Google Analytics insights for enhancing paid search performance

If you are not using web analytics to provide extra insights into your PPC campaigns, I suspect Louis Gossett Jnr is lurking somewhere in the background like in the Namibian brewer’s beer commercial, ready with his catch phrase: “What are you doing Quentin?”

The availability of a free and robust web analytics tools such as Google Analytics removes any excuse for viewing your paid search campaigns in isolation.  Paid search marketers often treat search campaigns as though they exist in a marketing vacuum.  A tool like Google Analytics will quickly help you understand how search campaigns perform as an integrated part of the greater marketing effort that may include SEO, e-mail and above the line campaigns. Furthermore, Google Analytics will provide you valuable behavioral data of the paid search traffic you are driving to your paid search landing pages.

Over the next while we will look at some simple but effective ideas for using Google Analytics to improve your paid search performance. Today we will start by looking at site search behavior.

Leverage the power of site search to improve the quality of your site links

In previous posts we showed how the inclusion of site links in paid search ad copy can improve the click-through rate on your high traffic terms.  It will typically be the brand search terms that will display site links, although Google has relaxed this recently.  You can use behavioral data from Google Analytics for suggesting effective site links.

Many customers will know your brand, and also that they can find their desired product on your site.  Many of them will navigate to your site using a search engine.  If the click on a PPC advertisement  you will typically land them on the home page and they will navigate their way to their desired product page, with the amount of effort depending on the quality of your site.  If you know what the above visitors are typically looking for, why not give them the option to make the journey to that conversion shorter?

With very little effort you can enable site search tracking in Google Analytics and create a custom segment to focus on brand search traffic.   The Search Terms Report for the above segment can then give you a quick overview of what most people that land on your site through a brand search typically search for on your site.  In the example report below it is clear that many of them are looking for iPod products.  This advertiser is also based in a geographical area that is currently experiencing winter, so heaters and dehumidifiers also seem to be in seasonal demand.  After looking at the e-commerce tab for this report (not shown here), it is also clear that these products are converting quite well.  By including site links to the relevant product pages you preempt visitor intent and shorten the conversion funnel, which is likely to improve conversion.

If Louis Gosset Jnr was selling paid search he would have said: “Always keep it real, use Google Analytics to enhance your paid search campaigns.”

Site search off brand