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Paid Search Metrics that Are Popular for No Reason

Posted on Wednesday, August 21st, 2013 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - Featured, SEM


In our final post in our series on metrics, let’s take a look at metrics that are often tracked but actually provide little value to marketers in the big picture.  Paid search can be overwhelming.  There is a lot of data and it is moving fast!  When setting up reporting to help you focus on where to optimize, feel free to leave this data by the wayside:

  • Total Number of Keywords & Placements: The adage “quality over quantity” rings true in the world of paid media. The number of keywords and placements is unimportant, while the quality of keywords and placements can be very effective. There is no magic number of keywords that will give you perfect coverage on the SERP.  Focus instead on building out keyword themes that work well for you, and forget about trying to grasp at straws just to increase coverage in less relevant areas.  Spend that time optimizing and improving on the words you already have that work and your account will be much more effective as a result.
  • Frequency/Number of Bid Changes: Contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as bidding too often. If you don’t let your account have time to accumulate data after implementing a change, you could un-do something that hasn’t had time come to fruition. Bidding strategies should be different for every account and will vary depending on volume per keyword, type of changes that are made, and the severity of the change.  It is often thought that the more changes that are made more quickly, the better off you are, but make sure to check your data and ask yourself if you really have enough information since your last change to add in another layer of complexity.
  • Broad Match Impression Share: Don’t get me wrong – Impression Share is important, and I was happy when advertisers were given insight into that metric a while back.  Exact match Impression Share, for example, allows an advertiser to understand bidding and budgeting opportunities more clearly.  However, Broad Match Impression Share is a whole different ball game.  Broad Match Impression Share is easily influenced by algorithm changes and spikes in user queries that could be unimportant to your account.  Further, we know that a perfect world would allow us 100% Impression Share for our top volume exact match terms, but we are unable to determine what level of Impression Share we should strive for in the broad match world.  Simply put, no matter how many negatives you have there will always be queries that you will be matched to, but you won’t want to show on for these terms.  When it comes to Impression Share, let their exact match counterparts guide you instead.

Evaluating the success of a paid search campaign requires marketers to carefully assess marketing metrics before jumping to conclusions. Looking at high level metrics in isolation rarely represents the state of an account accurately.  Instead, marketers must take a deeper look at each metric and how they interact with each other to truly gain insight into which levers to pull, and which to leave alone.   Data is powerful, if you know how to use it.

About Katie Carlson

Katie Carlson is an Account Manager at The Search Agency that specializes in SEM. Working in the Online Marketing space since 2007, she has managed web experiences and online media buying for national and global brands. Katie’s experience ranges from content creation to affiliate management. In 2010, her responsibilities shifted to focus on the management and optimization of direct response paid search campaigns as a primary revenue channel in the financial vertical. Katie graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s University with a Bachelor’s in Business, a Concentration in Marketing and a Minor in Rhetoric Communications. In 2011 Katie completed a Master’s in Business Administration from Loyola University, Maryland. She enjoys watching college basketball and playing in city sports leagues.

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