Oneupweb : Analyzing PPC Performance—Do the Numbers Leave You Scratching Your Head?

Paid search advertising as a marketing channel has grown considerably over the last ten years. It originated as a concept in 1998 and quickly became a significant revenue driver for search engines, particularly for Google who had roughly $6 billion in revenue in Q3 2010 largely due to the AdWords PPC platform. Today, advertisers big and small use PPC as a marketing channel to accomplish a wide range of business objectives. Many advertisers view PPC campaigns as only direct response and only as valuable as the direct return that is generated—but is that a limited view? Do PPC campaigns contribute to other marketing channels’ success? And if so how can this be measured?

Here are a few ways to look at the numbers:

Last Click

Direct results of the last marketing channel touched siloed within each channel (i.e., paid search, affiliate marketing, email marketing, etc.). Last click attribution is the most typical measurement of success.

Attribution Reporting

Attribution reporting helps to identify campaign elements that assist across marketing channels. Direct success cannot always be attributed or measured through “last click” reporting. Measuring attribution across campaigns allows for tighter integration of marketing efforts. It provides insights to continue to invest in terms that may appear to be under-performing based on “last click” attribution.

View-Through Tracking

View-through tracking captures instances of users seeing the advertiser’s ad, not by clicking, but subsequently by visiting, and registering or purchasing from the advertiser’s site.

The world of web analytics, paid search or other digital campaign reporting can be daunting and complicated to approach. Even if you have an understanding of ROI, is that enough? Is ROI enough to fully understand a campaign’s full impact on business? If ROI is all that is being considered, the likelihood is that opportunity is being missed and campaign objectives and performance are not fully understood.

Key takeaway: The way that a campaign is measured is directly related to the actual campaign performance. If tracking (measurement) is incomplete, performance may not be fully understood and therefore capital investment may not be allocated across marketing channels appropriately to optimize for short and long-term return.

Does last click attribution always make the most sense? What are your thoughts—what is the best way to measure campaign performance to optimize for return?

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