PPC Tracking Guide

PPC Tracking Guide
Article by Bisera StankovskaBisera Stankovska
Last Updated: March 26, 2023

Setting up your pay-per-click (PPC) campaign is only the beginning of the process.

What comes next is tracking your PPC ad results so you can adjust your paid search campaign accordingly and get the results you want.

If you’re new to PPC tracking and have questions, we’re here to help.

In this post, we’ll share all you need to know about PPC tracking, including, key metrics to monitor and more.

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What Is PPC Tracking?

PPC tracking is the process of monitoring your pay-per-click campaign and its results.

More specifically, it includes monitoring metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) that tell you how successful your campaign is.

Monitoring these metrics will give you a clear insight into what works for your ads and what doesn’t. For example, which keywords are successful or which ads drive the most traffic?

How To Monitor Pay-Per-Click Ads: 8 Key Metrics to Track

While Google allows you to view different KPIs, here are the eight key metrics to track to ensure you are getting the results you want out of your PPC ads.

  1. Impressions
  2. Impression Share
  3. Clicks And Click-Through Rates
  4. Conversions And Conversion Rates
  5. Average Cost Per Click
  6. Average Position
  7. Quality Score
  8. Return On Ad Spend (ROAS)

1. Impressions

Impressions are the number of times your ad was shown on search engine result pages (SERPs). For example, if Google displays your ad five times on a particular day, your ad has five impressions for that day. Keep in mind that this number doesn’t necessarily line up with how many people see your ad — it’s just how many times your ad was shown.

2. Impression Share

Impression share is how your ad is performing against your competitor’s ads.

Impression share also monitors how much competition you have for a specific keyword or PPC ad campaign.

To calculate your impression share, divide the number of impressions your ad acquired by the total number of impressions your ad was qualified to receive.

For example, if your ad was qualified to appear 50 times in SERPs, but only showed up 10 times, that makes your impression share 20%.

3. Clicks And Click-Through Rates

Clicks refer to the number of people who clicked on your ad.

While clicks are a straightforward metric, click-through rates (CTR) show you how relevant users find your ad.

Click-through rates represent the impressions that result in a click.

To calculate your CTR, divide the number of clicks by the number of people who saw your ad (impressions) and multiply it by 100.

For example, if your ad has 500 impressions and one click, your CTR is 0.2%.

Click-through rates can be classified into two types:

  • High CTR: Users find your PPC ads relevant and engaging
  • Low CTR: Users don’t find your PPC ads relevant and engaging

4. Conversions And Conversion Rates

Conversions occur when users click on your ad and complete an action your ad wants them to do, such as purchasing your product or service.

So, conversion rates are the percentage of users who convert after clicking on one of your ads.

In other words, conversion rates paint a better picture of how many users are purchasing your offerings.

To get your conversion rates, divide the number of clicks by your conversions and multiply it by 100.

So if users clicked on your ad 100 times and 10 users converted, your conversion rate is 10%.

5. Average Cost Per Click

Cost-per-click (CPC) is how much you pay when a user clicks on one of your ads.

To find your average CPC, divide your total cost of clicks by the total number of clicks that ad has received.

The result is how much you’re charged when a user clicks on your ad.

6. Average Position

The average position is where your ads show up on SERPs and determines how your ad is squaring off against other ads. Ads appear both on the top and bottom of search results, allowing greater visibility.

To make your ads appear on top of SERPs:

  • Boost your Ad Rank by including relevant information about your brand and creating ads with sitelinks or an extension so users can go directly into your site by utilizing Google AdWords
  • Ensure your ads are relevant by utilizing relevant keywords
  • Make your bid competitive by ensuring your bid is high enough to compete against other ads that are bidding on the exact keywords you’re using. A bid is an offer placed in a pay-per-click auction to safeguard your ad placement at the top of SERPs.

7. Quality Score

Quality score is a Google rating of the quality of your ads and keywords in a score of one (lowest) to 10 (highest).

The factors that influence your ad’s quality score include your click-through rate, the average cost per click and the bid amount.

8. Return On Ad Spend (ROAS)

Return on ad spend (ROAS) is the revenue generated for every dollar you spend on your ad.

To calculate your ROAS, divide your ad campaign’s profit by its cost.

For example, if you generated $800 in revenue from your PPC ad campaign on Google and it cost you $100 to run that ad campaign, you gained a profit of $8 for every $1 spent.

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Why Is PPC Tracking Important?

From analyzing your pay-per-click ad’s performance to ensuring your ads drive sales, here are the advantages of PPC tracking.

1. Helps You Identify Which Keywords and Ads Are Working For You

If you don’t track your conversions, you can only view the surface-level performance of your ads, such as how many impressions and clicks your ad receives.

While knowing your impressions and clicks are crucial in understanding your user’s interest, you won’t know which ads are generating leads and driving sales for your business if you don’t monitor your conversions.

Thanks to conversion tracking, you can get the details of which keywords and ads are helping your PPC ads drive conversions.

And once you know which of your ads are performing well and which aren’t, you can optimize and make the necessary adjustments. Adjustments might include:

  • Pausing or deleting underperforming ads
  • Creating dynamic search ads or Google-generated ads that target relevant queries based on your user's search
  • Matching your ad language to search terms
  • Segmenting your keywords into categories to increase their relevance (for example, if you sell bottles of wine, you might have a group of keywords for “red wine” and “white wine”)

2. Allows You To Gather Data

What was your click-through rate last month? Or last year?

PPC tracking is important because it allows you to gather data that indicates what next steps you should take to get to your goals, whether it's increasing conversions, gaining leads, improving brand awareness or driving traffic to your site.

In addition, if you decide to hire a PPC agency to manage your ads, they’ll gain access to your historical data which can help them:

  • Tailor your budget to your goals and ensure your ad spending is maximized
  • Plan a strategy to improve your future PPC ad campaigns

Limitations Of PPC Tracking

Tracking key metrics is essential to analyze your PPC ad performance and ensure you’re engaging with your target audience.

But on its own, PPC tracking isn't enough to understand the full value of your marketing strategy and its impact on your sales.

Here are three PPC tracking limitations:

1. Call Tracking Is Not Standardized For PPC Google Ads

You can measure call conversion (users who call you) through your PPC ads, but calls can also occur through organic search (unpaid results on SERPs) or other channels such as social media or your website.

Say your PPC ad is on Google. While you can measure your calls from ads (calls made directly from your ads), you might also have calls where users came from organic searches or social media.

So, tracking only calls from PPC doesn't give you the full picture.

2. Call Quality Isn’t Recorded

While you can track your call time (for example, 30 seconds), you can’t track how many of those callers actually converted.

For example, if 100 callers clicked on your ad and called, but 60 didn’t find what they were looking for, only 40% of those callers are high-quality leads or your ideal prospects who are most likely to convert.

What about the other 60% of those callers?

Well, if they didn’t find what they’re looking for, they’ve considered poor-quality leads who are not likely to purchase from your brand.

While your PPC metrics are telling you “You received 100 calls from your ad today!” they’re not telling you, “Unfortunately, 60% of those callers are poor-quality leads.”

3. Leads Don’t Promise A Sale

According to a 2018 survey, 75% of people found paid search ads the easiest way to find information online.

This stat shows that people mostly click on Google text ads that answer their questions, allowing opportunities for your ad to generate leads.

While PPC tracking can monitor your leads through tracking URLs, you won’t know how many of those leads actually converted.

Key Takeaways On PPC Tracking

PPC tracking allows you to track your PPC ads’ performance, gain insights into what’s working and what’s not, help you identify areas for improvement and gather data you can use for your future campaigns.

While PPC tracking is valuable, you can’t entirely rely on its key metrics to give you a complete picture of how your marketing strategy is unfolding.

You’ll have to audit your ads and keywords, continue to optimize your ads, track your conversions and follow up on your leads.

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