Know Your Numbers: Paid Search in Google Analytics


Posted by Andrew Sandoval, Associate Account Manager Google Analytics is a powerful tool for paid search advertisers and any webmaster looking to dig a little deeper into their site’s traffic.  Linking your paid search accounts in AdWords to Google Analytics will provide additional details about the behavior of your paid search traffic.  It can provide valuable insight into the paid search click, allowing marketers to see the bigger picture of customer web experience and optimize programs accordingly. The following metrics become available through a linked Google Analytics account.  Let’s dig into a few specific stats and see how simply scratching the surface of the data Analytics provides can help focus search programs for increased productivity and efficiency:

  • Time on Site and Pages Per Visit (Pages/Visit) – Finding out which keywords and campaigns are the most effective in driving sales, leads, or traffic is essential to any paid search program. Time on Site and Pages Per Visit are valuable stats that paint a picture of each paid search click.  Normally, if two keywords/groups have similar CPCs and conversion data, it’s very difficult to quantify which has a higher value to our program or projecting which has more room to grow or create other sales/leads beyond the landing page.  However, a keyword/group that draws the user into the site for an extended, active visit is of greater value than one that doesn’t generate the same activity.  The Analytics tool allows programs to push towards these objectives when all other metrics are equal.  These stats can help identify possible high yield terms that should be pushed.  The tool also allows us to see how each group does against the program average in reporting to quickly identify areas that might benefit from a bid push, or flag other terms that aren’t creating opportunities.

 

  • Bounce Rate – Bounce rate is the measure of traffic which leaves a site from the landing page.  Once again, it allows us to understand search traffic in more detail and should correlate to low pages per visit and time on site statistics. Normally, a landing page with a high bounce rate is a red flag for landing page optimization.  If a site is not converting and has a high bounce rate, the page may be irrelevant to the copy and search terms it is being linked from.  On the other hand, a landing page may be converting, but still bounce at a significant rate.  This could mean the landing page is too vague and users are frustrated when they do not immediately find the information they expect.

The interpretations of this stat and resulting recommendations will differ on different sites and types of landing pages, but a high bounce rate should always be addressed. Sometimes a landing page might have a significant bounce rate simply because the landing page gives the user two choices: convert or leave.  It’s important to remember that landing page strategy is different for all types of accounts, and it must be taken into consideration before reading too much (or too little) into the bounce rate stat. The opportunities available through linking AdWords accounts to Google Analytics go far beyond what I’ve described here, but this simple introduction to new stats should provide a good jumping off point to explore the tool.  The Analytics interface is extremely similar to AdWords so users should feel comfortable quickly.  With the ability to create custom reports, establish goals, and quickly place stats against site averages, the Analytics suite is a very powerful tool when linked with paid search programs.  To learn even more about your traffic, ClickStream and ChannelStream attribution models (offered by Performics) provide behavioral tracking of your paid search and display programs and further analysis on how these efforts interact.


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