) Certification Program

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Setting and Measuring Goals Tutorial

1.2 Introduction

Hi, I'm Brad Geddes, the author of Advanced Google AdWords, the founder of Certified Knowledge, and the PPC faculty chair for Market Motive. In this module, we're going to look at setting and measuring goals for advertising efforts.

1.3 Setting Marketing Goals

Now, before you start advertising, and the channel really doesn't matter. This could be AdWords, adCenter, Facebook, email, even radio and TV. You need to set goals for what you want your marketing to accomplish. If you don't have goal sets, there's no way to tell if you're reaching your goals. Are you improving? Are you declining? What's going on? So you have to set goals before you start marketing. Before you set goals, though, it's really useful to understand your business, your buying cycle. We've talked about buying cycles several times. What are the stages customers go through before they buy from you? Understand your customers. What do they really care about? Your supply chain. Your workflow. So, by looking back to how money flows through your business and how you actually make money. It can help you set better goals and understand what it takes to continue growing and improving your business. Marketing can help out the product teams, development teams, sales teams, a lot of teams throughout a large company, if you understand their needs. So once you look through your company and you have a basic idea of how your company makes money and how money flows through your company.

1.4 Set Your Goals

When it's time to set your goals. What do you want to accomplish? Are you a newspaper site and you sell CPN ads. You make money on page views. Well, if you make $0.20 a page view, you may just want $0.10 a visitor for unlimited visitors. You could be a lead generation site. And you make $25.00 when you sell a lead. Therefore, you want unlimited leads up to $15.00 a lead. because you need some money left over after you resell them. E-commerce site, you just want to work on a return investment basis. Or you're just looking for more visibility for a new service. You just want 1000 visitors a day. Maybe you're an accounting firm and you only work 40 hours a week. You're working most of the month right now, and so you need a few new leads a month so that you can come and land new companies for your accounting service. But you don't need a lot, so only 15 new leads a month keeps you in business. And maybe you're looking at a sales force and you calculate your close rates and the sales force. See how often they sell something, how much an average product is worth. And so, okay, if we get $13 phone calls, we'll make good money for the sales force or maybe your RSS subscription. You might have multiple goals as well. You might say well, we're an e-commerce company. So we really need a 200% return on investments. But we also need to do at least $100,000 in revenue a month, just to pay all our bills. And we have a newsletter subscription but we don't make immediate money on our newsletter. We make money three or four months later. So we only have a budget of a thousand dollars a month for news or subscriptions but we're willing to pay ten bucks for those newsletters. You may have multiple goals at once, that's fine. You may refine your goals over time. You might be an electrician, you sit down and you look at your phone call records and you say, oh last month we got 100 phone calls and we were busy only half the month. So if we get 200 calls we can stay busy the entire month. So work in your accounts, and the next month magic, you get 200 calls. We only worked half as much, well what happened in the math there? So you look back and say we didn't get a hundred calls that first month, really we got 60 calls for small jobs. Installing new outlets, so forth. Then we got 40 calls for big jobs. Re-wiring a condo unit. So we really don't need 200 calls. If you want a 120 calls for small jobs and 80 calls for big jobs, you rework on things. Maybe you find them overtime, that's fine but you have to set those initial goals.

1.5 Measuring Goals

Once your site your goals, you have to find a way to measure them. If you can't measure your goals, you're blind to if you're reaching your goals or not. So we'll talk about Google conversion tracker, and AdWords conversion tracker in a few minutes. We'll look at Google analytics tracking as well. But if you're a phone call based business, there is call tracking. If you're doing RRS subscription, you have Feed Burner. If you have a physical retail store, you have coupon redemption. Sometimes you have to be creative about measuring goals but you need to set goals and find a way to measure them. Then when you look at making decision inside your account should you add a keyword remove a keyword change a bid? Whether you should add a new ad group, what ad copy really is best. Look back to your goals. What you'll find is that there's no best ad copy, there's no best landing page, they don't exist, they're mythical creatures. What exists is a best ad-copy for your goals. A best landing page for your goals. If you do an ad copy test. You run two ad in an ad group. You let them run for a little bit and we'll talk about the details in future modules. And after a month you look at the metrics, and one ad copy gets $50 a month at $50 a lead. The other ad copy only got 20 leads a month but at $10 a lead. What's better? Well if your lead gen site only making $20 a lead, you want the lower cost. If you have a sales force you want to keep them busy as much as possible, you probably want the higher lead volume. So there's no best ads in landing pages. There's best as it relates to what you want your marketing to accomplish.

1.6 Important Numbers

So there's a few numbers you really need to obsess over. The first one is conversion rates. Now, a conversion rate is just a simple formula, of number of conversions divided by clicks received. So if you have five conversions on 200 clicks, you have a 2.5% conversion rate. The reason a conversion rate is so important, if you raise a conversion rate from 1% to 2%, essentially, you can double your bids at the same return investment. You just double the conversions you received. Conversion rates a really important number to always keep in mind for search advertising. The movements cost per conversion how much do you pay for an actual conversion, what's your profit for those conversions? Finally what's your lifetime visitor value? We're not going to walk through that one quite yet. We need to think about your lifetime visitor values, what's a customer truly worth. Now, I've used the word conversions a lot. I just was reiterate what a conversion is. There's no predefined definition of a conversion. A conversion is something you as a company will define based upon your marketing objectives. So if you rely on phone calls, a conversion's a phone call. If you have a lead generation forum, a conversion is someone filling out your lead. If you have a newsletter subscription, someone signing up for your newsletter's a conversion. So you will define a conversion for yourself based upon what you want to accomplish and what the actions are that you can track.

1.7 Tracking Goals

So now once you've listed out your goals, now it's time to figure out how to track our goals. So in AdWords, there's a conversion tracking scripts. If you go to the tools menu, you go to conversions, you can see all these different conversion types. So you can create a new one. Click on create new conversion, you'll name what it's called. You'll select a purpose for that conversion. Whether it's a form fill, a a visit, what not. Then the next page, there's a wizard that you need to fill out before you can get the actual conversion tracking code. Now the first setting is your page security level. HTTP, which is non secure, or HTTPS, which is secure. This is an important setting, if you put a non secure script, an HTTP script, on a secure page, a page with an SSL, the user will receive an error saying this page contains secure non secure information do you want to continue? So make sure you choose the proper level. If in doubt, choose HTTPS. It is okay to put a secure script on a non-secure page. Vice-versa is not a good idea. Next, put in your revenue per conversion. What do you actually make when you get a conversion. Even if it's just some high level math put in number. Say you know what, when we get ten newsletter subscriptions, we will eventually make $300. So that way, a newsletter subscription's worth $30 to us. Now it's not going to be an absolute number every time you get a conversion. But that way, when you put in an actual revenue for each conversion, then you can see what a keyword, an ad copy, a landing page, actually led to from a revenue standpoint. If you have a variable sales amounts, you're an e-commerce site, your conversion amount changes every time. You can put in the variable from your shopping cart system and then what happens on that thank you page when you show the customer how much their purchase cost them, Google will grab that purchase amount, put it back in our average account, so you can see the actual value that this keyword led to you. $112.97 in revenue, so put in some revenue number, Google calls it optional, don't consider it optional. Put in something, that way you can directionally see how much revenue keywords, ad copy, landing pages, placement and so forth lead to. Then choose the language your page is in. And then finally you have two options. On a thank you page when someone gets to the page we track with a script virus. They'll either see this little graphic that says Google sites stats learn more and it links to a privacy policy. Or you can click none, so no graphic gets displayed. And then you can amend your privacy policy to say we're using this AdWords conversion tracking script. Now this will not be shown to everyone who gets to your thank you page. It'll only be displayed if someone clicks on your ad, has the cookie on their browser, then they get to the thank you page, and then it's displayed.

1.8 adCenter Conversion Tracking

Now adCenter also has a conversion tracking system. So you go into adCenter, you can list your Goal name, list whatever the Step name is, and the Conversion step name. Next, put in the revenue. And again, put in either a constant value, which is how much the conversion is worth to you. So same as that with AdWords. Or you can put in a variable same as you put in for AdWords for your shopping cart. And that way you can track the actual revenue. Then finally you can choose how long you want the cookie to exist on the computer. Generally 30 days is a good number to choose, one month of time. So by default it's seven, that's a week. So this essentially says if someone clicks on your ad today and if you left this at seven and they came back nine days later and converted, this script would not track a conversion. Google always uses 30 days. Is how long their cookie lasts for. So, that way if you have AdCenter, and AdWords. Making them both 30 days is a good idea. So that numbers are consistent between the two systems.

1.9 Thank You Page Codes

And then you'll get a code. This tracking code only goes on the thank you page. Thank you for shopping. Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter. Thank you for contacting us. If you put this in a global footer you'll track page views, which some people might want to do, but it's best just to put this on the thank you page. Now it's important also on how browsers load scripts. So when a browser goes to a page it grabs the head information which includes your title tags, your meta scripts, and so forth. And then it loads everything in sequential order. Starting at the open body tag in every order. So sometimes scripts are a little bit slow. If you've ever sat on a page for a moment and nothing happens. You saw a blank page for 20 seconds and then suddenly the entire page loaded. Most likely what happened is a script was slow to load. It took it's time and when it either timed out or finally loaded, then the rest of the page content loaded. Standard scripts, freeze browser while they're being executed. So if you put this at the top of your page, right below the open body tag, and the script is slow to load, you'll have a poor consumer experience because they'll start a blank page. So I recommend putting this at the bottom of the page right before the close body tag. Now when you do that, you'll lose some tracking information. Someone was not on a page long enough for all the scripts to fire, you may lose some, but you have a better user experience. Personally, I favor a better user experience and I'm willing to lost a little data to have that better experience. Because when people have a better experience the more likely to buy from you again. They're more likely to trust your site. Speed is a big thing on the web. Speed effects quality scores, we'll get into it, effects organic rankings, it effects consumer experience. So you always put the script right above the closed body tag on your site. Now if you want the advanced implementation where you're tracking an actual variable the part of the code you change is the total value. In this case just contact your shopping cart provider. They get this question quite a bit now and ask them what's the variable we need to input here to get our information into our average account? What's our shopping variable? Now, many shopping cart systems really have three variables on thank you pages. They have a total cost of goods, cost of shipping, total cost to consumer. Some may also have tax information. Now you don't make money in tax. Most people don't make money on shipping. So take in a total cost of goods variable is the best one to input. That way you're not skilling your results based upon shipping or tax information.

1.10 Tracking Other Paid Search Sites

Let's say you're not just doing ad words and ad center, you're doing LinkedIn, or Facebook, or other paid search systems. The best way to track those is with your analytics system. So this is a Google Analytics screenshot. So in Google Analytics, go in, list your goal name. Choose your goal position. Then, choose your goal type. In most cases, it'll be URL destination. What's the URL of your thank you page? Then, choose your match type, the URL itself, and then again put in the goal values, same you would with AdWords. Now if you use Google Analytics, and you use this goal then you can see conversion information for other paid systems and analytics. However, this just tells analytics the actual goal. It doesn't tell it what the source of the traffic was. So in the second step is to use the Google Analytics URL Builder tool. You put in your site's URL, which is your landing page URL, then fill in the details, your campaign source, your medium, your campaign name, optionally term which would be your keyword, content could be your different ad types, and you'll get a URL. That is your destination URL for your LinkedIn or Facebook or whatnot campaigns, so that way you can track goals in Google Analytics, even for paid search accounts that don't have their own scripts. Then once you institute this tracking for AdCenter or AdWords, when you run reports you can see conversion information. So in AdWords you'll see this columns button on most of the screens. When you click on it there's options to see conversion based information. Now Google has two overall conversion types. One per click and many per click. A one per click is a unique conversion. A many per click is total conversions. Tabbed browsing is destroying many per click tracking. So, what happens is someone comes to your site, they convert. Now this one time they're one one per click conversion. And they're one many per click conversion. Then they close their browser, and they reopen their browser. The same tabs load again, in which includes your Thank You Page. So that your thank you page loaded. That cookies still on the browser. Cookie triggers another conversion action. So now that same person is one, one per click conversion. But two many per click conversions. They never bought from you again, they just reloaded your thank you page. So generally just using one per click conversion information which is unique conversions is the best number to work from. But now when you run reports with other ad copy landing page keyword so forth, you can see how many conversions that ad landing page so forth brought, how much that conversion cost you, and your conversion rate, percentage of people who clicked on an ad versus converted. So now once you have this data, you can set bids based upon your conversion rates. You can set bids based upon revenue. You can decide if a key order ad copy is bashing you from action metrics and not just from guessing. So we'll look at setting bids in future modules and we'll look at tasking in future modules. We're going to assume you're using the conversion tracking scripts. If you're using another system, you'll have to marry the data together. But it's so important to use conversion tracking.

1.11 Conclusion

So first, make a list. What do you want your marketing to accomplish? What are you trying to do? Phone calls, newsletters, email, e-commerce, so forth, list out what you want to accomplish. List out how much you want to pay for each of those items, as well, given the budgets. Then find ways of tracking conversions, whether it's AdWords conversion tracking script, Adcenter conversion tracking script, Google Analytics, FeedBurner, phone call tracking. Whatever it is you need to track, find a way of tracking it. Once you have those three things, you have goals listed, how much you want to pay for that goal, and then you can track the information. You have those three things accomplished. Now, making decisions for your paid search accounts will be much easier because you'll make them off of actual data, off of actual revenue, and make sure you're not just advertising. But instead, you're advertising to help increase your company's profits and overall objectives.

  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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