Getting measurement right in Google ads

One of the reasons I was drawn to paid search was the huge scope for measuring what you do. And because of that, testing, measuring and refining our work have always been at the heart of our approach at online performance marketing agency Atomic Leap.

By no means everyone does this properly, and you can get so far without doing so. But at some point, you will need to measure properly to get the most from your paid search. And if you are high growth – the sooner, the better.

Your outputs directly relate to your inputs

What you measure in Google ads directly contributes to how much you get out. Because anything you can measure, you can improve and optimise.

Do you want to maximise volume of sales? You can do that.  Do you want to reduce bounce rate? You can do that too. Or do you want to generate more profit for your business?  Guess what, you can also do that.

By measuring this, then you can optimise towards it in Google.

Combining Google Ads and Google Analytics is a highly flexible and effective way to create meaningful conversion goals linked to your business objectives. These can make a real impact on your business.

Google Analytics

You can measure virtually anything that happens on your website via google analytics and then work towards optimising it. Whereas Google Ads is great for giving you data about what happens before people click, Google Analytics is powerful for informing you what happens after the click. Using them together gives you a far fuller picture. Let’s focus in just two things you can measure and optimise in Google Analytics: Call tracking and business KPIs.

Call tracking

If inbound telephone calls are an important part of your business development, then you should definitely be measuring those. Call tracking tech used to cost a lot, but with a range of competitors and new solutions this can now be done relatively cheaply. It’s not the easiest thing to do without support (either in-house expertise or an agency), but it is absolutely something that Web Atomic can help with.

By tracking telephone calls in Google Ads you can even link offline sales data to online metrics to see which keywords or ads drive the telephone calls.


When you think of measuring PPC performance, you could be forgiven for immediately picturing click through rates and quality scores and the like. After all they are in your face on the dashboards. But like other forms of digital marketing you really need to be measuring the solid business KPIs, not being seduced by vanity metrics.

So if you know you want a certain type of sale then start measuring and optimising it. Whatever your KPIs are, that is what you should try to optimise towards, and it is better to be ambitious than cautious. This clarity of thought can bring tremendous focus to a paid search strategy. One of our mantras at Web Atomic is that not tracking conversions is a PPC sin of the highest order.

Now let’s look at how you can add much more insight to the way you measure clicks.

How attribution models can help you

The easy thing to do when measuring click through rate is to score it directly against the advert on which your leads click. This is known as a “last click” basis. Sometimes, when you have limited paid search activity this may be sufficient. But when you are running multiple campaigns, or have been advertising over a long period of time, this may oversimplify the results. This means that you could miss out on important opportunities to refine your campaign.

This is where attribution models can help. If you don’t know, attribution models are used to understand how the credit for a “click” should be allocated over a number of advert impressions. Used correctly, it can give you much better insight into how the decision to buy was made in the customer journey. So let’s take a look at how you can get away from analysing your click through rate on a last click basis.

Using Google Ads attribution models to get away from a last click basis

Within Google Ads, there are a range of attribution models to help you understand how you achieved your clicks:

  • Last click – As mentioned above, this gives the credit for the click to the last ad and keyword that was clicked.
  • First click – This gives scores the click entirely against the first ad and keyword which was clicked.
  • Linear – This evenly splits credit amongst all ads and keywords which were clicked.
  • Time decay – Using a seven-day half-life this weights credit towards more recent clicked ads and keywords.
  • Position based – The first and last ads/keywords receive 40% of the credit each, with the middle ones sharing the remaining 20%.
  • Data driven – Only available to accounts with enough data, this uses past conversion information to calculate how credit should be attributed.

Google has a feature which lets you compare side by side how different attribution models change the picture. This can help you dig a little deeper to get all the information available and also select the right attribution model for you beyond “last click”. The information you glean can be used to improve your bidding on future campaigns.

As you would expect, we do this on all the campaigns we work on. So if you would like to have a conversation about how we can help you with your metrics, do please get in touch