6 Commonly Confused PPC Advertising Metrics

June 3, 2016 | 4 min read
By Tony Park

Are You Confusing These PPC Advertising Metrics?

When you first start your digital advertising journey, you quickly realize it’s a little more complex than you thought. Along with budgets, bids, bid modifiers, match types, there are pay-per-click (PPC) performance metrics you have to understand. As someone who vividly remembers the beginning of my own PPC endeavors, I know how you feel. I also recall that one of the first things that tripped me up were all of the different PPC advertising metrics one could use to measure campaign performance (especially in Facebook).

So, today, I am going to help my confused/lost brethren out by going over six metrics that can be terribly ambiguous for beginners and, more importantly, explain why these PPC metrics are worth analyzing and understanding in your digital advertising efforts.

Sessions vs. Page Views (Analytics)

PPC-Metrics-AnalyticsGoogle Analytics is one of the most important tools due to the sheer granularity of website data it offers, which is why the first two metrics I want to discuss may be the most fundamental on my list. Some of the first metrics you will see when you go to the Audience-Overview report are sessions and page views. “Which should we look at?” you might ask. The answer is actually both! Sessions are when one user interacts with a website in any fashion. Page views are the number of pages on a website that were loaded by someone’s browser. So for instance, if I go to a book website’s homepage, navigate to fiction, choose an author from a list, and click on a book, that would be one session and four page views.

It’s important that you understand the differences between the two for so many reasons. If you notice that your number of page views is very similar to your number of sessions, then it could be a sign that users are getting to your site and aren’t enticed to go much further. If you look at the data for your ads’ landing page and see that the page views are much higher than the sessions, then people are getting to your landing page and are navigating elsewhere because they might not be finding what they’re looking for. There are so many situations when understanding the relationship between page views and sessions is incredibly vital. These are definitely two PPC metrics you want to fully comprehend. Our “How to Use Google Analytics: Comparing Metrics” article is also a great resource if you want to learn how to compare data (like sessions and page views) in Analytics.

Reach vs. Impressions (Facebook)

PPC-Metrics-FacebookThese metrics and their implications are more easily understood than some of the other ones on the list, but that does not take away from their utility. Facebook breaks their impression metric into two categories due to the nature of the platform. Reach is the number of unique Facebook users that received impressions. Impressions are the total number of times your ad was displayed to users in general — this could be through their feed or if someone shares it. So if only three different people see your post and each person sees it in their feed five times within a given period, that would equate to a reach of three and fifteen impressions.

Knowing the relationship between your campaign’s reach and impressions can let you know how frequent users are being exposed to your ads. If your impressions are way higher than your reach, that means the same people are seeing your ads repetitively. This can cause ad fatigue, which is something nobody wants for their advertising endeavors.

View-Through Conversions vs. Cross-Device Conversions (AdWords)

PPC-Metrics-AdwordsThese metrics are relatively new in the world of PPC advertising. The main purpose of both of these is to give you a better idea of how people are converting when interacting with your ads, allowing you to get a better measurement of ROI. A view-through conversion occurs when a user is served one of your display ads and does not click, but converts within 30 days via another source (e.g. organic, direct, etc.). Cross-device conversions are when a user clicks on an ad with one device (say their smartphone) and later converts on another (their desktop).

Even though these metrics are essentially geared towards display ads, they can give users a broader insight into which sites are maximizing conversions, have great orientation for display ad placement, and above all else, gives advertisers insight into which ads leave an impression even if people aren’t necessarily clicking on them. To me, it’s great that Google has the ability to even track this data. Nonetheless, these two lengthily-worded measurements are very insightful.

Getting to Know Your Metrics

Well, there you have it guys. Hopefully, I’ve cleared some of the brush so you can continue down your pay-per-click journey unscathed from the cryptic but necessary metrics. Some of them are absolutely fundamental and some will give you deeper insight into how people are interacting with your ads.

Don’t just stop here! Using and learning as many metrics as these platforms provide will only further your advertising performance and understanding. If you have any other questions about this topic, feel free to comment below.

To learn more about marketing metrics, take a look at our Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Online Martketing: What Metrics Really Matter infographic.


The Importance of Landing Page Optimization for PPC Campaigns
The Content Marketer's SEO Cheat Sheet Has 10 Blue Links
Subscribe to the Digital Marketing Tip!
Get the latest insights and time-tested wisdom from veterans of the digital marketing industry.

6 Commonly Confused PPC Advertising Metrics

June 3, 2016 | 4 min read
By Tony Park

Are You Confusing These PPC Advertising Metrics?

When you first start your digital advertising journey, you quickly realize it’s a little more complex than you thought. Along with budgets, bids, bid modifiers, match types, there are pay-per-click (PPC) performance metrics you have to understand. As someone who vividly remembers the beginning of my own PPC endeavors, I know how you feel. I also recall that one of the first things that tripped me up were all of the different PPC advertising metrics one could use to measure campaign performance (especially in Facebook).

So, today, I am going to help my confused/lost brethren out by going over six metrics that can be terribly ambiguous for beginners and, more importantly, explain why these PPC metrics are worth analyzing and understanding in your digital advertising efforts.

Sessions vs. Page Views (Analytics)

PPC-Metrics-AnalyticsGoogle Analytics is one of the most important tools due to the sheer granularity of website data it offers, which is why the first two metrics I want to discuss may be the most fundamental on my list. Some of the first metrics you will see when you go to the Audience-Overview report are sessions and page views. “Which should we look at?” you might ask. The answer is actually both! Sessions are when one user interacts with a website in any fashion. Page views are the number of pages on a website that were loaded by someone’s browser. So for instance, if I go to a book website’s homepage, navigate to fiction, choose an author from a list, and click on a book, that would be one session and four page views.

It’s important that you understand the differences between the two for so many reasons. If you notice that your number of page views is very similar to your number of sessions, then it could be a sign that users are getting to your site and aren’t enticed to go much further. If you look at the data for your ads’ landing page and see that the page views are much higher than the sessions, then people are getting to your landing page and are navigating elsewhere because they might not be finding what they’re looking for. There are so many situations when understanding the relationship between page views and sessions is incredibly vital. These are definitely two PPC metrics you want to fully comprehend. Our “How to Use Google Analytics: Comparing Metrics” article is also a great resource if you want to learn how to compare data (like sessions and page views) in Analytics.

Reach vs. Impressions (Facebook)

PPC-Metrics-FacebookThese metrics and their implications are more easily understood than some of the other ones on the list, but that does not take away from their utility. Facebook breaks their impression metric into two categories due to the nature of the platform. Reach is the number of unique Facebook users that received impressions. Impressions are the total number of times your ad was displayed to users in general — this could be through their feed or if someone shares it. So if only three different people see your post and each person sees it in their feed five times within a given period, that would equate to a reach of three and fifteen impressions.

Knowing the relationship between your campaign’s reach and impressions can let you know how frequent users are being exposed to your ads. If your impressions are way higher than your reach, that means the same people are seeing your ads repetitively. This can cause ad fatigue, which is something nobody wants for their advertising endeavors.

View-Through Conversions vs. Cross-Device Conversions (AdWords)

PPC-Metrics-AdwordsThese metrics are relatively new in the world of PPC advertising. The main purpose of both of these is to give you a better idea of how people are converting when interacting with your ads, allowing you to get a better measurement of ROI. A view-through conversion occurs when a user is served one of your display ads and does not click, but converts within 30 days via another source (e.g. organic, direct, etc.). Cross-device conversions are when a user clicks on an ad with one device (say their smartphone) and later converts on another (their desktop).

Even though these metrics are essentially geared towards display ads, they can give users a broader insight into which sites are maximizing conversions, have great orientation for display ad placement, and above all else, gives advertisers insight into which ads leave an impression even if people aren’t necessarily clicking on them. To me, it’s great that Google has the ability to even track this data. Nonetheless, these two lengthily-worded measurements are very insightful.

Getting to Know Your Metrics

Well, there you have it guys. Hopefully, I’ve cleared some of the brush so you can continue down your pay-per-click journey unscathed from the cryptic but necessary metrics. Some of them are absolutely fundamental and some will give you deeper insight into how people are interacting with your ads.

Don’t just stop here! Using and learning as many metrics as these platforms provide will only further your advertising performance and understanding. If you have any other questions about this topic, feel free to comment below.

To learn more about marketing metrics, take a look at our Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Online Martketing: What Metrics Really Matter infographic.

Share This Post
PREVIOUS POST

The Importance of Landing Page Optimization for PPC Campaigns
NEXT POST

The Content Marketer's SEO Cheat Sheet Has 10 Blue Links
Subscribe to the Digital Marketing Tip!
Get the latest insights and time-tested wisdom from veterans of the digital marketing industry.