Media + PR + Analytics

How the Sausage is Made: PPC News Affecting Your Results

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Sam Hennessy

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I know not everyone is a PPC (aka paid search) nerd like I am. They just want to see the results – and I’m happy to do that most days. But from time to time it’s also interesting to see how the sausage is made, right? To put it another way, sometimes we like to give our clients a peek at the levers we turn in order to drive high quality traffic to your site while making the most of your budget.

To that end, I’m pulling back the curtain a bit to give you some insight with updates on PPC news.

"PPC campaigns capture people who are looking for your solution." - PPC news update by Sam Hennessy

Peace out to Average Position

It’s time to say goodbye to one of the oldest metrics in the PPC game, average position. While average position has become less and less accurate as the search engine results page, or SERP, evolved and changed, it was a valuable metric in determining how you stack up against other entities bidding on the same keywords.

SERP = Search Engine Results Page - PPC News

And while the days of bidding to a certain position on the SERP are swiftly moving behind us, there still is value in knowing how you compare with competitors. So, now that we are transitioning away from this metric, what can we do and where can we look to earn this information?

In November 2018, Google gave us new metrics in the form of top and absolute top impression share. These metrics tell you how often your ads are shown in the absolute top (or first) position and how often they are included at the top of the page in general. It’s worth noting that the first ad slot is included in top impression share.

Google even gave us Target Impression Share Bidding based on these metrics, which gives you the ability to set an impression share target and decide where you’d like your ad to appear the most often.

Here’s why this bit of PPC news matters: Average position has been a fundamental metric since it was introduced. Knowing how to edit your strategies to move forward without it is essential.

Hello Click Share

More changes came to Google Ads metrics as we know when at the end of February, Google unveiled a new metric for search and shopping campaigns: click share.

Click share tells you the estimated share of achievable clicks your campaign earned. This metric takes into account all times your ad was shown or where it was competitive in the ad auction.

This differs from click-through rate because click share takes into account the potential of higher budgets, bids and quality score, rather than simply focusing on the ratio of clicks to impressions.

When chatting with one of our Google reps about it, they told me a healthy click share is about a 30-40 percent for standard campaigns. For a branded search campaign, you can expect to see a higher click share.

Healthy click share for standard campaigns vs. branded campaigns - PPC news

To raise click share, we look at your bids to see if improvements can be made. We also keep in mind that to earn clicks, you need to first earn impressions. Essentially, improving your quality scores and having an efficient budget that can run all day long will help you gain a larger impression share, and, by proxy, a larger click share. We generally work to improve quality scores by making sure to use ad extensions, testing new ad copy and testing different landing pages or making optimizations to existing landing pages.

Here’s why it matters: Understanding click share will help you determine if optimizations need to be made or if your campaigns are running smoothly.

Rolling Out the Budget Planner

Google is also starting to roll out a new planning tool, the budget planner, to give you more insights into how changes in your campaigns budgets will impact performance.

This tool may not be available in all accounts yet, but keep a look out for it in the tools bar in the planning section along with the keyword planner. You’ll need a certain amount of account history and data to give accurate predictions and estimates.

The tool aims to help you visualize campaign performance and its ties to your daily budget, and to give more insights to make directional decisions and changes to your account. If you don’t have a forecast tool at your disposal, it may become a very useful feature to take advantage of.

Other things to note about the budget planner is that it takes holidays and seasonal traffic into account. Forecasts are also updated every 24-48 hours to make use of recent auction data as well as your campaigns history. Google also says that the tool becomes more accurate  the closer you run the table to the start date of the campaign.

Why it matters: New tools give you more insights to make better decisions for your paid search campaigns, and nothing is more important than your budget.

Google search results page - PPC news

What it All Means to You

"The purpose of PPC campaigns is to capture hand-raisers. After all, these people are looking for your solution." PPC news

These people are out there, online looking for whatever it is you’re selling (if you’ve designed your campaigns correctly, that is). And at the end of the day, these adjustments simply make it easier for you – or for whomever is running your paid search – to maximize your spend and effectiveness, and that’s what really matters. That’s why we keep up-to-date on all of the PPC news.

And remember, if you ever need help making the most of these PPC changes, just reach out. We’re here to help!

Sam Hennessy

Personal brand: crazy cat lady.

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