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This week’s PPCChat session was hosted by Elevated Marketing. PPC experts discussed about reporting, the metrics that they want to share and not share with client and more.


Q1 Do you do the reporting to clients or does a project manager do it for you?


we work with a lot of companies that have marketing managers, so they generally end up generating the reports internally. We often get those reports and review them with them. For our white label agency clients, we follow their template and the PPC people do that – @adwordsgirl

I (as the project manager) used to do it but we recently switched to the client manager doing it – @StephanieErne

As a 1-man band, I do all the reporting myself. – @robert_brady

I do all of my own reporting. – @NeptuneMoon

My experience has always been directly working on the accounts, building reports, and client communication. A lot of work, but the most complete picture of what’s going on. – @alexpeerenboom

We’re a small team, so we handle reporting directly to the clients. – @marccxmedia

We do the reporting. We don’t have a PM as it’s just another layer between us and the client. We work as one team with them, we don’t think of ourselves as an “agency” most days. It’s like our clients opened a Vancouver office. – @duanebrown

We’re focusing a lot on automating the data and charts, and then the individual campaign managers add color & insights. – @JasonStinnett

I do 100% of my own reporting – @JeremyKrantz

We do it, and project does the note taking. If you run the media, you explain the media. – @JonKagan

Our owner and Digital Marketing Manager handle reporting to clients. With more growth, though, I’m sure our project managers will take on more of those responsibilities. – @ClkContrl

I’ve had both in the past. In my current position I guess my client is my boss. So I do my own reporting. – @daustinshong

I do all my own reporting when possible (bc I’m a nerd & I love it), though Account Analysts are brought in for bigger projects or when I don’t have bandwidth. – @akaEmmaLouise

The account / project manager responsible for the client handles the reporting! In terms of the cadence and frequency of reports – Thats up to the client – @esperinbound



Q2 What metrics do you currently report on? What are three metrics do you feel you must show to your clients?


case by case basis. CPC is usually a constant, but then it varies by CPA/CPL, CVR, clicks, impressions, views, etc – @JonKagan

We like to report on bottom line numbers of how many leads we brought at what cost and is that up/down and/or what are we doing about it. Stay in the box of the “WHY” instead of “WHAT” – @elevatedmrktng

I like to cover a range: basics (impressions, clicks, CTR), the most important (conversions!), and then unique (could be mobile, day/time performance, or specific ad highlights). – @alexpeerenboom

Moving to in-house has convinced me that the ONLY metrics to report on are sales and revenue (and calculated numbers from that) It’s incumbent on businesses to give their teams the information to report on what really matters. – @ferkungamaboobo

For ecom we look at CPA and ROAS with new clients. As we grow with the, we look at repeat purchases from customers and growing that number to help build a sustainable business. For SaaS LTV and CPA from start to finish.  – @duanebrown

My big one right now is CPA. ROAS and Cost too – @daustinshong

Clients tend to be focused on conversions, clicks and cost per click. I am more interested in evaluating the quality of what paid channels are sending and getting feedback to be able to make our ads better at sending stronger/better leads or customers. – @NeptuneMoon

Spend, conversions & return with variation as needed. Do they really care how many clicks/impressions/interactions? (hint: not really) They want to know what they got for their money. – @robert_brady

Revenue or leads, other KPI’s agreed upon with the client, insights from the data (like target group). We have switched the way and what we report al lot. We’re still trying to find the report the client will actually read.  Even more important that the actual report is the contact with the client. Thats where you get the important information from. And they usually like talking more than reading a report.  – @StephanieErne

Depends on the report for what’s included but top 3: Clicks, Conv, Spend. Others can be derived. – @akaEmmaLouise

We report on the main campaign stats (CTR, conversions, etc.) and break it down into the top match types and top ad groups, as well as how the conversions break down (form fills vs. calls). – @marccxmedia

as adviced – beyond traffic. So not just the clicks & impressions but also conversion roas. – @mindswanppc

1. Spend 2. Conversions 3. Cost Per Conversion These 3 are the absolute MUST at the end of the day. They are required to have a pulse on ROI/ROAS. For our clients Clicks, impressions and CTR are micro to the macro, but serve their purpose in some situations! We often have clients focusing on bounce rate or time on site! These metrics from Google Analytics can be helpful, but they are not as important as conversion data. Pro-Tip – If you are see high time on site, create time on site based audiences for remarketing! – @esperinbound

The 3 most metrics that I report on 1) Conversions 2) Cost Per Conversion 3) ROAS Also pre-click metrics such as Clicks, impressions and CTR are additional indicators on how the overall performance of your ad was. – @JGeestar



Q2.1 What metrics do your clients ask to see more often?


I try and tell them what is most important, they don’t always know best – @JonKagan

if it’s a brand awareness campaign, they generally ask for Impressions and clicks. If it’s a sales/leads campaign then they’re looking at conversions – @adwordsgirl

Some clients tend to try to feel like they “get it” and so will ask about those less actionable metrics. It’s really important to redirect to money. – @ferkungamaboobo

For the most part financial KPI’s – especially e-com. Tho there’s quite a few that just like the vanity metrics E.g. “Always show up on this SERP” or “How many more people visited the site b/c of advertising” – It’s a mixed bag. Depends on what their sups wants too. – @timmhalloran

all the standard ones like conv, cvr, cost, cpa, etc. We always try to tie everything back to their bottom line, so whenever possible we go beyond conversions and report on cost per MQL/opportunity/etc – @atjoshnelson



Q3 Do you provide a written analysis or just the numbers? Do you also provide “what” was done?


We always add commentary to the the metrics that were reporting on. for some clients, we also do weekly updates of metrics along with anything significant that we may have done that week. – @adwordsgirl

yes we provide a full verbal insight, and next steps. But that is only for if it is being handed off internally. We like to have a conversation about everything that is more off the cuff  – @JonKagan

All three! But seriously, just the numbers if not enough. Analysis is key. . – @alexpeerenboom

ALWAYS INCLUDE NARRATIVE EXPLANATIONS! Literally anyone with a login could pull figures. Our value lies in explaining and contextualizing what is happening and making recommendations for where to go from here based on the data. – @NeptuneMoon

In most cases – all of the above! Our team keeps our Digital Marketing Manager and owner updated through and email in order for all actions in client accounts to be up to date. A written portion also helps clients understand the ~why~ of our actions – @ClkContrl

We have a regular chat with clients where we go over what has been done and our POV. – @duanebrown

We provide both. A little written analysis (including what was done) and the numbers to show the results of our actions.  – @marccxmedia

ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS provide context. Reports tell a story – I want to control that narrative. Especially if you’re providing a lot of data – the worst thing you can do is hope the stakeholder picks up on the right patterns and interprets the trends correctly. – @JasonStinnett

Depends on the client. We try to restrain from reporting what we did. Only if we are not performing or we want to change things in the way we used to do we report on actual work. The client should trust you, otherwise it is a bad relationship. – @StephanieErne

Written summaries are included IN the report on a monthly basis. For reports sent on a weekly basis, the notable what happened/why/how we responded/what’s next are covered 1) in the email that sends the report or 2) on the status call (typically bi-weekly). – @akaEmmaLouise

Every client gets weekly communication. But It depends on the the client! Larger clients have corporate boards that need to see numbers and detailed breakdowns. They’d get a more robust write up compared to a smaller business who only wants a Data Studio. – @esperinbound



Q4 What platform/software (maybe just email) do you use to give your metrics? Does anyone automate reports to clients? Sorry, we have a lot of questions!


I give narrative/context to stay proactive on the conversation. If you don’t provide it, somebody will and you might not like where it’s going. – @robert_brady

We prepare a weekly report in Word and send it via e-mail as a PDF with some additional metrics as supplementary info. – @marccxmedia

We use Google Docs and send everything through email. – @adwordsgirl

WE LOVE DATA STUDIO :)- Lifesaver and time saver with comments oo of course and meetings. – @elevatedmrktng

We use datastudio and e-mail. I only automate reports when clients want weekly ‘in between reporting’ insights  – @StephanieErne

we do auto reports for internal, to form large data in power BI. But it comes from DoubleClick and GA – @JonKagan

I have been using this past year and it is a handy tool to pull in data from multiple platforms/sources with total ability to add narrative sections. I don’t auto send anything unless there is a very good reason to do so. – @NeptuneMoon

Supermetrics and Gsheets. We both go into the sheet when we get on the calls with clients. – @duanebrown

Supermetrics -> Google Sheets -> PDF Learning Data Studio is on my 2019 to do list – @JasonStinnett

for monthlies (written summaries + metrics in PDF), but more and more moving toward for daily dashboards & one-off reporting–easy to see/manipulate (pulls into Google Sheets so great for us Excel nerds). Automated, but QAed before sending. – @akaEmmaLouise

We typically use Google Data Studio. We’ve used Super Metrics in the past as well, which is a powerful but more expensive tool. Super Metrics is neat because it can pull Facebook Ad data into your Google Data Studio as well! We try our best to automate reports once we get into the flow of our clients needs. If you can automate the process while still delivering on your clients needs, you’ve got a win-win! – @esperinbound



Q5 Do you do in person/online-camera share/ video sent/ by email only?


mixed back, depends on what the client likes/wants – @JonKagan

I do a call with clients to discuss the report. I always provide it in advance and the call is not to read the report together, but to delve in to questions or insights it raised and agree on course of action for next period. – @NeptuneMoon

We usually just send emails out. If there’s any confusion, we hop onto a phone call. – @adwordsgirl

We do phone calls unless on the road, then we do Zoom.  – @duanebrown

Quick updates usually get an email. Monthly reports will be a PDF and call sometimes with screensharing to review everything. – @alexpeerenboom

send an email – include a commentary but also jump on a call to ensure the explanations made sense and are happy with the next steps. – @mindswanppc

Send via email and set up a web conference to discuss. I’ve recently started turning on my video for client calls – it really helps build relationships (even if you’re the only one with your webcam on) – @JasonStinnett

We do it all, it depends on the client’s needs. But we prefer face to face over Zoom.  – @elevatedmrktng

Typically, weekly report by email/Basecamp (unless dashboard w/ daily updates is set up) with weekly or bi-weekly status calls (we use Google Meet for screenshares). Monthly reports by email/Basecamp with Q&A during regular calls as needed. – @akaEmmaLouise

We do weekly reporting by e-mail with a bi-weekly sync call to touch base on open action items and a bi-annual in-person meeting (at least with our current main PPC client) to discuss upcoming campaigns. – @marccxmedia



Q6 How much time do you feel/or actually know is spent on reporting?


for every hour of presentation, 2-3 hours went into making the report – @JonKagan

When I was doing agency work, monthly reports take about 30-45 minutes to compile without deep analysis. Problem children can add hours. My in-house weeklies take 30 minutes to 1 hour to compile. – @ferkungamaboobo

I’m not sure about how many is but it is important to give it the due attention no matter how long that is. Being able to decipher the stats in a non jargon explicit way for our clients is mostly what we are paid for. – @mindswanppc

An hour a week to make sure updated all the reports correctly. If we find an error or a spike in a report then more time is added in.  – @duanebrown

I have it down to about an hour per monthly report, unless something out of the ordinary happened during the reporting period that requires further investigation/explanation. I loathe weekly reports and will do everything in my power to not provide them. Things fluctuate throughout a month and looking at things weekly (client looking) can lead to so many unnecessary discussions that would not happen w/out weekly reports. – @NeptuneMoon

Probably an hour a week for the updates. Then I would think about 5 hours at the end of the month for the monthlies. – @adwordsgirl

Pulling the #’s (w/ automation) takes 5 min. The analysis depends on the goals/spend/newness of acct, etc. But like everyone else, Avg. month end is about an hr. sometimes less or more per client. Thats also my time to dig in for my own benefit too, not just reports – @timmhalloran

Weekly reporting doesn’t take long – mostly automated so it’s just a quick QA and typing up an email or call agenda. Monthly reporting – written summaries take the longest, maybe an hour or two to write up analyses, industry updates, next steps, etc for each client. – @akaEmmaLouise

When I was client side, it depended on the rhythm of reporting. If it was one of campaigns typically 30 mins. Seasonal campaigns usually would be about 2 hours a week and then another full week for a final report. – @JGeestar

Overall, we spend 10-20 hours a week on management with the tail-end (1-2 hours) being reporting. – @marccxmedia



Q7 Do your clients ever ask questions/want metrics all month long? If so, how do you manage productivity and burnout?


It is very important to lay out, in detail, in your contract exactly what level and frequency of reporting is included. IF a client wants significantly more, initiate a scope change and add to their monthly bill. This will often miraculously stop extra requests. – @NeptuneMoon

not really. If they see something that looks a bit off when they’re reviewing metrics, they’ll give us a call. Otherwise they’re pretty good with the weekly updates and monthly reports. – @adwordsgirl

Understanding the client’s underlying motivation is a big part of responding correctly. Do they want to feel in control? Are they trying to push & to make sure I’m continually working on the account? Either way I usually automate a simple, a high level dashboard. – @JasonStinnett

Nope. Weekly reporting works for our clients, and we answer questions as they come in. – @marccxmedia

We try to be proactively transparent to avoid lots of questions about metrics. We find out what metrics are important to the client and make sure those are addressed. Communication then focuses on strategies and tests and how they are impacting the selected KPIs. – @akaEmmaLouise

We get adhoc requests. Manage expectations as with anything client related. We have been merging a lot of Shopify and other data sources for clients which has been great for finding out the limits of Shopify and how we can push its potential for clients – @duanebrown

Give them a dynamically updating dashboard w/ all the KPI’s they’re interested in. Then they can look at the metrics to their heart’s content. Sidenote: has some sweet business intelligence dashboards and I’ve only started digging in. – @timmhalloran

Have been on both sides of the table (client and agency). its all about communication and education. Control the tone of the requests, educate the client to minimize future questions. – @JGeestar

we have clients that get hourly reports. It is case by case, but we setup meetings, and establish staffing around those scenarios  – @JonKagan



Q8 Do or does your company count reporting time in your billing structure?


We bake that time into our monthly retainer – @adwordsgirl

Reporting is absolutely counted in scope of work. We have a defined scope for ongoing account management that includes reporting as a line item. Ad hoc reports are billed on top of that (with approval, before extra work is done). – @NeptuneMoon

definitely. That’s where we tell the client how PPC is making them money. They’ve got to pay for that knowledge. – @mindswanppc

We don’t bills hours and we would need to do some sort of reporting anyways. Making sure everyone is aligned with reporting makes it easier.  – @duanebrown

If you’re not factoring in reporting, then your incentive to report will be really low (and clients pick up on that) – @robert_brady

100% yes. We aren’t a charity, and if you want our proprietary knowledge, it has to be billed for – @JonKagan

100% – Reporting is part of the service we offer. The data from PPC is simply overwhelming for most. Which is why it’s our job to take the information and make it easier to digest and pull valuable insights from – @esperinbound

Reporting is included in our billing structure. – @marccxmedia



Q9 For the multi-channel folks, do you use a platform like Google analytics to show all channels or do you report from the platform?


A mix of both. Comes down to how things are setup with the client before we took them on board. – @duanebrown

Depending on scope, separate reports may be needed for each platform, so as to not overwhelm in one mega report. Google Analytics is always part of my reporting for every platform! – @NeptuneMoon

It’s a bit of a combination of both  – @adwordsgirl

we use both. GA works as the backend bible – @JonKagan

Once you get to multi-channel, you really have to get manual with your reports to give “real” information. I think some information from Analytics can be valuable as addenda but you’ve got to make some strong attribution choices.  – @ferkungamaboobo

Usually platforms, but some metrics from GA occasionally.  – @akaEmmaLouise

Google Analytics will definitely help you understand the full picture if you have traffic coming from a variety of sources. You need to ensure your UTM parameters are set up for success though! Pro Tip: Use the Google Analytics Attribution Model Comparison tool! – @esperinbound

We just report using data from the respective platform. – @marccxmedia



Q10 What’s one metric you wish you could stop reporting on?


impression share/SOV – @JonKagan

Don’t have that issues as we lead and tell clients what’s important and why. Once we say profitable… clients perk up and want to hear more usually. We don’t do vanity metrics.  – @duanebrown

Nothing top of mind, since I try only to report the essential metrics as it is, based on the client’s needs/interests. – @akaEmmaLouise

Impressions. Especially when conversion rate and ROAS is very positive.  – @mindswanppc

Ad Spend  Wouldn’t it be nice to only have to report on profitability or CPA. “As long as you stay in a 3:1 margin” or “as long as you keep a consistent CPA between $30-50” then spend as much as you possibly can. – @timmhalloran

Not really. If we’re the ones writing a report, we’re reporting on metrics that we feel are valuable.– @adwordsgirl



Q11 OPEN FLOOR, what question(s) do you want to ask the group on reporting?


Anyone use PowerBI for Reporting & Analysis? – @coryhenke

Do you all break out data by demo, hour of day, day of week at all? – @JonKagan



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