Essential metrics in paid-keyword campaigns

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Olivier Silvestre
Olivier Silvestre

Peter Drucker, a management specialist, once said: “If you can't measure it, you can't manage it.” This nugget of wisdom also applies perfectly to today's search-engine marketing activities.

It is important to remember that measurement is relevant only if it is “actionable.” If no decision, no action or no change can be made based on your SEM metrics, then those metrics are considered to be ineffective. Metrics that can be acted upon — and therefore optimized — are effective metrics, and they are metrics you need to consider.

Here are three key tips for actionable elements that make up SEM:

Optimize landing pages This is a function of the landing page and ad-text-copywriting mix. Based on the product a company sells or service a company provides for its clients, dedicated landing pages should be well planned and well designed for their respective and associated ad copy. The key measurement for these landing pages is the Single Access Visit ratio, or the percentage of visitors landing on these pages and leaving the site without browsing on any other pages. If the ad copy is relevant to what a company offers, and the landing page is consistent with the ad copy message, then the SAV should stay low as long as the landing page is not a final destination in itself, which is not recommended.

Optimize ad copy This is a function of ad-text copywriting and keyword purchase. Depending on what product or service a company plans to advertise, it should decide what will be featured on the landing page. As explained above, it is important that the ad copywriting be fine tuned and in line with the landing page value proposition (hence the SAV ratio).While maintaining a low SAV, the objective is to acquire as much traffic as possible at the lowest cost.

Click-through rate and ROAI are the two key metrics to be aware of when optimizing ad copy. Assessing your SEM campaigns based on sales alone could lead a company to make unsuccessful online campaign decisions as sales transaction is not the sole criterion.

Optimize purchased keywords When starting a new SEM campaign, an effective strategy is to purchase broad keywords or keyword phrases in broad match at low cost. Doing so helps search-engine marketers discover the keywords that people type in when they search by looking at Web analytics reports. Measurement will further help to understand which typed keywords perform the best, based on CTR and ROAI, triggering the purchase of these discovered keywords in phrase match or exact match searches and efficiency.

Olivier Silvestre is director of optimization consulting at Visual Sciences Inc., San Diego. Reach him at osilvestre@visualsciences.com.

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