44 E-Commerce KPIs and Metrics for Your Marketing Dashboard

Posted by on Nov 6, 2017 in Analytics, Reporting
44 E-Commerce KPIs and Metrics for Your Marketing Dashboard

The National Retail Federation predicts that online is going to be the major driver of growth for retail in the next years to come. No surprises here: consumers spend more and more time on mobile discovering and comparing products — a perfect opportunity for businesses to capture buyer’s intent in the “micro-moments.”

Yet as retail is undergoing this massive shift, many stores are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy — and the competition gets tougher for the young disruptors. To grow business and increase sales, e-commerce marketers need to ensure they are tracking web conversions and measuring the right KPIs.

Here are 44 essential metrics every e-commerce business should be measuring.

Business Health Metrics

Customer acquisition cost (CAC) Calculate how much it costs you to acquire a customer
Average order value Calculate how much revenue each order brings to your business
Customer lifetime value (LTV) Predict how much money a customer will bring over the entire future relationship with your business
Percentage of returning customers Calculate the percentage of people who come back and buy more after making the initial purchase
Sales conversion rate Calculate the percentage of visitors who become your customers
Revenue generated from marketing campaigns (marketing ROI) Calculate how much revenue is generated for all marketing activity

Website and App Metrics

Site availability Determine if you can access a website by going to its URL and view the site’s content as expected
YoY traffic changes Compare the number of visitors for one period to the same period the previous year
Time on site Measure how much time visitors spend on your website
Number of pages visited Measure how many pages a visitor views per session
Number of app downloads Calculate how many people downloaded your app from Apple’s App Store or Google Play
Sales conversion rate Calculate the percentage of website visitors who become your customers
Average order value Calculate how much revenue each order brings to your business
Orders by session Measure how many orders each session (visit) brings to your business
Shopping cart abandonment rate Calculate the ratio of the number of abandoned shopping carts to the number of initiated transactions

Customer Experience Metrics

Website loading time Measure how long it takes for your website pages to load
App daily active users (DAU) How many people use your app daily
Pageviews per user Measure how easy it is to navigate your website
Page abandonment Measure how many visitors leave a page before completing the desired action
New users/repeat users by pages Measure how many new visitors your website pages get versus the number of repeat visitors
Bounce rate Calculate the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing just one page

Loyalty Metrics

Customer lifetime value (CLV) Predict how much profit a customer will bring over the entire relationship with your business
Net promoter score (NPS Score) Measure the willingness of your customers to recommend your company’s products or services to others
Repeat purchase rate See the percentage of your current customers that come back to shop again

Paid Search Advertising Metrics

Spend Calculate how much money was spent on advertising for a given date range
Clicks Measure many times users click on your ad and get to the landing page
Impressions Measure how many times users saw your ad
Click-through rate (CTR) Calculate the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions
Average cost per click (CPC) Measure how much on average you were charged for a click (calculated by dividing the total cost of your clicks by the total number of clicks)
Conversions Measure how many times a click turned into a business result (a sign-up, a sale, or any other action taken by the user)
Conversion rate Calculate the number of conversions divided by the number of clicks
Cost per conversion Measure how much you pay for a conversion

Social Media Advertising Metrics

Spend Calculate how much money was spent on advertising for a given date range
Network referrals Track which social networks are driving most traffic
Social media conversions Measure conversion by social networks to understand which ones bring the most valuable shoppers
Clicks Measure many times users click on your ad and get to the landing page
Frequency Understand when to set a frequency cap to prevent your audience from getting fatigued
Relevance score See how well your current ads are performing and whether you should make any changes

Email Metrics

Open rate Calculate the percentage of email recipients who open a given email
Clickthrough rate Calculate the percentage of email recipients who clicked on links in a given email
Conversion rate Calculate how many people completed the desired action
Bounce rate Measure the percentage of your emails that could not be delivered to the recipient’s inbox
List growth rate Calculate the rate at which your email list is growing
Email forwarding rate Calculate the percentage of people who clicked on a “forward to a friend” button

Ready to create a performance dashboard for your e-commerce business? At AdStage, we’ve built Universal Data API to help e-commerce brands pull in ad performance data, automate paid search and paid social campaigns, and map customer data back to campaigns so you can see the ROI and scale your business faster.

Try AdStage Free for 14 Days — no credit card required

Why Marketers Should Care About APIs

Posted by on Nov 1, 2017 in Analytics
Why Marketers Should Care About APIs

As advertising grows more dependent on technology, marketers will need to rethink what they once labeled as “developer things.”

Take APIs, for example. Sitting at the heart of all customer data, advertising APIs simplify cross-channel integrations, eliminate tedious manual tasks, and enable marketers to quickly pull large data sets from any platform. They are the foundation of new workflows and even business models.

Here’s what you should know about marketing APIs (and why you should care).

Advertising APIs

What the Heck is an API?

Think of an API (application programming interface) as a plug. Just like your iPhone has an expectation of the wall socket to conform to certain rules, which allows you to plug in and charge, APIs are built to follow predictable patterns so you can plug in and consume a service from a third-party provider.

For example, businesses that operate several Facebook apps use the Facebook Business Mapping API to sync user IDs. Thanks to the flexibility of the Giphy API, you can send GIFs to your co-workers on Slack.

Programmable Web counts 506 advertising APIs available on the market today, out of total 18,544 APIs listed on its website. From social ad creation to direct mail, events, and SEO, here’re a few marketing API examples you may be familiar with if you work in advertising.

1) Facebook Canvas API

Facebook’s Canvas API allows advertisers to create Canvas ads and campaigns on Facebook. You can use photos and videos to create Canvas ads and link to products or even store locations within the ad. Advertisers can create canvas components via API such as header, footer, carousel, button, and text.

2) Google AdWords API

The AdWords API allows apps to interact directly with the AdWords platform, vastly increasing the efficiency of managing large or complex AdWords accounts and campaigns. The Google AdWords API lets developers build applications that interact directly with the AdWords platform. With the AdWords API, you can build software that manages accounts from the customer level down to the keyword level.

3) MailChimp API

The MailChimp marketing API syncs email campaigns with your CRM and helps pull campaign stats and test different calls and endpoints before pushing to production.

4) Eloqua API

The Eloqua API allows users to integrate their existing services with the Eloqua platform, transfer data and manage a variety of assets in platform’s data store.

5) AdStage Universal Data API

With AdStage’s API, marketing teams can grab performance data from Google AdWords, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Yahoo Gemini, and ship it in a normalized form to BI tools, marketing automation systems, and CRM.

Why Should Marketers Care About Marketing Data APIs?

Your Targeting Will Get Even More Granular

Marketers will need to take the leap from channels to ecosystems and use data from multiple sources to better target niche audiences.

Digital media buying, including pay-per-click, relies on collecting data, making sense of it, and acting on that data quickly. To be successful, marketers must collect and analyze data from multiple sources, including web, CRM, and social, and making continuous adjustments and optimizations across many channels at scale.

You’ll Be Adding More Channels and Networks

Here’s the thing: advertising is not about Facebook or Linkedin. Believe it or not, it’s not even about Google. Advertising is how you reach people — wherever they are.

Your audiences are on the web, mobile, social, or using conversational interfaces on home devices. Marketers will need to be flexible and have a data strategy in place to gather insights across all channels.

You’ll Compete on Customer Data

Time and time again, businesses that are serious about customer data have disrupted traditional industries and multi-billion-dollar corporations. Think Glossier, Warby Parker, MeUndies, Chubbies Shorts, and other businesses that are laser-focused on delivering highly personalized experiences for niche audiences. Customer empathy and highly relatable content builds loyal customer base — especially when amplified by data-driven PPC advertising.

Big Data Will Keep Getting Bigger

Your data is moving around in massive streams across different channels. You need a way to organize your data in order to make sense of it. Advertising APIs allow multiple applications to “talk” with each other, which means you can organize your data to get better insights.

Gear Up for the Internet of Things

Marketers must be ready to move their content where your consumers will go. Today, it’s the web, mobile, and the conversational interfaces of personal and home devices. Tomorrow, it’s VR or something else. Whatever that something is, APIs will enable apps to exchange data and give marketers access needed to act quickly on it at scale.

advertising data integration

How to Untangle Your B2B Attribution

Posted by on Oct 4, 2017 in Analytics, Reporting
How to Untangle Your B2B Attribution

Whether you’re in an agency role or part of an in-house team, there will inevitably be a time when you’ll be asked: “What’s the business impact of our advertising campaigns?”

For many digital marketers, our Pavlov reaction will be to open up the network ads manager or a spreadsheet and point to individual network conversion performance (total conversions, cost per conversion, conversion rate) to justify the media spend. However well-intended, this approach is often misguided.

There are a few key issues with using ad network conversion tracking to reveal business impact.

1. It Defaults to Last-Click Attribution

There’s a reason why your branded search themed ad groups or your social retargeting ad sets post the lowest cost per acquisition trends. Your ideal prospect has likely already engaged with a marketing campaign in the same ad account or within a different network, yet you don’t see the full picture.

To see this for yourself, open the conversion window options in the network ad platform.

conversion window for Facebook Ads - PPC reporting software

*Conversion window options for Facebook Ads

2. It Doesn’t Account for Marketing Touches From Other Channels

According to the Online Marketing Institute, “it takes 7 to 13+ touches to deliver a sales qualified lead.”

Pull a Conversion Path Report from Google Analytics, and it likely will reveal that many of the common conversion paths include multiple touch points and sources that aided in driving the conversion action.

multitouch attribution ppc reporting software

3. Conversions Aren’t People

Have you ever ran a demand generation or acquisition campaign only to find the total amount of conversions reported across all your ad networks are higher than the number of new prospects added into your database? Your retargeting campaigns are likely leading to double counting.

For example: someone clicked on your search ad on Google, visited your website, and then converted on a retargeted Facebook newsfeed ad by filling out a demo form. In this scenario, AdWords would report a conversion – as will Facebook Ads – despite there only being one person who filled out the form.

network reported conversions - ppc reporting software

In the chart above, notice the difference in the total amount of conversions and cost per conversion trends reported by the native networks, versus the cost per new prospect and cost per acquired new prospect trends reported out of the marketing automation system.

4. Online Conversions Only Track Web Actions, While Sales Often Happen Outside of the Website

E-commerce marketers have the luxury of being able to track all of their customer journey metrics, from the initial touch to the purchase, captured in web analytics. They can easily understand the impact of marketing campaigns and channels, and associated return for each digital advertising dollar spent.

For the rest of us, especially for those in B2B businesses, a customer journey includes various touch points: sales phone calls, emails, on-site events, and the occasional steak dinner to land the deal. With sales cycles ranging from weeks to months versus e-commerce purchases that happen in hours or days, it can be very tricky to understand the impact of ad campaigns on business metrics such as opportunities created and closed-won revenue.

5. Lead Generation and Sales are Often Two Different Things

Forrester revealed in a report that less than 1% of marketing leads turn into new customers for B2B businesses. A core reason for this trend is a lack of reporting visibility into marketing campaigns effectiveness after the initial interaction occurs. Which makes sense, as marketers optimize what they can track: total leads and cost per lead.

However, if you have been in the game for awhile, you know that web conversions don’t account for a crucial component: lead quality. Online tracking stops at the web action, while your CRM tracks the entire customer lifecycle. Customer data is crucial when understanding if your ad campaigns are leading to more opportunities and sales.

There are four core stages in a B2B sale:

*Note: Individual company stages, models, and definitions can fluctuate, but they are typically rooted in this design.

Lead A prospect has an interaction on your website or offline touch point such as an event. Their information is added to the business CRM. Most network conversions track up to here.
Sales Qualified Contact A prospect meets certain criteria: company size, revenue, geography, budget, product need, or demo request.
Opportunity A need and fit for your product or service is established. This is the negotiation stage to see if the prospect and company will buy.
Closed Won or Lost Customer The outcome of the negotiation stage, hopefully resulting in a new customer and closed-won sales contract.

If you track performance down to the opportunity and sale level, it can often unearth areas where relying on conversion tracking or cost per lead metrics alone are short-sighted. For example, take the table below. Both campaign A and B have a total budget of $3,000.

Relying on web conversion tracking, it appears that Campaign B is outperforming Campaign A with an average cost per lead of $88 versus $94 trending. However, as we track the performance deeper into the sales funnel, it reveals that Campaign A not only provides a lower cost per opportunity, but a higher overall return on ad spend.

return on ad spend - PPC reporting software


Conversions reported by the native networks are still very helpful. Before you have a large amount of sales data, they should be used to aid with bid optimization (especially Facebook’s objective bidding or oCPM). They can also be used as the initial line of defense to quickly spot trends of what is or is not performing.

However, marketers should not rely on them solely. Instead, they should combine data from web analytics, ad performance metrics, and their CRMs to reveal the true impact of advertising on the business.

Let’s review the steps to getting full-funnel tracking for your advertising set-up.

Track Down Funnel Sales Impact with Uploaded Conversions

There are four key steps needed to report, analyze, and optimize for deeper metrics such as opportunities, sales, or revenue with your ad campaigns:

Step #1: Add URL Tracking Parameters to All Your Ad Creative Destination URLs

Adding additional tracking parameters to each new ad creative will help inform both your CRM and web analytics exactly which ad account, campaign, and ad variation led to a desired action (and which did not).

Here’s an example of a destination URL with applied custom tracking parameters:


Learn more about the process in our post on tracking conversions with Google Analytics.

There are a few ways to add tracking parameters to your destination URLs:

  1. One-by-one using the Google Custom URL builder.
  2. Use templates such as Google’s ValueTrack parameters or Facebook’s URL parameters section when creating an ad.
  3. Use an Excel or G-Sheets template.
google analytics tracking - ppc reporting software

Google’s ValueTrack parameters

I personally like to use Effin Amazing’s Google Chrome plug-in with presets which pipe into a central G-Sheet as they are made.

Step #2: Add Hidden Fields to Your Forms

Out of the box, your web analytics and ad destination tracking parameters will not talk to your CRM. With hidden fields in forms, this information can automatically be captured and mapped in systems like Salesforce.

Hidden fields are invisible to web visitors, but pass tracking attributes to your marketing automation database.

Within your marketing automation system, create a form that includes a hidden field that will capture the tracking elements in your URL and transcribe them into common fields in your marketing automation and CRM systems, such as lead source and lead source details.

Learn how to add a hidden field to your forms in HubSpot, Marketo, or Pardot:

how to add a hidden field in CRM - ppc reporting software

Step #3: Add Custom Fields to the Account and Contact Records in Your CRM

On the contact (prospect) and account (company) record pass through and map the hidden fields collected in your CRM.

add custom fields in crm

Learn how to add new custom fields in Salesforce.

Step #4: Upload and Map the Data Back to Ad Campaigns

To add and view your down-funnel sales metrics next to your advertising performance metrics for networks like Facebook and Google, you must map the data to “offline conversions” columns. Offline conversions are essentially any key metrics that are not captured using web tracking pixels. Learn more about Google and Facebook’s offline conversion offerings.

You can either manually download your campaign and ad performance for each network alongside your Salesforce data, map it in Google Sheets or Excel, and then upload the combined data as separate lists for each network. Alternatively, you could pull it all into Google Sheets and update your offline conversions across all networks in one swoop with access to network APIs.

How We Upload Offline Conversions Across All Networks in One Batch

As official advertising partners of Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, we knew there had to be a way to better streamline this process for our own marketing ad accounts.

Here are the steps we took to map down-funnel business metrics to offline conversion columns across all networks:

adstage google sheets connector

adstage google sheets connector

  • Then we use some VLOOKUP formula magic in G-Sheets to merge campaign and account IDs with sales metrics.

adstage google sheets connector

  • We download our Google Sheet as a .csv, then convert it to JSON (a data exchange format read by our Universal Data API) using the CSVJSON online converter.

adstage google sheets connector - ppc reporting software with multitouch attribution

  • This information is sent to AdStage’s Data API and revealed in the platform as AdStage Custom Conversions.

Introducing AdStage Custom Conversions

Speaking to others who market businesses with off-website sales touches, we found that many advertisers struggle with multi-touch attribution. They are flying blind or dealing with very manual and error-prone processes to simply understand the business impact of their search and social advertising campaigns.

We’re excited to announce the release of AdStage Custom Conversions, allowing customers to map their down-funnel sales data from sources like their CRM next to their advertising campaign and ad level metrics to make better, more informed decisions on optimizations.

Find your AdStage Custom Conversions as available metrics to in our Report and Automate products, allowing you to analyze the impact of your ad campaigns, then take action by deploying optimization rules and monitoring alerts.

Analyze and build reports using AdStage Custom Conversion metrics, then take action by creating campaign monitoring alerts and optimization rules using your custom data.

advertising data integration

What PPC Marketers Need to Know about Third-Party Data

Posted by on Sep 6, 2017 in Advertising, Analytics
What PPC Marketers Need to Know about Third-Party Data

Data. It’s the fuel of every marketing campaign. Marketers won’t stop talking about it. First-party data, second-party data, encrypted or masked data… So much data, and so little understanding of what it all actually means.

If you advertise on Facebook or Google, you likely run remarketing campaigns. You’ve installed a tracking pixel on your site and show your ads to people who have visited this site recently. In other words, you’re using first-party data. W-w-wait a second. First party? Third party? Where are all these parties and how do you get invited?

Glad you asked! This article will help you learn the real story behind these parties, what they have to do with your customer data, and why marketers say that GDPR means kiss your third-party data good-bye.

1. Which Party’s Is My Company’s Own Data?

That’s first-party data. Your company’s privacy policy guards this type of data: who’s visiting your website or app, how your visitors interact with your brand, and how it changes over time.  If you have an app, your users share information about their devices and operating systems. That’s also first-party data. The clicks and conversions you measure in Google Analytics? First-party data. If you — not your vendor — are tracking data, you’re dealing with first-party data.

2. How Should I Use First-Party Data?

Your company’s privacy policy and terms of use protect customer data, and you can use it in accordance with that policy. Marketers usually use first-party data to make ads more relevant through personalization and remarketing.

3. What If We Share Our Data with Partners?

That’s second-party data. If people shop with Brand A and Brand B, A and B have an overlapping marketing segment. If these businesses don’t compete, they could partner up and share data with one another. Think hotels and car rentals, airlines and credit card companies, fashion brands and media publishers.

4. How Should I Use Second-Party Data?

Second-party data can increase the relevance of your advertising campaigns and help you reach highly-qualified leads. If you find the right partner, you could benefit from enriching your first-party data with new insights for better segmentation. Second-party data is very valuable. Anyone can buy third-party data; second-party data comes from a direct relationship with your partner. Second-party data can help you understand what kinds of content your potential buyers prefer, and reach them once they’re on your partner’s website.

5. So Is Second-Party Data Basically Someone Else’s First-Party Data?

Pretty much. Second-party data is another company’s first-party data that you can use through a partnership agreement.

6. We Buy Our Data. Which Party’s Is It?

That’s third-party data. This third party doesn’t really have a relationship with your audience. They collect data from multiple sources, piece it together, and sell it to advertisers. These third-party guys are data brokers. They purchase data from media that people consume, quizzes they take (“Which ‘Games of Thrones’ character are you?’”), and through other channels.

7. How Should I Use Third-Party Data?

Combining your first-party data with third-party data is where the magic happens, because you can really nail down the segment through lookalike modeling. Like if you needed to target audiences of 25- to 35-year-old women who like dogs and eat vegan. Data could be inferred. For example, Yelp recently partnered with LiveRamp to offer location and search activity for its 100 million users available to advertisers. Assuming people who go to $$$-rated steakhouses may also shop for luxury watches, you could create a custom segment similarly to Facebook and Audience Network.

First-party, second-party, and third-party data. Image source: Clearcode

8. So What’s the Deal with Third-Party Data and GDPR?

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect on May 25, 2018. Under GDRP, businesses must obtain explicit and freely given consent from users to use data. Which means, consumers will be asked to give permission to sell their data to third parties, and they don’t have to agree to access the business’s product or service.

9. Should I Care About GDPR If I Don’t Live in Europe?

Yes. GDPR applies to anyone that collects information from EU residents.

GDPR, third-party data, first-party data, privacy regulations

GDPR requires a person’s consent before a website can drop a cookie on his or her browser

10. Any Other Type of Data I Should Know of?

There’s also self-reported data, or data your customers share with your brand proactively and intentionally (for example, through surveys or preference centers). It doesn’t come cheap. In fact, you can’t really buy it. But this type of data is essential because it builds trust and loyalty. Once you receive this data, it becomes first-party. I wanted to group it separately from first-party data, because there’s a difference between software fetching your clicks and a human proactively saying what kinds of offers they want or don’t want to see from your user acquisition team.

Imagine an online shopper who once bought baby clothes for a friend’s baby shower and instantly got bucketed into the “parents” segment by an advertiser. Now she keeps getting ads for strollers and nursing pillows, and she’s not interested. If that person is a loyal customer (clicks on the brand’s  Facebook ads, opens emails, and frequently spends X amount of money on orders), she may be okay with sharing her preferences if she gets a quick survey. A little self-segmentation goes a long way!

Sum Up: What’s First-Party Data, Second-Party Data, and Third-Party Data?

Confused about all the different types of data in advertising? Here’s a quick primer:

  • First-party data is data owned by your company. For example, it’s the site clicks, conversions, and user paths you track in Google Analytics.
  • Second-party data comes from partnership agreements where two or more partners with an overlapping marketing segment choose to share consumer data with one another.
  • Third-party data is sold through data brokers to enrich first-party data for more precise targeting.

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REPORT: How Modern Marketers Measure Advertising Effectiveness

Posted by on Jul 11, 2017 in Advertising, Analytics
REPORT: How Modern Marketers Measure Advertising Effectiveness

How Do Marketers Know If A Campaign Was Effective?

That question seems to be one of the most hot-button topics in digital marketing today. Most likely because finding the answer is so challenging thanks to numerous channels, media mixes, and multiple devices.

And there doesn’t seem to be one right answer when it comes to measuring effectiveness, though campaign results are crucial in determining future advertising strategy, where to put more money, and how to expand on successful messaging. To truly understand the impact of a campaign, marketers need to be able to dig into results at an individual level through first-party data.

Research Now, an online market research company, and Econsultancy, a subscription-based service that gives marketers access to research, market data, best practice guides, case studies and e-learning, teamed up to survey 2,715 global marketers to examine their approach to measuring the effectiveness of campaigns. The sample consists of client-side/in-house marketers, agencies, independent marketing consultants, and technology vendors.

Some key findings include:

  • More than three-quarters (77%) of company respondents agree that the success of advertising should drive the level of budget allocated to it. The ease of digital measurement, alongside this attitude, is reflected in the results; brands allocate 25% of their budget, on average, to digital, compared to 13% to TV, which tends to be a more difficult channel to measure.
  • Those who are effective at advertising measurement are more likely to be using key measurement tools. Over two-thirds (69%) of marketers who are ‘extremely effective’ at digital advertising use customer surveys, and 74% measure brand awareness, compared to 21% of those who are ineffective at measuring each of those.
  • More than 60% of client-side marketers agree that ‘surveys to test advertising effectiveness provide a strong indication of the success of an advertising campaign,’ and 54% agree that these surveys are essential to advertising validation. An even higher proportion (72%) see market research as playing an important part in measuring the effectiveness of advertising.

Measuring An Effective Advertising Campaign

The outcome of a campaign isn’t going to mean anything if it wasn’t set up correctly in the first place. Avoid any arguments and discussion after the fact by getting all key players to understand and agree on the campaign’s objectives and subsequent results tied to those goals from the very beginning.

The report cites Kevin Standen, Head of Digital Marketing at Vauxhall, who advises,

“Given the possibilities in terms of journey sources, platforms, timeframes, channels and devices – to set KPIs to measure effectiveness that fit all of these is extremely difficult.”

He suggests dividing every activity into a separate role as it relates to the customer journey, with each assigned a KPI.

Other respondents in the survey took the same approach, which results in prioritized objectives that stack up like this:

most important objectives for your advertising

When asked how they measure the above, respondents said proof of increased sales was the top indicator (66%), traffic second (62%), and social media engagement and increased brand awareness third (45% each).

So how do you apply this information to your marketing strategy? Before you even push “go” on a campaign ensure you know:

  • Your individual campaign objectives and associated KPIs
  • Which channel would be most effective for each objective
  • Your media mix based on customer journey

Use A Broad Media Mix To Get The Results You Want

The report cites an eMarketer prediction that American adults this year “will spend almost six hours per day using digital media, including mobiles, desktop/laptops, and other connected devices.” All those channels (and time) provide a lot of opportunity for marketers to get their messages to audiences, but with all those choices, where do you even start?

As we talked about above, define your campaign objectives, and you’ll have a better idea of the media mix to include in your strategy. And don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Diversifying will yield differentiated data that can provide better direction on how to proceed. When asked about spend on digital advertising, respondents reported a healthy mix of different channels:

average portion of advertising budget

More marketers are shifting budget to digital thanks to viral potential, low costs, and relatively easy measurement, but TV and video shouldn’t be ignored, especially if you’re focused on long-term effects like brand awareness.

The IPA, a UK organization for professionals in advertising and marketing communications, found in a study that adding TV to a media mix (in addition to channels like Facebook), can increase campaign effectiveness by 40%.

Applying the above findings to your strategy, diversify budget across a media mix that makes sense for your campaign objectives. You’ll get the most data and bang for your buck from multi-channel campaigns.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the number of marketing channels available. Instead, test quickly to determine which are right for your brand and strategy. Media mix choices will only continue to grow. The faster you can understand and implement, or ignore new channels, the more ahead of the game you’ll be. The most effective marketers see the wide range of marketing channels as an opportunity, not a burden.

Attribution Remains A Challenge For Many

Correctly attributing a purchasing decision often requires tons of clean data, which takes a lot of time and skill to establish and maintain – luxuries many businesses don’t have in-house.

Of respondents in the survey, only 15% of in-house staff say they use attribution modeling to determine a campaign’s success, with that number rising to just 22% for agencies.

how to establish how effective your advertising is

Marketers are using a mix of results to determine campaign effectiveness, but the most successful respondents in the survey reported giving more weight to four specific categories:

  1. Measuring brand awareness
  2. Customer surveys
  3. Attribution modeling
  4. And NPS


So if you’re looking for quick and solid feedback on your campaign, consider these avenues first. You’ll also want to prioritize the measurement techniques that are easiest for you to set up and manage. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by trying to create a complicated attribution model that might not be correct from the beginning.

Check out our post on solving attribution issues for some tips on how to get started.  Be sure to checkout our Q3’17 social media advertising benchmark report for the latest CPM, CPC, and CTR trends.

Top 5 Excel Features for PPC

Posted by on Feb 25, 2015 in Analytics, Reporting
Top 5 Excel Features for PPC

There’s probably no tool more dear to a digital marketer’s heart than Microsoft Excel. It’s the must-have data analysis program that helps turn raw numbers into actionable insights.

Here are five of my favorite Excel features that I’ve learned to love over the years.

5. Table Formatting

Difficulty: Beginner

Table Formatting lets you apply a beautiful table style to your raw PPC data quickly.

Excel Table Formatting

For example, you can use it to convert your plain AdWords campaign performance report to a presentation-ready table.

How to set it up:

  1. Remove any extra title and total rows
  2. In the Table ribbon, select a predefined table style
  3. Your table will now feature clear formatting and filterable headers

Learn more about table formatting for PPC.

4. Macros

Difficulty: Intermediate

Macros let you automate repetitive tasks in Excel by recording your manual actions so you can replay them in future worksheets later with a single keystroke.

record excel macro

For example, you can create a macro that removes title and total rows from your AdWords spreadsheets for easy analysis with pivot tables.

How to set it up:

  1. Download and open an AdWords campaign performance report in Excel
  2. From the Developer ribbon, click Record
    1. Assign a keyboard shortcut (e.g., Opt+Cmd+S)
    2. Store the macro in your Personal Macro Workbook
  3. Begin performing the manual tasks you’d like to repeat automatically in the future
    1. Delete the first row in your table (the AdWords report title)
    2. Delete the last 4 rows in your table (the AdWords total rows)
  4. Click Stop to conclude recording
  5. You can now strip the title and total rows quickly by running this macro

Learn more about Macros for PPC.

3. Text to Columns

Difficulty: Intermediate

Text to Columns lets you parse through the data from one column and distribute it into multiple columns.

excel text to columns

For example, you could use Text to Columns to remove UTM tracking parameters from your destination URLs. This would make it easy for you to analyze landing page performance in a Pivot Table.

How to set it up:

  1. Download and open an AdWords ad performance report in Excel
  2. Select your Destination URL column, and launch Text to Columns (Data > Text to Columns)
    1. Leave your data set to Delimited, and click Next
    2. In the Delimiters section, type “?” into the Other field, and click Next
    3. In the Data preview section, select the new column (with your tracking parameters)
    4. In the Column data format section, select “Do not import column (Skip)” and click Finish
  3. Your Destination URLs no longer contain any of your tracking parameters after the “?” and are ready to be analyzed with a Pivot Table.

Learn more about Text to Columns for PPC.

2. Pivot Tables

Difficulty: Intermediate

Pivot Tables make it easy to summarize, analyze, explore, and present large sets of data. It’s a great way to reformat your raw data into interactive tables.

excel pivot table

For example, you can use a Pivot Table with the Ad Performance Report from AdWords to quickly discover the best-performing headline of your ads.

How to set it up:

  1. Download and open your AdWords ad performance report in Excel
  2. Prepare the table by deleting first row (the report title) and the last 4 rows (the totals)
  3. Highlight the table, and insert the Pivot Table (Data > Pivot Table)
  4. Use the Pivot Table builder to dynamically structure the new table
    • Segment performance by campaign and headline by dragging “Campaign” and “Ad” into the “Row labels” field
    • View relevant performance metrics by dragging “Clicks,” “Impressions,” and “Converted Clicks” into the “Values” field

Learn more about Pivot Tables for PPC.

1. Formulas

Difficulty: Beginner

Finally, we get to the most beloved Excel feature of all: Formulas. Formulas allow you to perform calculations and take actions on data in your worksheet. There’s a myriad of formulas that you can combine to make incredibly powerful spreadsheets.

excel formulas

For example, you can use the simple LEN formula to count the number of characters in a cell. This formula is especially useful when writing ad headlines and descriptions.

How to set it up:

  1. In a cell, type =LEN(
  2. Then type the reference of the cell you’d like to count (e.g., your ad headline in A2)
  3. Now, you’ll have a real-time count of the length of your cell

Learn more easy Excel formulas for PPC.

Share Your Favorites

Did I miss your favorite Excel feature? Share yours in the comments below!

How to Analyze Facebook Ad Performance In Google Analytics

Posted by on Oct 30, 2014 in Analytics, Social
How to Analyze Facebook Ad Performance In Google Analytics

Using Google Analytics to Make Data-Driven Dayparting Optimizations

Back in August, Facebook rolled out dayparting functionality. With this feature, you can now optimize campaigns by turning ads off during the times of day or week when they’re less profitable. It’s a great way to limit wasted spend so that you can devote your budget towards the more profitable times of day. But how do you get the data to drive your dayparting decisions?

While the tools to take action are available, the data you need to make such decisions isn’t… There are no hourly reporting features in Facebook’s ad  tools. Fortunately, there is another way to get this information.

This post will show you how to use Google Analytics custom reports to analyze campaign performance by time of day and day of week.

Track Performance from Many Traffic Sources

If you’re using Google Analytics, it’s easy to track performance from many traffic sources; including Facebook, LinkedIn Ads, Google AdWords, Pinterest Ads, Quora Ads, and Twitter Ads. With Google Analytics, you can see the behavior of your Facebook traffic and segment it by time of day.

It’s worth noting that spend data will be missing from Google Analytics, but you’ll still be able to see conversion rates which can help indicate the value of traffic during off-peak hours.

How to Build a Custom Report for Time of Day

Google Analytics Create Custom Report

Google Analytics Custom Dayparting Report

  1. Click the Customization tab
  2. Click + New Custom Report
  3. Under Metric Groups, click + add metric for each metric column you want to view
    • Sessions, Bounce Rate, Conversions, Conversion Rate, etc
  4. Under Dimension Drilldowns, click + add dimension for each level of segmentation  and row you want to view
    • Choose Source / Medium in order to focus on Facebook Ads traffic
    • Then, choose Hour to segment this traffic by time of day
  5. Click Save

Build a Google Analytics Custom Report for Day of Week

To analyze performance by day of week, follow the same steps above; except in Step 4,  replace the second dimension of “Hour” with “Day of Week.” 

Analyzing Your Custom Report

Google Analytics Custom Dayparting Report Source

  1. Now that you have your custom report, click into the Source / Medium of your Facebook Ads traffic.
    • My Facebook ad traffic comes in as “facebook / cpc,” but that’s because I set it up that way.)
  2. Adjust your date range to analyze performance over time.
    • Try looking at the past business week (Monday to Friday) and see how that compares with weekends.
    • If the data is sparse, look at a longer date range.
  3. Look for patterns
    • Look at the graph to see how traffic spikes over time. 
    • Sort your table by Hour to see it in the order you’d expect.
      • Time is displayed between 00 – 23 in the hour column (according to the Time Zone in your Google Analytics profile)
    • Adjust the Show Rows dropdown to “25” to view all 24 rows on one page


Google Analytics Custom Dayparting Report DateGoogle Analytics Custom Dayparting Report

Armed with this data, you’ll be able to make informed dayparting decisions! If you have any questions or suggestions, please share in the comments below.

Tracking Conversions With Google Analytics

Posted by on Nov 26, 2013 in Analytics
Tracking Conversions With Google Analytics

This post was updated on May 5, 2017
google analytics

Mature self-serve ad platforms like Google AdWords, Bing Ads & Facebook Ads each offer their own proprietary tools to track conversions generated by ads. Or measuring conversions from other traffic sources like LinkedIn Ads that just started with conversion tracking solutions.

In this post, I’ll walk you through tracking conversions from any traffic source with the help of Google Analytics and their custom reports.

What Are Conversions?

A conversion takes place when a visitor to your site takes an action you care about and “converts” to a customer. This could be through filling out a form, completing a purchase, or by simply showing a high level of engagement with your site. This post will help you define and measure which traffic sources result in conversions.

How to Track Conversions in Google Analytics

If you’re already using Google Analytics, all it takes is a defined goal and a special URL that reveals the source of the click. If you haven’t installed Google Analytics yet, you can learn to configure it here.

Step 1: Build your tracking URL

Google Analytics URL BuilderYou’ll need to use the Google Analytics URL Builder to tag your URLs with custom campaign tracking parameters. Simply fill out the form by inserting your landing page URL along with the rest of the campaign details.

For example, if I’m trying to track conversions from a new LinkedIn Ads campaign, I’d fill out the form as follows:

  • Website URL This is the URL of the page you are linking to:
  • Campaign Source This will record the campaign’s source:
  • Campaign Medium This will record the type of campaign:
  • Campaign Term This can be used to record the keyword that is being targeted:
  • Campaign Content This can be used to record the ad that was shown:
  • Campaign Name This will record the campaign’s name:

The URL Builder will take these details and return the following URL with the appropriate tracking parameters: https://www.adstage.io/?utm_source=LinkedIn&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=clear-ppc-reporting&utm_campaign=AdStage-For-In-House-Marketers

Step 2: Use your tracking URL

new linkedin ad

Use the tagged URL as your ad destination

Now take your new URL and use it in your campaign in place of your standard URL.

Google Analytics will assume that anybody that clicks this URL is from this campaign. Consequently, it will attribute any actions they take to this campaign as well.

Step 3: Define your goal

If you don’t have them set up already, you’ll need to create goals in Google Analytics for the conversions you want to track.

For example, if you’re an e-commerce site, you’ll want to track shopping cart checkouts. You can do this by creating a goal that counts visits to the URL of the order confirmation page that customers see when they complete their order.

To create you goal in Google Analytics, follow these steps:

  1. Click “Admin” in the navigation bar.
  2. Click “Goals” under View.Google Analytics Admin Settings
  3. Click “+New Goal”.
  4. Create your goal by following the wizard.google-analytics-goals-page

Once you’ve created your goal, Google Analytics will track your goal performance and attribute it to the appropriate sources.

Creating Custom Reports

When you’ve created your goals in Google Analytics and you’ve tagged your ad URLs, you’ll be able to create easy-to-read reports that reveal your campaign’s performance. My favorite way of viewing this data is with Custom Reports in Google Analytics.

To create your first custom report follow these simple steps:

  1. Click “Customization” in the navigation bar.
  2. Click “+New Custom Report.”
  3. Give it a title.
  4. Click “+ add metric” and choose the metric columns you’d like to see. Search for the goal you just created and select the metric for Completions [e.g., Purchases (Goal 1 Completions)]. This will show you the number of conversions of this type. You can add multiple metrics columns.
    Google Analytics Metrics
  5. Click  “+ add dimension” and choose how you would like to break up the data in rows. You can also add multiple dimensions in order to drill down into each successive level. I suggest adding “Source / Medium” as the first dimension, then “Campaign.”
    Google Analytics Dimensions
  6. Click “Save” and you’ll be presented with a beautiful custom report to measure your conversion performance.
    Google Analytics Custom Report

With these steps, you can measure conversions across any digital source easily!

Are you ready to go deeper?

Here are three more articles to help take you to the next level!

1) 5 of the Best Google Analytics Integrations to Improve Customer Insights

2) 4 Must-have Google Analytics Reports for PPC Advertisers

3) How to Analyze Hourly Ad Performance with Google Analytics for Effective Dayparting


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