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This week’s PPCChat discussion was led by Julie F Bacchini. During the session, experts expressed their thoughts on the primary metrics or methods they are using for reporting, did they face any issues with traditional metrics, measurement, and/or reporting lately, and more.

Q1: How do you determine what metrics or KPIs (key performance indicators) are tracked, measured and reported?

It depends on what the client needs. some want to dive right in and get to the CPC and weekly IS. Others just want the big picture. Start with client needs, and recommend account needs from there. @JuliaVyse

We try to focus on a balance of: (1) what the client actually needs to see to measure performance, and (2) what metrics the client would like to keep an eye on. We will consult with the client if we think any of their desired KPIs are off. @PPCKirk

Depends on the goals of the client. We have a reporting template with most major KPIS that we then customize to each client. Aggressive sales growth – ROAS may not be the most important metric. Efficiency with budget – ROAS is a better choice to highlight. @selley2134

I wish we could just report on Costs and Conversions/Revenue. The other data is worth using as supporting information and helps in analysis, but I think it distracts from most clients actual business goals. @ferkungamaboobo

Then of course, as others have noted, what they need to see for performance differs from account to account based on business goals, especially bt lead gen and ecom of course! @PPCKirk

We work with the client to determine their overall business goals and what areas they feel could improve. So many factors- size of current & potential market, ad budget, 1-time vs repeat buyers, and more. @ynotweb

Start with clients’ commercial goals and work backwards. Don’t bury the lead story with data vomit. Know difference between what you need internally to kick ass and what tells a story in reporting. Industry trends & auction reports help context. @beyondcontent

I do mostly lead gen, so for those clients, we are often looking at overall costs (budgets are not unlimited) and cost per lead (CPL). But I dig deeper when I can with feedback from client’s data. @NeptuneMoon

We’ve had to get very granular with our questions. Like, the best KPI for videos are views and audience builds. But if you plan to measure it on clicks, we won’t recommend videos. tough love! @JuliaVyse

Absolutely same here. It’s all about the metrics directly related to the business goals. @TheMarketingAnu

I’m in-house, and everything comes down to margin/profitability. @dan_patterson

From client’s KPI perspective, PPC needs to eat ***other people’s marketshare***. If you’re +20% but their organic is -20%, the client isn’t winning. Be aware of their ecom perspective aside from your own silo.  @beyondcontent

Since we only work with ecom, DTC and SaaS. We generally only track: rev, ROAS, MER or trials/leads, customers and purchase/LVT amount We always talk with clients about tracking out stuff but we try to stay focused on main goal. Profitable grow the business. @duanebrown

By determining the clients business objectives you can then translate those into metrics/KPIs. Some clients have preconceived notions of baselines for their KPIs. Its up to us to help educate & shape whether those baselines new clients are used to are healthy or not. @BrettBodofsky

Could be secondary goals & KPIs to track and things we only track internally. Most of our clients just want to know if they are making money or not. So they can get back to their business. @duanebrown

Depending on our campaign focus or needs – we focus on conversion data, source tracking, etc. It is important to be intentional with your data instead of drowning in it. @GreenRope

Major KPIs are based on client goals (leads vs sales, CPL vs ROAS). Front-end KPIs (CPCs, CTR, etc.) depend on the campaign goal. I like to look at bounce rates, avg. time on site for display campaigns. Also, track secondary convs like email sign-ups, chat started. @Anna_Sorok

Lead gen – conversion volume, budget and Cost / Conv. E-commerce – conv. value /cost, conv. value and average basket size. For e-commerce, conversions and conversion rate are also worth noting to make sure you notice a dip in overall sales/rate of sales. @C_J_Ridley

Q2: What are the primary metrics or methods you are using for your reporting currently (ROAS, MER, CAC, etc.)? Does it vary by platform or industry?

It definitely varies by industry. Even my two different awareness clients look at different account health metrics! @JuliaVyse

A lot of trafic ones – clicks, impressions, ctr, cpc, cost but also bookings, signups and CPA.@TheMarketingAnu

We’re primarily Ecom so most often use ROAS, however I’m trying to shift more of our thinking (internally and externally) to a MER calculation. Admittedly, that is even tricky as @andrewfoxwell explains here with insights:… @PPCKirk

I am often amazed at the disconnect or lack of connection between advertising spend and the revenue (lifetime or otherwise) that are generated by leads or customers acquired via paid channels. Conversions Cost per conversion @NeptuneMoon

Benefit to MER, IMO, is it prevents the tendency to silo channels. So we may have soft targets of single channel ROAS, but I find clients monitoring overall MER tend to naturally avoid over-reacting when a specific channel has a poor week. Helps focus on the big pic @PPCKirk

ECom -ROAS, Total Site revenue, Profit from Ads, Asst Conv Lead gen – CPA, Microconversions & Microconversion value (mainly used with long sales cycle both ecom & lead) Branding – Impr, direct traffic, view thru, overall site traffic @selley2134

ROAS and ROI, relative to volume growth & marketshare, and with cross channel attribution caveats. Too many ecom folk still happy to ignore everything outside last click… *sigh* @beyondcontent

I think there are certain universal KPIs. Channel metrics help you understand if you’re reaching the right people, and if you’ve chosen the correct channel for what you want to accomplish. Just be mindful you don’t ONLY look at those. @JuliaVyse

CPA, ROAS, leads, views, search impression share (both paid and organic, as we figure in SEO efforts as well). This definitely varies by industry and client. @ynotweb

We work mostly with B2B clients. We look at form fills, MQLs, SQLs. @Reddy20449

AND varies by platform, I meant to include @ynotweb

I always over share but breaking it down by industry: Ecom & DTC: Rev, ROAS, MER SaaS: Trials/leads, customers and purchase/LVT For SaaS, are leads converting into happy paying customers is more important then number of leads. If leads don’t convert, issues! @duanebrown

So it obviously varies by client, but at the end of the day, it comes down to how we’re impacting two key outcomes: people (customers) + profit. @DigitalSamIAm

More advanced clients look at blended ROAS or CPL but smaller clients truly rely on GA/Google or MS ads revenue from paid channels directly @Anna_Sorok

I’ve used Google Data Studio (with Supermetrics) in the past and currently using DashThis. Usually just a commentary with scorecards & tables. Metrics: Conv., CPA, CVR, Conv. Value* and ROAS*, CPC Vanity metrics: Imp, Clicks, CTR *if applicable, @C_J_Ridley

Q3: When a client or stakeholder wants to focus on metrics or KPIs that are not actually important to what you’re doing, how do you handle that?

I start with a conversation. Often they’ll have reasons for wanting to see these particular metrics and it’s fine to include in a report. If a preferred (vanity) metric becomes a goal to work towards, that’s another conversation. @JuliaVyse

I usually just use the socratic method on them + work backwards from what they actually care about. @DigitalSamIAm

Ah vanity metrics… gotta report on them because the client/stakeholder cares about them, but frame them in relation to how it’s making $$$ @dan_patterson

Always start with having a conversation. Explain what, why, etc. The right clients will listen, or have their own thoughts to help you understanding their point. Yet another of 1 billion reasons why filtering prospects to sign the “right” clients is a good idea. @PPCKirk

Actually dealing with this currently. I have a call scheduled to walk them through what I am looking at & how that translates to their business & goals. I will still add the metrics they are looking at to the report b/c it means something to them. @selley2134

I start with an in depth conversation about GOALS. What are we trying to do? What are our constraints? How do we achieve our goals within the parameters? Also ask what they have been seeing in reporting and discuss what we keep going forward.@NeptuneMoon

We educate, but if needed, we run an A/B test showing the non-correlation of their KPIs to return/sales/profits. @ynotweb

If they are focused on silly metrics, I will gently discuss that with them and suggest that we shift focus to what really matters/shows what is happening. If they are not receptive to this, it is a red flag to me. Discuss all of this stuff very early on! @NeptuneMoon

I would go an extra mile to help him understand that they r measuring the wrong metric. Reason? Today they measure the wrong one and tomorrow they are going to ask us to optimize for the wrong metric.Once we r forced to do it, that would be the beginning of the end @jithinsee

Rarely happens to us as clients want us to lead and take charge… hence why they hired us. Worse case we find out why they want to track it and what is it going to help with. Then give our POV on opportunities and challenges. @duanebrown

It’s like SEO vanity metrics. “Gotta be number 1 for xyz phrase!” Is there volume there? If so, is it relevant to your industry? Is it making $$$? Back in my agency days I had a Property Management company that wanted to rank for “PMS.” That was a fun conversation… @dan_patterson

Communication and trust are key – you are the expert in this area of their business. Compare their goals with the data you are presenting to show the importance @GreenRope

Q4: Are you experiencing any issues with your traditional metrics, measurement and/or reporting lately? Does it vary by platform?

There’s always issues w/ various reporting, though most of it is in our short-term data. The one benefit of iOS14.5 // demise of cookies is that (IMO) it will force more brands to adopt Automated MMMs + start looking at MER or Media:Profit ratios. @DigitalSamIAm

I’m seeing a lot more “(not set)” in my Google Analytics lately, and my conspiracy theory is that it’s affecting overall attribution not only in Google Ads but in things that integrate with Google Analytics as well. @ferkungamaboobo

Yes, across the board. iOS14, but also FloC weirdness, traditional media channels being what they are, and full on clients who can’t legally pixel their sites. It’s a shell game of data points! @JuliaVyse

Yep. Facebook & Google notably. Alot of shift due to AI “learning curve” and obvious data blocking. @ynotweb

It’s tempting for Ecom accounts to focus on tracked sales, as that’s what we’re here for, right?! But it’s not all that diff from Lead Gen. There are steps in the funnel (albeit shorter) to nurture, & those should be considered as well in reporting/bidding, etc. @PPCKirk

I have noticed over the past few months the rise in (not set) in the Google Ads campaign reports. This used to point to a redirect or a bad link stripping gclid but seems like it may be the new normal where we cant attribute each conversion to a specific campaign/kw @selley2134

It is all getting wonky and with iOS data missing. I think now is a great time to think about the purpose of reporting and what can show what you really need to see. GA 4 is going to make people cry when it becomes the only option…@NeptuneMoon

You mean beyond iOS14.5+ updated. Some things are easier with us only working with clients on a handful of ad/ech platforms. Really auditing clients as we onboard, to set them up for success leads to less issues of not being able to track something in 1 month. @duanebrown

Facebook is struggling as expected. We are using conv modeling to overcome this. On the Google side, my big issue is the difference in attribution models and conversion reporting between reporting platforms. I like to use SA360 but we can’t see convs for Display & YT. @Anna_Sorok

The lack of data Google is providing is limiting the value of the data I’m presenting in my reports, which is having to be offset with additional commentary to provide necessary insight. Eg. GAds’ Auction Insight saying “not enough data” for an entire month of data. @C_J_Ridley

Q5: Are/have you changed any of the metrics or KPIs (key performance indicators) that you are reporting on and/or how you report them? If so, why have you changed?

No, but I feel like every metric has a * next to it now. Metrics used to be more exact, now they’re more directional. That’s a hard shift to make, especially to accounting types. @dan_patterson

YoY comparisons have been hard to justify for the last 18 months, due to covid and lockdown changing customer behaviour for e-commerce in particular. @C_J_Ridley

Not changed as such, it’s still about reach, in-store sales, and app metrics. But it’s definitely a moment to redefine reporting success. @JuliaVyse

Conversions are still being counted, but as we have discussed many times, in G Ads seeing queries that lead to them is harder (in some accounts near impossible). I’m trying to mentally prepare clients for less data because that is coming. @NeptuneMoon

Honestly, Setting up new clients is actually so much less work than shifting all the things with long standing clients at this point! @ynotweb

Beyond MER. The other things is trying to get a better handle on how long 80% -90% of customers take to convert after a click for each client. I don’t think GA does a great job of it… as much as they think they do.@duanebrown

Q6: There has been a lot of talk about conversion actions being way out of sync since ATT dropped (especially in Facebook). Are you seeing any impact with conversion numbers in platform vs. backend or analytics?

Yes. in-platform conversions straight up don’t make sense. Some are clearer than others, particularly google to google reporting, but its quite messy right now. @JuliaVyse

Kind of having a hard time explaining stakeholders “How is the campaign/adset/ad that we paused couple of days back still showing conversions against them”? (Especially in Facebook ads) @jithinsee

I think I just answered this. Big fat YES. Now I trust no one without secondary proof. @ynotweb

Q7: Have client or stakeholder expectations or requests regarding metrics, measurement or reporting changed in the last 6-12 months? If so, how have they changed?

Not yet. Reporting is an ongoing discussion, so it’s not so much a sudden change as it is new information to discuss. @JuliaVyse

Clients are now looking into the quality of the conversions, which is something that we have been stressing all the time. Now we are all on the same page, @PPCKenChang

Honestly, not really. The answers to some of those requests have changed as data availability & definitions havw changed, but by and large our overall reporting structure has been pretty consistent. @DigitalSamIAm

Mostly no, but have recently got some requests to try to go further than GA (especially as that data gets less reliable). Currently working to create some custom tracking to report on New customers vs returning customers & LTV. @selley2134

No, it’s actually been on us to educate most of them on the changes affecting… everything… we are thankful that clients’ increased sales numbers support their trust in us. I’d hate to be working from behind an 8-ball with all the changes. @ynotweb

I am seeing a big shift in stakeholders wanting to understand the quality & value of convs now compared to 1-2 years ago. This is likely due to the creeping CPCs, which are making it more about the Bottom of Funnel CVR rather than the initial CVR. Quality > Quantity @C_J_Ridley

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