About Aaron Levy

Aaron Levy is a seasoned digital marketing professional who's spent the better half of a decade managing paid search campaigns. He has developed strategies for clients as large as publicly traded Fortune 500 juggernauts and as small as regional adoption agencies. Aaron has spent the past three years as an account manager at SEER Interactive and spends his evenings as a hockey player, brewer, cyclist, mentor and volunteer.

Aaron's favorite feature of the Acquisio platform is the custom rule builder for bid management.

Alternative PPC Success Metrics You Should Be Using

Success Metrics

The amount of cool stuff you can do with advertising in the digital space is mind blowing, but as PPC specialists I find that we get pigeonholed out of “advertising” and pushed into the dark corner of direct marketing. All too often, the C-suite sees PPC as an ROI machine only; Put dollars in, get more dollars out. That’s awesome, and surely something PPC is good for, but we’re much more.

If we’re stuck with one definition of success, we’re selling ourselves short of what PPC can really do for a brand. I’ve outlined a few alternative success metrics besides form submits and whitepaper downloads, these metrics were inspired by a few recent client conversations and Gary Vaynerchuck calculating the “ROI of your mother”:

Revenue Per Impression (RPI)

We have a long running client who is obsessed with valuing impressions. It puzzled me for years, but after getting insight into the exec team the proverbial light bulb illuminated over my head. Historically this client spent their entire marketing budget on Yellow Pages (the old school, doorstop version), Billboards and other offline media.

This long running team had been conditioned over the years to think in x-per-impression. Over time, the client slowly shifted to a near 75% digital budget, but they still needed to make the case to their board. Enter revenue per impression.

The client has three major product types, each with different values; call them $5 cats, $10 dogs and $50 lions. We know that it’s going to take longer for someone to buy a lion than a cat (read: CPL may be higher) but using RPI as an indicator metric helps find the most effective way to allocate budget. We can then go to the board and say “hey, we earn 31 cents per ad impression on cats, 23 cents per impression on dogs and 19 cents per lion impression.” We guide spend towards the less sexy product (from a sales perspective) because we spoke a language that the executives understood.

Marketing Dollar Efficiency

Imagine this; an in-every-mall retailer wants to move their entire newspaper budget online; they have no way to tie store sales to offline. What are you gonna do, say “nope, can’t measure success?” Not if you want the project!

Let’s unpack how a traditional advertiser could measure return. You know the cost of newspaper ads. You know how much revenue the store made. Simple, right? Why try to reinvent the digital wheel? You know how much PPC ads spent when you moved everything online. Which was more efficient?

You get the picture; revenue divided by marketing spend equals efficiency. It’s not perfect by any means, but it can tell a story. Taking it a step further in this (true) scenario, you could conceivably split test thanks to the power of geo-targeting. In half of the locations, continue to buy newspaper ads as usual. In the other half, 100% digital. Who wins? My money’s on digital.


No, I don’t mean likes, video views or tweets, I mean how many people actually did something with your site, page, graphic or content asset. It doesn’t get the true “how much did I make from this” answer that so many C-level folks want, but to Mr. Vaynerchuk’s point, some things you just cannot measure.

Engagement is a great way to measure success for something like video ads, sponsored stories or sponsored updates on LinkedIn, something that typically wouldn’t lead to an immediate conversion. For industries with a long lead cycle it can be a gold mine. If a prospect engages with an ad, the sales team has an outbound opportunity (and target). In my mind, that’s just as good as a lead form.

There’s a myriad of other alternative metrics available; page views per session, view through actions (yes, they’re useful), return visits, video views et al. I ask you fine Acquisio readers, what other success metrics have you used in the past?And no, “traffic” and “click-through rate” alone are not success metrics.

It may be time to dust off the old ROI routine and start measuring PPC success in a new, more dynamic, way.

Layering Display & Re-marketing – Put Context First


Image credit: flickr.com/photos/andyz

I think I’d be the first to admit that I love wasting time on the internet. The number of hours I’ve spent (and carpal tunnel induced) playing Cookie Clicker and the Helicopter Game is borderline sickening. What’s even more sickening is how much money developers of those games have probably made from accidental or non-converting display ad clicks….

Putting Marketing Back in SEM

ad-overloadGoogle is a publicly traded company. Publicly traded companies, for better or worse, are judged by their ability to grow, and grow consistently at that. Google’s core product (search) already has the lion’s share of the market across the world; aside from their insane expansions into driverless cars and dust-powered wireless internet and phones, the majority of revenue still comes from AdWords….

What Are Your Bid Rules Missing?

superballI’d venture to guess that most PPC managers share the same basic set of bid rules. It makes perfect sense, as most of us have the same general goal for bidding: find the perfect sweet spot between CPC and volume, usually driven by position. If CPA is high and position is high, drop bids. If CPA low and position is low, boost bids. Logical, right?

Typically when I’ve audited or adopted accounts, I tend to see the same basic bidding formula. Find keywords that are x-percent over goal for 30 days and drop bids by x%. These rules are set to run either on the same day of the week, once a week, or on the 15th & 30th of each month. Again, logical! We want to make sure that keywords are frequently evaluated….

Fix Your Foundations – The Case For Account Rebuilds

Image credit: www.panoramio.com/photo/13583898

Image credit: www.panoramio.com/photo/13583898

When we kick off a client at SEER, we do a deep dive into any existing data to make sure we were covering top performers & using insights. As we manage accounts, we constantly A/B test, pause/expand keywords, tweak landing pages and copy and just generally toy around with the account as any good agency would.

What I think most PPC managers don’t do often enough (myself included) is look at the core layout of accounts, the foundation if you will.  Why do we only look at the extremely long term data when we build an account?

The fact of the matter is best practices in PPC change rapidly. Let’s take a quick look at major AdWords since May 1st, 2011:…

Let Your Tail Terms Do the Heavy Lifting

Long tail conversions FTW!I’m of the humble opinion that far too many of us put Pareto’s principle in practice far too often. Logically, it makes sense, though. 20% of our keywords almost always account for at least 80% of our conversions, so naturally we focus our effort on those keywords driving traffic and conversion volume.

What we don’t consider often enough is exactly what types of conversions we’re getting from the top 20% head terms, or if the leads may be worth different amounts depending on searcher intent truly provide different values. Is a lead sourced from a query like “tracking software” worth the same amount as a user that converts on “IT asset tracking for midsize business?” Probably not, but I’d be willing to bet tracking software would drive far more traffic, cost & conversion volume. …

Expensive Space with a Low Budget – Consider Facebook

Facebook advertisingI’m going to paint a little scenario here: you’re a new or niche company with a smaller budget. Say maybe a software startup or a niche college program. You’re anxious to start pushing your products and programs through paid search, but find yourself facing immense competition and $20-$30-$40 CPC’s. So what should you do? Turn to Facebook!

Most marketers would tend to write off Facebook as a direct-response marketing tactic, simply because the conversion rate is usually well below that of typical search/display channels. But Facebook will often generate CPC’s in the area of a quarter or below, dropping further and further depending on your CTR. When you have a CPC that’s 99% cheaper in Facebook vs. search, you can afford to take a bit of a hit in conversion rate….

5 Ways to Take Advantage of Adwords’ Global Re-Marketing Tag

One of my favorite things about Re-targeting with AdWords is the ability to easily separate audiences. You can essentially hand-pick the site visitors you want to target, and tailor ads accordingly. In the past, if you wanted full control over audiences you had to create individual tags for every single page on the site.

Thanks to the not-so-recent release of the global remarketing tag, you can have full audience control without owing your developer(s) a fine steak dinner. So how do you take advantage of this newfound control? Here are five of my favorite tips to try: