May 19, 2015

Written by Mark Smith

Data for Marketers: 5 Must-Have Analytics KPIs for Paid Search

Numbers -keywordfirst-Numbers. They’re everywhere. And more than ever before, so-called softer disciplines like marketing are becoming more measurable and, simultaneously, more accountable to information sitting on a server 500 miles away. Oh, how the world has changed.

How did data become such a central player in the world of digital marketing? And what are the most important tools for marketers measuring paid-search campaigns?

Data for digital marketing success come from a variety of sources. ERP and CRM systems store essential sales-related data, helping companies understand their customers. Marketing automation platforms can offer a view into campaign performance for webinars, emails, digital downloads and the like. But in the niched world of paid-search advertising, one tool is a mainstay – web analytics.

Web analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, use tracking code to see a user’s activity across your site. This includes the pages visited (and the order of those pages), their session duration, form conversions and lots of other useful information. This data is of particular interest to paid-search managers, as often it is rolled up in the same suite of tools that they use to manage their campaigns.

Last post, I covered how this data contributes to a buyer’s journey. Now let’s delve into five must-know metrics for any digital marketer measuring the effectiveness of paid-search campaigns:

  • Bounce Rate – How do you know if your landing page is really relevant for the audiences that redirect there? One obvious metric is the bounce rate – the percentage of visitors that drop off the buyer path.
  • Session Duration – The length of time a user is on your site is a measure of how relevant and interesting your content is. The more minutes people are spending, the more likely it is that you’re attracting the right audience and your content is good.
  • Pages Visited – One useful way of seeing the customer conversion journey is through the pages they visit. Google offers a breakdown of the order of pages, but also a quick overview of the average number of pages visited.
  • Conversion Rate – Depending on what goals are set in the tool, conversion rates in your web analytics platform can measure the funnel for signing up for a demo, making a purchase or registering for an email newsletter. On a highly conversion-driven website, this may be the metric of note.
  • Cross-Platform Performance – With Google’s universal rollout of Universal Analytics last year, marketers have more robust device-specific information than before and can see when multiple devices are associated with the same user’s session. This allows marketers to customize their site for the way buyers are actually using it.

To get more ingrained into your web analytics, consider educating yourself with free material like Google’s Analytics Academy, which can help you design and implement the KPIs you need for ultimate paid search performance.