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PPC Tracking 101: How to Track Your Pay Per Click Ad Campaign

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It’s a scary prospect that about 20% of small businesses fail within their first year of operation, but it’s true.

As a business owner, this statistic likely makes your heart race. But what if we told you that there were ways that you could ensure that you fell outside this statistic, that your business could use advertising to make sure that it stays profitable for many years to come?

Well, it’s true!

With Pay Per Click ads and proper use of PPC tracking software, you’ll never need to worry about your business doing poorly again. See how you can employ the best PPC strategies by tracking your ad campaign metrics with the best tools in the industry!


Set Clear Goals

Goals should be quantifiable, meaning that they have concrete measurements. They also should be realistic, meaning that you need to be able to attain them within the timeframe that you set.

For example, “get more clicks” is a poor goal. It tells you nothing about what you need to accomplish and when. A better goal would be, “go from 10,000 clicks to 20,000 on this specific ad by August 1.”

It’s hard to hit the bullseye when you can’t see the target.


Link Your PPC Tracking Tools

The first thing you need to do: Link your Google AdWords and Google Analytics accounts together.

Google AdWords is the system through which advertisers like yourself bid on keywords related to their services so that PPC ads appear in the search results for those keywords.

Google Analytics shows you traffic numbers, the ways that people found your website, and how they browsed through it once they got there.

By linking the two together, you can see how customers behave after clicking on a specific PPC ad and viewing your landing page.

To sync the data, you’ll need to do the following things:

  • Make your Google AdWords login the administrator of your Analytics account
  • Go back to AdWords and click the “Analytics” tab
  • Click the “I already have a Google Analytics Account” button under this tab
  • Choose the proper account name (your Google AdWords account)

It’s simple, but if you want information on how to do this, the official instructions from Google Support will help out.


Google Search Query Data

In Google AdWords, there’s a handy thing called a Search Query Performance report. This report identifies positive keywords and low-performing keywords. Build on the positive keywords; consider ignoring the low performers. 

There is one issue with this system: Many of the search queries that people entered to find your PPC ad will fall under a category of “other unique queries.” No other information is given.

Luckily, Google Analytics can show you the search queries that earned traffic from your PPC campaign. Here’s how you do it:

  • Create a new profile with filters that will extract your search query data from the referrer string.
  • View the keywords/search queries that are getting you AdWords traffic.
  • Use insertion tags (or ValueTrack tags, as Google calls them) to create tracking URLs that will a) extract keywords, and b) display the sites and ad IDs where your PPC ad appeared when clicked.


URL Tagging for Analytics

Speaking of URLs, you can also create custom URL tags for each of your PPC accounts/ad campaigns with the Google URL builder.

This tool will help you to create tags to import information into your Google Analytics account from the PPC ads that people have clicked. This information includes:

  • The search engine source of traffic (Google, Bing, etc.)
  • The medium through which people found your ad (organic search results, CPC, etc.)
  • The ad group that people found your ad through
  • The keyword/search queries that people found your ad with

You can implement this strategy by adding custom parameters to the URLs that you create. When the user clicks on a PPC ad, these parameters are sent to Google Analytics so you can view all related data in your campaign report.


Assess Your Goals

After employing these basic PPC tracking strategies, you’ll want to look into whether or not they’re helping you attain the goals that you set at the beginning of your ad campaign. A top-performing PPC agency can help you with this.

If you are meeting your goals, awesome! Keep on doing what you’re doing.

If not, it’s time to reassess. What isn’t working for you? Look into the ads that you’ve created, and see which ones are getting the most clicks. You may notice trends in tone, key phrases, marketing hook, or the keywords that are getting the highest traffic volume. You can then adjust your PPC campaign accordingly.


Get Started

While the prospect of your business doing poorly is scary, PPC advertising can bolster your marketing efforts and ensure exposure for your business. When you use these services and have the right tracking software to ensure that you’re getting the traffic that your site needs, you’re sure to rise to new heights of success and profitability.