Symbols that lift the CTR

When used in the headlines, symbols can in some cases lift the CTR, and in some others it can actually drop.

®: My experience has been great with this one. It helps to give the message of “we are the official site”.

?: Using question marks usually have a low performance, and yet many use them. I guess they don’t do A/B tests…

!: If we could use them, that would rule and I’m sure they would send CTR to the sky.

#: In some cases it can help. You should test it in order to really know.

Emojis: They are against AdWords ad writing policy so my suggestion is to not use them.

$: If you’re promoting a low price, it can help of course.

&: In all my tests it underperformed compared to “and”.

Know any other symbols that should be tested?

Here is some more info about the ad writing policy.

AdWords Key Performance Indicators

Google AdWords has a lot of metrics, and in fact you can even create your own.
But as we know, not every number has the same weight, and if everything is important, then nothing is important.
Not all the metrics are equally important, some are almost useless while some really need our focus. Those metrics that help us understand the progress against our stablished goals are called Key Performance Indicators (KPI).

Which metrics become KPIs depend on the type of account and vertical, instead of always being the same ones.
Usually the most common ones are associated with conversion, like conversion amount and cost per conversion. But sometimes the goal is to bring the biggest traffic volumen possible, so conversions aren’t that important.
Other times the AdWords campaign has a branding goal, therefore metrics like CTR and impressions become the KPIs.
For an e-commerce, ROI is the most common KPI, but sometimes it’s more important to maximize the income rather than ROI, specially if the lifetime value is good.

I love KPIs and I hate when there’s more talk about non-KPIs metrics in a clients meeting. Average position or CPC are worthless metrics and they don’t have a place in any serious meeting or talk. I’d like to think Avinash would agree with me!

What are your thoughts on KPIs vs. regular metrics? Enter your comment!

Thanks for reading!

Google Grants

Google runs a program for non-profits called Google Grants, and we currently have two NGO clients on it.

It allows to use $329 per day in search campaigns and a max. CPC of $2.

You can’t run campaigns on display, remarketing, YouTube, Gmail or search partners, but even then it is really powerful and of big help to non-profit organizations.

In 2013 they announced that Google Grants advertisers would see their ads below of regular advertisers, but I can’t find documentation regarding how that works nowadays.
They recently announced that you must reach a minimum level of ad quality in order to an ad receive an impression, so QS is something to look closely when using this program.

They recently launched in the UK ( and they keep adding countries to the list of allowed ones.


Google Tag Manager for PPC

Google Tag Manager is a free tool that also has a paid version, and its purpose is to fire digital marketing tags.

It allows marketers to set up the tags they need without having to modify the website’s code or to ask the developers to do it.

Currently it allows to fire the following type of tags:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google AdWords
  • DoubleClick
  • Google Optimize
  • Google Surveys
  • Custom HTML
  • AB Tasty
  • Adometry
  • AdRoll
  • Audience Center 360
  • Crazy Egg
  • LinkedIn Insight
  • Among others.

Does CTR correlates with CR?

There has been a lot of discussion on this topic. Some people argue that CTR is the most important metric when it comes to generate growth; other say that ads should strive for a better conversion rate, otherwise you could get more clicks from “happy clickers”.

Let’s take a look at some data:

Yeah, I know, “correlation does not mean causation“, however I see this pattern over and over again at our clients accounts.

The reality is that in order to optimize CTR, you must get rid of traffic that doesn’t convert. Makes sense that with that, you also cut a lot of search volume and therefore you generate less impressions without clicks.

Creating better ads is of course a good strategy, but it can take you so far if you don’t also add negative keywords frequently.

Is your agency improving?

As PPC managers, we normally look for each account’s performance and work hard to improve its KPIs.
But as an agency, we must focus on the continuous improvement not only of our accounts, but also on our techniques and processes.

Lately i’ve been digging at data from my “my client account” (formerly known as MCC) and to my satisfaction, I can see that we are doing a good job overall.

By clicking this button on the left:

We can then see how we are performing CTR-wise for example:

Or, we can see if we are driving more conversions each month:

Is our conversion rate improving?

As we see in the last graphic, we got a lower CR in the last two months, but since we got more conversions, it’s not something to worry.

I recommend to also take a look at the “competitive metrics” like “search impression share” in order to be aware of each client’s budget and to make corrections if needed.

Also, for more insights about continuous improvement, take a look at this article: