If you don't feel like your paid search budget is as high as it should be, perhaps it's because you and senior management aren't using the right sets of conversion and micro-conversion metrics to justify the bids you need to grab high positions in Google, Bing, second-tier PPC engines, or other international platforms such as Baidu and Yandex.
Many marketers continue to rely on last-click attribution, rightfully putting an extremely high value on the last click. This way of setting up measurement - and the bidding strategy that follows - is appropriate when the removal of that last click (as a result of lower position due to value allocation, necessitating a lowered bid) results in a lost sale.
Because PPC search is predictable and is the foundation for most online marketing campaigns, newer platforms and technologies sometimes get bigger budgets than they may deserve. One reason they get larger budgets is that they are judged by a completely different set of metrics than PPC search. Let's explore the metrics that might increase paid search budgets to where they should be.
Conversion Rates and Buying Signals
On non-brand keywords, it's not unusual to see primary conversion rates, even on the best sites, ranging from 3 to 15 percent, along with the typical 15 percent conversion stats for non-transaction registrations that don't require the visitor to pay. E-commerce conversions are typically at the lower end of this range.
It clearly isn't logical for us to assume that because 85, 95, or even greater percentages of visitors are not converting within a given session (or within a given cookie window) that the cash spent on those clicks was wasted. Instead, we may want to take a closer look at all the positive buying signals existing on our websites. Some of these positive buying signals may result in eventual sales, even if the data measurement challenges in proving it may be beyond our means.
This isn't purely an attribution exercise where we allocate value to clicks and keywords that assist the sale measured at a later point in time. (You can use the Google Search funnel to establish this.) This is a call for the re-evaluation of the metrics and touch points that happen during your sales and marketing process and the relative value of both those touch points and the related behaviors.
Ten Crucial Touch Points
The following are 10 behaviors or touch points that might have significant value to your business and yet are often not counted at all when it comes to paid search campaigns.
When you bake in all these great behaviors - and their values - you may find that you can justify to management a significant budget increase for PPC search, because you'll be able to demonstrate that the budget increase was warranted.
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Kevin Lee, Didit cofounder and executive chairman, has been an acknowledged search engine marketing expert since 1995. His years of SEM expertise provide the foundation for Didit's proprietary Maestro search campaign technology. The company's unparalleled results, custom strategies, and client growth have earned it recognition not only among marketers but also as part of the 2007 Inc 500 (No. 137) as well as three-time Deloitte's Fast 500 placement. Kevin's latest book, "Search Engine Advertising" has been widely praised.
Industry leadership includes being a founding board member of SEMPO and its first elected chairman. "The Wall St. Journal," "BusinessWeek," "The New York Times," Bloomberg, CNET, "USA Today," "San Jose Mercury News," and other press quote Kevin regularly. Kevin lectures at leading industry conferences, plus New York, Columbia, Fordham, and Pace universities. Kevin earned his MBA from the Yale School of Management in 1992 and lives in Manhattan with his wife, a New York psychologist and children.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT