Is Your Search Engine Marketing Really Working?



Austin Walk




Search Engine Marketing


We all know (or have been told) that search engine marketing (SEM), or pay per click ads, are an integral piece to every effective marketing plan. However, it can be hard to justify allocating a lot of advertising budget to your campaigns if you can’t effectively measure ROI. Sure, you can see clicks, and impressions, can monitor your costs per clicks… but what happens after the click? Knowing the real answer to that question is the difference between an ordinary and extraordinary campaign.

Historically, SEM has always been incredibly effective for businesses selling a product. With built in conversion tracking, marketers could always effectively measure what elements were leading to direct sells. Does this keyword result in a lot sales? Yes? Great. I better increase the bid on that keyword. But what about less-easily defined sales? What about selling a car, or acquiring a new patient or client? That’s where things get a little dark. That’s where budgets are more difficult to fully justified. That’s where marketing directors are often caught in an internal battle of knowing that SEM is best practice, but feeling like best-practice SEM is so unattainable. Thankfully, Google has two critical tools to alleviate concerns, and shine real light on defining the success of your SEM campaigns.

1. Linking your AdWords Account with your Google Analytics Account.

2. Utilizing the new Calls from Website AdWords Conversion Tool.

First off, not connecting your adwords account with your google analytics account is like not connecting your engine to your transmission. Without seeing the result of all those clicks your campaigns are getting, you’re wasting your money. Clicks on your ads, in and of themselves, are worthless. Do you know the bounce rate of users coming to your site via an ad? You may have 100% bounce rate and without linking analytics, you’d never know. What do users do after they click on an ad? What pages do they visit? How long do they stay? All this meaty data is lost if you don’t complete the tracking circle. Hopefully you, or your SEM manager knows these answers, and if you don’t, you will fix that (we can help).

In harmony with tracking the behavior of customers once they get to your site is the second vital piece to the SEM puzzle; call tracking. The ability to identify phone calls generated directly from your SEM spend is something all of our clients universally agree is necessary. For example, knowing your budget this month generated 20 new patients calling your office, makes swallowing the SEM spend much more manageable.  Previously however, call tracking hasn’t always been so straightforward. A few challenges were once in place. For example, swapping out the phone number on your website with a trackable number wasn’t the tightest solution. It was impossible to really know which of those calls came from you SEM campaigns. Solutions to this problem were always:

1. Building unique landing pages, with unique numbers, for each SEM ad. This can be costly, and to truly do it right, would require a unique number for every single SEM ad.

2. Another option was to use a dynamic pooling number solution where you can pre-order a large pool of unique trackable phone numbers, and every unique, real time user is shown a unique number, allowing their behavior to be tracked from start to finish. This solution can also be tricky to set up, and is very costly.

Google, with one sneaky swoop, just solved this problem with a free -yes free – solution. Google’s new conversion tool; the Calls From Website Conversion Code, is something we at Simple Science are seriously giddy about. Basically, google offers their adwords clients unlimited, free trackable phone numbers. They released technology that will track your viewers from your ad to your website, and will show that viewer a unique phone number. If a user organically visits your website, they see your original phone number, but if they come to your site via an ad, google automatically tracks all their behavior that preceded them calling your business! This makes optimizing and leveraging your SEM campaigns incredibly more doable, and incredibly more cost effective.

At Simple Science, this is what dreams are made of. We love optimizing campaigns and analyzing user behavior. With our experience we’ve mastered not only knowing if your SEM is really working, but how to ensure that is does. Let us help you link your analytics, set up your conversion tracking and get the most out of your advertising budget with one of our SEM professionals. Drop us a line for a free SEO site analysis or to talk SEM strategy today.