Best Practices for PPC Reporting
The only way to truly monitor and understand your pay-per-click (PPC) campaign is to create detailed analytical reports, but as a campaign manager are you sure you're effectively reporting on all the right information? It may be time to rethink what goes into your PPC reports, especially if you're presenting the same report to both your clients and your boss.
Best Practices for PPC Reporting to Your Clients
1. Provide objective-based reporting. If your client is using a PPC advertising model, they no doubt have some objectives in mind — e.g., increased sales, more leads, brand expansion, etc. Whatever the goal, your PPC report should be centered around that.
For example, if your client wants to increase sales, when you present the data on the number of clicks, you should present those figures in correlation with their goal and clearly show whether an increase in clicks translates to an increase in sales.
2. Analyze the results in plain English. A PPC report is an answer to the question, "How is my PPC campaign coming along and are our goals being met?" If you answer that question only with numbers and charts, you aren't really answering the question at all. A proper answer should appear in the opening of the report, something your client can read and understand — e.g., "There's been a 10 percent increase in sales for the month of May, which can be attributed to an increased number of clicks coming from X campaign."
3. Go deep with the analysis. Most PPC reports include the same basic information and not much else, but only looking at clicks, leads, impressions and sales leaves out a lot of small but influential factors. Here are some other factors to consider:
- What time of day does the campaign perform best, and which day of the week? These times should be factored in when allocating PPC budget.
- Where's the client's display ad placed on the website and does it have a different click rate if it's moved on the page? Doing small tests like this can be surprisingly beneficial.
Isolating these factors helps you understand what about the campaign is working. Once you isolate enough variables, you can create a clear image of what generates a positive reaction and what doesn't generate much reaction at all. Furthermore, these details are impressive to clients who are looking for information beyond the obvious.
4. Customize each PPC report. You should never just plug information into a generic template and send it out as a PPC report. Doing so isn't beneficial to the client who is searching for specific insights, or for you in terms of understanding the true progress and success of the campaigns in order to make adjustments and improvements. Customizing your PPC reports to each client will help you hone in on the important information that should be highlighted.
5. Consistently improve and update. With objective-based, clearly analyzed custom PPC reports, the next step is to make improvements and updates to your reporting as you go. Use the information you learn from each PPC report and adjust the goal of the campaign at different stages. Once the goal is adjusted, the presentation of the data should be revisited. Be responsive.
6. Prove why you matter. It's your job as campaign manager to run a successful PPC campaign. If your campaign isn't successful, it's your job to find out why it's failing and fix it. The best way to prove that you're doing that is by promoting the campaign's successes, however small.
To best way to establish your client's confidence in you is to secure a "small win" right away. Look at the details from the deep analysis you did and use those small influential factors to generate a quick improvement. Never stop showing off your campaign wins. It's important to show that you're significantly improving performance regularly to keep your client's confidence.
Best Practices for PPC Reporting to Your Boss
1. Be brief and direct. Your boss doesn't have time to go through all the points of your client's PPC report; he or she wants a summarized version, and only wants to hear the information that matters. Use the summary at the beginning of your PPC report to clearly present the highlights of your report. Sometimes this is all your boss wants. Include the following:
- the goal of the campaign;
- whether the goal was achieved (and how); and
- to what extent the goal was achieved.
2. Prove why you matter. Always link the information you present in the PPC report back to either your performance as campaign manager or the campaign's impact on your company. Even if your boss regularly asks for reports, show him or her something in your PPC report that's worth knowing. Prove to him or her that you're managing your campaigns successfully and that you're helping your clients reach their goals. A PPC report may be about a client or campaign, but your boss is interested in the report mainly to see how the business is doing and how its campaign managers (you) are performing. You're presenting yourself just as much as you're presenting the report.
3. Visual aids are your best friend. Pie charts, bar and line graphs, and other visual aids will bring your PPC report to life and help it stand out in your boss’ mind. If you want the report to be memorable, and by extension you, present the report with care and precision. Don't spend hours building graphs for all the data points; add visuals to the most crucial information and this will accentuate those points well.
4. Show how you resolved issues. Bosses love to hear success stories, but the best kind of success stories start with failure. Rather than presenting information that didn't work out on its own, present that information alongside your proposed solution or, better yet, alongside the results of the solution you already put in place. Showing your initiative is crucial while presenting PPC reports. Your boss needs to know that these results didn't just happen on their own, they happened because of your management.
5. Aggregate data. Your boss may want to see a PPC report on a singular client or campaign, but more likely he or she will want to see a performance report of all your campaigns and accounts. Aggregated reports can be difficult to create, but customized PPC reports combine all your campaigns and accounts into one clear document for easy reference.
6. Show your plans. It's nice to give your boss a reminder of how far you've come from the last report before moving on to your projected growth. This makes your plans seem more credible. Finish your PPC report with the strategies you intend to implement. Planning PPC reports is almost as important as creating them, and by showing your plans for the future you provide your boss a preview of what's to come in the next report, which will help him or her understand what you're working towards.
In the end, the best performance tip for creating helpful and informative PPC reports is to approach the data analysis and presentation with fresh eyes each time. Don't just relay the numbers; share them and make sure it's clear why they matter and what you can learn from them. After all, the whole point of PPC reporting is to learn and share insights, so why not try to learn and share as best you can.
Marc Poirier is the co-founder and executive vice president of business development at Acquisio, a company that provides digital marketers with a performance media platform.