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What PPC metrics actually mean

What PPC metrics actually mean

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Did you know that on the NASA website, you can find tens upon tens of equations all relating to science of how to launch, fly and pilot a rocket ship. That’s right, a rocket ship. Like, in space.

One such equation, is the ‘Ideal Rocket Equation’ which details the physics of rocket flight, and can be applied to orbital manoeuvres, to determine how much thrust is needed for said manoeuvres.

What PPC metrics actually mean
Source: NASA

So there it is, I’ve just given you the tool that tells you how to fly a spaceship! Until we remember that we (or at the very least, I), haven’t the faintest idea what any of those numbers mean in the real world, and how I would go about actioning anything in the cockpit.

And that is the point. There is no use in looking at a bunch of numbers and/or symbols, if you can’t infer meaning from them, draw conclusions, and take real action.

So let’s look at a couple of important PPC metrics, but even more critically, what they mean in the real world, and what you can do about it.


You know what CTR means (click-through-rate, just in case) that’s great. You know what percentage it should be for your type of advertising, that’s fantastic. Hopefully it’s higher than the average, but what can you infer about what you need to do if it’s not? And what does it mean if it’s better than average?

A great way to think about CTR, is that it measures how relevant and engaging your advert is for your audience.

If it’s higher than average for a Google search ad for example, say 15% (5% above average), you can infer that your headlines and descriptions are resonating with people. The text is catching attention enough for to be noticed, and relevant enough to what they are searching for, that a good portion of people are clicking to see.

If you were to see to see a poor click-through-rate on a similar search ad, this is most likely an indication that something about your advert is not resonating with people. Perhaps you are mentioning things in your copy that have nothing to do with the product they are looking for, or you are writing in a style that does not entice people out of intrigue or inspiration.

You may want to try writing in a more emotive way, making your product or service sound better, more impressive, or something that the user NEEDS to see. You should also make sure the majority of your copy is relevant. If all your headlines are about, you’re exceptional customer service, for example, you don’t leave any room to tell the user what you actually sell!

Conversion Rate

Next we have a measurement of arguably the most important metric, conversions. The rocket equation of conversion rate is the percentage of people who converted, out of the total number who landed on your website. In terms of what this means for flying the spaceship, it’s a great indication of 2 things. The first is how good your on-page user experience is, the second is how well have you selected your target audience.

If 100 users view your landing page after clicking on your ad, and less than 10 of those actually convert, it is very likely there could be an issue with how your website works and navigates. In an Ecommerce example, how easy it is for users to add that product to cart and checkout? Is the add to cart button small and all the way at the bottom of the page? Do you offer multiple options for paying securely, such Apple Pay, MasterCard, Klarna, PayPal and more? In the case of offering a service, is your lead form long and laborious to fill out? Can users only find it after they clicked through 4 other pages on the website? Is the text easy to read? There are lots of things that contribute to user experience, and if your conversion rate is poor, you should definitely look into it.

So you’ve looked at your customer user experience and it’s pretty good, so why is your conversion rate still on the floor? Chances are, you are not selecting your target audience well enough.

If you are advertising a guitar teaching service, you may think that targeting users interested in things like ‘music lessons’ or ‘new guitars’ would be useful. However, this may result in attracting a bunch of people who are wanting to learn to play the piano, or seasoned veterans who are just looking at guitars because they enjoy it. Once they arrive on your page, they realise this is not what they wanted, and away they go, no conversion. Avoid this by making sure your audience is unquestionably going to be interested in what you have to offer. This does align with ad copy too, but low conversion rate can hint to something being amiss with your target audience selection, as you may have users who click, but in reality, are never going to convert.

Final Thoughts

So now you know what the numbers actually, mean and what to do with them, the crew of the Apollo 13 can’t hold a candle to you.

It Is critically important to understand what your metrics mean and what they are telling you, otherwise it is a complete shot in the dark.

Of course, if you’re still struggling to get good results from your PPC efforts, perhaps it’d be easier and more time efficient to get a team of skilled experts to do it for you…

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