Monday, November 28, 2011

PPC and Bounce Rate Analyze

While it is true that, in its most basic form, a PPC manager’s job is to find affordable and quality traffic, some people take this concept a little too far. Every so often we’ll run across a blog or a discussion in which a PPC “expert” will declare something along the lines of: “PPC only concerns driving traffic, once the traffic lands on the site, the rest is up to IT to make them convert.” The sentiment is understandable, because a PPC manager really doesn’t have control of the traffic once it lands on the website. But, completely neglecting on-site behavior puts a ceiling on ROI, not to mention it neglects the clients’ best interest.

Moreover, it’s tough to determine traffic quality unless on-site behavior is accounted for. Targeting relevant keywords in relevant places should drive quality traffic – but unless there are some numbers to back it up, the quality of the traffic is mere speculation. Conversion rates are the generally accepted determination of traffic quality, and we’re not about to knock down that door because it’s a valid measurement. But for some markets and industries – especially those with longer sales-cycles, it can be difficult to use conversion rates – for a number of reasons.

One alternative “quality of traffic” measurement is bounce rates. Using standard Analytics reporting, it’s quick and easy to see bounce rates by campaign/ad-group/keyword and a whole bunch of other paid-traffic segments. Comparing paid-traffic bounce rates to the bounce rates of other forms of traffic will paint a pretty clear picture whether or not you are indeed attracting quality traffic.

Don’t get us wrong, it’s not in the PPC manager’s domain to control bounce rates. But it is the PPC manager’s job to boost ROI. Optimizing accounts by bounce rates is not as standardized as many other PPC optimization techniques are, which mainly focus on targeting positions or conversions. That’s all well and good – we use those techniques as well. But we also keep a close eye on bounce rates because a bounce equals a wasted click.

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