The PPC Numbers Game

Posted on in Blog

The following statement will likely send my seventh grade math teacher reeling:

I love numbers and everything about them.

Sorry that it took nearly 20 years for me to realize this, Mr. Gioe.

So, yeah I didn’t always have this great affinity for numbers, stats, figures, or whatever you want to call them. I was one of those junior high kids shrieking to his parents “when am I EVER going to use the Pythagorean Theorem in real life?!”

Well, last weekend while rigging my sailboat, guess what, I unleashed my inner Pythagoras and calculated the length of the hypotenuse of a triangle on the back of an envelope.

At some point after the seventh grade it occurred to me that, when used for good, numbers can solve problems and communicate information like nothing else. Perhaps working as a database manager directly under the CFO of a mid-sized retailer awakened in me this deep, abiding appreciation for all that numbers can do. I know my time here at Oneupweb has further cemented this affinity.

In the world of paid search, numbers are everything. Sure things like keywords, ad creative and landing pages are important too, but without solid statistical reporting, the performance of these elements goes unchecked.

There’s been much discussion (consternation might be a better word) about marketing metrics, different analytics tools, why they don’t match, and who’s right.

As much as I love reviewing, comparing and analyzing campaign results, getting mired in the game of “which analytics tool is right” usually amounts to a bunch of wasted time.

Employing different analytics systems is not a bad thing so long as the person interpreting all of the results has a good understanding of the theory and methodology behind each different marketing analytics platform. Rather than trying to figure out who is “right,” consider each tool for what it really is: one company’s measurement of your campaign’s success based on their practices and algorithms.

Evaluating data from each analytics source and using it to establish actionable information and trends is a far more effective use of time than trying to figure out why your WebTrends figures don’t match your Google Analytics numbers.

My crystal ball might be a little hazy on this one, but I don’t see the entire search marketing industry agreeing upon one, standardized system of metrics anytime soon. Until that happens, marketing professionals the world over will be well served by tabling the old apples versus oranges argument and realizing that if the fruit is fresh and delicious, someone – somewhere is doing something right.

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