3 Underused Paid Search Metrics

Paid search is all about numbers. If you aren’t a fan of basic math functions you can expect to have a tough time talking the talk with your peers in paid search marketing.

However, there are still some metrics that are either new, or aren’t used frequently enough. These metrics can extract additional insight, and help provide optimization input.

Ad Group Impression Share


Google rolled out the new ad group impression share metric just last month. It’s the same as campaign-level impression share, but at a more granular level.

This metric can help you understand how to increase your impression volume. Having this metric available at the ad group level offers the valuable ability to better report on specific keyword groups vs. the larger bucket of campaigns. Previously, people have created campaigns for a specific keyword set to work around the metrics constraints. This greatly improves that visibility.

Top vs. Other


The top vs. other keyword metric is helpful to better understand where your ads are displaying. People consistently don’t understand the difference between the No. 1 position and the location of the No. 1 position. This metric helps provide some increased insight into that difference.

For example, a keyword can show up on a report as an average position No. 1; however this metric will allow the advertiser to understand what percentage was above the organic rankings vs. the side rail. The impact this difference has on click-through rate (CTR) is significant.

This metric also provides insight into the performance differences between Google and the search partners. This metric can be used to help inform performance changes and fluctuations.

A great example is an advertiser might see a decrease in CTR on their account, but have made no other changes to their account. This metric can help to validate why this might have happened other than a change in competition.

Device-Level Reporting


The device-level reporting metric will probably be leveraged more this year than in the past. However, too many people still aren’t leveraging it at all.

If you aren’t using this metric, then you probably aren’t thinking about the differences in performance across mobile, desktop, and tablet devices.

A lot has been written, and proved in terms of the variances on performance. I am personally fascinated, and have written about it several times. These differences are driving performance, and the way in which we market to consumers. You have to understand these differences to evolve properly in the new digitally connected world.


All in all, there are many more important metrics to manage your paid search program on an ongoing basis – these are just a few to get you thinking. However, for those who are really looking to take their optimization to the next level, these metrics are the right places to start.

To truly win in this industry, we need to encourage ourselves to think deeper about our metrics. It will help us run paid search campaigns the best we can.

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