Paid search is a great way to drive traffic to your website. However, if these visitors are leaving your website immediately after clicking your ad, you are wasting valuable money on clicks. Sometimes, we get too focused on paid search metrics and optimize a search campaign to lower cost and extend reach. While lowering the CPC can lead to more visitors, the quality of these visitors may have an impact on your overall engagement. It’s also important to dig deeper and see how visitors are engaging with your site after clicking on an ad. By tracking campaign performance with Analytics, optimization can be done to improve the quality of your paid search campaign visitors.
Google recently changed the Analytics interface and there is now an Acquisition section where you will find analytics data for your campaigns. Here are a few sections to get familiar with when optimizing your campaign through analytics.
This is a good starting point to get a snapshot of how your paid search campaigns are performing relative to other sources or mediums. Using this information as well as historical data can also be helpful in setting target objectives for your campaign.
If you have multiple campaigns, this section will provide insight into how your campaigns are performing individually. Deeper insight can also be gained by changing your primary dimension to Ad Group and see how your campaigns are performing at the ad group level.
Under the Paid Keywords section, metrics for your keywords are available and provide valuable information for optimizing your campaign. Before culling any keywords based on performance, take a look at the Match Search Query tab first. Some of your keywords may be underperforming due to being triggered by irrelevant search queries and this report can highlight negative keyword opportunities.
If you are using different keyword match types, the Keywords section groups the keywords together and only provides the overall data. In this case, using the AdWords Keywords section instead will allow you to add the match type as a secondary dimension. Since the performance of each keyword can vary based on match type, underperforming keywords can be identified by match type.
For Display Network campaigns, the Placements section provides analytics data by placement domain. Underperforming placements can be identified and excluded from your campaign. In some cases, certain domains may be underperforming for certain ad groups but perform well for others. Using Ad Groups as a secondary dimension, further insights can be gained at the ad group level.
When optimizing a campaign with Analytics, I like to export keyword and placement data into Excel. With a target objective, conditional formatting can be applied on key metric columns to highlight any rows returning results above or below a specified threshold.
Sometimes trying to optimize for both ppc and analytics can be contradicting. A keyword could be returning a low CPC and help with your ppc objectives but is bringing down your overall engagement. Conversely, a keyword may be driving up your CPC but is returning strong engagement levels. Try to find a balance and keep both ppc and analytics objectives in mind when optimizing your campaigns.