One of the great things about search advertising is the ability to measure performance. Purchase an ad in a magazine or newspaper and you’re only guessing what impact your advertising efforts are having on sales. With search advertising, you can drill down all the way to the keyword level to find out what’s working and what isn’t.

I sell electronic downloads from my website. But those sales are miniscule compared to Kindle books purchased from Amazon. So I need to find other ways to measure success. The most obvious measure is books shipped by my distributor. Books shipped and book sales do not have a direct correlation. Wholesalers and retailers normally purchase more books than what they have orders for. What they don’t sell they return to the publisher. When a book is first published, a return rate of 30% is the norm. My book has been out long enough that when orders come in they are unlikely to come back as returns. Plus, I get paid the month the books ship. So looking at the number of books shipped prior to the campaign and after will provide a good indication of how the campaign performed. Here are the numbers for September 22 through November 22.

These numbers do not contain the eBook sales for November. Those sales numbers are not reported until the end of the month. So a more realistic picture would be around 140 combined print and eBooks.

The next method I’ll use to track the overall effectiveness of this PPC campaign is site visitors. Now if I’m paying people to visit my site, there will obviously be an increase in visitors. But many people will see an ad and then enter the URL directly rather than clicking on the ad. So there should be an increase in visits over and above the paid visits. Here are the numbers for the two months prior to the start of the campaign.

Lastly, even though I don’t sell hard copies of my book from my website, I do have an order page with links to booksellers that do sell both the printed version as well as the eBook version. So I have set the order page on my site as a goal completion. If someone visits this page, it is not an indication that they made an actual purchase. But the fact that they decided to go to this page shows interest above and beyond the casual browser and thus I will count that as a goal conversion. Here are the goal conversions for September 22 through November 22.

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