Using Analytics Reports to Improve Online Ads

February 1, 2018 Seth Spriggs

Once upon a time, advertising worked something like this: advertisers created ads, purchased airtime on the radio or TV or space in a magazine or newspaper, and published their ad. They then, however, had limited ways to measure the ad’s effectiveness. But digital advertising has completely changed the amount of information businesses are able to learn from their advertising efforts.

Thanks to analytics, not only is it possible to pinpoint exactly what happens when customers view your online ads, but you can also use that information to improve your future campaigns.

Analytics reports consist of comprehensive data which tells you exactly what happens when people encounter your ads and your website. Using a tool such as Google Analytics or Yellow Pages Analytics (which is free with your online business listing, website, search engine marketing campaign or advertising), you can see how many people have viewed your ad, whether they click through to your website, and much more.

That means every time you advertise, you can build upon the successes and learnings of your previous ads to target more valuable customers, expand your audience, and fine-tune your calls to action or messaging so that they are most effective.

Here are five things to look at in your analytics reports that can help you to improve your online ad strategy:

1. Click through rate

Click through rate (CTR) is a measure of how many people are clicking on your ads relative to how many people see them. Because it’s a percentage, CTR allows you to compare apples to apples, even when there’s a difference in the audience size between two ads. Use analytics to quantitatively identify your higher performing ads, and then do a qualitative analysis on the ones with the highest CTRs. Look for commonalities in the type of information displayed, call to action wording, or style features such as font or colour. Then apply those learnings as you create your next batch of ads.

2. Landing page bounce rate

Bounce rate reflects how many people visit a page and leave without taking any action at all. If your landing pages have a higher bounce rate, it may mean that although people are clicking on your ads, when they arrive on your site they aren’t finding the information they need (or think they’ll find, based on your ad). Think of a higher bounce rate as an opportunity to more clearly give customers the information promised in your ad, and to strengthen calls to action on your landing pages to better encourage prospective customers take the next step. 

3. Device data

Most analytics tools give you data on whether people are accessing your content from mobile devices or desktops. Compare the pages on your website that are more commonly viewed from phones and from home computers to better understand the type of information people search for quickly when they’re on the go vs. when they are at home. For example, you could find higher visits from mobile devices to your product lists or location pages, whereas people at home may be spending more time on testimonial pages or viewing detailed product descriptions. Use that information to inform both the keyword targeting and content of your search engine marketing ads.

4. Site search data

Once people come to your site, what are they looking for? Use the data from your internal website search to create ads promoting that information. Then, use those ads to get in front of consumers proactively. It’s also important to make sure you optimize your ad’s landing page to encourage customers to take the next step after they click. Give website visitors the information promised in the ad along with clear and powerful calls to action, whether to download a coupon, call you for a quote, or whatever else you want them to do next.

5. Contacts

Included in your free Yellow Pages Analytics report, contacts is the ultimate way to gauge the effectiveness of your ads based on the leads they generate. Contacts measures whether people who saw your advertising called you, with a unique phone number for each ad so that you can compare the effectiveness of each. If you’re doing A/B testing to compare two different ads, the information in your contacts report will help you understand which ad performed better and allow you to apply your test to future campaigns.

Using analytics to find opportunities

The depth of information in your analytics reports makes it easy to find opportunities to get in front of customers proactively through advertising, as well as to better understand exactly how users respond to your online ads. Whether you use search ads, display or both, Yellow Pages can walk you through your analytics report and help you find opportunities to drive even better results from your advertising.

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