Show off your hard work.
So you’ve spent quite a bit of time building out keywords, ads, and setting up campaigns. Now it’s time to set up reporting, and establish some key milestones you’ll want to track. This will not only help you keep track of your campaign’s true performance, it will help paint the full picture of your marketing efforts to your client(s).
A lot of large agencies prefer to use automated reporting software options like Raven Tools, Reportgarden, Reportly, etc… These are great tools for their particular uses, and definitely make good looking reports, but may not highlight your performance appropriately.
These automated reports look very nice. It may work for more general campaigns with very accepting clients, but may undersell you on more particular clients. A lot of these are just scraping tools which solely retrieve the data at a top level, and present it in a more aesthetically appealing format. These tools generate reports very quickly, therefore used by many big agencies, where specialists have multiple clients and need reporting automated.
For my accounts, I prefer to use good ol’ Microsoft Excel. It may not be the prettiest to look at, but the custom reporting possibilities are endless. Also, all of the charts and graphs made by the reporting tools can be created on Excel.
For gathering the metrics which will be used as key performance indicators (KPIs), it’s best to use a combination of the AdWords and Analytics. The AdWords Editor is better for making changes and sorting keyword data, but reporting is more efficient through the site’s interface.
The key metrics which you establish should be essential to the advertisers end goal. This seems like common sense but small steps often be overlooked. A lot of times establishing something like a “conversion” may be discussed as the end goal, and your PPC performance may be judged on it.
Lets take an example of a Dentists office. This is an expensive and competitive industry, and doesn’t have a direct ROI presented at the surface (unlike E-commerce clients). In an industry like this, the client may not be able to get information from the user due to HIPAA restrictions, so they will redirect user traffic to another domain (i.e., ZocDoc.com). Most medical offices will redirect the user off-site, or will have something like “Request an Appointment”. The latter is a form-fill where users send them availability and the office calls you during business hours.
In this case, key metrics are not only the standard clicks, impressions, CTR, average CPC, and the a general “conversions” metric. It’s important to track how many users went from paid ads to the third party appointment provider (i.e., ZocDoc). It’s also important to see how many users went from paid ads to the “make an appointment” landing page. Perhaps the user made it to that page, and then dropped off before being redirected? If there’s a lot of traffic going to the “make an appointment” page, but not actually making an appointment, something is most likely deterring them on that page.
In your Excel spreadsheet, create columns for your metrics. In the example below I include a few things which I would consider the standard for this type of client. Ideally, we would add another column (at least) to show completed appointments, if the client is receiving the source URL (with appropriate tracking parameters) from their third party appointment software. This is another perk with using Excel, it’s more flexible than the automated tools.
As you can see here, a lot of these metrics are collected from Analytics. In this case, since paid ads are a large part of their overall site traffic, I include overall statistics like “total site sessions”. I also include the total number of users landing on the “make an appointment page” and how many of those users come from AdWords.
Although this may seem cumbersome at first, it’s relatively straight forward once you have everything set up properly.
When creating custom reports, it’s most efficient to type in the metric you’re looking for in the search bar at the top of the “+ metric” pull-down. In the example below, I’ve typed “clicks” and then for the “Dimension Drilldowns” I’ve selected “Campaigns”. Looking through all of the metrics can be quite cumbersome, so typing them can be easier.
After you’ve selected metrics, and at least one dimension drilldown, you’re ready to save and view. Don’t hesitate to save and view any time, you can easily come back to this and edit it any time. Once you’re in the new report, just hit “edit” in the top left corner, and you can come back to it at any point. If you create new events and other goals in Analytics, you can always hit “edit” and come back to this and modify it.
Using Analytics is equally as important as using AdWords to create your reporting.
In AdWords, it’s important to track conversions by clicking on “Tools”, then “Conversions”. Create conversion pixels for each of your conversion milestones. In this case, I create a pixel for every user which lands on the “make an appointment” page. This isn’t the primary conversion (the completed appointment is), but it’s a very important step.
Once the pixels are placed and firing appropriately, you can adjust the columns in the Campaigns tab to show all of your conversions independently. On the Campaigns tab, select “Segment” and then “Conversions” and then “Conversion Name”.
Using the custom reporting tools in Analytics, conversions in AdWords, and tracking the right KPIs, are essential to reporting your value to clients. Understanding your client is also very important in this process. Also, understanding your role overall in their marketing efforts is important. Show them your overall contribution to their marketing efforts. Creating micro-conversions and tracking them (outside of just reporting) is also essential to show which campaigns generate leads, and helps refine your campaigns even further.