Marketing Analytics: CPC Isn’t Advertising’s Only Important Metric

Marketing analytics charts, office supplies, and calculator with CPC wooden blocks in foreground.

CPC. Cost Per Click. Anyone who has run online ads is familiar with this metric, and for many, it’s the end all, be all of their marketing analytics related to those ads. But is focusing on running ads to maximize CPC and only focusing on CPC in analytics and reporting afterward seeing the forest for the trees? Today we’re going to look at some real-life situations where CPC isn’t the only important metric – and in some cases, was actively working against the company’s best interests and bottom dollar.

Obsessing Over Any Single Metric is Bad

So first, a disclaimer that sounds like easy-to-remember advice but can trip up any marketing analyst – professional or otherwise – if you’re focusing all your analysis and marketing on one single metric, you increase your chances of missing important trends in the data for other benefits, cheaper options, and warning signs. This happens so often with clients that have one metric they care about (either always have or just “read an article”) that I wrote a whole blog post about it: Obsessing Over a Single Analytics Metric: A Marketer’s Take. Yes, this includes CPC: let’s see why.

Example One: Casting Too Wide a Net

Without naming names, we had a client who was international with a focus on selling their products, not to consumers or businesses, but governments. They wanted to run ads on Facebook to raise general awareness of their product and brand, so we created an ad set targeting wide – age groups, locations, and demographics. As the campaign continued, we saw the CPC was insanely low – like $.05 – but the demographics showed the ads weren’t getting to the right people.

This is one of the important parts of paid social media: targeting. It doesn’t matter how many clicks you’ve got if it doesn’t result in sales (leads, traffic, whatever your conversion goal is). If we had only cared about CPC, we’d have left the campaign as-is. Instead, we worked with the client to retarget demographics, remove certain locations, and cap international vs. domestic spending.

Example Two: How CPC Changes Due to Industries

Much as you can ask the question, “Can I Even Write a Blog about My Industry?” you might ask, “Can I Even Do Ads in My Industry?” Like in the above example, where a dirt-cheap CPC might not be a good thing, a very high CPC might not be bad. In Google Ads, in particular, depending on your industry, you might be looking at very high CPCs. In this case, you need to look beyond the CPC to your conversion goals – how much is a single person who clicks on your ad and generates a lead (fills out a form, buys a product, calls) worth?

I’ve worked with many, many insurance companies over the years, usually independent insurance agencies that are looking to get more business. Ads, especially ads on Google Search, are very high for them – usually upwards of $15 to $50 for popular keywords. In these cases, I need to talk to the client and see how much a client is worth to them, check out the conversion rate (the KPI of clicks that become conversions) for their industry, and compare costs. Often, it’s not worth the CPC for certain policies, if not all of them.

So, CPC shouldn’t be the only thing you look at. Hopefully from these two examples, you’ve seen that it’s important to know who you’re selling to and that different ad platforms can be right for you. If you’re looking for help with understanding your marketing analytics, including audits and monthly or quarterly reporting, Vision Advertising can help. We’ve worked with clients for years introducing blogs, social media, and advertising to their marketing and know what success looks like with KPIs and deep analytics. Contact us today to get started.

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About the author : Alex Geyer

Alex wears many hats, and not just because he’s bald. A writer by background, Alex writes “content” for Vision – anything from social media statuses to blogs to website copy and beyond. In addition, as Senior Brand Strategist, he builds and maintains all search engine advertising for Vision, manages multiple client projects, and herds many meetings. In his free time, he starts and stops writing novels, reads a copious amount of fiction, plays video games, and an enthusiastic chef at home. He’s trying to become a better plant daddy.

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