Every marketing campaign needs to be measured carefully in order to optimize your ad spend. Otherwise, you’re throwing money into the wind and wondering why nickels keep hitting you in the face. While there are lots of great platforms available to help you with your marketing, you want to make sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck, which is why you need to learn how to measure PPC performance. 

In this article, we’ll explain the ins and outs of pay-per-click performance measures and how to optimize your marketing budget

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What Is Pay Per Click (PPC)?

Pay-per-click is a system whereby a user clicking on an advertisement is directed to your brand’s website. You, the advertiser, pay a fee each time your ad is clicked on—this is why it’s called “pay-per-click.” The cost of each click can depend on different factors, such as how competitive the keywords are, the quality of the ad, and who your target audience is.

PPC campaigns are commonly used to drive traffic to websites and generate leads or sales. Advertisers bid on keywords relevant to their target audience, and their ads are displayed on search engine results pages or other websites. When a user clicks on the ad, they are directed to the advertiser’s website, and the advertiser is charged for that click.

What Reporting Metrics and Terms Are Used?

The first step is to understand which metrics are used to measure your Pay-Per-Click ad performance and campaigns and how these are used. 

  • Clicks: This is the number of clicks or engagements your ads have received by users. 
  • Conversions: This refers to the number of conversions that have been generated by your ads.
  • Click-through rate: This is the percentage of people who click on your ad – the proportion of people who see it and decide to click. You can calculate this by comparing impressions (views) with the engagements (clicks). Click-through rate is vital when it comes to understanding how well your paid ads are engaging your audience.
  • Impressions: This is simply the number of times your ads were viewed, usually the number of times your ads were shown to people in search results, whether they were clicked on or just scrolled past. 
  • Average cost per click: This is how much was paid for the clicks received on average. 
  • Conversion rate: This is the rate at which your ads lead to a conversion – aka the percentage of people who clicked on your ads and then ended up buying something from you.
  • Quality Score: Your quality score measures the relevance of your ad, click-through rate, keywords, and landing page quality, to name just a few areas. The higher your quality score, the lower your overall costs and the better your ad positions.

A Deeper Look at Performance Metrics and Optimization

Now that we’ve covered the basics of measuring PPC performance let’s explore how you can use these for your ad campaign in more detail. 

Clicks and Click-Through Rates

While your clicks are the number of overall clicks your ad receives, the click-through rate is the number of clicks compared to the number of impressions (views). Both of these can be improved in the same ways: 

  • Great ads: You want a clear call-to-action, strong language, promotions, or other enticing elements. 
  • Relevant keywords: keywords should be relevant to your ad copy and landing page content. 
  • Ad extensions: Ad extensions can increase visibility and provide extra information. 
  • A/B testing: You should test all the elements of your ads to see what does and doesn’t get a click and then compare them to your conversion rates. 


You can measure your ad impressions to understand how many times your ads are being shown to users. This data is usually available on your advertising platform’s dashboard. Here are some tips to optimize ad impressions:

  • Targeting: Make sure that your ads are being seen by the right audience based on demographics, behaviors and interests. Refining your criteria can help increase the likelihood of your ads being shown to relevant users.
  • Keywords: The right keywords will have a solid search volume while aligning with your ad content. You can conduct keyword research to find those high-performing keywords.
  • Scheduling: The timing of your ad campaigns matters. Research when your target audience is most active online, and then schedule your ads to appear during those peak times.

Average Cost Per Click

If you want to calculate your average cost per click, you just divide the total cost of your clicks by the total number of clicks received. Optimizing your average cost per click involves managing your marketing campaigns effectively to get the most value for your budget. Here are some tips:

  • Track your performance: Use tracking tools provided by the advertising platform you’re using (Google Ads, for example) to monitor your cost per click, as well as the other important metrics. These tools can show you which keywords, ads, and even whole campaigns are driving the most meaningful clicks and conversions.
  • Bid management: You can adjust your bids on the basis of performance data in order to optimize your cost per click. You can choose to increase bids for high-converting keywords, as well as decreasing bids on low-yield ones to make the most of your budget.

Conversion and Conversion Rate

Conversions are the number of sales or calls-to-action followed. Your conversion rate is how many of the people who get to your landing page then buy something/following a call-to action. Both can be improved by optimizing your campaigns to encourage more people who have clicked on your ad to then take an action you want, whether that’s making a purchase, or giving their information over to you. 

Additionally, if you are interested in knowing how to get more traffic to a Shopify store, there are strategies you can implement such as leveraging social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and email marketing, which can also contribute to increasing your conversion rates.

You can improve these conversion rates in the following ways: 

  • Targeted Keywords: By using relevant and specific keywords that align with the intent of your target audience, you can increase the chance that their click will have been meaningful. You can use long-tail keywords, as these can often result in higher conversion rates. This is because they manage to capture more specific search queries and be relevant to your audience. 
  • Demonstrating product value: While getting someone to your landing page is a great feat, the next step is to convince people that your product has value, and you can use great ad copy to communicate the value of your product or service. You should aim to highlight important benefits and use strong calls-to-action.
  • Optimized landing pages: Your landing pages should not only be relevant and easy to navigate but should also integrate seamlessly with your broader digital strategy. Incorporating elements such as social proof, testimonials, and integration with social media tools can enhance credibility and encourage visitor engagement.
  • A/B testing: By frequently testing different aspects of your ads and landing pages, you can see which methods lead to higher conversion rates. You can test copy variations, different images and calls to action, and also the layouts of your landing page to see what works best.

Quality Score

In PPC advertising, the Quality Score, as we mentioned above, is used to measure the quality and relevance of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. It’s used on platforms like Google Ads and is figured out on the basis of factors such as the expected click-through rate, how relevant the ad is, and the landing page experience for your users. 

Furthermore, staying updated with the latest trends and strategies in digital marketing can significantly impact your Quality Score. Consider consulting a comprehensive digital marketing guide to ensure your ad campaigns are optimized for maximum performance.

A higher quality score can result in lower costs per click for your company and better ad positions on the search engine results page. If you want to improve your Quality Score and optimize your ad spend, you can do some of the following: 

  • Focus on writing engaging ad copy. Compelling copy should include your target keywords in both your ad headline and description to improve relevance. You should make sure you hire writers with a good grasp of the language, as well as editors with a keen eye for detail and knowledge of marketing. Incorporating relevant call-to-actions, such as an invitation to subscribe to a newsletter or receive updates via RCS message, can enhance user engagement and potentially improve your Quality Score.
  • Insert keywords that are relevant to your product, brand, and audience in your copy. If you’re running an ad campaign for a digital contact center, for example, make sure that this phrase is included in your ad copy and that it leads to a landing page specifically about this subject.
  • Make sure that your landing pages are user-friendly, relevant, and engaging. The user experience on your landing page should be seamless, and the ad should be relevant to the page they are led to. Users should be able to find valuable information with ease. For example, if your ad promotes workflow management software, you should make sure that your landing page features that product and offers your visitors easy ways to make a purchase.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully this article has helped you to understand the key metrics used in PPC campaigns and how to measure PPC performance, as well as how to optimize these performance metrics. Using compelling ads, relevant keywords, ad extensions, A/B testing, targeted keywords, and demonstrating product value all help you to increase conversion rates and optimize your ad spend. 

By focusing on quality score, conversion and conversion rates, clicks and click-through rates, and more, you can learn how to not only measure your PPC performance but make the most out of your campaigns. Happy clicking!

Author Bio:

by Jessica Lunk

Digital Marketing Manager