How to Create PPC Reports that Clients Actually Want to Read

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Janet Lee
By Janet Lee

August 24, 2015

If you are a professional pay-per-click agency, then offering regular reports on a PPC and shopping campaigns is expected. The way to keep track of, and understand, your PPC campaign is to come up with detailed analytical reports, but truly effective reporting can only be possible if you are presenting the right information to your clients.

Although numbers and raw data are important, PPC agencies need to provide much more than a set of graphs and charts showing increased clicks. Instead, a report should provide insight into the relative success of a PPC campaign based on predetermined goals. Numbers and charts should be used to back up campaign insights, not be the insights.  Here are some specific approaches that can be adapted to present valuable PPC report to your clients:

Offer objective-based reporting

If your client is following a PPC-based advertising model, then he is likely to have specific objectives in mind such as brand expansion, increased lead generation, etc. No matter what your client’s goals are, the PPC report should be centered around them. For instance, if your client’s main goal is to boost sales, then you should present details on the number of clicks and confirmation that the increase in clicks also increased sales. If they did not, have a plan for how you are altering the campaign as part of the reporting.

Give results in plain English

A PPC report is presented to answer questions like “How is my PPC campaign doing and are my goals are being met?’’ Sharing numbers and charts will not help you provide the right answer to a client’s question. A proper answer should be put at the beginning of the report so that your client understands what you want to say. For e.g., ‘’ There has been a 15 percent increase in sales for the month of July, which may be due to the increased number of clicks from so-and-so campaign.’’

The majority of PPC reports present details in the form of numbers obtained from AdWords, web analytics, and adCenter. Clients and higher-level managers receive spreadsheets full of details on conversion rates, cost per conversion, click-through rates,  clicks, and impressions, often without any context at all. Though PPC executives know what these numbers signify, even experienced professionals may face a challenge in finding out whether the numbers were good or bad without context.

Be Meaningful

A good PPC report depends less on numbers and more on why they are meaningful. The numbers that you present should inform clients about the insights that can be drawn from them. Ask and answer questions: did key metrics follow usual seasonal trends? What’s different and why is it different? Was it a successful ad copy test run? What were the results? Was there something newsworthy that brought click-throughs, but didn’t bring conversions? What will be changed and why?

All the above-mentioned information should form the major part of the report, with sufficient information to support your claims. Also, include charts with clicks, the total number of impressions, and conversions, place them on a table at the report’s end. Some clients do prefer to go through raw data, but leave this for after you have shared the major details in context.

Perform In-depth analysis

Most PPC reports include details based on leads, clicks, impressions, and sales. However, they miss out on minor, yet influential factors like the exact time of the day and which day of the week does the campaign performs best. These details need to be taken into consideration during the allocation of the PPC budget. You can also analyze the exact part of the website where the client’s PPC ad is placed, and whether it has a different click rate if it has moved within the page. Performing small tests can prove to be beneficial in the long run. These details will be useful for clients who want details beyond the obvious.

Modify each PPC report

Don’t plug details into a normal template and send it as a PPC template. It won’t help the client who is looking for particular insights or provide a clear perception of the progress and success of the campaign. Modifying PPC reports for each client will help you highlight the most important details.

Enhance and update reports consistently

Once you have properly analyzed, objective-based PPC reports in place, you will need to make enhancements and updates to them from time to time. Utilize the details you learn from each PPC report and modify the campaign’s goal at various stages. Once you adjust the goal, the data presentation needs to be revisited.

Show why you matter

As a PPC campaign manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that a PPC campaign performs well. If it doesn’t, you need to find out the reasons behind its failure and resolve them. One way to prove what you are doing is to highlight the successes of the campaign, no matter how small they may be.

Numbers need to point to recommendations

There are numerous ways PPC reports help clients in reviewing the progress of a campaign.  A good PPC report needs to include suggestions and plans for moving forward so that the client can anticipate what will happen in the future. Recommendations should form a vital part of the conversions that are initiated from the PPC report.

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