In a recent post on the popular question-and-answer site Quora, someone asked the following question:

“How do you optimize Google AdWords that focus only on traffic?”

It’s an interesting and intelligent question, so we decided to answer it there. As well as here, on the official Amplitude Digital blog.

The answer goes a little something like this…

If you’re using Google Analytics for your tracking, you can actually set up quite a few different metrics as “goals” – and those “goals” can then become “conversions” when passed along to Google AdWords.

And if you’re optimizing for traffic, then you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the best traffic you can. This would translate to a low bounce rate, high pageviews-per-visit rates, high time on site, and so on. Once you determine your line for what you would consider your target, you can define this as a goal…then these goals become your conversions. You can even get to a point where you can use Conversion Optimizer within AdWords based on this data.

However, keep in mind that you’re most likely NOT actually optimizing for traffic. Sites that pay for advertising are there to make money, and that money comes from somewhere. Even if you’re an advertising-based site, you’re in the business of pageviews, so you’re really looking for multi-page visitors, who generate the most revenue per advertising click. If the site is for leads, you’re optimizing for cost per lead. If you actually sell a product online, then it’s CPA or ROI.

All too often, we are asked to “increase traffic,” “increase rank on the search engines,” or some other metric that has very little to do with the actual business of the client. Just recently, we saw an article insisting that the most important KPI (Key Performance Indicator) in AdWords in the Quality Score. However, the problem with this and the other metrics I mentioned is that they are not KPIs, but diagnostic metrics. As we recently blogged about in this space, KPIs are tied directly to the success of the business itself; a diagnostic metric is something you use to optimize your KPIs, because it’s usually part of a larger equation.

Sometimes, when we’re feeling a little playful, we’ll respond to these requests with something like, “Oh, traffic? I can get you LOTS of traffic! Penny, half-penny a visitor!” This usually leads to the client taking a step back and saying something like, “oh, so ‘quality traffic?'” or some such variation. But…that’s still not the answer.

So…what IS the answer?

Basically, all online actions should lead to some sort of “direct response” style action at the end of the sales funnel. Even someone who is trying to simply increase “awareness” should be measuring some sort of on-site engagement as a method of proving the value of the visit.

Here at Amplitude Digital, we’ve been pushing our clients for years to have at least some sort of “direct response” (or DR) conversion as part of their online campaigns – even if their overall marketing goal is to raise or enhance awareness.

Newsletter signups. Coupon downloads. Recipe book requests. Other ebook downloads. How-to-video views. Amount of time on site. Low bounce rate. High pageviews-per-visit. All of these constitute a “conversion” that can be optimized for any type of paid advertising campaign…and all of them should be compared to the cost required to obtain them.

Now, most of the PPC articles in the digital marketing world talk about the EASY conversion – a sale, a lead, etc. – but selling something online isn’t every company’s business model. Not even close.

Sometimes, a business or brand is more advertising-based. Sometimes, they only sell in physical, brick-and-mortar locations. Like, say, grocery stores.

Such is the case with Pulmuone Foods USA, Inc. A leader in refrigerated all-natural and organic food products, this growing company’s portfolio includes the Monterey Gourmet Foods™ brand, featuring pastas and sauces, and the Wildwood® brand, offering healthy alternatives such as tofu, salsas, hummus and dairy alternatives.

When it came time to develop the first foray into advertising for their two flagship brands, Pulmuone Foods USA partnered with Amplitude Digital and our traditional media advertising agency ally, Always On Communications. We were tasked with increasing brand awareness and purchase intent for two brands that appealed to two completely different target markets, all on a very tight budget.

Working together, we were able to do just that. And then some. We further expanded and analyzed those target markets, honing in on their likes, dislikes, media habits and more. We then developed a far-reaching brand awareness campaign that utilized everything from print to paid search on Google AdWords and social media ads on Facebook – driving those target audiences to the company website and various coupon-related opportunities. We even created a regionally targeted digital coupon campaign for both brands.

As a result, both brands enjoyed a massive increase in brand awareness AND purchase intent for the entire U.S. market. One coupon-based promotion was so successful that it actually cleared the shelves of multiple grocery store chains in one particular market.

In short, we helped Pulmuone Foods USA convert. And then convert again. And again.

What are YOUR goals? Your conversions? And are you getting the results you’re looking for?

Feel free to share your thoughts, comments and questions in the comments section below this blog. And don’t hesitate to Make a Booking to get on our calendar if you want to increase your conversions. And grow your brand or business. We’re here to help!

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