SEM (search engine marketing) can deliver great returns to advertisers. When they launch strategic SEM campaigns, they can reach goals around website traffic, in-store traffic, sales and more. SEM doesn’t magically work overnight, so you’ll need to share SEM metrics with advertisers throughout the campaign to provide context on performance.  

So, which metrics matter to local advertisers? Let’s find out. 

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

  • What it is: It’s the calculation of clicks on the ad. 
  • What it reveals: CTRs show which ad groups are performing the best, which keywords drive the most clicks, and ads that are underperforming. 
  • How to act on the insights: Once you have CTR numbers, you can identify what’s working and what’s not for your advertiser. You can then recommend tweaks to the content and CTA to optimize performance. 

Conversion Rate 

  • What it is: It’s a measure of how many people clicked and then completed a goal (e.g., completed a form, made a purchase, requested an appointment). 
  • What it reveals: If conversion rates are low, it signals a disconnect between what the user thought they clicked on and where they landed. It could also indicate inaccurate targeting, negative customer experiences on the website or a lack of persuasive content. 
  • How to act on the insights: Audit the paid ads and the landing pages to analyze if there’s a disconnect. This metric also provides information on which ad groups and keywords have the best conversion rates. Adding more budget to these could help overall conversions. 

Cost Per Click (CPC)

  • What it is: It’s how much the advertiser pays for every click. 
  • What it reveals: CPC reports the cost by keyword and ad group, providing context around how expensive bidding is for the campaign. 
  • How to act on the insights: Identify ads that are becoming too expensive and don’t provide high CTRs or conversions. You may recommend pausing them and focusing on those with a more cost-effective CPC. 

Quality Score

  • What it is: It’s a number between 1 and 10 that Google assigns to each ad, measuring how relevant your ad is to the keyword. The higher the score, the lower your CPC. 
  • What it reveals: It’s Google’s critique of ads. If it’s low, the campaigns will suffer, and ads won’t appear for keywords. 
  • How to act on insights: It could require retooling of ad copy. Another option is to pause or remove low-scoring ads. 

Impression Share

  • What it is: It’s the percentage of ad impressions versus the total number of possible impressions an ad could get. 
  • What it reveals: It indicates the potential audience reach of ads and offers insights on if you should recommend increasing budgets to reach these people. 
  • How to act on insights: It enables a rating of ad groups and keywords by impression share. It allows for pinpointing valuable opportunities to scale campaigns or increase budgets. 

SEM Metrics Tell the Story of Performance for Local Advertisers 

Whether your client is well-versed in SEM or just starting out, it’s critical to deliver metrics regularly and with context. When you explain what these numbers are and what they mean, you build trust with your advertisers, who will look to you for guidance. 

For more content on SEM, check out these posts. 

The SEM Checklist for Digital Sellers (free download!) 

Positioning Local SEM for Your Advertisers 

SEM Trends