Why Create an AdWords Report?
Creating a monthly AdWords report provides big benefits both to your agency and to your clients. First, we'll look at the how important reporting is for your agency.
Benefits for Your Agency
Accountability: Sending a monthly report holds you accountable and pushes you to exceed client expectations. Knowing that you need to report on your activities each month provides a good incentive for your agency to test different ad creatives and optimize campaigns to improve the numbers.
For example, you should be split testing multiple creatives at the same time using the AdWords built-in split testing functionality as explained in this article. Present the ad variations in your monthly report, along with conversion rate numbers, so that your client can see your work and understand which ads are working the best.
If your initial AdWords campaigns don't perform as well as hoped, forcing yourself to send a regular report will compel you to improve by making adjustments to the client’s campaigns. Some common ways that campaigns fail to perform include keywords that have a high cost-per-click but low conversion rates, ads that have low-quality scores, and keywords that are not converting.
Optimizations can resolve most of these problems but may fall through the cracks without the accountability of a monthly report. You know that you should be continually taking corrective actions like discontinuing non-performing keywords, tweaking ad copy to improve click-through rates, and editing landing pages to improve conversions. Reporting provides an extra incentive.
AdWords campaigns are never perfect when they first launch. Showing improvement over time and ultimately exceeding client expectations ensures a long-term, stable, agency-client relationship.
Transparency: Sending a detailed report to your client demonstrates that you are trustworthy. Even if your initial performance falls short, your client knows that you are continually improving and working hard to meet their goals. When you meet with your client to review the monthly report, you can explain that AdWords is not an exact science show them the work you are doing to optimize their campaigns.
Showcases authority and expertise: Well written AdWords reports can further solidify the client's perception of your agency as AdWords experts. Use plain English text to describe what the data means, explain why campaigns are working (or not working), and offer strategic suggestions for optimization.
For example, if cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-acquisition (CPA) are higher than hoped, use your report to describe how these costs can be lowered, and back it up with data. Likewise, if conversion rates are low, suggest some experimentation like adjusting ad copy or altering the landing page. Show your client examples of ads that competitors are running, or other successful ads, and explain how you can use ideas from these sources to improve your own campaigns.
Reports can give clients confidence that you know what you are doing and increase the likelihood that they'll continue to use your service.
Improves customer satisfaction and retention: Regular communication and transparency improve customer satisfaction and retention, as long as you can ultimately deliver on your promises. Identify what measures are most important to the client. These are your key performance indicators (KPIs). Whether it is total sales generated, cost per sale, or return on investment (ROI), make it your business to track these numbers and share them openly in each month’s report so that your client can tell if their goals are being met or not.
With regular communication, you will always know what each client thinks about your service. If someone isn’t satisfied with your performance, you can take action to correct the situation before it is too late.
For example, if your client is unhappy with your ad creatives, have your account manager discuss ideas about how to improve that ad. They may have ideas of their own that they want you to test out. Agree on new creative, implement some tests, and report on the results. This way your client is included in the problem-solving and appreciates your good ideas, collaboration, and diligence.
Frequent communication produces better results and builds a healthy agency-client relationship. That’s the key to long-term client retention.
Creates opportunities to sell additional services: If your agency provides other marketing services, keeping in touch with your customers gives you an opportunity to present your other capabilities when the need arises. Your client may not need graphic design, SEO, or website work now, but in the future, they certainly will.
Sending a monthly report is the perfect excuse for you to email your clients, find out how they're doing, staying in front of them so you know when opportunities arise.
In addition to sending the report, also consider meeting with the client to discuss the results and brainstorm about the next month’s activities. During or after your meeting, you can discuss their other marketing needs that may be related to the AdWords campaigns you are working on. Regular meetings create a non-invasive opportunity for you to upsell your services without constantly bugging your clients with sales calls.
Benefits for Your Client
Of course, reporting has big benefits for your client as well. Insist on a regular monthly reporting and review schedule with them. Some of the benefits they will thank you far are:
Keeps them informed: Clients want to know what they are spending their money on and the reports you send should answer that question by providing a quick overview of the campaigns and the results being achieved. This allows clients to quickly determine if their AdWords campaigns achieving their KPI goals such as generating the desired ROI.
Helps them provide you with constructive feedback: Your report will help your client manage you better by providing a framework for discussing performance. Your report organizes all your activities in one place and provides the client with a guide for identifying the areas where they need to push you to improve.
For example, if you are bidding on some keywords that are not converting as well as hoped, your client may have some solid ideas about why. They are the subject matter experts after all. Seeing it all laid out in a report will prompt them to request that you test different keywords or alter the ad creatives to improve the performance of a particular ad group. Never forget that your client is an expert in their niche, and incorporating their ideas can be the key to mutual success.
Reduces their management burden: Remember that managing your agency is work for your client. Most clients don’t want the burden of remembering what your agency is supposed to be doing and having to follow up continually to make sure it is getting done. Regular reporting organizes the management process and largely eliminates the need for ad-hoc follow-up on issues. Since the client knows that they will receive a report every month and discuss all open issues with you at that time, they don't have to keep remembering to check up on their campaigns.
What to Include in Your Monthly AdWords Report
Your AdWords report should focus on the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you and your client have mutually agreed on. You can also exclude information that your client is not interested in order to keep the report clear and concise.
Clients have different goals and therefore different KPIs, so there is not really a one-size-fits-all report. Some clients might be using AdWords primarily for traffic generation and brand awareness while other clients might care mostly about generating immediate sales.
A report for the first client might include traffic volumes segmented by the demographics and geographies being targeted. You are going to want to show this client that, not only are they generating traffic, but that the traffic is coming from their desired audience. On the other hand, a report for the second client would need to focus on revenue and the spending necessary to generate it.
While all clients are unique, there are some metrics that commonly appear in monthly AdWords reports:
Ad spend and performance: Most clients will want to know how much they are spending each month. You can include ad spend details, broken out by campaign and ad group.
Some clients may even want to know which ads or keywords are performing the best, so you can drill down to this level of data as well. For lead generation clients, break out the conversion rates as well. Likewise, for e-commerce clients, provide revenue at each level.
Growth: Whether they are focused on traffic, leads, or revenue, most client want to see growth. As a result, your report should include a comparison to last month, and last year (if applicable).
ROI or ROAS (Return on ad spend): E-commerce clients often want to see ROI or ROAS results in order to determine how profitable a campaign is. Some clients may have specific ROI targets and if your agency can hit these targets, then the client may increase AdWords spending which can mean more revenue for both you and your client.
Analysis, improvements, and changes from the previous period: Your clients probably don't want to just see numbers. You should also provide a plain English analysis that describes what the data means.
Most clients are interested in the big picture, so present metrics like total revenue and profitability. But then break it down to show what the drivers of those top-level results are. Explain clearly and concisely which campaigns or ad groups are working the best and what changes you will make next month to address the weaker areas.
Written analysis, interspersed with the data, showcases your knowledge of AdWords and confirms your reputation as a trusted authority.
Clients also like to know what has changed each month, so your report should include a summary vs. the previous month. Reports should include detail about changes that were made to the campaign, ad group, keywords and individual ads along with any changes in performance so that clients can see exactly what you are doing to manage their campaigns.
If campaigns produce improved results, be sure to let the client know the good news. If your results are not as good, you can explain to your client why AdWords didn't do as well this month and make suggestions on how to improve the results in the future.
Suggestions: You may also want to include suggestions for the client. The client's website and landing pages can affect the results of their AdWords campaigns, so your client may need to make adjustments on their end to improve campaign results.
Here's a quick example ...
Think SEM tested two landing pages for one of their clients that sells safety work boots. One landing page was longer and had a form on the right side, while the second landing page had a form that would pop up when you pushed the "Request Info" button.
Here’s their case study.
The first landing page outperformed the second landing page by 106%.
As the agency, you may not be able to edit landing pages on the client’s website. So, you need to write up suggestions like these and send them over. Including them in the report is a good idea because you can provide the numbers alongside your suggestions to justify the changes.
Automating Your Monthly AdWords Report
For many agencies, one challenge preventing them from doing monthly reports is the manual effort required. Besides gathering the data, they fear spending endless hours creating graphs and charts to present data in a format that is attractive and understandable to the client.
While these concerns are justified, it is important to realize that the AdWords reporting burden can be significantly lightened by streamlining your process and using an automation tool.
If you are using AdWords to generate your reports, create a step-by-step process that your team can follow to create these reports. Data can be exported to Excel or Google Sheet where pre-defined macros can populate standard charts and tables. To get started, you might consider hiring a developer to create a standard set of macros, charts, and formatted tables.
Another solution is to use a tool like Megalytic which allows you to automate AdWords report creation. This article explains how you can use Megalytic to create a monthly AdWords client report.
If your agency manages AdWords campaigns, then you need to send performance reports to your clients regularly. Sending a monthly AdWords report helps build trust with the client, improves customer satisfaction and also opens up opportunities for you to sell additional services in the future. Discuss with the client which KPIs are important to them and include these in your report along with your analysis and suggestions for future improvements.