The Real PPC Success Metrics: How to Spot & Stop SEO & SEM Waste & Fraud (PART 11)
TRANSCRIPT: The best practice is to have conversion metrics clearly defined in the reporting and set up the Google Analytics. If all the SEM wants to do is show you cost per click because I see this, I see the reporting, they want to focus on cost per click, impression, quality score, click-through rate, and average position, if this is all they want to show you, you need to run. Why? Because none of these are success metrics. Cost per click is not a success metric. I don’t care. I don’t care what my cost per click is. I care what my ROI is. Impressions are worthless. Don’t tell me I got two million impressions, that means nothing. I don’t care what my quality score is. You should care, Mr. Vendor, but not me. Great, you improved my quality score, did I get more leads? Did I sell more cars? Click-through rate, I don’t care. I can get a great click-through rate, and all of those people can leave my site right away and not do any business with me.
By the way, there’s a great click-through rate when you buy my name, Steve[inaudible 00:01:01], buy that all day long and all of a sudden I’ve got a great click-through rate. Then again, average position. Sometimes being second or third on the list is better than being first with some keywords. None of these, by themselves, are success metrics. You don’t need to be a Google Analytics expert. Your SEM should gladly set this up for you, right? Setting up the conversion metrics in Google Analytics, ask your SEM to do this. They should be able to set this up for you and talk you through this data on a monthly webinar. And, by the way, your monthly webinars with your SEM provider, they’re 20 to 30 minutes tops. Your team does not need to be going to lunch with these folks, your team does not need to see them in person. It’s a 20 minute WebEx, and that’s all you need.
Now, for conversion tracking in SEM, and this probably goes to Brian’s question. Be sure to emphasize those conversions a human can and would do. This means leave forums above page views. Bots can do page views all day long, bots can also fill out lead forms, so I’m going to look for valid leads as well. Those are the conversions I’m going to focus on, so lead forums are going to be more important to me than page views, and phone calls using a call tracking number specific for PPC above everything else. I’m going to look for chats, I’m going to look for texts, I’m going to look for lead forum submissions, and I’m going to look for phone calls. These are the things a human can do that a bot cannot do. Their fraudulent clicks cannot get me.
Now, another best practice is getting answers from your PPC provider in plain language. For example, the questions I have about proper goal tracking set up, should be answered in words anyone can understand. If your SEM speaks in complicated verbiage, they are most likely trying to get you to shut up, so, again, run. They should be able to explain to you in layman terms.
Now, these are some of the best SEM practices that we just went through, but let’s look at some of the worst practices. The first worst practice is this, unless you have an unlimited budget for PPC, you need to be very careful in what you’re buying. Overpaying for one bad keyword may mean you can’t buy 10 good ones. In this case, the SEN didn’t put a cap on the dealer’s keyword spend, and they wasted money, so we had a Ford F1 50 clicks that were costing the dealer an average of almost $17 a click, and yet Ford Fusion price, which is a lower funnel key word, right? It’s more of a buying keyword than just Ford F1 50, those keywords will only cost this dealer $1.53. For every Ford F1 50 click because this dealer didn’t have an unlimited budget, that mean that there were 10 or 11 lower funnel clicks that they could have and should have bought. Longer tailed clicks that are more associated with buying.
Here’s another worst practice, how about this? Competing with your OEM, let’s dive in on this one. This one cracks me up, I see this all the time. One of the worst things you can do is buy research keywords because you’re most often competing with your OEM. That’s what’s happening here with AutoNation, Mitsubishi, and Spokane. A research keyword is where the OEM is going to enjoy a higher quality score more than any dealer, meaning they’re going to get a lower cost per click. In this case, mitsubishicars.com is the highest quality score and the lowest cost per click, they’re always going to be number one. Plus, in this case, I don’t even know why the dealer would want to just buy the word Mitsubishi, but in this case, the nearest Mitsubishi competitor is 135 miles away. If you look, AutoNation Spokane, AutoNation Mitsubishi Spokane own the page after the pay per click. If they weren’t buying pay per click, of course Mitsubishi is going to come up number one organically. Like I said, Mitsubishi is coming up number one in the pay per click because they have the lower cost per click, but AutoNation Mitsubishi has the Google my business position locked up on desktop and mobile. So why are they competing with the OEM? I don’t know, you have to ask them.
That’s a worst practice. Every wasted dollar on something like this is a PPC dollar that you can’t spend somewhere else. and by the way, PPC is too expensive to buy these high funnel clicks, okay? High funnel clicks are someone that’s in the research stage. Leave this to the OEM.
Let’s deep dive into this one, and take a look at … this is a great research keyword that we see all the time, okay? Honda. What does that mean? Right? Why … for some research keywords like Honda, it could mean anything, right? Autos, motorcycles, scooters, ATVs, jets, lawnmowers, snow throwers, generators, boat engines, robots, but there is Auto … there’s another AutoNation store buying the word Honda. There’s a Larry Miller store buying the word Honda in their market. To me, that doesn’t make any sense. That is a high funnel keyword, and it’s a research keyword that could mean anything. These high funnel keywords are too expensive. They’re simply too expensive for most of you to buy.
Now, I’m not privy to both of their budgets, Larry Miller, Honda and Spokane, or AutoNation Honda Spokane, but I can tell you that, for most of you, it makes zero sense to compete against your OEM for these keywords, that they’re going to win these research keywords.
How about this one, here’s a worst practice. Competing with yourself. You’re probably saying, “Well, Steve, no one but no one would compete with themselves.” Well, AutoNation is. I don’t mean to pick on them, but I did these searches in my market. I live in Corelane, Idaho, and so these searches were in my market. I discovered this gem when I was building the SEO portion of today’s webcast. It looks like AutoNation Chevy in Spokane Valley has two SEM providers bidding against each other. The two ads that you’re seeing. Before you think that this was intentional, look at the top ad. Now, I did this search, December 8th 2017, and look what they’re telling me. The new 2017 Chevrolet’s are here. Who in the world is managing this mess?
Folks, they’re wasting their money. They’re not even updating the copy, but that’s not what this worst practice is about, they’re competing with themselves. What’s probably happening is they’re buying through the OEM and they’re buying through themselves. The OEM’s provider and they’re buying through themselves, possibly. Maybe it’s here too, I don’t know, but it is a worst practice.