Cutting the Clutter in PPC Reporting

By Uri Bishansky
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Introduction

Not all marketing efforts can be measured accurately (SEO for example can get very challenging to measure). PPC is great in the sense that it enables very precise (though sometimes complicated) measurments. 

As with every aspect of digital marketing reporting, the purpose of a PPC report is to inform you on whether your marketing efforts are helping to achieve your goals. If not, your campaigns need to be realigned to do just that. Don't let yourself get distracted by overwhelming data, remember that what matters most is to have a clear grasp of the bottom line. Not every measurable metric needs to be included in a PPC report. A good report should reflect the results of your marketing efforts and revolve around ROI.

Your periodical PPC report (whether weekly, montly or quarterly) should be built in some sort of bucketing method. This post will walk you through what you need to know. 

Understanding the goals and the metrics to use

Before creating a PPC report, figure out what kind of data you particularly care about in a general sense. It is just a waste of time to create a PPC performance report that isn't correlated to your company's marketing goals. With PPC reporting less is often more - metrics such as cost per lead and cost per conversion should be delivered in a way that informs whether the efforts are worth it or not. When working with an agency, the details of how the agency measures the campaigns internally should matter little to you – since the agency should be on-top of all data and metrics in order to optimize the campaigns effectively and achieve the campaign goals.

Here are the main metrics that need to be reported each cycle: 

  • Cost per lead/conversion
  • Cost Per Customer
  • Revenue Generated/ROI
  • Total amount invested

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A PPC report structure

When creating a PPC report, marketers should make sure to consider the level of PPC knowledge and familiarity with PPC terminology of the reports readers. This should go without saying but the persons being informed needs to be able to understand the report, not just be impressed by it. The data should always be explained with respect to what it actually means for your  business.

A PPC report should start with the most valuable,  bottom-line information, following a drill down of each channel/campaign. 

Here's an example of a recommended report structure:

Executive summary

This part should detail the total media spent on all channels vs. the bottom-line success of the efforts. A pro report will elaborate down to revenue and ROI/ROAS metrics

For example: This month we've spent 20,000$, generated 10 customers and a total revenue of 100,000$.

Campaign Performance (Consolidated channels)

This should consolidate all channel effort per specific campaign goals.

For example: a B2B Company aiming at selling three different products will probably be advertising on multiple channels (Google, Facebook, Linkedin, etc).

Each of the three products will be advertised in a seperate multi-channel campaigns, it's important to understand the performance of each campaign seperatly (campaign A for product A, Campaign B for product B, etc)

The data should be displayed as following:

  • Campaign A - Summary
    • Channel Performance 
      • Google
      • Facebook
      • LinkedIn
      • Any other channel
  • Campaign B - Summary
    • Channel Performance
      • Google
      • Facebook
      • LinkedIn
      • Any other channel

Improvment suggestions

Expect to find performance issues reported in your PPC campaigns. A report that presents flawless performance is almost suspicious. Shortcomings are part of the equation, it's important to acknowledge what went wrong, and create a comprehensive plan of action in order to optimize and improve. 

Two examples of how deep PPC can get

With PPC reporting, there is a wealth of information that can be measured to inform you of whether ad and keyword dollars spent are worth it or not, but there are two metrics which are particularly challenging. However complicated, these metrics are super useful to understand and they're  not impossible measure, so go the extra mile and do. I'm talking about attribution modeling and offline conversions.

  1.  Attribution modeling, or understanding how each PPC marketing channel is performing for paid ads (Google, Facebook, etc.), takes a decent amount of effort (but it’s worth it). This metric is typically measured using Google Analytics, which allows marketers to shed light on which paid ads have the greatest campaign ROI. You can read our guide on how to setup Google Analytics attribution models here.
  2. While not applicable for every business (Low-touch SaaS, eCommerce, other online-only retailers), tracking offline conversions is often overlooked as a metric to scale advertising effectiveness. An offline conversion is basically any time a customer is converted outside of directly using your website (for example via phone or a personal meeting). To measure offline conversions using Google AdWords is a little labor intensive, but it is valuable in order determine how online ad spending has been resulting in offline conversions. With a bit of digging, you can report on how the investment in each keyword  has influenced a campaign’s success. Click here for our step-by-step guide on how to use your CRM and AdWords to track offline conversions. 

Reporting shortcomings 

When it comes to any digital marketing campaign, not everything is going to be perfect 100 percent of the time. A lot of times there will be tracking issues or data discrepancies that will prevent evaluating and measuring deeply enough. That's natural. Make sure that your tracking is aligned and enables optimal indepth reporting. 

Conclusion

By understanding what worked, what didn't work and why, you will keep on improving. Don't forget to always keep your eyes on the prize - measure for ROI.

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About Uri Bishansky

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Uri is the co-author of the Amazon no.1 Bestseller "The Smart Marketer's Guide to Google AdWords". He has been programming since he can remember himself. He lives by excels and numbers, rides bikes, loves dogs and a keen self-educator. Uri has a degree in finance and has been a google partner since 2013.

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