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Impression, Clicks, or Conversions...What is More Important?

By: Darren Kincaid - Monday, February 13, 2012

Many businesses we have worked with over the years seem to be overly concerned with impressions and clicks in their ads.  After all, the more exposure and traffic you get to your website, the more business you get, right?  Well, not necessarily.  Let's break it down.

Why am I getting so many impressions on one keyword and not on others?  

The number of impressions that your ads receive is based on several factors:

  • Keyword search volume:
    • The number of times people search on terms related to your keywords
    • Seasonality, popularity, and trending of the keyphrase
  • How relevant your keywords are in relation to the searcher’s IP address, search history, and personal search patterns
  • The networks your ads are running on (the display network garners 50 to 100 times more search traffic than Google Search and Search partners do)
  • Size of your daily budget (your ads are turned off after the daily budget is reached)
  • Whether the phrase is broad, phrase, or exact matched.  If the term new york city ny is broad matched, it means that any keyphrase that has any combination of new york city and ny in it will trigger the ad whether it's relevant to your business or not.  Broad matched keyphrases are designed for maximum impressions, whereas phrase or exact matched keyphrases are designed to trigger ads on more relevant keyphrases.  The result with phrase/exact matched keyphrases is fewer impressions but higher quality traffic.

How do I get more clicks and a better click-through rate?

Clicks and click-through rates are largely affected by the following factors:

  • The keyword’s quality score, which is based on how relevant the keyphrase is to the intended landing page of the ad.  For example, if the keyword is “New York City Hotels” and the landing page is more about tourism than hotels, the quality score will be lower than if the landing page is specifically related to NYC hotel reviews
  • Again, the size of your daily budget matters (your ads are turned off after the daily budget is reached)
  • Max CPC of the keyword.  If your competitors have outbid you and/or you have a weak quality score, your ad will appear lower and the consequence is fewer clicks
  • The quality of the ad copy.  How well your ad distinguishes itself from the other ads on the page can significantly affect click-through rates.
  • The competitiveness of the keyphrase.  If there are many competitors for a keyphrase, and your campaign is affected by any of the above factors, your ad could appear lower on the first page or on pages 2 and beyond

Should I spread out my impressions? 

It's not really necessary unless the keyword is ineffective.  Impressions don’t cost anything in an AdWords campaign.  Only clicks cost money.  You should be looking for opportunities to improve the quality of your clicks and remove costly clicks that don’t convert.  But it will be impossible to determine how well a keyphrase converts unless you are able to 1) define a conversion for your business, 2) place script on the site to measure conversions from ads, and 3) analyze and compare conversions on all keyphrases.  This a pretty simple task and all you need is a little conversion tracking code that's provided within your Google AdWords account, access to your website files, and time to analyze. If you aren't measuring conversions, how do you know how much you are really paying for leads.

WSI Pro Marketing has significant expertise in conversion architecture and measurement systems for all types of source traffic, including PPC traffic.  Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about this article.


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