How Do I Do a Paid Search Analysis?
To help you optimize your paid search analysis, we gathered insights from a variety of professionals, including PPC Managers and SEO Executives. From assessing key performance indicators to studying past performance and traffic quality, here are the top eight strategies these experts employ when conducting a paid search analysis.
- Assess Key Performance Indicators
- Evaluate Keyword Performance
- Check Conversion Quality in Google Ads
- Examine Multiple Aspects of Campaigns
- Analyze Competitors’ Paid-Search Campaigns
- Conduct a Geographic Performance Analysis
- Focus on Conversion Rate
- Study Past Performance and Traffic Quality
Assess Key Performance Indicators
Assessing three essential KPIs: Search Impression Share, CTR, and Conversion Rate is a crucial part of paid search analysis. These metrics help determine the overall performance of paid campaigns.
To improve these KPIs, specific action items tailored to each metric are considered. For instance, if the Search Impression Share is low, increasing bids/budget or improving ad relevance is considered. If the CTR is not up to the mark, working on crafting more compelling ad copies is the focus. For a low Conversion Rate, the focus is on optimizing landing pages and refining the keyword targeting.
A critical aspect of this approach is the connection between these metrics. By monitoring them closely, any underperforming areas can be quickly identified and quick actions can be taken to fix them. Doing a quick check on this helps a lot and makes account management easier.
Evaluate Keyword Performance
One crucial aspect I focus on in a paid-search analysis is evaluating keyword performance. It’s not just about the most-searched terms; it’s about identifying which keywords are driving the most valuable actions—conversions.
For example, during an analysis for a travel client, we found that while “luxury hotels” had high search volumes, “eco-friendly luxury hotels” resulted in more bookings. So, we shifted the budget to optimize for the latter, yielding a higher ROI. This practice of delving into keyword specifics beyond surface-level metrics is fundamental to maximizing the effectiveness of paid-search campaigns.
Check Conversion Quality in Google Ads
In the Google Ads interface, go directly to Tools & Settings > Measurement > Conversions. Look for a few things.
First, are all “primary” conversions relevant business actions? These conversions influence the campaign’s bidding model, so it’s very important to only optimize for conversions that matter. Any conversion that doesn’t signal a lead or purchase should usually be marked as “secondary.”
Next, make sure a conversion value has been assigned to each action. Managers should be adding a monetary value to actions like phone calls, form submissions, etc. (this is dynamic in e-commerce). This way, you can test a Maximize Conversion Value model vs. a Maximize Conversions model.
Third, make sure all necessary conversions are added, and that they are tracking properly. This may involve connecting GA4 form submissions to Google Ads, connecting CallRail, setting up call extension tracking, and more.
You can’t run a good campaign without great conversion tracking.
Examine Multiple Aspects of Campaigns
When conducting a paid-search analysis, one crucial thing to do is thoroughly examine the keyword selection and performance. Start by identifying the top-performing keywords that drive high click-through rates (CTR) and conversions. Simultaneously, look for underperforming keywords draining the budget with little to no return. Analyze the relevance of the keywords to the ad copy and landing pages to ensure alignment and improve Quality Scores.
Furthermore, study the effectiveness of the ad copies, analyzing their click-through and conversion rates. Identify the most compelling ad copies and A/B test variations to improve performance further.
In addition to keyword and ad analysis, assess the landing-page experience. Ensure the landing pages are relevant, user-friendly, and optimized for conversions.
Also, closely monitor the overall campaign budget and spending, making necessary adjustments to maximize the return on investment (ROI) and minimize wasteful spending.
Analyze Competitors’ Paid-Search Campaigns
One thing we do when conducting a paid-search analysis is to identify our competitors. This involves finding out who else is advertising for the same keywords that we want to use. We use a variety of tools to do this, such as Google Ads Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Moz.
Once we have identified our competitors, we can analyze their paid-search campaigns. This includes looking at their:
- Keywords: What keywords are they bidding on?
- Ad copy: What is their ad copy like?
- Landing pages: What are their landing pages like?
- Budget: How much are they spending on paid search?
- Performance: How well are their campaigns performing?
By analyzing your competitors’ paid-search campaigns, you can get a better understanding of what is working well for them and what you can do to improve your own campaigns.
Conduct a Geographic Performance Analysis
I mainly focus on geographic performance analysis when doing paid-search analysis. In paid-search analysis, it’s like figuring out which areas, regions, or cities are making the most people click on your online ads and actually buy your products or services. This is very important because this is how you can narrow down your search and do optimized research.
Focus on Conversion Rate
One particular KPI that we pay extra attention to is the conversion rate. At the end of the day, that’s what the ultimate goal of paid ads is—getting people to become customers.
So, while other KPIs like click-through rate are obviously important to track too, the conversion rate is what gives us the best insight into how successful our paid ads have been at securing those new customers we are aiming to find. When certain ads or campaigns have low conversion rates, we know that something isn’t clicking well, and we’ll analyze what that is so that we can find more success and make better use of the money we are spending on the ads.
Study Past Performance and Traffic Quality
It’s hard to pin down one thing of particular importance for paid search analysis. But as any digital marketer will tell you, data is king!
Examining comparisons of past performance trends and analyzing what has worked historically and what has not is the best way to ensure you will not be wasting time and budget retreading old ground and are finding new and innovative ways to reach out to your target audience instead.
From there, looking at traffic quality and relevancy of search terms will give a picture of an account’s current state of play and will provide insight on what aspects of an account need attention for more standard optimizations.
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