Nearly everyone’s been in a meeting where your boss asks for a specific piece of information and your mind goes blank as you fumble through your notes and try desperately to log in to your analytics dashboard. And on the flip side, even the best leaders and managers have second-guessed if they’re paying attention to the most relevant numbers.
Whether you’re the one pulling the report or the one tasked with making sure everything’s on track, knowing the PPC KPIs to keep track of is crucial. From the CMO, to director, to manager, each will want to see a different set of numbers, but it’s safe to assume the higher up the chain, the more high-level view will be appropriate.
CMOs want an overall pulse on performance while managers want to dive into individual ad pieces to see what’s working and what could be improved now. Here are some other points to consider as you make sure the KPIs you’ve chosen are serving you well:
What Everyone Will Want To See
Generally, the PPC KPIs a CMO, director, and manager are going to care about are: where we’re at now, and a benchmark to determine if you’re on track. It’s hard to judge success without some sort of context. Benchmarks could be anything from total budget spent, to a comparison of last quarter or last year’s data, to conversions vs CPA.
Again, CMOs, directors, and managers will find different information to be helpful to their specific job function, but as a starting point, Search Engine Journal suggests there are ten basic PPC KPIs everyone should be tracking:
- Quality score – created by Google to measure how relevant your ad content is. The better the ad, the less you pay in advertising
- Conversion rate
- Average position on page for search results
- Budget attainment – how close you came to the originally set budget despite constant fluctuations in the PPC auction
- LTV – customer lifetime value. Companies who retain customers longer make more revenue
Though all the above is important, CMOs, directors, and managers may want to pick and choose from this list depending on what goals they’re focused on, and some will want to see these numbers measured against historical data for more context, not just an update on the current climate of ad campaigns.
PPC Reporting: In-house vs. Agency
One huge and important differentiator of what the recipient will care about is if he/she is in-house or agency. In-house people will obviously only care about their business, while the business of an agency is the health of all their clients. For that reason, agency folks will want an overview of several different accounts, broken down in a way that allows them to not only compare historical data for each account but also pits accounts each other.
Running an agency is running a business, and they’ll want to know who their best customers are. Agency staff may also want insight into which ads are performing the best across all clients, and if any networks or platforms are performing better than others.
By the Numbers
If you’re the person pulling a report for any of the key players, anticipate what questions the recipient might have, and answer them with the data you pull and the way you present it. This post on PPC reporting has some great breakdown questions to help you get into the mind of the end reader.
- Again, a high-level figure like a CMO is going to want the bigger picture of overall health, which is most often accomplished with year over year comparisons like 2017 vs. 2016 for spend trends, conversion trends, and CPA trends
- They’ll probably also want to see a brief monthly breakdown to make sure current performance is what they expected. That breakdown might look similar to SEJ’s suggestion: Clicks, Impressions, CTR, Average CPC, Spend, Conversions, Conversion Rate, Cost per Conversion.
- He or she is also going to want to know how much money is being spent – what portion of the overall allotted budget has already made its way out the door, and where it’s going (networks/platforms, search vs. social)
- He or she may also want to know how larger ad campaigns have impacted the overall business all the way down to revenue numbers. While a manager will be interested in the individual pieces of the campaign, a CMO wants a broader summary of what each has done for business.
- Directors are the bridge between what the managers are accomplishing on the ground with teams, and what the CMO is expecting from the company overall. They’ll need to have a pulse on what’s going on below them so they can effectively interpret progress to CMOs.
- For the above reason, they will want to see everything the CMO wants to see and more
- They’re going to want a closer pulse on the day-to-day of campaigns than a CMO, but expect the managers have a handle on the nitty-gritty of say, each ad
- KPIs they’re interested in are going to be current monthly data as well as historical data for the preceding month or quarters. They’ll use this to make sure everything is charting positively and to spot any red flags.
- A manager is going to want to see all the information down to the most detailed level – per ad performance
- He or she will want to know exactly what’s working and what’s not so that immediate adjustments can be made
- Managers will be more interested in the quality of the leads (MQL) and ad quality scores since they can make an immediate impact here by switching up creative
- They’ll also want to know how things are going in relation to more immediate historical data like preceding month and quarter. While the CMO is interested in looking at performance year over year, a manager will be more interested in information that tells them if changes need to be made today.
Again, ask the recipient if they’re looking for specific KPIs before you go digging up the information. It’s better to be on the same page than to take stabs in the dark and get it all wrong.
You’ll also want to be sure you’re showing the information in the form that’s most helpful and revealing. A line graph might show results a lot more clearly than a bar graph. For more tips on when and how to use data visualization, check out this post on how to use graphics for PPC reporting.
With closed-loop reporting software, it’s easy to create custom reports depending on who’s asking for numbers. And it never hurts to have your AskAdStage slackbot open in meetings just in case a curveball question suddenly pops up.