Of all the types of digital marketing reporting we’ve covered on the DemandZEN blog, PPC reporting is likely to seem like the most straight forward. Content marketing reporting can be tricky without the right parameters in place, email reporting sometimes requires creativity, and sales pipeline reporting is the most work out of any of them.
PPC reporting, on the other hand, is pretty self explanatory. You’re always going to track impressions, clicks, and conversions. What else could be important?
In this post, we’re first going to focus on what metrics to focus on, how to represent your data, and finally how often to report on it. You might be surprised with how much your current reporting efforts are missing.
PPC reporting housekeeping
Before we jump into best reporting methods, let’s make sure our house is in order. Reporting on conversions is not just going into Google AdWords and checking a tally. Cross-check the number of platform conversions with your CRM or marketing automation software so you can be sure that A) your conversion tracking is working correctly and B) that you’re bringing in good leads.
Everyone’s favorite metrics
Impressions, clicks, and conversions are the standard. But there are a few other options to include (if available):
Cost-per-click: Looking at cost-per-click at the campaign, ad group, and keyword level will tell you if you need to adjust your bidding strategy. You might be overspending on a keyword that doesn’t do much for you, or conversely underspending where you can get some easy wins.
Cost per lead: Every organization should have a goal cost per lead per platform they use. You want to report on this metric regularly to make sure you’re staying on target.
Average position: This metric tells you where you’re coming up in search results on average. Is it top of the page or bottom of the page? Knowing this metric helps you pick out the keywords that are bringing you to the top and remove the ones that are keeping you down.
Impression share: How much of the results are you taking up compared to competitors who are bidding on the same keywords or targeting the same audiences? Impression share is a better gauge than impressions of how well you’re doing in terms of visibility, and it’s often an indicator that you either need to increase budget or alter your keyword strategy.
Best-performing ads: This should be obvious. Report on what messaging or imagery is resonating the most with your audience and iterate on it. Including this in reporting when the results are significant helps get people behind the programs you’re running. And it’s also valuable to share this information as it could help with campaigns other team members are running.
Interaction by device: While it’s not helpful to break every single metric down by tablet, desktop, and mobile, it is helpful to report which devices receive the most clicks and the most conversions. If you’re getting a lot of clicks on mobile but no conversions, look at your landing page. There might be some tweaks you can make there. If your conversion rate is really good on a certain device but it’s not getting as many clicks as others, adjust spend so you spend more money where you’re more likely to convert.
Heatmaps and Google Analytics data: What are these people clicking on, and how much time are they spending on the page? Looking at this data helps with landing page optimization and shows what the people who click on your ads are really interested in.
PPC metrics after lead acquisition
While you need platform metrics, you also need to report on leads you’ve acquired once they’re in your marketing automation software and CRM.
Here are a few things you’ll need to report on:
Lead quality: How is the overall quality of the leads you’re bringing in? If the answer is far below 50%, you either need to change your strategy or try a new ad platform. Just because the cost per lead is low and conversion rate is high doesn’t mean it’s a good campaign.
Logos: In the age of Account Based Marketing, it’s all about getting the right accounts into your CRM. This is a great indicator of whether or not sales is going to be interested in reaching out to your leads once they’re in front of them.
Opportunities: The whole point of bringing in leads is so you can eventually attach a dollar amount to them! You shouldn’t just have a lead goal. You should have a lead to opportunity goal. Reporting on the leads that do turn into opportunities from your PPC campaigns informs the longevity of that campaign. It also shows whether or not your programs are bringing in the right people. Don’t forget to account for any marketing influenced opportunities, as often PPC ads will bring in a member of the demand unit who isn’t the primary decision maker.
Closed deals: Don’t just stop at opportunities. If that opportunity turns into dollar signs, make sure it’s part of your reporting. This will allow you to compare campaigns that are producing pipeline against campaigns that are driving revenue.
Visual representations of PPC data
Can we get real for a minute? No one wants to go through your reporting spreadsheet no matter how many conditional formatting filters you use.
Pulling data from your PPC initiatives and plugging it into a spreadsheet is time-consuming. And worst of all, it’s usually opened only when you bring it up. It’s hard to comb through spreadsheets like this when you continuously add weeks and months of data to them.
So please. Stop doing this, marketers.
Represent your data visually. Connect to free programs like Google Data Studio or pull PDF reports straight from the platform you’re advertising. Or, connect to third party dashboard tools like BIME, Agency Analytics, Klipfolio, or Grow where you can see all of your PPC initiatives in one place.
Wasting time plugging numbers into a spreadsheet doesn’t help you gain more insights or allow you to report effectively. What does enable you to do that is simple visuals that tell the story of your campaigns.
How often is too often?
Campaigns fluctuate week-to-week, but usually you can find patterns when looking at them monthly. It also takes roughly 4-6 weeks for a PPC campaign to gain its footing. Reporting on a campaign immediately after launch isn’t really helpful to anyone.
Over-reporting can also work against you. If a great campaign has one bad week, it might scare key stakeholders. Or, people might grow numb to your reporting and ignore important callouts because they think they’ve heard it all before.
Stick to a monthly or quarterly reporting schedule.
Final thoughts on PPC reporting
Across this reporting series, one of the most important pieces across the board is transparency. You need to be transparent about the results of your efforts, and you also need to be flexible and willing to kill a campaign that isn’t doing well.
The ROI piece of PPC reporting cannot be forgotten. If you’re not creating opportunities, you need to try something new. Use the metrics listed here to drive you in the right direction.
Interested in driving new leads to pipeline by through a coordinated lead follow up effort? We’d love to talk to you.