dertyfern - 10:51 am on Feb 21, 2010 (gmt 0)
belenenses, sounds like you're approaching PPC in a traditional advertising way.
I too originally came from traditional corporate marketing/advertising and having spent 10 years trying to track, justify, and defend multi-million dollar print/media spends I found PPC to be a bit confusing at first but a huge opportunity after diving in.
Problem with PPC is its very benefit: conversion data. In traditional advertising one can never be sure just what drives conversion, while with PPC you can be darn sure it was X keyword on Y campaign. This means that one's work only just begins after the PPC campaign gets going--the ongoing reporting and analysis demands afterward are time intensive as well as an investment in constantly weeding out keywords/landing pages that don't work.
While I can't say that I'm as successful as I'd like to be with PPC there are some things that helps me track and judge spend success:
1. Adding campaign and keyword parameters to destination URL strings and tracking in a database.
2. Database updates upon conversion so I know what KW spent what/when.
3. Based on data modify campaigns and test new/modified landing pages.
Between Google Adwords reports/Analytics reports and your own brew of homemade tracking reports you will find enough data to make informed decisions. Key is actually getting to know your reporting options and putting them to work for your given situation.
I find canned approaches to be too generic.