What to expect in a search engine marketing (SEM) report
Search engine marketing (SEM) is in constant change. That's why it's important for business owners and managers to stay up-to-date and be ready to adapt their search engine marketing strategy.
Google, for instance, regularly updates the AdWords platform with new product features and guidelines. Significant changes can have an impact on how a business should implement their search marketing campaigns.
This is where SEM reporting comes into play. Without regular reporting on the key search marketing metrics, SMEs would not be able to measure the performance of each marketing campaign.
What is SEM?
SEM is the umbrella term used to describe the process of increasing the popularity of a website through search engines. The goal for most businesses is to improve their website’s rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Historically, SEM involved a two-pronged approach, balancing unpaid or organic search results through SEO, with paid search results through PPC marketing. Today, SEM generally refers to paid results.
What is PPC marketing?
Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is a search engine marketing model based on bidding on search keywords to drive traffic to a website. Each time an advertiser’s ad is clicked on, they pay a small fee to the search engine.
Google AdWords is the most popular search marketing platform and allows SMEs to bid for ad placement based on keywords relating to their business, products or services. The benefit for businesses is that they only pay when someone clicks on their ad.
Why is SEM reporting so important?
If your business engages a digital marketing agency for PPC, what should they report on? Best practice reporting should reveal campaign KPIs as
Typically, a good SEM agency will provide you with a monthly digital marketing report, outlining the specifics of your PPC AdWords campaigns.
Here are some key campaign metrics in a search engine marketing report:
- Clicks and impressions – These measure the number of times an ad is clicked on and the number of times an ad is displayed.
- Cost per click (CPC) – The average amount you pay per ad click. This will vary depending on the competitiveness of your chosen keywords and the quality of your campaign.
- Click through rate (CTR) – The number of times an ad is clicked on divided by the number of times the ad was shown.
- Quality score (QS) – Measures the quality of your campaign, which can impact PPC bids. Calculated by analysing your conversion rate, the quality of your landing page, and the relevancy of your keywords.
- Conversion rate (CR) – Indicates the percentage of visitors who make a desired action. For instance, a site visitor might sign up to a newsletter or make an online purchase.
- Average position (AP) – Indicates where your ad typically ranks against other ads in SERPs. For example, an average position of 1-8 means that your ad generally ranks on the first page of search results.
- Return on ad spend (ROAS) – Is used to determine the overall success of an ad campaign. If you have a high ROAS, you can be sure that your PPC campaign did well and that your digital agency is doing a good job.
But PPC marketing isn’t just about quantifying data. It’s also about segmenting your audience to ensure that only the most relevant users are accessing your site.
Here are some key segmenting campaign metrics in a search engine marketing report.
- Location – Geo-location is the practice of delivering information using geographic location about an individual. Businesses can do this by using location-based keywords in PPC campaigns, as well as restricting its reach by targeting consumers. Businesses can adjust their bids based on lower and higher performing locations.
- Time – Time of day is the practice of delivering information at specific times during the day and night. If you are a café, for instance, you might want to disseminate information at times that most people get their daily caffeine hit.
- Device – Device usage is an excellent metric to determine how users are finding your information. Mobile device technology has allowed for more accurate data reporting than ever before. Mobile usage also impacts the user's experience and how you create key assets such as your landing page.
The future of SEM reporting
When it comes to SEM reporting, remember, detailed and regular results reporting is essential. It is important that business owners and managers understand where their money is being spent, and why. But above all, SMEs must be able to measure search marketing metrics so they can improve campaigns for even better results.
Still unsure about SEM and digital marketing reporting? Feel free to contact one of our digital specialists in Melbourne.
Digital360 on 15 May 2017
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