If there’s one area where analytics is incredibly important, it is understanding the performance of your search marketing campaigns. If you are going to spend money on paid search, then you need to have some strong goals in mind so that you can accurately measure the performance of your campaigns and optimise them effectively.
##Top-Level Goals Your initial top-level goals will be fairly simple - perhaps you want to increase revenues year-on-year by a certain percentage. You will have certain KPIs, such as a specific return on ad spend or having the campaign produce a cost per lead below a certain figure. However, these are quite high-level goals, and it is important to note that not every campaign that you run will serve your brand in the same way.
##Brand vs Non-Brand Campaigns One area that often confuses advertisers is the difference between brand and non-brand campaigns. Brand searches tend to offer a very high return on ad spend, and they are the low-hanging fruit when it comes to getting conversions. Someone conducting a branded search is already a long way through the conversion funnel - they know what they want, and they are probably on the verge of making a purchase. However, you need a strong brand to get people searching in this way. If people do not know who you are, they are highly unlikely to start making keyword searches about your brand. Non-brand searches are useful because they help to raise awareness of your brand, and they can start people on the conversion path.
##Optimising Your Non-Brand Campaigns Advertisers should think of their non-brand campaigns as being the start of a longer conversion funnel. Your KPIs for your non-brand campaigns should differ from the KPIs of your branded keywords. Instead of looking at whether people are making a purchase, try to capture customer information and get those people on to your mailing list. Use the information you collect to identify the demographic that is most likely to convert, based on age, gender, location and even the time of day they are searching. Use the visitors you get from non-branded campaigns as a part of a re-targeting campaign. Have separate landing pages for people who are further down the conversion funnel. Once you understand how searchers are thinking, and how their chosen keywords reflect their intent and their mindset, you can improve your targeting significantly.