3 Times Failing to Prioritize PPC Goals Can Hurt Your Business

get-your-priorities-straightBusinesses are multidimensional. There’s not one silver bullet goal that can be achieved and make each a success. Many marketing managers know this. They understand that ROI and Revenue mean different things. Lead volume and lead quantity, same story. The problem comes when each of those things are given their own goal without clear prioritization. Here are a few instances where goal prioritization can be key.

Differing Goal Values

Not all goals are created equal. A phone call may be more or less valuable than an online lead based on a number of factors. A free trial might be less valuable than someone requesting a demo. No matter what the actions are, it’s likely that each has their own value. The issue arises when you’re able to do both with your PPC campaigns, but you don’t want to focus on just one.

An issue I’ve found myself in recently is deciding how hard of a conversion action to offer. We have the ability for someone to download a whitepaper or request a consultation (a much bigger ask). If we gear our campaigns to downloading the whitepaper, we’ll easily get a good number of leads, but the quality tends to be very hit or miss. If we offer the consultation, our conversion rates go down drastically, but our leads are highly qualified.

For this client, we have to strike a balance of lead volume as well as lead quality. It’s great to have lots of leads coming in, but sales people waste their time if someone isn’t even remotely interested. But the converse occurs if we bring in only a very low number of qualified leads. Sales people end up bored. For this client, it’s very important for us to know how many of each type of goal needs to be reached to keep their sales team happy and increase their customer count in the process.

Inverse Goal Relationships


Sometimes goals don’t get along. They just aren’t the best of friends. Let’s say you’re an ecommerce site and you have goals for both ROI and Revenue. That’s fantastic. But your trend graph of those won’t go up and to the right. At a certain point in nearly every account, an increase in revenue will require a drop in ROI or vice verse. Take the idea of a loss leader. Certain products are sold at a low or at times negative ROI to increase revenue for that product as well as other products within the offering. Overall, revenue goes up but ROI might take a bit of a hit.

The same can be said for lead gen when one conversion action is essentially the same as another. Let’s say you’re a financial planning site and you have good performance with people requesting an appointment online as well as via a phone call. That’s great. The issue arises when you try to increase one without decreasing the other. All other factors being equal, you’re very likely going to lose phone calls if you begin to push for online conversions.

Account Manager Paralysis

No matter if your account is managed by an in-house or agency team, you still rely on them to make changes that best suit your goals. If those goals are not consistent and clearly defined, your going to run into problems.
First, consistency. You can have the best PPC manager in the world but if you keep changing goals around on them your performance is going to suffer. The occasional shift isn’t unrealistic. It’s when goals or areas of emphasis are changed from week to week without much warning. Your account manager will get frustrated and will hesitate to make changes knowing that the bullseye could be moved on them the next day.

Second, clarity. Saying “I want more phone calls” is great, but without giving a number or allowing for the fact that, as discussed above, other stats might change with that shift in strategy can be just as paralyzing. Give clearly defined goals that are rooted in realistic scenarios.

Don’t be afraid to set “if, then” types of goals as well. In the case of the ecommerce site balancing ROI and Revenue and “if, then” goal allows for you to maintain your desired success levels, but also gives your manager a set of boundaries to work within. Here are a few examples of “if, then” goals:

  • “If we have 400% ROI, then spend is not an issue.”
  • “We want 300% ROI, but we must get to $100,000 in revenue no matter the ROI.”
  • “We would like to get 20 new leads per day, so let’s focus on getting there with consultations first and fill in the remaining leads with whitepaper downloads.”

Using these types of goal statements, you give your manager clearly defined lines to work within as well as the ability to work without needing to come to you for direction each time performance changes.

Setting goals in your PPC campaigns is a necessity, but prioritizing them can allow you and your team to avoid sticky situations before they even come up.