Determining the efficacy of your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing techniques can be difficult. There are many factors that can contribute to the overall success of your PPC marketing campaign, but these are often ignored by marketing strategies that prioritize certain metrics over others. Foremost among these are calculating Return on Advertising Spending (ROAS) and conversions. While these are indeed important metrics, they sometimes fail to give insights into the big picture success of your PPC campaign.
Often ignored are other key performance indicators (KPI), such as: conversion rates, bounce rates, average session duration, pages-per-session, and traffic sources. Taken together, these metrics can give a better full-field-view of the effectiveness of your PPC marketing campaign, while also highlighting areas of growth and investment. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into each of these key landing page metrics, discussing what they are and how they can help you gain insights into your PPC marketing efforts.
Tracking conversion rates is one of the simplest methods for determining the quality of the traffic going to your site. The conversion rate is the percentage of sessions that resulted in a conversion. In PPC marketing, the importance of tracking conversion rates is obvious. Conversion rates are the most direct indicator of the success of your PPC campaign.
Higher conversion rates equal more purchases, sales, or leads, thus giving a quick view of how effective your advertisements and landing pages are. High conversion rates are great, and are an excellent indicator of unique and impactful landing page design, intuitive site navigation, and engaging content. Low conversion rates, on the other hand, are a sign that you may need to make some changes to your landing pages, navigation, or content to convert more traffic.
Your bounce rate is a critical metric to determining the quality of the traffic you are bringing to your site. The bounce rate is the percentage of single-page sessions in which there was no interaction with the page. Bounced sessions have a duration of 0 seconds, indicating that traffic immediately navigated away from your site. Monitoring bounce rate can give you a deeper understanding of the percentage of traffic to your site that is unqualified.
This is particularly important for businesses or marketing campaigns that have very few conversions, or convert at a very low rate. In these situations, without hard data on conversions it is difficult to assess when exactly you are driving qualified traffic. Without this knowledge, it becomes even more difficult to optimize your PPC marketing campaign to increase the flow of qualified traffic to your site.
By monitoring bounce rate, you can quickly determine when you are receiving mostly unqualified traffic. This will allow you to determine if inaccurate or misleading keywords and messaging may be the culprit.
An example of this would be when ad-copy mentions free shipping, however when users navigate to your site they see that the product (keyword) featured in the advertisement is excluded from the free shipping offer. By monitoring bounce rate, you will be able to determine that the bounce rate for those ads was much higher than other ad variations, thus allowing you to quickly and effectively make a change to your advertisements.
Average Session Duration
Average session duration is an excellent tool to determine if your content is engaging and connects with your visitors. Through this metric, you can determine the average length of time that a visitor spends on your site. By assessing average session duration, you can draw conclusions about the effectiveness of your site design, the quality of your content, and whether your site’s design and organization is in line with your customer’s desires.
A short average session duration is an indicator that your visitors don’t find your site, or its content, engaging enough to linger for a longer period of time. A long average session duration is a good indicator that your site design is appealing to your visitors, and that they find your content engaging.
Pages-per-session is a metric that is similar in a sense to average session duration. With this metric, you can determine the average number of different pages that a user navigates to on your site. As with average session duration, this information can be used to determine whether visitors find your content engaging, or whether it doesn’t resonate with them and causes them to navigate away.
However, a greater number of pages-per-session isn’t always a positive thing. Once your pages-per-session begin to pass 5 and beyond, it can be an indicator of a couple of problems. Greater pages-per-session can mean that your visitors are having difficulty finding the content they are seeking. It can also mean that visitors are having difficulty navigating throughout your site.
In this sense, pages-per-session can highlight areas for improvement in content, site design, and navigability that will allow visitors to quickly gain access to the high-quality content they desire, while also enabling them to navigate throughout your site more efficiently and effectively.
Assessing the sources of your traffic, and their overall impact on your sales, can be very beneficial to determining the success of your PPC marketing. By looking at traffic sources as a metric, you are able to see each of the different channels through which users accessed your site. These can be search engines, such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo, or through social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. When looking at traffic sources as a metric, it is important to remember a couple of key points.
The first is that not all traffic sources are meant to yield sales. Some sources are inherently beneficial for driving increased traffic to your site and its content, but aren’t the most effective tools for converting customers. The second key point is that each discrete traffic source will result in different rates of conversion. Because of this, you can use traffic sources as a metric to determine the sources for your highest and lowest converting traffic.
This does not mean that lower converting traffic sources should be ignored. Rather, as you monitor your traffic sources over time you will generally see shifts in which sources are the most popular. Sometimes these shifts occur week by week. As certain sources begin to generate more traffic to your site, you will gather valuable insights into the differing types of traffic visiting your site and how that impacts your conversion rates.
For example, one week you may see a surge in traffic from Facebook. The majority of that traffic will most likely be on mobile devices, which can result in reduced sales, leads, and overall conversion for that time period. However, this can be useful when placed in the context of your other landing page metrics for determining the efficacy of your mobile site design.
This can give you insights into how you can adjust your site layout, navigation, or content to better serve your mobile customers and increase conversions from that source. Using traffic sources effectively as a metric requires taking a macro view of your entire site, while also looking at each channel individually to view the quality of the traffic being generated and the type of traffic you are receiving.
Effectively using landing page metrics to determine the effectiveness of your PPC marketing requires stepping back from solely focusing on your ROAS. Looking at each of the aforementioned landing page metrics will give you greater depth of detail about the traffic coming into your site. The quality of that traffic, the most common devices your visitors use, and the channels they access your site through can all provide valuable insights into how far reaching your PPC marketing campaign is, while also highlighting areas for growth and further investment.
Additionally, looking at bounce rates, average session duration, and pages per session, can highlight areas where your site design may need to be improved, content may need to be more engaging, or your navigation may need to be streamlined.
While each of these metrics is valuable on their own, their strength lies in your ability to use them together to achieve a full-field view of your PPC marketing strategy. Taking these metrics together, you will be able to quickly assess changes to your conversion rates and access patterns, while also gaining knowledge about exactly where you can either make improvements or capitalize on success.
Each of these metrics will allow you to gain site-wide perspective, while also giving you the granular data that is necessary to generate actionable insights that will give you greater control over the success of your PPC marketing campaign. By utilizing these landing page metrics together, you will be able to create a better designed site with dynamic landing pages, engaging content that your visitors desire, and more streamlined site navigation that empowers both mobile and desktop users to access your content.
In doing so, you will be able to create a more effective PPC marketing campaign that generates higher conversions, while also giving you the flexibility to adapt to changing browsing and consumption patterns over the long-term.