Whether you are a pay-per-click (PPC) or Facebook advertiser, or both, no doubt you have wondered if your money is well-spent. Here’s some help in evaluating the efforts: a recent study of the efficacy of Facebook advertising and a free tool that helps you benchmark your Google AdWords performance against that of other companies spending relatively the same amount on Google PPC ads.
More Effective Facebook Ads
A study by Alchemy Social, which manages Facebook advertising campaigns, and Experian Marketing Services, which tracks visits to websites, looked at key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be indicative of how well a Facebook ad campaign performs. They tracked how often a “fan” who clicked “like” actually visited a client telecomm company’s online store. In a white paper reporting on the study, Alchemy Social wrote, “[M]easuring the return on fans acquired during a Facebook ad campaign requires a more sophisticated approach [than direct-response ads] using metrics that go beyond click paths and instead measure the overall effect campaigns have.”
One of their conclusions that seems self-evident but is easy to overlook in doing an internet ad campaign is that cheap fans become mediocre customers. If you’re running a campaign to get fans, you’ll want to read the white paper.
Key discoveries that were reported in an article on AllFacebook but not in the white paper were:
- Fans visited the business’ store 131 percent more often than Facebook users who had not clicked “like”
- Fans visited the business’ store 639 percent more often than people who were not on Facebook
- Once users became fans they visited the online store more often by a factor of 30 percent 
AdWords Performance Grader
Small businesses have been among the most active users of a free tool that helps them manage their spending on Google PPC advertising, said Larry Kim, founder and VP of Marketing and Products for WordStream. He likens the free AdWords Performance Grader to a health check or a credit score because it tells you how you’re doing versus others in your class.
On the registration page, you supply the link to your AdWords account and permission to access it, and in about a minute, the tool analyzes your data and runs a report comparing your behavior (such as, do you have multiple text ads running) and results to that of others in your spending bracket. You get a percentage score in eight categories like Quality Score, Click Thru Rate, and Long-Tail Keyword Optimization. This tells you where you are doing well and also gives you plenty of tips on doing better.
WordStream’s clients are typically small business, with half spending less than $1,500 a month on PPC advertising, said Kim. “What this tool gives you is a free, instant audit of how you’re doing” versus those with a similar spend. “Our score is saying we’ve analyzed thousands of accounts that are similar to your account and here’s how your achievement stacks up…” he said. Your results are compared to those of companies with similar amounts of advertising dollars at stake.
One of the key metrics is Wasted Spend, which looks at your use of negative keywords (the way to exclude your ad from showing up where it’s not relevant; for instance, if you were a San Francisco chiropractor you would want a list of negative keywords from Albuquerque to Zanesville). How many you added in the last 90 days is the point in this category. Not only does the tool give you a percent score, showing, for instance, that 70 percent of others in your spending category did better than you did at adding negative keywords in this period, but it also calculates a dollar figure for money you’re wasting in a year. Adding negative keywords “routinely … will continue to save you money going forward,” the tool advises.
That educational aspect of the AdWords Performance Grader is one of its best features. Below every chart and jargon-free description of what’s important about this metric, you can click to learn more. Most of those buttons lead to white papers and how-to’s. Some go to a free trial of WordStream’s other product called PPC Advisor.
AdWords Performance Grader is a free education for business owners who are feeling their way in PPC advertising.
 Pre-qualified Fan Bases and the Metrics That Demonstrate Their Superior Worth