Shifting Paid Search Focus from Clicks to Quality Sessions

The traditional role of PPC is to drive clicks to a site. But how much more value could PPC be adding if we started to consider how ‘good’ the click we have sent is? Shifting our focus from trying to drive cost-per-click down each week, to instead aiming to drive click quality up.

Full article available at ecomppcblog.com

Paid search has come a long way in a very short space of time. In the not too recent past I remember a world of manual tracking tags (even for sitelinks!), 10k+ keyword builds, and excel sheets requiring NASA-esque technology to run.

In 2020, we have a wealth of automation to speed up campaign builds, and can target based on everything from age and parental status, to whether a user is ‘in-the-market’ for our product.

Despite these huge advancements in paid search targeting, all too often conversations around PPC performance, are still too centered on clicks and cost-per-click. Of course, the whole premise of search is that, ‘we know the click is relevant, because they searched for a keyword we’re targeting’ — but with the data available to us, to understand what a user does after clicking on an ad, why aren’t we optimizing to drive clicks based on bounce rates, pages per session, or time on site?

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve come a huge way from campaigns setup to drive the cheapest traffic possible, and the term ‘click farm’ is an anecdotal story of the past, but moving the focus away from clicks, and towards ‘session quality’ could dramatically improve the efficiency of paid search campaigns.

Of course the bottom line number for any PPC account will be the CPA (cost-per-action) or ROAS. However, layering in this focus on session quality, as opposed to clicks, should maximize the likelihood of driving converting traffic, and as a result improve CPA or ROAS.

We’ve been having a think into practical ways this could be implemented, and here’s what we came up with:

  • High Quality Session Remarketing — You’re probably using remarketing audiences — ‘all site visitors’ and ‘converters’ are the default. How about creating a Google Analytics audience for users who had a ‘high session quality’. Targeting this remarketing audience, and lookalikes, may drive clicks at a higher CPC, however the traffic you’re driving will be of higher quality, and more likely to convert, and as a result more valuable to your business.
  • Import Google Analytics metricsLinking Analytics to Google Ads will give us ‘bounce rate’, ‘Pages/session’, ‘Avg session duration’ and ‘% new sessions’ data for our campaigns. Regularly checking these metrics, and optimizing campaigns based on favourable bounce rates, or clicks that are resulting in high average session duration again should start to see the Google Ads account driving more valuable traffic to site.
  • Google’s Prospective Audiences — Google has a host of audience targeting options, from in-market to affinity — add these into your campaigns to get an idea of the quality of traffic you are driving through. If something is working well — maybe increase the bid multiplier.

Interested to learn more? Get in touch with our team.

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