• Fifth blog in our five-part series on Google AdWords PPC campaigns 
  • Steps to follow when rounding up your PPC campaigns
  • Free downloadable report template 

This is the fifth and final post in our ‘Managing your PPC’ blog series. By now, you know the basics of PPC and can run a campaign from start to finish. The last piece of the puzzle is reporting. It’s essential to know how to deliver a report that explains the results of your campaign, indicates what did and didn’t work and provides a consistent and rigorous overview of activities. We’ll cover everything you need to know, including:

  • Why reporting matters
  • Which key metrics to include
  • How to take your report to the next level

At Fifty Five and Five, we run PPC campaigns for a wide range of companies across the Microsoft Partner Network. So, our focus is on producing reports for our clients. Where our key stakeholders are our clients, yours may be your marketing director, management or board of directors. Either way, the advice in this post is equally applicable. So let’s get started!

Please note: for this blog series, we’re focusing improving PPC campaigns on the ‘Search Network’ only. In short, this means it will only appear on Google search, rather than running on third party websites and YouTube channels.

Why reporting matters

If you’re not reporting on the outcomes of your PPC campaigns, how do you know when they have been a success? How, when something doesn’t work out, can you identify what went wrong and learn from your mistakes? Reporting is one of the best ways to improve your campaigns and move things forward.

The key metrics

The first part of putting together your PPC report is to decide on the metrics to include. These should be based on the agreed goals that you set at the beginning of the campaign. Each company will have a unique perspective on what counts as success. But, in general, it’s good practice to use the same metrics every time. There are four good reasons why:

  • it will make your life easier
  • it creates a consistent experience for whoever sees your report
  • it will ensure you include all the important metrics
  • it will help keep your reports clear, clean and easy to understand

Here is our fail proof list of the key metrics you should use in your report:

1. Number of leads

Generating leads is one of (if not the) biggest driver for running ads. When reporting, this is the ‘bottom line’ number. Define what a ‘lead’ counts as from the beginning (e.g. number of people who clicked on an ad, filled out a form and gave you their email address) and then tot this number up.

2. Click-through rate percentage

Whether their performance is good or bad, reporting on your ads CTR is a key part of your PPC campaigns. If you’re producing weekly reports over a three-month period, for example, reporting will help you identify which ads aren’t performing to a good standard and adjust accordingly.

3. Result by region

Depending on the size and scope of your PPC campaigns it might be a good idea to break down your results into regions. If you are targeting certain regions – and specific budgets have been allocated for these regions – then it becomes essential.

4. Number of impressions

Impressions are counted each time your ad is seen by people on a search engine results page.

5. Cost-per-click (CPC)

CPC refers to how much your ad has cost for one person to click on it. If you’re working to a rigid budget, this might be the most important metric to track.

6. Total cost

Another area that your internal stakeholders will care considerably about is Total Cost. Be clear on how much you’ve spent so far, even down to the region if your targeting is very granular, along with how much is remaining.

7. Average page position

This is the average position that an ad has appeared on Google’s search engine results page. Good for getting an overall idea of how well an ad is performing.

Taking your report to the next level

The key metrics mentioned are essential, but to produce a report that goes above and beyond, there are few more things to consider. Not everyone will do these, but, at Fifty Five and Five, we believe these additional metrics give you a better idea of where your money is going and the impact they’re having. With that, you gain better visibility into your PPC campaigns and can make your money go further.

Here are three things you can do to take your reports to the next level:

  • Use Google Analytics to provide extra insight
  • Include the conversion rate
  • Include a commentary

Google Analytics

Before you begin any PPC campaigns, you need to set up your ads so that you can find them later in Google Analytics. To do this, you need to set up an Urchin Tracking Module (UTM). You can read more about UTM’s in Part 2 of our PPC blog series.

In short, by adding these UTMs, it gives you additional information on where a click has come from. So, let’s say your ads are targeting the UK, Australia and the US, by adding these UTMs, specific to each region, you’ll then be able to see how each has performed.

PPC Campaigns
In the screenshot below we can filter the source/medium for each goal

As well as looking at the UTMs that report on your campaign goal, Google Analytics also lets you look specifically at the landing page you’re promoting. From there you can see how much traffic has come to that page, and the percentage of that traffic which has come from your PPC work. This lets you report on both the lead generation aspect and from a brand awareness angle (by viewing pure sessions/visitor numbers).

Conversion rate

A great feature of Google Analytics is that you can create goals, which can help you work out conversion rates. This is where the data from AdWords and Google Analytics marry up.

The conversion rate is the percentage of people who have done what you want them to do (i.e. download the whitepaper after clicking through from your ad). You can work it out by dividing how many people clicked on your ad by how many times the goal was triggered and multiplying that by 100.

Why is this important? It helps you define the true worth of your campaign. You might produce great ads, but the conversion rate remains poor. This could be because the landing page isn’t good enough or because AdWords isn’t the right channel for this campaign. But, by being transparent about the conversion rate, it helps key stakeholders decide on what to do next.

See below for a preview of what the downloadable template consists of, and how to calculate the conversion rate for AdWords.

PPC campaigns
PPC campaign reporting template

Telling a story

It’s always useful to write a commentary because a little context can go a long way. While the stats are great, commentary can help explain to your clients or managers why you have had a poor week, or why you have had a great week.

The commentary doesn’t have to be very long. It should include any anomalies and any short or long-term trends; it should emphasise any particularly good outcomes and explain the reasons for bad ones. It is also useful to briefly discuss the budget, i.e. outline why you spent the amount that you spent.

Now might be a good time to note that things don’t happen overnight. To get a real indication of your campaign performance, it’s best to wait a week before making changes. If you’re reporting to your stakeholders on a weekly basis, it’s a good chance for you to get a seven-day-view of the campaign—leaving enough time to justify a change to your campaign.

Maximise your PPC campaigns

If you address the areas mentioned in this post, you can produce a killer report that complements and completes your campaign. Make your PPC campaigns go above and beyond with a report worthy of your hard work.

Don’t forget to download your copy of our free PPC campaign report here.