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Determining What Data to Include in a PPC Report

Published July 2, 2015
What should you include in your PPC report?
It’s a good question, and one many marketers often struggle with. Whether you’re an in-house or agency PPC professional, chances are you’re required to deliver regular reports on campaign performance. You want to show the right data to your client, the data that will help the client make insightful decisions…but what data is that?
AdWords provides data allowing you to connect specific cost points with your client’s campaign performance. This lets you track not only how many leads the client received from online advertising but also how much they paid for those leads.
In reporting this AdWords data about leads and costs, you want to balance showing the big picture stats that matter while breaking down specific data that your client or boss is apt to care about. Start by focusing on conversions and then break down the data to show where the best performance is coming from.

 

Blog Image PPC Report Data

 

Show Conversion Performance

Why is your company or client paying for you to manage a PPC account?
What goals are they looking to achieve?

Answer these questions to help determine what information you should put front and center in a PPC report. Generally, you’ll be able to relate key goals to conversions in campaigns.

For example, the campaign’s goal may be to get users to sign up for a free trial of your client’s service. In this case, you would track a conversion as any time someone completes the setup process for a trial account. You then center the client’s report around conversion data.

When showing conversion performance, you want to include several elements:

  • Total conversions, to show how many leads the business received
  • Cost per conversion, to show how effective spend was in producing those leads
  • Conversion rate, to show how likely people who clicked through were to convert (e.g., sign up for free trial)
  • Date comparisons with previous timeframes (if available), to provide perspective on whether numbers have gone up or down

We’ll use the AdWords Multi KPI widget in Megalytic to show conversion performance. Since this is a monthly report, we’ll set the widget to show “monthly” data for the past month, which will then automatically compare stats with the previous month and year. We’ll also select the conversion-related stats we want to include: in this case, Converted Clicks, Cost/Converted Click and Click Conversion Rate.

 

Configuring Megalytic KPI Widget

 

With this setup, our widget is configured to show conversion stats compared with previous periods.

 

Megalytic Widget Showing AdWords Conversion Performance

 

Based on this data, we can then provide additional commentary to our client about conversion performance using the Notes widget available within Megalytic. For example, we note that volume of conversions dropped quite a bit from last month, while cost per conversion increased. However, we can also point to significant improvement from last year to show that, for the long term, the campaigns show improvement despite lower performance in May.

Break Down Campaign Performance

Next, break down performance by campaign to provide your client with additional detail. For this account, campaigns break down by region, allowing the client to analyze results from each market area. We’ll use the AdWords Campaigns widget, customizing it to add a “Converted Clicks” column to the default metrics.

 

Customize Megalytic Widget for Campaign Traffic

 

Now, we can see Clicks, Impressions, CTR (clickthrough rate), Avg. CPC (average cost per click) and Converted Clicks broken down by the campaigns driving the most traffic.

 

Megalytic Widget for Campaign Traffic

 

When presenting this information, you’ll want to explain what your client is seeing in more detail, providing insight into performance. Looking at regions in general, Florida appears to be the top driver for traffic overall, with New York next.

We also see that the “FL - Search” campaign drove the most traffic and was among the top converting campaigns, showing high performance in Florida. In addition, you can point out the “NY Capital Region - Brand - Search” campaign drove even more conversions, showing the value of bidding on lower cost brand terms.

Based on this data, you can discuss with your client what regions he or she perceives to be the most important, seeing if campaign priorities mesh with search volume and conversion volume shown in reports. For instance, perhaps your client would like to place a greater emphasis in expanding market awareness in Massachusetts. There may be an opportunity to add new search terms or to increase display budget for heavier branding there.

Show Performance by Network

To help your client gain further insight from the data, show performance broken down by network. Networks correlate to the places where ads run, and on AdWords include Google search, search partners and display.

Breaking down data by network is important because search performance tends to differ quite a bit from display performance. In search, users enter a query with specific intent to find a service, so they’re naturally more likely to click on ads. In contrast, display ads are targeted based on audience or page content. While the ads may be reaching a highly specific audience, not as many users will be seeking the advertiser’s service, so display ads tend to have a much lower click-through rate (CTR) than search ads.

On the search end, AdWords runs ads on Google search as well as search partners, if you’ve opted in (default setting). Search partners include third party sites where Google has agreed to place ads. Performance can vary depending on the campaign; sometimes worse than Google search, but sometimes better. You’ll want to watch activity from search partners to see how conversion volume and cost per conversion compare to what you’re seeing from Google search.

To show performance by network, we’ll add the
AdWords Networks widget to our report. We’ve customized it to show Clicks, Impressions, CTR, Converted Clicks and Cost/Converted Click.

 

Megalytic Widget for AdWords Networks Reporting

 

First, we can point out how dramatically click-through rate (CTR) varies among networks. Google search shows just over 1%, while the display network shows 0.33%, reflecting a naturally lower number as previously explained. Also, search partners show an exceptionally high CTR of close to 5%.

Next, we can talk about conversion data. Google search, by far, shows the most conversions of any of the networks. However, the display network shows the lowest cost conversions. Finally, search partners show the most expensive conversions, despite a higher CTR. Remember that positive data in click volume and CTR does not necessarily correlate to the best conversion data.

From this information, we may recommend turning off search partners temporarily to see if overall cost per conversion goes down the next month. In addition, we may recommend a stronger focus in display advertising.

Conclusion

Building a PPC report for your client requires knowledge of the client’s ultimate goals in running online advertising campaigns. You need to be able to correlate performance of campaigns to driving lead success for the company.

Through widgets available in Megalytic, we’ve shown you how you can break down KPIs, specific campaign stats, and performance by network into a basic PPC report that will show your client top-level stats that matter. You’ll need to add your knowledge of your client to expand with additional commentary.

ALSO IN THIS BLOG

When the client first came to you, you talked up the value of Google Analytics. You emphasized the importance of seeing where your traffic was coming from. You went on and on about how Google Analytics can show traffic sources to pinpoint whether people came from search, social media or a specific site referral, and how valuable this data was. You sold them on it, so much so that your client looked forward to receiving that first report, the magical day when they would finally understand where visitors were coming from.
But then the report came, and it looked like this:

 

 

It showed that 10% of your client’s traffic came from “(direct)/(none)”. What does this label mean? How do you explain Direct traffic to your client? Better yet, how do you explain “none”?
Let’s take a closer look at understanding Direct traffic in Google Analytics and how we can address it with clients.
Remember how your mom told you not to stand too close to the television because it might hurt your eyes?

The same rules can apply to data. If you’re too close, you may miss the patterns and trends that are crucial to understanding your website’s performance. You can’t judge a site’s performance looking at data in the bubble of a single day, you must consider any day’s traffic compared to the days before and after.

Google Analytics makes it fairly easy to analyze trends over long periods of time. But it also allows you to stand right in front of that TV, to look at more granular levels of time, right down to the hour.
There’s a better way to get that close to the data, without burning your retinas. We’ll cover how to analyze traffic effectively in today’s post.
Digital marketers spend a lot of time focused on PPC and SEO campaigns in order to drive desirable traffic to a website. The phrases we’re ranking for and bidding on get meticulous attention, so much so that we often forget about some of the other ways that visitors find us.

We put a tremendous amount of the effort we put into reviewing organic search data and PPC campaign performance in analytics. But how closely do we monitor referral reports?

If that’s not a channel you review regularly, you may be missing out on seeing traffic that is coming directly from links you’ve obtained around the web, local business listings, news mentions, and more. Many times, links are only considered as a means to an end, a metric that Google uses in determining how to rank sites in the SERPs (search engine results pages). But the fact is, many of a site’s links may be directly contributing to its traffic.

In this article, we’ll review how to look at referral reports in Google Analytics, and some of the many ways to use that data to better inform your web marketing decisions.