Like so many, my wife and I have been trying to watch what we eat. During a very busy day recently, I went to a Burger King because it was one of the closest options and was relatively cheap. However, thanks to a relatively new law in the state of Washington, restaurants with more than 5 locations have to display calorie information on the menu, and my craving for a whopper disappeared when I noticed it would have included 2,200 calories. Suddenly my quick and cheap meal didn’t seem so quick and so cheap. I decided to go a little further to a Subway, but beware…it’s really easy to get a sandwich with 1,000+ calories if you enjoy the mayo…
What does this have to do with PPC, you might be asking? Well, it comes down to how we make decisions with the information at hand. I was about to make a decision based on convenience, but due to the extra information at my disposal I changed my mind. If you were given new information about your business or your marketing campaigns, would you change your mind? If so, how can we consider this new information in future decisions?
The engines have been providing a lot of additional information lately. Google announced that they will show you any query that results in a click, and Yahoo is doing some cool stuff with search-based display retargeting. But this is all surface-level data. What if you want to see things in another light?
One of the best ways to analyze how groups of keywords are performing is to create buckets for them. Typically my buckets consist of the stages of the shopping funnel:
- Pain Point/Pain Realization: Defining the problem at hand (keywords typically are very broad because the searcher is uncertain of exactly what she is looking for)
- Information Gathering: Problem understood and now looking for solution (keywords usually become vertical-oriented around a category of products/services)
- Comparison Analysis: Comparing and contrasting several possible solutions to the issue (keywords often based on reviews, specs, details of several various products)
- Considering Alternatives: Comparing multiple solution providers for best value (keywords often include verbs like “buy”, “shop”, but also value-adds like “free shipping”, “discount”, etc.)
- Commitment/Purchase: Money spent or resources allocated
I can tell you one thing from the beginning: your performance will vary widely across the board, but this will let you determine appropriate goals for each bucket so you can manage those metrics separately. Take your keyword KPIs for all keywords that fall under these buckets and aggregate them. Remember to keep averages calculations of the aggregate, and not the average together all the averages in the column (i.e. recalculate CTR by dividing total clicks by total impressions, not by adding up all your average CTRs and dividing by the number of keywords). If everything is running correctly, you should see your click rate, conversion rate, and ROI increase as you run down the sales funnel. Your cost per conversion, cost per click, and total cost should decline as you run down the sales funnel. If one of these is out of whack, like your alternatives group is more expensive than your comparison group, then you know you need to work on optimizing the keywords in the alternatives bucket.
This is information the engines can’t give you, and will help you make smarter decisions in the long run. On a separate note, my quest for a healthy and fast lunch was fulfilled when I stopped at Wendy’s. If you’re in a hurry try a Wendy’s chicken salad and a baked potato with a glass of water. For only 500 calories it was the cheapest meal I could find—when measured in calories instead of dollars. Now if only we could get restaurants to charge by the calorie…