Certain clients might not have the time or ability to dig into their contact forms regularly, and let you know which leads are good, bad, or junk. In these instances, where it is difficult to be able to track ROI on the campaign or even the account level, we find ourselves reliant on information provided by AdWords or another third party analytics package to gauge how successful a PPC campaign is.
For an example, take a look at the data below. Since we did not have access to the client’s information and did not have the ability to track leads up and down the sales pipeline, we were using AdWords cost per conversion metric as one of the driving forces on our decision making.
For the given time period, this particular campaign has generated leads from the content network for 75% of the cost associated to a lead generated from search. Assuming quality was equal, it would be a no-brainer to allocate more budget (and management energy) to the content network.
Eventually, we were given access to the actual list of contacts that were generated in this time period. Taking into consideration what the company considers a “good, qualified lead” we came up with the following numbers:
Essentially, we found out that less than half of the leads generated from content were qualified as potential customers by our client. Had we gone with information from our AdWords account, we would have funneled more money into the content network, increased the amount of junk leads for the client, and ROI for the entire program would suffer.
Things to Consider When Tracking Conversions in AdWords:
The Contact Form:
Is it too short? It is too easy to fill out? Do you offer incentive for users to fill out a contact form (like a white paper)? These are three common causes that inflate the number of contact forms. It looks impressive to see a great conversion numbers at a minuscule cost per in your AdWords dashboard, but if these are of very poor quality it may only add to your client’s frustration, and it may give you a false impression of the success of a particular Ad Group or Campaign.
Your Client’s Qualification Process:
At what point does the client accept the contact form as a qualified lead? How long is the qualification process? Do they limit qualified leads to certain business sizes or in certain industries? It may seem like common sense, but if you know a certain term of phrase may create leads – (for instance, adding the word free to search phrases when in actuality your client’s product is very very expensive) inflates your account metrics with unqualified conversions.
The Sales Cycle:
How long does it take for contacts to turn into opportunities, and how long before these opportunities can generate revenue for the client. A longer sales cycle means that changes need to be measured, gradual, and very closely logged.
And last but certainly not least, 20 legitimate but weak revenue generating opportunities may be less profitable for your client than one huge deal. Keep an eye on which opportunities get closed, and which seem to always fizzle out. Track how long it takes for the deal to get closed after it becomes an opportunity.
Most serious SEM marketers know the importance of tracking beyond the free and readily available analytics packages available, but is an ongoing duty for us to pass this importance to our clients. It is often time consuming, and difficult for them to go digging through their leads, but it is the only way we can fully show how PPC is truly performing.