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The Paradigm Shift: From Clicks to Conversions

PPC Campaigns and ConversionsAt Web.com, we pride ourselves in being a results-driven organization. When managing pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns for our clients, we work to understand our clients’ goals to determine the best course of action to achieve those goals. While driving traffic is always one of our primary objectives, our key focus is in driving “conversions.” Most advertisers assume that driving more people to a website results in greater sales or leads. While this is sometimes true, it’s not always the case. The key question to ask is: “Am I driving the right people to my site?”

We’ve seen countless situations in which a client’s website was receiving a large amount of traffic, but didn’t necessarily see a large volume of conversions. When examining the account in more detail, we usually found that the visitors were coming from broad, often irrelevant terms. In situations like these, more traffic did not bring more sales or leads.

The best success metric to use when optimizing a PPC account really depends on the website’s overall goal. When the aim is to drive people to a site or to focus on branding, clicks and impressions are generally the best success metric. However, when a website has a specific conversion goal, that goal should be the primary focus when optimizing the campaigns for the account.

When we bring on new clients, we work to help them understand that conversions are a much better indicator of a campaign’s success than mere clicks or visits. When considering the following two options, which would you choose?

Option 1: Drive 10,000 people to your site and bring in 150 sales

Option 2: Drive 7,500 people to your site and bring in 250 sales

If you’re like most advertisers, you would probably choose the second option. Although option 1 drives more people to your site, option 2 drives more sales and provides greater ROI. Since PPC costs are based on paying per each click an ad receives, it’s important for advertisers to ensure that they’re driving the right traffic to their site.

All of the major search engines offer a conversion tracking feature that allows advertisers to track conversion events on their website. The implementation of this feature is usually as simple as installing a tracking code on a form or purchase confirmation page. Once this code is installed, advertisers can track how many conversions are provided by each keyword, along with the actual conversion cost of each term. With this data, advertisers can then increase or decrease keyword bids based on their goals to maximize the profitability of each keyword. Conversion data is one of the most important metrics in a PPC account because it allows advertisers to see which keywords are the most profitable. That way, they can focus on the terms that will make the best use of their budget.

If you’re looking to achieve greater ROI from your pay-per-click campaigns, try optimizing for conversions. As you tighten up your campaigns and focus on the areas of your account that are driving more sales or leads, you’ll be able to see greater profitability from those campaigns.

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    1. I’m interested in Option 2′s ROI: Drive 7,500 people to your site and bring in 250 sales. Please explain how this option works. Thank you.

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    2. Hi Patricia,
      Thanks for your interest in the article. While the two options presented above are purely hypothetical, the primary principle behind the scenario is that when managing PPC campaigns, advertisers should be focused on driving “qualified” traffic that will be more likely to convert. Doing so will reduce wasted ad dollars and help to drive more conversions. Advertisers can improve the quality of their traffic in a number of ways, including:

      • Install conversion tracking to better track which keywords are/aren’t converting.
      • Create targeted ad copy to filter out irrelevant traffic.
      • Pause or reduce the bids of keywords that are not providing conversions so you can focus more of your budget on the keywords that are driving sales/leads.
      • Add negative keywords to filter out irrelevant traffic.

      Hopefully this information helps. If you have any other questions, feel free to let us know!

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    3. Won said on May 5, 2010

      ROI is a must! Great article. But you forgot to mention the importance of a Landing Page. From my experience, with adjusting all the mentioned ways that an advertiser could change/tweak to improve conversions . . . LPs are just as important, if not the first consideration (in my opinion). You could attract all the qualified traffic you can get . . . but if they don’t trust/like your site, then watch your ad spend go to waste.

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    4. Thanks Won, you’re right on point with your comment regarding landing page optimization. It’s true that PPC account management can only take you so far. To truly optimize a PPC account, landing page testing and optimization is a must. We’ve seen significant improvements in campaign conversion rates simply by implementing a new optimized PPC landing page. Thanks for your comment!

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