Track your PPC ROI and prove that you’re driving the right type of leads and customers.
It’s no secret, tracking PPC ROI is critical to your marketing success.
ROI is the most effective way to prove which campaigns have the highest impact on revenue income.
But, determining which PPC campaigns are giving the best ROI isn’t easy.
With consumers using more marketing touchpoints to research and purchase products and services, the process of gaining an accurate view of ROI has become an escalating challenge for advertisers.
In fact, during our survey, we found that just over half of marketers are confidently tracking marketing ROI.
As a marketing attribution provider, we wanted to help improve this.
And, to achieve that, we reached out to PPC marketers and business leaders for their best tips, tools and practices for tracking PPC ROI.
For this article, we’ll discuss:
Marketing attribution is the best way to track leads and determine which campaigns contribute the most revenue. Download our guide on marketing attribution and accurately demonstrate your ROI.
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PPC ROI is the process of attributing profit and revenue growth to the impact of your advertising campaigns.
Being able to track and prove ROI is a priority, especially for advertisers.
Without tracking PPC ROI, you will not know which campaigns are working and which are underperforming.
As any advertiser will tell you, PPC is a numbers game. If you want to perform, you need to put in the money.
Tracking ROI validates whether or not your ads are worth spending on and helps justify budget allocation for ongoing and future campaigns.
Calculating PPC ROI is easy when you know how to do it.
Related: How to measure digital marketing ROI
“All you have to do is minus the cost of the PPC advertisement from the revenue you earned with clicks and then divide that number by the cost again. To get that number as a percentage, all you have to do is multiply it by 100,” says Teri Shern, Co-Founder at Conex Boxes.
As an equation, it looks like this:
For example, if sales increased to £2,000 and the PPC campaign cost £1,000, your ROI would be 100%.
If you’re an advertiser worth your salt, you’ll have come across ROAS at some point. Marc Stitt, Chief Marketing Officer at FMX, says, “When some advertisers talk about ROI, they’re often speaking about ROAS.”
On the surface, return on ad spend (ROAS) and return on investment (ROI) may look the same, but they are actually very different.
Dan Scalco, Owner at Food Box HQ, helps us explain how ROAS works: “ROAS is a quantitative evaluation of an ad campaign’s performance that is calculated by dividing the money spent by the gross income. Let’s say you spend $1,000 on a PPC campaign for a month and make $3,000 in revenue. This ROAS means that for every dollar spent, $3 in revenue is generated.”
Related: How to calculate ROAS and improve it
The formula for ROAS looks like this:
By now you’re probably wondering whether you should ditch PPC ROI and focus on ROAS instead.
But, you can very easily measure both ROI and ROAS.
ROI is best for determining the overall health and profitability of your advertising endeavours and can include other expenses such as installation and maintenance. Whereas ROAS, on the other hand, focuses on the return of a particular campaign or ad.
Both metrics provide different insights into the profitability of your advertising campaigns and play a big part in increasing your company’s revenue.
Stephen Curry, CEO at CocoSign, tracks both ROI and ROAS to measure campaign success.
“As a SaaS, we have no cost for a product. We track our ROI by calculating ROAS. We calculate it by dividing the profit from our ad campaigns by the total cost of our campaigns. We focus on this metric because it tells us how much money we make from our ads. It also shows us what we can expect from our ads and if it is worth scaling them,” says Stephen.
PPC marketers have struggled for years to track their ROI, and only a few have managed to crack it.
With access to so much data, why are advertisers struggling to demonstrate their ROI?
According to our survey, it boils down to the following factors.
The feedback in our survey varied, but most of our respondents ranked changes to tracking and data privacy as the top challenge.
On March 3rd 2021, Google announced its plans to phase out third-party cookies and made it clear that it’s not building any alternate tracking identifiers.
Digital advertisers have long relied on third-party cookies to collect analytics data and track consumer touchpoints. They’ve been around for quite some time, and it’s believed that 80% of advertisers depend on third-party cookies to track ad efficiency and ROI.
As you can imagine, Google’s announcement that it’ll no longer support third-party cookies sent shockwaves through the digital marketing and advertising world.
With the clock ticking on third-party cookies, many advertisers are at a crossroads to find alternative ways to track user activity and ROI.
Are you worried about the death of third-party cookies? Well, stop!
For many data-driven marketers, the response is to welcome analytics and attribution solutions built on first-party data.
Tools like Ruler allow you to track users over multiple sessions, marketing campaigns, keywords, and attribute leads and revenue back to their initial source using first-party tracking.
Everything you can track with Ruler Analytics
Now that we’ve got the definition and challenges out the way, let’s look at the best methods for measuring the return on investment of your PPC campaigns, as promised.
To understand the impact of your paid campaigns on revenue, the best method is to “use multiple tracking tools and compare results to the desired ROI,” says Oliver Statsinszky, Content Specialist at LiveAgent.
Sonya Schwartz, Founder at Her Norm agrees: “When it comes to tracking the ROI of PPC advertising, my best advice is to employ tools or software that provide insights and analytics that can be used to make wise decisions.”
Related: Best PPC reporting tools to use
In our survey, we asked our respondents to share how many tools they’re using to track PPC performance. The responses from the survey indicate that 50% of PPC teams are all using a minimum of three tools or more to track ad efficiency.
We then asked what tools they are using to track ROI. Here’s what they said:
If you haven’t guessed, Ruler is a marketing attribution tool that helps marketers gain insight into their ROI.
It works by tracking your users across multiple sessions, traffic sources, advertisements, keywords, and more. When a visitor becomes a lead, their conversion data is combined with their marketing touchpoints to create a customer journey.
Ruler sends this data to your CRM, allowing you to see which marketing sources provide the best opportunities and ultimately lead to revenue.
“Ruler Analytics is a simple marketing attribution solution that helps firms see the big picture of their customer journeys. It’s ideal for those who want to show the impact of their PPC advertising on revenue generation,” says David Wurst, Owner & CEO at Webcitz.
Cyfe is an all-in-one dashboard that allows you to build and customise dashboards to measure and monitor your ROI from each PPC campaign and channel.
“If you need to monitor data, Cyfe is another excellent alternative. Cyfe allows you to track a variety of marketing ROI measures. You can select which data to include and monitor using these widgets. From social media to SEO, you can track metrics for all initiatives and use that data to make informed marketing decisions,” says Matt Weidle, Business Development Manager at Buyer’s Guide.
According to our survey, 90% of marketers consider Google Analytics their go-to choice for marketing measurement.
If you sell products through paid advertising, then Google Analytics can easily track your ROI. All you need to do is add a bit of code to your shopping system, and you’re good to go.
“Data received from Google Analytics also helps retailers to figure out which content pages attract the maximum number of visitors to complete a purchase. This information helps me improve my PPC campaigns and boost sales,” says Andrew Scott, Marketing Manager at Radio Caca.
If you use your website to generate leads online or offline, then Google Analytics probably isn’t the best solution to track your ROI. You can find out why by reading our guide on how to track revenue in google analytics.
Marin Software allows advertisers to track search, social, and display campaigns and helps determine which ads have the best impact on performance metrics.
“Marin offers a solution for companies that require more than just PPC ad tracking. The technology tracks search, social, and display ads, allowing agencies to track all ad kinds for their clients to discover which perform best. Marin also offers pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Baidu,” says Adam Wood, Co-Founder at RevenueGeeks.
Choosing the right tools is just the first step. Knowing how to use them effectively and efficiently to track ROI is what makes all the difference.
With that in mind, we here at Ruler teamed with experts to bring you some tried and tested tactics that you can use to get a better grip on your PPC ROI.
Let’s dive in.
“My tip for tracking ROI is to track goals or events that are important to your business,” says PPC & Google Ads Consultant Ryan Scollon.
Before tracking ROI, you’ll need to establish your goals.
Without clear goals, you’re essentially directionless.
Goals give you something to work towards and setting a clear timeframe with a start and end date is helpful to maintain motivation.
For example, let’s say your overall business objective is to increase revenue to £100,000.
You can set monthly, weekly, or even daily revenue goals regarding your PPC returns to ensure you’re contributing to the overall business objective.
“For lead gen campaigns, keep track of the contact info for the leads you generate via PPC. Then at the end of the month, ask the business owner (or check your own records) to see which leads turned into clients or sales,” says Adam Gingery, COO at Majux Marketing.
Tracking users individually is the best method to gain a singular view of your customer journeys and demonstrate ROI.
By monitoring and measuring the movements of specific users, you can acquire better data into which campaigns and ads are most valuable in driving leads and revenue.
If that’s true, why aren’t more marketers doing it?
Consumers today are using more touchpoints than ever to research and purchase products and services.
It’s believed that consumers use an average of almost six touchpoints during their journey, with nearly 50% regularly using more than four.
Customer journeys are becoming increasingly complex, and marketers are finding it impossible to keep up.
But with visitor tracking software in place, it becomes a lot easier to track customer touchpoints, users’ behaviour and ROI.
Tools like Ruler, for example, track each anonymous visitor individually, record how that user found your site and track any subsequent visits or interactions with other marketing channels and campaigns.
Want more on Ruler’s visitor level tracking? We have a complete guide that shows you how Ruler tracks users through their full customer journey and attributes revenue across multiple touchpoints.
How to view full customer journeys in Ruler Analytics
“The best way to track the ROI of your PPC campaign is by infusing your lead data into the CRM of your business. It is a brilliant way to understand their position in the conversion funnel,” says Jared Stern, CEO at Uplift Legal Funding.
One misconception is that CRM is just for sales.
But, advertisers can gather valuable information and benefit from the CRM too.
All advertising platforms give you great detail on the performance of your campaigns, keywords and ads on traffic and conversion metrics.
But, “most of the time, marketers do not gain much information about true ROI from their PPC campaigns,” says Ravi Jasti, Digital Advisor at dJolt.
By integrating your PPC campaign data with your CRM or database systems, you’ll gain more in-depth details about your leads and customers.
Related: How to send lead source to your CRM
Over time, you can determine which ads and keywords drive the highest quality leads and convert them into actual revenue.
You can optimise your campaigns to drive the best possible results and grow your company faster.
Patrick Casey, Director of Growth Marketing at Felix Health, agrees: “By tracking leads throughout the conversion funnel, you can determine how many conversions you generated as a direct result of your PPC campaign.”
“My best tip to track the ROI of PPC campaigns is by setting dedicated landing pages. By doing so, you’ll ensure that only those people fill out your forms who came from your PPC campaign,” says David Clelland, Founder at Infiniti Tracking.
If you’re not ready to invest in visitor level tracking tools, you do have a few alternative options.
The first option is to create a dedicated landing page to capture leads that discover your products and services through your paid channels only.
A PPC landing page is a standalone web page where visitors ‘land’ after clicking through on a pay-per-click ad.
They allow you to monitor the people who have clicked on one of your ads and help demonstrate the impact of your paid campaigns on leads and sales.
Before you set your landing page live, you must ensure that it’s not indexable for the search engines. This will isolate traffic, allowing you to validate how PPC is driving leads and revenue for your company.
Nate Tsang, Founder & CEO at Wall Street Zen, echoes this: “Make sure you add a ‘noindex’ tag to your page, so it doesn’t start ranking in the search engines. Make sure you link to it only from your PPC campaign.”
“UTM codes act as a tag and can offer far more detailed traffic source analytics if you’re running more than one campaign at a time, allowing you to have a firmer grasp on the true success of your efforts,” added Stephen Light, CMO Nolah Mattress.
The other option is to utilise UTM tracking.
UTM parameters collect more detail on your advertising campaigns by tracking the specific ads, keywords and landing pages that are responsible for driving clicks and leads.
Tools like Google Ads offer auto-tagging which makes your job easy.
You can, however, build your own UTMs using Google’s URL builder.
If you’re not tracking your PPC ROI, there’s a chance you’re throwing away your budget on ineffective ads that don’t move the needle.
With tools like Ruler, the process of tracking your PPC ROI couldn’t be any easier.
Ruler takes out the legwork by seamlessly attributing revenue to your marketing across multiple touchpoints, allowing you to focus on building and growing your company.