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Greetings Readers! During this week’s PPCChat session, host Julie F Bacchini & guest host Sonika discussed, how to use the PPC data to its best potential. Experts expressed their views on the useful metrics, how frequently they are using this data for optimization, their favourite data point to give special insight into something and more.

Q1: What role does reporting and PPC data play in how you do your job? Are you working with data daily, weekly, monthly?

It’s everything. My job is to buy visitors at a profit. Without data, I can’t tell if I’m doing that. @stevegibsonppc

Working with data everyday. Client reporting monthly but we have internal reports that update daily to catch performance drops or any issues. @selley2134

Someday I’ll remember the appropriate start time to this. Reporting is about 25%-50% of the job. Depending on the client, the cadence is weekly or monthly, but we do deal with one that is hourly. @JonKagan

Now that my job is no longer that of a practitioner, I’m using this data to make fact-backed recommendations on upcoming content topics, defining target audiences, & setting broader marketing KPIs. PPC data can be used in many ways outside of optimizing campaigns. @sonika_chandra

Reporting and data are incredibly important to my PPC work. Sharing data with clients in ways that they can easily understand and utilize is always a top goal for me. I work with data every day.  @NeptuneMoon

It’s very important! Our clients want to see how all the components of a program work together and they tie it back to their own activities. Daily, Weekly, and one-off campaign reporting. @JuliaVyse

Like everyone else here – wake up and check the data daily @Galliguez

Well, it is monthly reporting so – so-so but getting by well this month… @runnerkik

In my direct role – no. But for my clients – absolutely. I rely on other team mates being on top of reporting to ensure that I do correct strategic advice. @TheMarketingAnu

I would say that I use reporting daily, weekly, and certainly monthly to understand what levers can and should be pulled for my clients. Very important! @runnerkik

I may be in a unique position here, but using data all day every day. @sonika_chandra

Multiple time a week and/or bi-monthly. Some clients watch their ecom numbers intra-day & other more established industries with less conv. actions just want reports bi-monthly or monthly. @timmhalloran

Just now following a brand campaign with systemic changes. Very delicate follow up in terms of revenue. So it needs to be daily following. In general, I check weekly to compare if follows a good trend and monthly for larger performance insights @MaiMolina_

Helps us know when things go bad, go good or just lets us keep a pulse on ad accounts. Also, client data we get access to beyond GA and ad platforms can help us spot new opportunities for new campaigns and programs. Reporting is weekly/monthly. Daily is account data. @duanebrown

Whenever possible, to be honest. My role these days is less in the daily management of accounts and more in being support for our analysts. I use reporting to help me figure out where to begin when they start to have a few hiccups. @ameetkhabra

Data plays a huge role in my daily, weekly, and monthly work. @MichealGumbert

Q2: What metrics do you find most useful to regularly report on? Did you decide on the metrics and/or were they requested by clients or stakeholders?

Most useful is usually traffic and conversions. I have about 30 additional metrics requested by client teams. @JuliaVyse

Really varies by client. Traffic is always there, but then after that, it is usually conversions and CPC. We always agree on these in advance with the client. @JonKagan

I think you learn the most about your audience by studying search terms, dayparting data, mobile/desktop, geodata, & conversion type. I recommend which data points will best tell the story, and I think that helps build trust between you and your client/stakeholder. @sonika_chandra

The metrics that I find most useful are those that show real impact of campaigns (like conversions and cost per acquisition or CPA). Clients are often interested in all kinds of other metrics. Part of our job is to keep them focused on the most meaningful ones. @NeptuneMoon

In a prior life, ROAS and other ecom metrics were a factor, but these days it’s all about foot traffic. @JuliaVyse

I am also interested in audience level and query level data not just for how it can help improve PPC performance, but to utilize outside of PPC campaigns – such as on landing pages. @NeptuneMoon

Start w/ a reporting template then customize to each individual client depending on their goals. For ecom try to get past ROAS to report on profit but do need some data from clients. For lead gen, try to report on cpa + Lead quality but need lead scoring from client @selley2134

Vanity metrics still have an interest because they help explain the story – for my clients, it is all about conversions, but we are trying to get them into measuring impactful conversions and as well as wrapping value around each action that can be taken in context. @runnerkik

Its usually cost per acquisition (aka CPA, aka CPL) or conversion value. most frustrating is when clients go – i want us to see CPA decrease but then later “oooh, where is conversion volume dropping as well” aarrrghh.. @TheMarketingAnu

Profit – and all the things that go into it: impressions, IS, CTR, cost, conversion rate, value/conversion. @stevegibsonppc

Conversion actions. With long sales cycles we’ll focus on both intial touch (lead) and post-conversion flow (MQL, SQL). Soooooo much depends on the client’s internal machinery though. Sales teams inputting correctly, CRM usage, API access, GA setup, etc. etc. @timmhalloran

I decide KPIs based on campaign goals – so report only on the select few (mostly it’s really only 1 or 2) that shows impact towards that goal. @BorisBeceric

Recently metrics around timelag have been occupying my time. B2B Clients want to gauge velocity over time and appreciate how long each leg of the journey tends to be @heyglenns

I follow more metrics but the basics for me are: traffic, impressions, conversions, cost, revenue %IS in Google & Frequency in Fb/Ig. With those in excel, I can extract the rest formulas I need: CPC, CTR, CPA, AOV & ROAS. I also follow GA’s metrics: bounce%, time.. @MaiMolina_

Combo. We work together to find our main North Star, which is a combo or yearly revenue and ROAS/MER. Depending on what view are looking at within the business. @duanebrown

We have a GDS report template that we customize for clients (if requested). We have info on: Conversions, Clicks, Geo, Device, Keywords/Top Display Ads etc. @ameetkhabra

Our industry has some pretty strict privacy guidelines so by default we focus a lot on frontend awareness and consideration metrics. @MichealGumbert

Q3: How frequently are you using this data to make optimizations?

As a practitioner, it was daily – weekly depending on the type of report. As a consultant/analyst, closer to monthly. @sonika_chandra

Usually as often as we review it, so at a minimum once a week @JonKagan

Data informs and influences everything I do within client accounts. That being said, data is harder to utilize in some types of accounts – long sales cycles being one of them. Higher conversion volume makes it easier, as you have more to work with & faster. @NeptuneMoon

Weekly. I’m all about slowing things down. The learning phase, sensitive topics, and general mood swings = make a judicious change and give it time to take effect. then review. @JuliaVyse

It depends. The more data, the more quickly you can optimize and make changes. So sometimes will have to wait a couple of weeks, sometimes every other day, big clients mixture of automation and manual work so there is work being done in the accounts daily. @BorisBeceric

Classic, “It depends”. The urge is to make more frequent optimizations, but with lower spending accounts, more frequent change disrupts performance. @KurtHenninger

Data & client goals drive all optimizations. I guess minus optimizing RSAs to improve “ad strength” that doesn’t seem to be based in data. @selley2134

Decision data is different than reported data, now I use reported data to get to decision data. On average 1 time a week, daily is too often in smaller accounts. Sometimes weekly is too often, but I look and am aware weekly – sometimes that decision is to wait. @runnerkik

On the topic of optimizations – in our industry, many clients are JUST NOW interested in the Hollywood-hacker click clack idea of CONSTANT optimizations being desirable. Very much at risk of doing busy work just to show we’re ‘on it’ in the reporting. @JuliaVyse

Low amt. of conversions I’ll usually use guiding metrics before I optimize off of conversions/leads. CTR is still my go-to in those situations. If that’s still not enough we need to go back to the drawing board and see how we can lower the barrier w/o bringing in crap @timmhalloran

Relative to what we are looking at. Have we spent enough money to know anything. Some clients we have enough data in a week and others it’s a month. I know people love to tinker but sometimes the best call is not doing anything. @duanebrown

As often as the data gives me the confidence to do so. @robert_Brady

Depending on the client’s volume, but once a week for sure. If the volume is high I start checking those metrics by campaign. So if the account is large, the work on that account can be daily if I’m doing structural changes. @MaiMolina_

When there is enough data to make me confident in the optimization decision. @ameetkhabra

Depends on how often we need to make optimizations, but data is usually the guide for any change that is made. @MichealGumbert

Q4: Do you use any PPC Data to inform ad copy or other creative asset development? If yes, what are you doing? If not, why not?

Search terms give us insight into what language our audience uses, how they think, and what speaks to them. If you’re not using that data to inform your ad copy (and landing page copy, traditional marketing materials etc.), you should start today. @sonika_chandra

Yes, especially when I am chasing the almighty quality score. But we also look to see what sells the best and try to incorporate it more into ads as needed @JonKagan

Yes! we use high performing search ads and youtube audiences to build landing pages and other audience cohorts. @JuliaVyse

Ad testing leads to some offer offline offer development. @KurtHenninger

Absolutely. Vertical imprinting. If you have the volume, group audiences by campaigns/AG/keywords & take the KW they used to find you and slap it on social ads and follow them around. Amazing conversion rates (almost) all the time. @timmhalloran

Did it more often when there was more search query data – n-gram analysis etc. Also useful for informing Display ad copy sometimes. Interested in the answers to this. @BorisBeceric

Maybe not about ad copy, but maybe with other ad configurations such us being dynamic or not (on FB), pausing them or not. PE:… @MaiMolina_

Yes, I tend to write two ads & change 1 headline or a CTA then check CTRs, impressions, Conv rate on each to declare a winner & start a new test. Have seen many cases where the higher CTR has worse conv rate/roas/cpa so have to be sure to look at perf in total. @selley2134

User found you via Google Ads. Take the query they found you with and put it on an ad. Make sure your brand name is big in the top left-hand side & make the kw query big too. Add adjectives to get them excited. Plus, if you can make it a video with lots of fast cuts @timmhalloran

I use query data (when available to get ideas to try in both ad copy and on landing pages. I also use DSA (dynamic search ads) to gain insight into what Google thinks my client’s site and landing pages are about. Very enlightening! @NeptuneMoon

I find PPC KW/headline data can inform LinkedIn campaign visuals & copy (hat tip to @BorisBeceric for making similar point with display). @heyglenns

Lots of apps around using GA data to help with ad copy ideas and audience targeting for creative assets. You can look in search data to see what is and is not working to help with ad copy ideas. @duanebrown

We’re definitely using data to guide not just creative development but when we should be updating or including new creative. @MichealGumbert

Am I allowed to admit with RSAs I look less often. There are so many headlines that I feel like everything under the sun is considered. For descriptions, I use what was performing in older text ads and start there. @runnerkik

Q5: Do you use any PPC Data to inform marketing budget distribution? What data points do you use for this?

Mix of CPA and Impression Share is used for multi-channel budget distribution. @KurtHenninger

Cost, Average CPC, CPA, search impression share lost due to budget by theme or category is a good place to start. Knowing what your PPC budget is allows you to expand into how much you can put towards other important compliments to PPC, like SEO & Creative. @sonika_chandra

Every single day @JonKagan

Ugh, I wish I could show you some of the awesome spreadsheets/visuals @tannerriebel & the adops team here have made. Continually impressed with what you can do if you have the data AND are able to understand what you’re looking at / take action off it. @timmhalloran

Sometimes. For new initiatives, quite often the planning tools actually can’t tell how high the volume will be because we haven’t announced anything googleable yet. Other times, IS for long term budget planning. @JuliaVyse

Big thing we do for certain industries with tight margins on KWs is setup rules to lower or turn of discovery KWs if the CPA hits 3X our target in a 30-90 day window. Has saved a lot of unpleasant convos re: wasted money. @timmhalloran

The first thought that comes to mind with budget decisions is frequency and audience saturation on Facebook. If the audience can’t be refreshed and the budget is not re-allocated elsewhere, the next symptom after a high frequency it will be a bad performance. @MaiMolina_

Impression share, CPC, CTR, Conversion rate, AOV can be used together to show what additional budget could do performance wise. Tend to use this projection a lot to visually show clients the opportunity @selley2134

Going back to our North Star: Revenue and ROAS/MER We may shift money towards ad platforms that are more profitable vs growth platforms. Comes down to what we are looking to achieve. @duanebrown

To an extent that we have budget control we do, ultimately our budgets are given to our team and we have little say in these larger budgets. @MichealGumbert

Q6: Are you using any PPC Data to influence other digital marketing channels? Ex. SEO, Email marketing, content development?

I always like to share any question queries with the client for the SEO team and also potentially email. Don’t sleep on content either. I had a plumbing client who had a post “How to shut off your water heater in an emergency” that had insane traffic. @NeptuneMoon

A lot for social, display and video. We collect demo/behaviour data from SEM insights and use it for audience targeting. @JonKagan

We like to where possible, but in the world of ad approvals – ad standards, not just client approval – it’s not a smooth application. In many cases, our team doesn’t even have website access, so it’s very much a do what you can in the platform vibe. @JuliaVyse

Recurring email is like getting an oil change. Sometimes just sending out that month-end news blast props up all the other work you did all month & lets the whole engine purr like new. Odd metaphor but it’s the only thing I could think of. Tldr: email = important @timmhalloran

Touched on this in a few earlier questions but don’t sleep on that data! Demographic & search data can work for you in developing content, reorganizing your website structure/navigation, and more. Think outside the box and know that I’m always here to brainstorm. @sonika_chandra

Definitely. Particularly use it for overall digital strategic planning last 2 years to see how different markets are recovering/regressing. @KurtHenninger

Don’t know why I’m getting kind of obsess w/ paid revenue weight metric. Not as a vanity, but to realize the impact of what can happen if a campaign drops its performance. I guess its because I’m seeing more and more how the paid attribution is going down @MaiMolina_

I wish we were, very small budget clients aren’t there yet, plus with search becoming way less long-tail + match type evolution the old days of finding keywords and ways customers search seems to have ended sadly. @runnerkik

Absolutely. IMO, if you’re not, you’re leaving a TON of opportunities on the table. PPC data is incredibly valuable for SEO, Paid Social, CRO… PPC allows you to reach your audience at their highest intent levels – and see what works. That’s gold. @DigitalSamIAm

One of our initiatives since 2019 is using paid social to acquire emails and grow our client’s email list via product launches, quizzes, giveaways and other tactics. These campaigns can help test ad copy that we will use post launch across all channels. @duanebrown

It will be nice to see how anyone here checks data with SEO keywords/products, especially in eComm. As shopping is on the top of everything I don’t know how to balance being organically in first positions and for that not being in shopping. Same for TOP kws… @MaiMolina_

Search terms data can influence SEO / content activities. @BorisBeceric

I wish we were, but they are a different team and other elements are controlled by external agencies (I’m in-house). We argue constantly for the need of a holistic view of our marketing efforts. @MichealGumbert

Q7: Do you have a favorite data point that you think gives you special insight into something? How did you come to use it?

Some combo of new/unique user multiplied or divided by something else. I’ve made some super weird custom metrics that actually turned out to be pretty slick. High volume sales / new user 7-day window applied to specific ad groups. Or whatever makes sense for u. @timmhalloran

I like some calculated metrics as I think they give special insight – for example, conversion per impression. Super useful. @BorisBeceric

I am fanatical for pulling demo data and overlaying over geo, to make myself feel like “Big brother” @JonKagan

For those of you wondering what to do with search queries besides mine for potential negatives, start by using a free n-gram tool online and find out what common terms or themes people are using when matching to your keywords. Do you notice anything interesting? @sonika_chandra

Not necessarily a fave since my different programs do different things. But I do like to look at uniques. if you’re in a region and at risk of saturating your audience, look at volume spikes and creative fatigue. @JuliaVyse

Don’t know how special it is, but when performance goes wonky in Google Ads the first place I go is Auction Insights. Look at current period and 1 or 2 equivalent ones before the most recent 30 days. Often very clear a new player joined and/or is spending $$$$. @NeptuneMoon

Special not so much but ad copy testing can tell you a lot. Most people in Canada don’t care it was made in Toronto… unless they live in Toronto. They care it was made in Canada. @duanebrown

Another carinal rule: meet your users where they already are. They don’t want to do any extra work to find what they need… we get it, because we are shoppers too! Think as a human first. @sonika_chandra

I find trending data – auction insights for example can explain what is happening in the auction for clients, especially when we see the off/on of some competitors @runnerkik

Filters, segments and sorting save lives. @MaiMolina_

No, I don’t think anyone data point is the silver bullet to understanding. Rather it is the combination of data combined with context where the best decisions are made. @MichealGumbert

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