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Pay-per-click (PPC), also known as cost per click (CPC), is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, in which an advertiser pays a publisher (typically a website owner or a network of websites) when the ad is clicked. PPC is a popular way to get visitors when you need traffic. When inheriting a website, this may come with a pay-per-click account that the previous owners had used to get exposure.

Whenever you manage a PPC account, tracking should be a high priority. But when you are inheriting an account, costs can be high, so it is in your best interest to ensure that tracking is in place and working correctly.

Below are some key checks to do when inheriting a pay-per-click account and how to remedy any flaws when going through these checks.

PPC Conversion Tracking

Ensure that the conversion tracking available through the major PPC search engines is in place. Run a lead-tracking report to see if conversion data is available for each search engine in use. This will tell you if they’re using conversion tracking. If they are, double check that the codes have been installed correctly on the website and/or landing pages. Leave no landing page unchecked, no conversion path untouched. If the account has no conversion data, this is your chance to implement the codes. Utilizing the conversion tracking services through Google, and Bing will allow you to manage those accounts more easily because you will have immediate access to conversion statistics.

AdWords and Analytics

Check the analytics tagging. When inheriting an account, your first task is to ask your client or the previous account manager whether they have been using an analytics program to monitor the site’s performance. If they have, find out if Google AdWords has been linked to Google Analytics (if the client is using Google Analytics). You can do this by simply logging into AdWords and clicking on Google Analytics from the Tools and Analysis tab.

Google Search Query Data in Analytics

Within the Google AdWords interface, there is a Search Query Performance report. However, this report has a major flaw: a tremendous amount of the search queries are labeled “other unique queries” and are not revealed to you. This can be very frustrating.

Google Analytics can be used to work around this issue and gain access to all search queries for your AdWords traffic. The process involves creating a new profile and creating filters that will pull the search query data out of the referral string (information that is passed to your website with each visitor from Google). Upon completing the setup process, you will be able to view the search queries for all your AdWords traffic.

Insertion tags, or as Google calls them, ValueTrack tags, are designed to pass important information from Google to your analytics package via your destination URL only. Use insertion tags to create comprehensive tracking URLs that will pull in keywords, differentiate between Search and Content, and display ad IDs and even the site where your placement targeted ad appeared.