One of the great things about paid search is the fact that you can track everything. If someone visits your store after seeing your billboard or TV spot, there’s no real way to trace that. 

However, if someone sees your paid search ad and visits your website, you know how they got to your site. You know which ad they saw, what copy they responded to and even what search term triggered your ad.

There’s so much data that it can be hard to figure out what it all means or what to do with it. Impression counts, clickthrough rates, cost-per-click…how do you sort through it all and use your paid search metrics to make intelligent decisions?

I mean, what’s the point of having all of that data if you don’t know what to do with it?

To make matters worse, a lot of this data can be hard to properly interpret, so even experienced online marketers often draw the wrong conclusions from their data or focus on the wrong metrics in their accounts. So, if you’ve ever stared at your paid search account and wondered, “What am I missing?”, this article is for you.

Are you focused on the right paid search metrics?

If you’re like most online marketers, you probably have several campaigns running, at least a dozen ads and over a hundred keywords to keep track of. And that’s if your account is on the small side.

Every one of those campaigns, ads, ad groups and keywords can give you a wealth of information about your audience and how effective your advertising is…but only if you know how to use your data.

These days, paid search is so competitive that it isn’t enough to simply set up Google Analytics and keep an eye on your cost-per-click. You need to know how to interpret every aspect of your paid search data and use it to optimize the performance of your account.

Now, while that might sound like a daunting task, most of the information in your paid search account can be broken down into three manageable pieces: information about your traffic, information about conversions and information about sales.

Let’s take a look at each of these three types of data and how you can use them to interpret what’s happening in your paid search account.

What sort of traffic are you getting?

When it comes to paid search advertising, most marketers tend to focus on traffic-related metrics like impressions, cost-per-click (CPC) or click-through rate (CTR). After all, the main reason why you run paid search campaigns is to drive more traffic to your website.

And, not surprisingly, paid search platforms like Google Ads and Bing Ads are full of traffic-related information: device segmentation data, keyword info, impression share insights, and more. For Google and Bing, this info is incredibly easy to track and supply and it’s what most of their users are interested in.

What you can learn from traffic data

While all of this traffic data is certainly handy, it’s only useful if you know what to do with it. That being said, your traffic data tells you a lot about how well your campaigns are working for your target audience.

If no one is clicking on your ads, there’s a good chance that your ad copy needs some work…or you’re targeting the wrong keywords. If your cost-per-click is too high, you might need to rethink your bidding strategy. If you’re not getting enough impression share on your best campaigns, you probably need to consider shifting your budget around.

For example, say you’re running paid search ads for a local attorney. On average, this client makes $3,200 from a new client and spends about $1,200 taking care of them.

In your most recent review of your campaigns, you review your traffic data and put the following report together:

From the data above, it’s easy to see which campaign is generating the best results. Campaign #3 produces more clicks at a lower cost-per-click than any of your other campaigns. In contrast, while you spent over twice as much on campaign #4, you got one-third of the clicks you got from campaign #3.

Clearly, you either need to shut down campaign #4 and put its budget into a better campaign like #3 or invest some time into figuring out why campaign #4 is performing so poorly.

However, before you make any decisions, we should probably talk about the other two types of data in your account. After all, your attorney friend doesn’t make money from clicks. To make money, she needs leads…and none of this data tells you whether or not all of those clicks are actually turning into leads.

Is your traffic converting?

So, with that in mind, let’s talk about conversion data. Because Google and Bing often can’t tell what a conversion is for your website, it takes some extra work to set up conversion tracking for your site. And, as a result, almost half of paid search advertisers don’t track their campaigns beyond traffic data.

But here’s the thing, without conversion data, you can’t answer the following two critical questions about your paid search campaigns.

1. Is my website (or landing page) a good fit for my traffic?

Paid search marketing is intent-based marketing. When someone searches for something on Google or Bing and clicks on your ad, they’re actively looking for a solution to a problem…a problem they think your business can help them with.

Their click is an act of faith in your business and the page they land on after clicking shows them whether or not their faith was justified. If your landing page or website meets their expectations, a decent percentage of people should convert. If not, they’ll leave.

So, if your conversion rate is high, then your destination page is a good fit for your traffic. However, if your conversion rate is low, it means that something is off. Your landing page or site isn’t working for your traffic, so they’re leaving to find something better.

If you find yourself in the latter situation, you may want to take a hard look at the page you’re sending traffic to. You may need to rethink your page and site experience to bring it into closer alignment with the expectations of your traffic.

2. Is your traffic a good fit for your landing page?

Of course, the opposite might be true, too. If your landing page seems like it should be converting traffic, but it isn’t, your ads may be sending the wrong people to your page.

If people click on your ads because they want a divorce attorney, but you’re a personal injury firm, will they convert? The wrong traffic never converts, regardless of how good your site is.

In this situation, it’s often a good idea to look at the search terms people are using to find your ads and the actual ad copy that you’re using. If it seems like you’re attracting clicks from the wrong people, you may need to rework your advertising strategy to target the right audience.

What you can learn from conversion data

Once you have set up conversion tracking, look beyond traffic data and see how your campaigns did in terms of conversions.

Although it doesn’t have the best conversion rate (CR), campaign #3 gets enough cheap clicks that it still has the best cost-per-lead. And, as before, campaign #4 is still a lost cause. Between a low conversion rate and high cost-per-click, it’s producing leads at almost ten times the cost of a lead from campaign #3.

With an 8 percent conversion rate, it doesn’t seem like either of these campaigns are targeting the wrong traffic, but they could probably both benefit from a little conversion rate optimization on their destination pages.

However, while this data paints a clearer picture, your attorney friend still doesn’t make money off of leads. She needs to close new clients. To get at that information, we need to look at our sales data.

Are you making sales?

As helpful as traffic and conversion data are, they still don’t tell you whether or not your campaigns are making money. And, if your campaigns aren’t making money, why are you running them?

Unfortunately, tracking your paid search campaigns clear through to sales data can be tricky. E-commerce is pretty straightforward, but once you get beyond that, it can be hard to connect your actual sales data to your campaign performance. You often need some sort of CRM like Salesforce and you have to figure out how to connect all of the dots.

But is it worth it? Absolutely. Let’s take a look at what the sales data for our hypothetical law firm’s campaigns shows.

All of sudden, campaign #4 just went from zero to hero. It might not have a great CPC or conversion rate, but its return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) is almost twice the ROAS of any other campaign.

So what does this actually tell us? Well, for one thing, it’s clear that campaign #4 appeals to people who are much more likely to buy than the people in any of the other campaigns. Campaign #3 might drive a lot more traffic, but that traffic is far less likely to sign up for our attorney friend’s services.

Does this mean that campaign #3 is bad? With a ROAS of 92 percent, it’s certainly losing money right now, but it has a lot going for it on the traffic and data front. Before you can pass judgement on it, you’ll need to dive into that data and see if there is any way to turn all of that potential into actual sales.

Maybe you need to change your ad messaging to filter out people who aren’t likely to actually become a client. Maybe you could tweak the landing page to better appeal to potential clients. Maybe your attorney friend just needs some coaching on how to respond to leads from this campaign.

In any case, without this sales data, it would have been easy to assume that campaign #4 was a complete loss and campaign #3 deserved more of your budget – when, in fact, the opposite was actually true. This is why sales data is so important. Traffic and conversion data teach you useful things about your campaigns, but only sales data answers the question, “Are my ads actually making money?”


Your paid search account is full of valuable information, but turning all of that data into actionable information can sometimes seem overwhelming. The trick is making sure that you have access to all of the data that you need to make educated decisions and then knowing what each type of data tells you.

Now that you know how to interpret your data, all you have to do is start digging through your paid search metrics. Opportunities to improve your account should quickly become apparent. Good luck!

This story first appeared on Search Engine Land. For more on search marketing and SEO, click here.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Jacob is passionate entrepreneur on a mission to grow businesses using PPC & CRO. As the Founder & CEO of Disruptive Advertising, Jacob has developed an award-winning and world-class organization that has now helped over 2,000 businesses grow their online revenue. Connect with him on Twitter.


Everyone knows that in our digital economy, data is more valuable than oil. But it’s what you actually do with data that makes it so valuable. Personalizing your user’s experience can do wonders for your conversion rate: the Boston Consulting Group has estimated that personalized experiences could show brands a revenue increase between 6% and 10%.

If you do it ineffectively, though, you’re at risk of wasting money. That’s where Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) comes in. CRO experts are all about finding out the best ways for you to optimize the user experience to boost conversions, and personalization is a great place to start. So, here’s my Personalization 101 to help you get going.

Segmenting and targeting audiences

First things first: don’t skip the basics. Know your audience and know yourself. If your company doesn’t have the budget, a rich set of data, or the technical capability for large-scale changes, that’s fine! A little personalization can go a long way. 

Imagine you own a business selling pet supplies nationwide, and you’re running an online flash sale on dog beds. By segmenting your audience by what type of animal they have, and then targeting only dog owners with your sale ads and your sale landing page, you’re already making small steps to providing a relevant experience to your customers. 

One British retailer does this by encouraging new customers to link their social accounts. This way, the company can, with consent, use information such as location and gender to segment their audiences and provide them with personalized offers and sales.

Ultimately, you want to make your site and your products as accessible and attractive to each potential customer as possible. As Steve Krug said: “As a user, I should never have to devote a millisecond of thought to whether things are clickable – or not.” 

Be relevant in your user’s journey 

Knowing that a user abandoned their cart is really helpful information. Why did they abandon it? Was the product too expensive? Did they run out of time on their lunch break? Did they see something else they preferred? Personalize the experience for them. If the products in their basket have a high value, you could send them an email with a 10% off code or suggest similar, more affordable options at the top of the page next time they visit. It’s personalized, but it’s not intrusive. It’s giving the user something that will actually benefit them.

It’s worth bearing in mind that people are often not buying for themselves: not all people buying baby products are parents themselves. Relevance means still being able to reach them without targeting them like expecting parents. 

Don’t overdo it – and don’t be creepy

As with most things, personalization is best done in moderation. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should. Data should be used wisely. Transparency and user consent really do matter. We’ve seen the trouble the tech giants have been in with opaque consent flows and some outright omissions. Users want to know how their data is being used.

Remember Target making the headlines for alerting a teenage girl’s parents to the fact she was pregnant by using her shopping behaviors to send her personalized coupons by mail?  Even Amazon, with its amazing resources and data, doesn’t get it quite right. They might show you the “buy it again” option for products you’re likely to need to stock up on but are equally likely to suggest repurchasing products no one is going to buy repeatedly in a short amount of time. 

Consumers have become used to super-relevant ads and expect highly personalized experiences. In order to keep providing this within a world of less data and more regulation, we need to be smarter about what users want and how we can best deliver it to them. Invest your time and money into asking users what would be beneficial to them (e.g., in a quick survey or form when they arrive on your site). People know what they want, and they’re not afraid to tell you.

Do it right

Personalization done well can make consumers feel like you are engaging directly with them, making them more likely to convert. But remember that personalization isn’t the be-all and end-all. While it can be tremendously valuable, there’s no point in getting caught up in the buzzwords. If you’re going to do it, do it right. Don’t just copy what others are doing; figure out what’s best for your own clients or customers. Start small and build up in complexity, test everything, and always, always keep your end-user at the forefront of your mind.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Laura Robinson is head of conversion rate optimization at Brainlabs. Having conducted hundreds of experiments across several industries from e-commerce to finance, she is passionate about facilitating the increase in online sales for clients.


What are proxies? You’ve heard people talk about them, but you aren’t sure what proxies actually are. Sounds familiar?

Well, we’re here to clear up any confusion you may have regarding proxies and help you understand them.





So, What Are Proxies?

A proxy is an intermediary that acts as a buffer between users and the internet, allowing you to hide your IP from website servers. This means, when you use a proxy, your IP doesn’t get transmitted to the site. Instead, the proxy sends out an IP address, which will come from a different location, and the site won’t be able to tell who you are and where in the world you’re located.

For instance, let’s say you live in California, but you use US proxies located in Florida. The site you visit will think you’re from Florida, not California. That’s an excellent way to hide identity on the web.

To clear up any further confusion about what are proxies, let’s take a look at different types of proxies you can choose from.

Different Types of Proxies and Their Uses

#1: Data Center Proxies

Data center proxies are dedicated proxy servers that aren’t affiliated with Internet Service Providers (ISPs). These proxies come from a secondary organization and give you full private IP authentication, top-tier anonymity, and excellent response time.

Use Cases:

Data center proxies are great for market research, and for brand protection purposes, as they work like a charm since they’re fast, affordable, and are a reliable web scraping solution.

Let’s assume someone is using your brand without authorization. Now, this can harm your brand reputation, and you may also start losing revenue fast. Harnessing data center proxies can be an excellent solution for online businesses of all shapes and sizes to identify any potential threats to their companies.

Residential Proxies

Residential proxies are IP addresses provided by ISPs to their customers. A residential proxy is a genuine/real IP attached to a physical location, meaning whenever you move to a new area and set up your internet connection, your Internet Service Provider will give you an IP address. You can simply google it to find out what your IP address is.

Use Cases:

Residential proxies are great for any data harvesting operation. For instance, travel fare aggregators use residential proxies to scrape flight prices and aggregate the collected data into their own website.

Collecting data on pricing is a tough job for travel fare aggregator websites. Travel agencies, airline sites, and other sources have robust security checks, and any robotic behavior will get banned/blocked. This is where residential proxies come to the rescue with their legitimacy.

SOCKS5 Proxies

SOCKS5 is a web protocol. You can connect to any proxy using it. It’s traffic agnostic, which means it passes whatever traffic you are sending via the server, as well as to your recipient.

SOCKS5 proxies build a TCP connection. Thus, they can transfer UDP packets throughout the connection. In essence, you can pass UDP packets onto the server, and they’re passed onto the recipient via a TCP network. Furthermore, SOCKS5 supports Domain Name Resolution and IPv6, meaning the client can specify a URL, instead of an IP address.

Use Cases:

SOCKS5 proxy servers are fast, and so they’re mostly used for online activities that don’t consist of connecting to various sites where the data can be obtained easily. SOCKS5 proxy servers are best for using peer-to-peer (P2P) services and torrenting.

SOCKS5 proxies have better security than regular proxies. They’re also great for bypassing geographic or content blocking, and hiding your location.

Static Residential Proxies

A static residential proxy is a combination of residential and data center proxies. They’re officially assigned by an ISP, and therefore offering an incredibly fast, stable, and anonymous experience to the end-user.

These proxies allow for clients to operate on the web as residential users with the same IPs for however long it’s required.

Use Cases:

Static residential proxies are best for SEO monitoring and scraping since they are IP addresses of unique devices that don’t share a subnetwork, meaning the target cannot block them. If, as a B2B client, you seek to harvest data and don’t want to get blocked, you’ll need static residential proxies so that you aren’t recognized as a bot.

Wrapping Up

If you’re a business, you’ll find the proxies mentioned above extremely helpful. We hope this article cleared up the confusion you had concerning what are proxies. If you are still a bit unsure about what proxies are, check out Oxylabs’ take on this topic. As always if you have any further queries, share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

— Gavin

A Web addicted Geek stuck inside Tron.