Often when we see PPC campaigns that don’t directly produce sales our first reaction is to pause it. But there are so many factors at play in a conversion – your user’s entry point, which source initiated the last click, offline transactions and more – all of which can be part of a complex journey to the sale. This is why it’s so important to understand not only the business’s sales cycle, but also the data that’s available to you in your Google Analytics and from key contacts in the company. So before you kill off that PPC campaign, let’s go over some of the things you should always validate first.
Check Sales in Ecommerce Reporting
Sometimes ad campaigns show that spend is high, but ROI isn’t. That’s when you want to start digging. If a PPC campaign doesn’t seem like it’s performing, you should head into the “ecommerce” report to see how many sales are actually happening for the product.
In Google Analytics, the report you want to look at is found under Conversions > Ecommerce.
After we check ecommerce, the next stop is the multi-channel report …
Check the Multi-Channel Funnel
It’s unlikely any purchase happens with just one click. In the multi-channel funnel report, you can see the user’s journey to the conversion. We’ll often see many of the conversions start with an entry point from AdWords, but later end through an organic search or direct type-in traffic.
You can find that report at Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels.
One of our client’s PPC campaigns wasn’t looking great in terms of ROI, but they kept telling us that sales had escalated after the campaign went live. When we checked the multi-channel funnel reports, we saw that PPC was the entry point for more than $4,000 in sales!
Here’s an example of what you might find in your multi-channel funnels:
Scenarios like this are also another important reason why you should always keep in contact with key players in the company when managing PPC campaigns. The conversations you have about what they are experiencing with sales is just as important as the data in your analytics.
Look at the Organic Side of Search
This is another step that helps you rule out possibilities. If the organic listings for the product in question are nonexistent, and if Google Analytics is showing very little traffic or sales from organic, you have to ask, what’s driving those conversions? This is often an indication PPC is at play.
You can find this data in Google Analytics by heading to Traffic Sources > Search > Organic.
Talk About Sales Behavior
Sometimes when companies have more expensive products that involve more complicated purchases, the sale that started online – and perhaps even through PPC – could end offline via phone, chat or some other customer service touch point.
So find out what items are selling offline. You can almost always make a strong case for the products that are selling that you also happen to be pushing through PPC.
Find out if it’s possible to implement a practice through customer service that gathers information about where that customer found you. The customer may not always remember the details; you may only ever get as specific as “on the Internet” – but sometimes, you get lucky. And sometimes, that’s all you really need to know.
You can use that “on the Internet” feedback and compare notes on how much traffic and conversions PPC is driving for that particular product versus other channels like social and organic. And be a bit of a detective to find out what other marketing push could be driving the sales as well.
Ideally, all the components of your business and its marketing are working together, but as we know, that’s not always the case. One team or person within the company could be pushing a sale outside of PPC that you’re not immediately aware of.
Be Diligent in Your Research
PPC data is not always cut and dry. You can’t always see the big picture from the analytics data alone. Sometimes, you have to step out of the tools to have the conversations about a business. And sometimes you have to dig deeper into those reports before you make any big decisions about your PPC program. So take the time to do the research, and you might be pleasantly surprised about what you find.