Understanding Your PPC Campaign Results

digital marketing team reviewing results at meeting

Understanding Your PPC Campaign Results

Pay per click campaigns are an effective way of driving traffic to your website, but we’d be lying if we said they were simple to set up or understand. In fact, if you’ve been researching paid search campaigns you’ve probably already come across a whole load of jargon. 

As part of our role as PPC campaign managers, we help to demystify results and technical data for our clients, so we thought we’d share some of that knowledge here and go over the key terms you should understand when reviewing your PPC campaign results.

The is the number of times your ad has appeared in front of users. On Google and Bing search ads, impressions are free, you only pay once someone actually clicks on your ad. Some other platforms such as Facebook Ads will charge you per 1000 impressions. 
This is the number of clicks your ads have received. Most online ad campaigns are “pay-per-click” so the number of clicks is the main factor in determining how much your campaign will cost you. That said, there are some ways to reduce the cost of each ad click – more on that later! 

CPC (Cost Per Click) 
Your cost per click is the average cost of each click on your ad. Individual clicks on your ad can have variable costs. 
CTR (Click Through Rate) 
This measures how often people clicked on your ad when it was shown to them. This is displayed as a percentage and is calculated by dividing your total clicks by your total impressions. So, if 100 people saw your ad and 3 of them clicked on it, your CTR would be 3%. 
A conversion is the action that you want users clicking on your ad to perform. This action will be different depending on your business and the aim of the campaign, but common conversion goals include getting phone calls to your business number, ecommerce sales transactions and gathering lead form submissions. 
Conversion Rate 
This measures how often people completed a conversion action after they clicked on your ad. This is displayed as a percentage and is calculated by dividing your total conversions by your total clicks. So, if 500 people clicked your ad and 5 of them converted on it, your conversion rate would be 1%. 
These are the words that you have selected to trigger your ads to display. These could be short and generic words such as “shoes”, or they could be longer and more specific long-tail keywords like “green women’s running shoes size six”. 
Negative Keywords 
These are keywords which you want to exclude for your campaign. Correctly using negative keywords can save you a lot of wasted ad spend. For example, if you run a home insurance company and are bidding on the keyword “insurance deals” but you don’t offer car insurance, you would want to add words like “car”, “motor”, “automotive”, and “vehicle” as negative keywords. Doing so would mean that your ads would appear on the search “best insurance deals” but not “best car insurance deals” 
When multiple PPC campaigns are targeting the same keywords, they enter a bidding auction. This auction happens automatically at the moment the keyword is searched by a user. Your maximum bid for a keyword represents the most you are willing to pay for your ad to appear on a search. This means that if your max bid is £1 you won’t necessarily be paying £1 for every click, but you won’t be paying more than £1 for a click.  
Quality Score 
Each keyword in your campaign is assigned a quality score out of 10. This is based how relevant the ad copy (language used in the ad) and landing page (the web page the ad sends the user to) associated with that keyword are. Google wants ads to be relevant to user’s searches and so it gives a discount on click costs to ads with a score over 5 and charges a premium for clicks on ads with a score under 5. Improving your quality scores is a great way of getting more clicks for the same budget. Featuring the keyword prominently in the ad copy and on the landing page (see below) are good practices for increasing the quality score of a keyword. 
Landing Page 
This is the page that users land on after they click on your ad. It is good practice to send your users to a page relevant to their searched keyword rather than just sending them straight to your homepage. If you have the web development skill or the budget to hire a professional web developer, it is worth developing separate pages for specific sets of keywords with a focus on driving conversions. Lead generation campaigns which use custom landing pages are generally more successful than those which send users to their main website. 

Keyword Match Types 
When you bid on a keyword, there are three ways of matching a user’s searches to your keywords. 

  • Phrase Match 
    A phrase match keyword will trigger an ad when a user searches that keyword, even if there are other words before or after the keyword. For example, the keyword phrase match “shoes” as a broad match may also trigger ads on “women’s shoes”, “cheap shoes”, and “what are the best shoes to wear for a job interview”. 
  • Exact Match 
    An exact match keyword will only trigger ads if the user searches exactly the same keyword or phrase. Some minor variations are accounted for by Google’s algorithm, for example, “men’s shoes” as an exact match would still trigger ads on searches for “shoes men’s”.

  • Broad Match 
    Broad match keywords are the “loosest” match type. They utilise Google’s algorithm to display on searches it believes are related to your keywords more generally. For example, the keyword “men’s shoes” as a broad match might also trigger ads on searches for “men’s slippers”, “men’s trainers”, “sneakers for men”. 

We hope this has been a useful overview of the main jargon you’re likely to hear in the paid ads space. If you need help building or managing a paid ads campaign for your business, speak to our PPC team today. 

Dave King

Dave King

Dave King is the Co-Founder and Director of Carden Digital and the wider Carden IT Group. Dave’s background is in IT services, but he has experience across the online space. His love of all things digital lead him to create a digital marketing branch of the business, with a focus on paid advertising, SEO, web development, social media, graphic design and content writing.