January 8, 2019
The Evolution of Google Exact Match & What It Means for PPC Advertisers
It is generally accepted by advertisers that AdWords sitelinks are important to overall ad performance. The extra space on the search engine results page and offering the searcher extra webpages to convert on are both easy wins. However, do you really know how well your AdWords sitelinks actually perform?
When you first look at sitelink performance under the ad extensions tab, the data you see is not actually sitelink data. Instead, it’s the aggregated data of the sitelinks and text ads.
That’s because these metrics reflect each time an ad was served while sitelinks were showing, which isn’t what we are looking for. The information is useful to see how your ad performs while those sitelinks are showing, but it won’t tell you stats for the sitelinks themselves. What we want to know is: do users actually interact with our sitelinks at all?
Thanks to Adwords’ Enhanced Campaigns this data is now much easier to see; you just need to know where to look. There are two main reports:
Report 1: Click Type
This report tells you which section of the ad was clicked when your ad was being served with a particular sitelink (either the headline or the sitelink extension). You want to use this report to see the overall CTR for clicks on the sitelinks vs clicks that occurred on the headline portion.
Where do you find this report? Under the Sitelinks extension tab, click on “Segment”, then select “Click type”.
Report 2: This Extension vs “Other”
This report gives us the ability to view sitelink data at a more granular level by segmenting by individual extension.
Where do you find this report? Under the Sitelinks extension tab, click on “Segment”, then select “This Extension vs. Other”. This report provides you with the most granular level of information.
Because we can view individual sitelink performance using this report, we want to take the data a step further to see what percentage of clicks and conversions came from the sitelink itself
Using an example case from one of my clients, I pulled the report for This Extension vs Other. In the table below, looking at one sitelink’s performance, you can see this sitelink generated 2.34% of clicks at a slightly better conversion rate than my headline. This suggests that sitelinks do drive value from a direct conversion standpoint (although on a much smaller scale).
When evaluating sitelink performance, keep a couple of things in mind:
Just like we evaluate strong vs poor performing ads on a consistent basis, we should also regularly evaluate sitelink performance. Consider sitelinks part of your overall ad copy testing plan, and make sure to look at the data and optimize your messaging.