Peanut butter and jelly, a picnic and ants, a dinner and a movie… some things just go better together. Google Analytics and pay-per-click advertising are definitely on the list of things that naturally pair well!

A famous quote by John Wanamaker helps to illustrate just why they go together so well: “I know half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I can never find out which half.”

Well, Google Analytics helps you to break down just how well your pay-per-click advertising is working and literally tells you where you are wasting money, and making money! Here’s a run-down of some of the reports to keep handy as you optimize your pay-per-click campaigns:

The “Overall Keyword Conversion report” blows my mind with all the great possibilities it brings! This report shows data on each keyword, pay-per-click OR organic, and allows you to compare each one! This information has a lot of great uses for the inventive Google Analytics account owner. For instance, if a term performs well as a PPC keyword, it would probably be a good idea to add that term to your website copy to boost the corresponding SEO function of your site, and hopefully to get your site to rank higher organically.

This report also can serve as a sort of canary-in-a-mineshaft. When you check this report you can sometimes get a valuable hint that helps to explain why your site’s traffic behaves as it does.

For example, I was researching possible negative keywords for one of our clients and while looking at this report saw their site was coming up during searches for a running shoe (which has absolutely, positively nothing to do with what they actually offer). As I found out with a little more research, apparently Nike had randomly named a running shoe something that tied in with the client’s site just by pure chance. See? Interesting stuff like that can crop up all the time!

CPC vs Organic Conversion.bmp The “CPC vs Organic Conversion report” is quite useful, too (CPC is referring to cost-per-click, which is just another way to reference PPC – it all means the same thing). This report breaks down the performance of PPC and organic terms by search engine (as shown to the right). This is pretty nifty because the different interfaces each search engine uses for their PPC can make comparisons a little tricky.

As if that isn’t cool enough, Google Analytics also has a “Keyword Considerations report” which cuts right to the chase and shows you top-performing organic keywords that aren’t being bid on in pay-per-click advertising programs! You can see the keyword’s conversion performance and its value, and get a few ideas for additions to your pay-per-click campaigns.

Don’t forget the “Overall Ad A/B Testing report”, which isn’t strictly for pay-per-click, but sure makes PPC work better! Most PPC programs such as Google AdWords give you the option of testing multiple versions of your ad text, and with the “Overall Ad A/B Testing report” this is easier then ever. Testing multiple versions of your ad text can really, really pay off.

So what’s your favorite aspect of the Google Analytics / PPC combo?