How To Illustrate Popular B2B PPC Performance Metrics

Updated July 2022

b2b ppc performance metrics

Demonstrating the value and impact of our search engine advertising campaigns can be a challenge. Not only are there several different conversion “actions” on a website, but it is not unusual for several to focus more on lead nurturing objectives instead of generating direct sales action.

The extended sales cycle in B2B online marketing adds to the confusion. So what is the best way to report on the day-to-day activities of a paid search campaign, allowing advertisers to better understand the value behind their paid search statistics?

Here are three essential metrics and how to best present these to your clients.

Metric 1: Clicks

Clicks measure how many visitors paid search drives to a client’s landing page. While clicks (and other activity metrics) are generally not the best performance indicator, they highlight the reach and awareness generated through a PPC program. That said, you’ll want to dig deeper to show how clicks deliver actual value to a client.

What is the Best Way to Present This Metric?

Instead of simply showing broad click data in a PPC campaign, consider illustrating the top 10 or 20 most important keyword phrases and the applicable traffic and impression volume received.

Connect this information with CPC (cost per click) and average position for these terms as well. Over time, if any traffic metrics associated with identified keyword targets change significantly, you know where to start your investigation and troubleshooting.

For performance reporting purposes, B2B marketers should consider running an Auction Insights report to show how competitive major keywords are or who else is highly active in the advertising space.

For example, are more consumer-oriented advertising entering the space? If so, refining keyword selection through more selective match types and negative keywords might make sense.

Another valuable traffic performance-related metric to illustrate is keyword phrases that created more traffic than anticipated and additional keywords that result in a conversion (more on that in a bit). For these types of observations, I recommend adding them to the growing list of “important” keywords above.

Long tail keywords and extremely long, dense, or complicated keyword strings are a reality in the B2B advertising space. When our potential customer base is so narrow, we really need to take that extra step to dig into traffic data and find “diamonds in the rough.”

By taking these extra steps, we create a living history of traffic and impression data, allowing us to track progress and identify keyword priorities more easily in the future.

Metric 2: Conversions

Conversions are a cornerstone of PPC metrics; however, many agencies overstate their importance. While every PPC marketer wants to drive conversions, confusion arises when you have various conversion types with different business impacts.

For example, top-of-the-funnel leads like white paper requests are probably much easier (and less expensive) to generate than a sales-ready quote request from a contact form. Unfortunately, the former is much harder to evaluate from an ROI perspective as well.

The important takeaway is not all leads are created equally, and we often need to look beyond pure cost or volume numbers to define success.

What is the Best Way to Present This Metric?

Thanks to the conversions report in Google Ads, we can track the different actions, the different landing pages, and anywhere the tracking code associated with lead generation initiatives is present.

illustrate popular b2b ppc metrics

That said, different types of conversion actions require different key performance indicators. B2B Ecommerce sites as the easiest and most straightforward to track. You can directly track revenue and back into return on ad spend and other major ratios. Depending on the depth of user tracking that happens in a CRM, you may also be able to track lifetime value and order size by client or keyword.

For conversions requiring additional nurturing or communication, it’s best to investigate the demographic of the users that come in as leads.

  • Do leads generated fit the profile of your target audience?
  • Do they represent the type of organizations that you are trying to interact with?

Coordinating with the entire B2B marketing team to use conversion metrics to identify the individuals and organizations consuming content and top of the funnel lead generation assets. This goes a long way to explain the value of paid search in the entire B2B content marketing program.

Metric 3: Click-Through Rate

There are many ways to manipulate CTR’s performance. This means increasing your click-through percentage does not always improve campaign performance or business results. As a result, reporting on CTR by itself doesn’t mean a lo.

What is the Best Way to Present This Metric?

It is best to break CTR out by the different ad groups, separating branded results from display-based advertising. Consider the following as well:

  • We recommend regularly showing which ad copy edits and revisions were more successful than others in attracting clicks and creating conversions in coordination with changes in CTR.
  • Illustrate how changes in CTR, through effective bid management, improved advertising efficiency through cost per lead and cost per click performance.
  • As Google continues to improve available site extensions, make certain to illustrate how the activation of an applicable extension impacted your click-through rate, hopefully in a more positive light.

Bottom-line, CTR by itself means very little without the greater connection to management activity and decision making, program efficiency, or (and most likely always) improvements in lead generation efforts.

Final Questions to Ask Yourself

Sometimes it is difficult for us to take a step back and remember that B2B marketers have dozens (hundreds?) of responsibilities to handle. Search engine advertising is just one of the many, and it’s critical to cut through the clutter to find actionable metrics and analysis.

To help get to the performance metrics that really matter for understanding and evaluating your PPC program, ask yourself these three questions.

  • How does this information really impact our B2B marketing objectives?
  • Are we able to trace direct or indirect business results to these activities?
  • How can we use this information to make decisions that lead to better business results?

Ultimately, put yourself in key business stakeholders’ shoes and figure out how to present data that best helps them understand your decision-making process and leverage that data for business growth.

“We have a successful online business, and wanted to take the next step. We approached KoMarketing with the notion of leveraging its expertise in building better search rankings. Both in our defined critical areas and across the board, KoMarketing has helped us grow our presence. They were hired to expand our visibility, but took extra steps to provide many useful recommendations for other areas of our online presence that have had positive impacts. Derek and his staff work hard and take extra steps to ensure you succeed. They are an outstanding partner.”

Scott Stone — Scott Stone, Advertising & E-Business Manager, Cisco Eagle

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