Which Metrics Really Matter for Local Search Marketing Success

Local Search

When executing a paid search marketing campaign at the local level, there are a lot of factors at play. The amount of data that is created from these campaigns is daunting, and sifting through all of it will only confuse the issue, causing analysis paralysis. Not all data points are created equal.

Because of that, it’s important to sort out which metrics take priority and which you can consider secondary to the success of your campaign. Here’s my take.

Metrics to Concentrate On

Daily Spend vs. Budget: Like most businesses big or small, local or national, you don’t have an unlimited budget. You want to know if you are running out of money quickly during the day or not able to spend your budget at all because you target area is so small.

It’s important to understand what the market opportunity is. If you have a big market and can quickly spend your budget, then you need to be strategic about your keyword, match type, and dayparting strategies. However, if you can’t spend your budget, you should be thinking about how to drive more demand, potentially in other channels or higher in the funnel keywords.

Either way, your daily spend rates vs. your planned budget is a great metric to stay on top of to drive other strategic decisions.

Conversion Rate: Really, the reason you do paid search (or any other marketing) is to drive sales. If you aren’t watching the conversion rate, then you don’t know what is working for you. For some local businesses that don’t sell online, conversion rate might be defined differently. It could be click through rate, Contact Us or Find Directions from a landing page.

Whatever conversion rate is right for your business, be sure to watch it closely to ensure that your investment is driving the business impact you require. If not, then you can make tweaks to ad copy, landing pages, keywords, match types, bids, etc.

Metrics to Stop Stressing Over

Impression Share: This metric gives insight into what percent of search volume your ad was displayed vs. how many times it could have displayed. While I love this metric for forecasting how much additional opportunity might be available in market, it can be distracting for many local search accounts.

In most cases, the amount of opportunity available is NOT the focus of your local search campaign. This metric is also not something to manage your campaign against. You should not be spending more or less based on this metric. If you find yourself striving for a certain impression share, please revisit the points above.

Average Position: Where you rank in the search listings is important, but it is NOT a metric to monitor closely. If you are monitoring it closely, you are most likely managing to your vanity vs. the business. Your ranking should be simply the output of what you can afford to pay per click to get effective results. If your conversion rates and ROI is very high then you can continue to bid higher to get more traffic.

However, if your conversion rates and ROI aren’t high enough then you should set your bids to the point where they achieve your ROI goals. That could be the first or fourth position, but driving a strong ROI is really all that matters.


Paid search is an amazingly effective tactic that I think all businesses should be active in. There are few other channels that allow you to capture active in-market consumers so effectively.

Also, unlike many traditional tactics, you don’t just set a buy and check in on it 90 days later. You can actively manage and learn a lot about how consumers want to interact with your local business. Carefully monitoring these metrics and putting less weight on some others will allow you to stay focused on success and will help you extract a lot more value and time in your busy day.

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