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How can I test whether advertising on branded search terms is generating incremental traffic (and how much)?
A few ideas for a test have been 1-day-on, 1-day-off for 1 week, and then flip for the following week. Curious if the community has recommendations or experience they can share.
You could turn it on and off but what about daily variations in traffic? How would you measure "Branded search terms" in GA?
It's a question I've been asking myself and I think it's a tough one. It's hard to get accurate results.
Traffic is one factor but don't forget to consider CTR and Conversion Rates.
Creating branded search campaigns can give you a greater control on what's being shown on Google. Send people to a specific landing page and write compelling ads to improve your CTR.
You could see variations in Traffic, CTR and Conversion Rates. You could measure the first two with Google Webmaster tools but knowing how accurate it can be, I'm not sure you'll be very confident with your results...
In the end, I argued with some of my clients that "Branded" campaigns should be compared to other campaigns. The question then becomes "Are we beating our target CPA on these campaigns?".
If that's the case, you either want to say:
1. We will get these sales anyway without paying (and potentially loose sales).
2. Let's maintain these campaigns. We know it has a positive impact, we just don't know by how much.
I'm really sorry for this answer. This is weird to write but sometimes you can't "measure everything". Sometimes Google (Ads + SEO) makes me sick ;)
Maybe someone else has a better answer to this question?
When advertising on branded search terms, 9 times out of 10 the traffic from Direct and Organic channels increases.
Why? - people see ads but not everyone clicks on ads. Brand recognition increases the number of people searching directly for your brand as well as the people that visit your site, bookmark it, and then return.
How to measure incremental traffic?
- Note the specific date and time when you started your brand campaigns.
- Be specific on where you're putting your ads (search network, hyper targeted, etc.)
- Calculate the average traffic that comes from other non-paid channels. Try to have the most "real" average, removing outliers and other data points that might skew it.
- Split that average by day of week or by weekday/weekend.
- Know what's your returning vs. new visitor rate
Now, wait a few weeks after you've launched your brand campaigns and pull the following data to compare against your benchmarks:
- Using GA (or Google Search Console if you don't have it integrated with GA), pull the number of brand related queries and see if they're higher or lower than your benchmark (they should be higher)
- Using GA, take a look at direct traffic. Has it increased since you launched your brand campaign? Compare day-to-day
- Find the rate of returning vs new visitors. If you're doing a branded, re-marketing campaign this can be a useful metric.
- If you have some featured articles out there, see if referral traffic from them increase as more people should be finding information about you.
- Exclude all traffic from the paid brand campaigns and see if there are any variations with your average.
Instead of testing, what you should do is measure.
As I said at the beginning, most times your overall traffic increases, specially from organic and direct channels.
Hope this helps.
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