We’ve all been there.
You’re in a meeting with your team and a few senior people. You’re reviewing the results of your latest marketing campaign.
You’ve got some analytics data that suggests the results were good, and some data that suggests the results were… mixed.
How are you going to call it? Was this campaign a success, or not?
Because this particular part of marketing is so critical, and because it can be such a judgment call sometimes, we thought it would be interesting to get the input from several marketers in the field on how they measure the success or failure of a campaign.
We asked them a fairly broad question: What’s your favorite way to measure a marketing campaign’s effectiveness?
It was a deliberately broad question, asked of a deliberately broad group of marketers. Some of the people listed below run their own ad agencies. Some are Marketing Directors or at a similar level. A few are bonafide analytics experts; a couple are major marketing influencers. Most are in B2B, but not all.
The key denominator of this group is that these people all do measurable marketing: Marketing that has to prove results.
And the key denominator to their answers? What “success” looks like varies. How you measure a campaign can be as different as the business that’s running the campaign itself.
But beyond that, there were two trends:
- It all comes down to sales and leads. Those could be measured by revenue, by contribution to pipeline, by sales opportunities created, or by other metrics.
- Begin with the end in mind. If you want to measure the success of a campaign, define your goals for it from the beginning.
In fact, after reviewing all these answers, it appears that there is one wrong way to measure campaigns: The same way every time.
This actually makes sense. Every business is different, and business goals change over time. It makes sense that what could be a failed campaign for one business (better brand awareness, but no change in lead value), could be a winning campaign for another company.
So while there’s still no definitive answer on how to measure a marketing campaign’s effectiveness – and there never will be – every one of these answers shows how smart people prioritize what’s important and what’s not. How they measure response, and how they learn from the results. And that’s always good information.
1. Heidi Cohen: Define your user context
While specific metrics depend on the type of marketing used, the key to effective tracking is to start before you develop your campaign. Specifically, define its objective, target audience, and user context since together these variables determine your metrics. Based on these inputs, create specific calls-to-action and associated landing pages that yield trackable results. (Note: Hubspot Research revealed that increasing the number of landing pages yields improved results.) As a marketer, I prefer metrics that ultimately can be associated with contributing to sales, profitability and/or increased customer lifetime value. That said, when using many forms of digital marketing, it can be difficult to assess the specific factors that contributed to these results beyond the last site or landing page touched. This undervalues the contribution of marketing used in the early stages of the purchase process.
An Entrepreneur Magazine Top 10 Online Marketing Influencer, Heidi Cohen is the Chief Content Officer of the award winning Actionable Marketing Guide, focused on social media, content and digital marketing. Cohen is also a speaker, professor and journalist.
Twitter: @heidicohen, 34K followers
2. Jeff Sauer: Think objectives first, tools last
To measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, you must first have an objective. What is the point of running a marketing campaign in the first place? What results do you expect to receive from that campaign? What are your KPIs? Once you establish objectives, measuring effectiveness becomes much easier. In fact, it’s so easy that even a simple caveman like me can do it with even the most basic of tools. You can probably do it, too! Many digital marketers get stuck with measurement, because they think in terms of tools and technology, not in terms of what the business really needs. So instead of settling on a KPI or metric of value, and then choosing the easiest technology solution to measure this point, we get stuck on bolting those objectives on to our existing tools. The result is often a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. No bueno. Think of objectives first, tools last, and the solution becomes easy. Tactically, you can measure just about every objective with two tools that have been around for well over a decade. 1) Campaign tracking URLs in Google Analytics. 2) Goals in Google Analytics. These have been my favorite methods for tracking campaign effectiveness every year since 2005.
Founder of Jeffalytics, agency owner, teacher and a digital nomad. A firm believer in data-driven marketing, Jeff’s training programs have turned over 10,000 digital marketers into Google certified professionals.
Twitter: @jeffalytics 3.7K followers
3. Ardath Albee: Measure Momentum and Engagement
Of course, contribution to pipeline is the end goal we all aim for. My favorite way of measuring ongoing “campaigns” is momentum and engagement.
How many of the assets in the campaign are prospects viewing? Am I able to get them to binge on the content or are they only giving me drive-by views? And are they sharing the content with their colleagues who could be involved in the buying decision?
B2B Marketing Strategist, speaker, author of 2 books.
Twitter: @ardath421, 25.5K followers
Ardath Albee is CEO and a B2B Marketing Strategist for her firm, Marketing Interactions, Inc. She’s the author of Digital Relevance and a frequent industry speaker.
4. Kevin Thomas Tully: Measure direct sales revenue
My favorite way to measure the effectiveness of a marketing campaign is simple: measure the amount of direct sales revenue the campaign produces.
Regardless of the secondary calculation a company uses to define success, whether total return on investment (ROI) [total money spent on campaign vs. total money generated], or customer lifetime value (CLV) [the projected revenue a customer will generate during his/her lifetime], or customer acquisition cost (CAC) [all costs spent on acquiring more customers (marketing expenses) divided by the number of customers acquired in the period the money was spent], or the total number of sales opportunities created (SQLs not MQLs), marketing leadership must think in terms of tangible business value (bottom-line revenue production), rather than fluffy engagement/brand awareness metrics, when constructing new campaigns.
In the absence of any quantifiable benchmarks of direct revenue attribution, your team’s marketing efforts not only yield questionable measurable valuable to your organization, but will also be devoid of the assessments and critical indicators necessary to dictate further action.
Kevin is the Global Director of Social Selling Operations at Creation Agency. A John Hopkins-trained data scientist, Kevin has applied true buyer intent data, predictive analytics, and data mining to the sales and marketing process for more than a decade to gain a strategic marketplace advantage for leading brands worldwide.
Twitter: @kevinttully, 27.6K followers
I work with a lot of B2B SaaS companies right now. These companies have much longer, and more complex sales cycles. To show the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns we’ll use a combination of Google Analytics data and Salesforce lead tracking.
There are a bunch of secondary metrics we report on, like organic traffic, keyword rankings, links acquired (we do a lot of SEO and PPC), and pull all this data in a Google Data Studio dashboard.
But, the metrics we are ultimately measured on are:
· # new leads (by source)
· Average cost-per-lead
· # opportunities (a measure of the lead quality)
We also work with a lot of lawyers too – local SEO and PPC. In this case, we’re measuring local rankings, organic traffic, leads, and closed deals to get an ROI measurement.
Robbie Richards is a full-stack digital strategist for a fast-growing tech company. He plans, builds, executes and measures digital campaigns for companies across many industries, including real estate, healthcare, hospitality and SaaS companies with 8-figure valuations.
Twitter: @RobbieRichMktg, 23.7K followers
6. Kathryn Aragon: Measure Campaign Effectiveness in Stages
I measure a campaign’s effectiveness in stages. First, did I break even on advertising? Then as the campaign continues, what’s the conversion rate?
When the campaign is done, I evaluate the results and make a final call on the message, the offer, the targeting, the structure of the campaign, etc.
The elements that worked, I’ll likely reuse. Everything else will be revamped.
Kathryn Aragon is the author of “The Business Blog Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Running a Business Blog that Drives Traffic and Accelerates Growth” and a principal at Kathryn Aragon Media, which offers advanced content marketing for small teams and entrepreneurs
Twitter: @KathrynAragon, 3.3K followers
7. Derek Edmond: Tie Your Content Metrics to Lead Quality Improvement
While the easy answer is “quality leads” it’s also the most challenging. To that extent, we measure tactical effectiveness contributing to lead generation along the way.
Examples include improvements in organic search engine presence for important keyword phrases, quality inbound links acquired from content marketing, and performance of content with respect to page view improvements and referral traffic from search engines and social media activity.
Tying these metrics to lead growth ultimately demonstrates the effectiveness of the marketing campaign.
Derek Edmond leads organizational strategy, direction, and growth for KoMarketing, a B2B online marketing agency specializing in search engine marketing, social media, and content marketing.
Twiiter: @DerekEdmond , 5.9K followers
8. Lilach Bullock: Set clear goals & enjoy the process
I start by setting clear goals for my marketing campaigns; this way when the campaign is finished, I know exactly what I need to measure in order to determine its effectiveness. Frankly, the whole process is my favourite – I love analytics and I love software tools so measuring results can actually be quite fun for me.
Liliach is listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers and was crowned the Social Influencer of Europe by Oracle. She is a speaker, lead conversion expert, content marketing & social media specialist.
Twitter: @lilachbullock, 105K followers
9. Paul Potratz: You only need one metric
Owner and Founder of the digital agency Potratz Partners Advertising, marketing influencer and vlogger
Never before has there been so many different metrics to determine success rates for how we market. With a multitude of objectives, and success being determined slightly different for each, it can be pretty situational. Ultimately, however, there’s one metric that’s historically and universally measured the success of all marketing – sales.
Paul Potratz is a business consultant, news talk radio show host, founder and owner of Potratz Digital Marketing. He is best known for taking complex business problems and creating simple guerrilla processes to increase revenue and profits.
Twitter: @PaulPotratz 35.7K followers
10. Yasmin Bendror: Measure Behavioral Change
Marketing campaign effectiveness can be measured by many different metrics, depending on the goal of the campaign. But the one metric that’s so important is whether the campaign changed the target audience’s behavior: did it change a perception, cause an action or drive an engagement?
This is the fundamental metric that will trigger the other metrics we are always looking for: leads, sales, traffic, awareness, branding.
Yasmin Bendror is Founder and President of YMarketingMatters. She works with businesses to focus on content strategy and content marketing that will resonate with a specific target audience on a consistent basis, to produce results.
Twitter: @yasminbendror, 5.1K followers
11. Kim (Stiglitz) Courvoisier: Measure the Value
As a demand gen team, the obvious answer is we measure the effectiveness of our campaigns based on measurable KPIs including MQLs, pipeline generated, and sales deals closed.
However, I would also say being part of a demand gen team at a cutting-edge customer engagement platform, that one of the most important ways we also measure the effectiveness of our campaigns is how much value did it provide to our prospects and our team.
For prospects, did the content in the campaign provide useful information that helped them solve a business problem?
For our team, what did we learn from the campaign so we can use those learnings to further optimize our new campaign? We should always be learning and optimizing.
More about Kim:
Kim Courvoisier is the Head of Demand Gen and Content at Thanx. Thanx is an automated customer engagement platform for offline and omnichannel businesses that identifies, engages and retains your best customers while helping you find more people that act like them.
Twitter: @stiggy1, 3.8K followers
Back to you
So that’s how those eleven marketers measure effectiveness. How do you do it? Tell us about how you evaluate campaigns in the comments.
Despite glum predictions, US retailers saw steady growth in 2017 and finished with a record-breaking $598 billion holiday season, proving once and for all that retail is not dead. Even e-Commerce colossus Amazon is making concerted moves into retail.
In spite of its growth, tracking and proving retail marketing ROI can pose a challenge for marketers. This piece will explain how to set the right goals, gather the pertinent information, and provide your clients with detailed and practical insights that prove your retail marketing ROI.
Before you get started, keep in mind that you can’t prove ROI without first setting a performance baseline. This can be tricky in retail, so make sure that you ask your client whether or not they have records of in-store activity, such as foot traffic, sales (both number and volume) and promotions that you can combine with the information from the online side of their business.
1. Set Goals Linked to Business Outcomes
Retail businesses are less concerned with how many people visit their stores than they are with how much money those people leave with them. That is why it’s crucial to set correlational goals that illustrate how consumer behavior relates to revenue and profit.
Here are some examples of business-outcome-based goals:
- Decreased customer acquisition cost: Are you able to bring more customers through the doors using the same amount of marketing dollars, or maintain the current level while lowering marketing costs? Can your campaigns attract a new customer base?
- Increased sales volume: Are you able to persuade customers to take home more items per visit? Can you nudge them into purchasing the higher value item?
- Increased sales amounts: Are you able to increase the number of people who come through the doors and make a purchase?
Since retail can be a highly seasonal business, you’ll want to account for any potential fluctuations in future business in both your planning and any reporting that you do. According to the most recent Gallup Polls, consumer spending tends to slow in January, August, and September and peak in December, April, and July.
If your client’s merchandise is impacted by seasonal shopping, make sure that you account for that in your goals to avoid underperforming by default. If the retailer has limited physical locations, you may also want to keep tabs on current and future construction, events and openings happening nearby that could impact the numbers.
Depending on the size or age of your retailer, they may not have a comprehensive picture of in-store information for you to work with, making it difficult to set your baseline and prove your ROI. If in-store behavior is one of your client’s top priorities, you may want to throw in the towel, quit your job and go home and drink cocoa.
I don’t blame you. But you could also invest some time in the beginning estimating current levels of traffic and consumer behaviors. Tools such as ShopperTrak or even Google Maps track daily visits to locations, which you can then combine with purchase information and past promotions to get a general picture.
2. Design Smart KPIs
Once you’ve determined your business outcome-based goals, you’ll want to design KPIs that align with those goals.
You’ll find many possible options for tracking in our extensive list of e-commerce KPIs, but the ones that are absolutely critical are customer acquisition cost (CAC), average order value, sales conversion rate, and revenue generated from marketing campaigns (incremental revenue).
Physical locations are an expensive investment, so be sure to track the two channels separately (and to track multiple locations separately, if they have under 10 locations). This will help your client decide whether or not to keep physical locations open, and also allows you to show off your ability to drive growth in all channels.
Retail can be a unique beast in that it requires you to combine hard-to-track in-store intel with online indicators. Before you commit to performance metrics that involve the former, you’ll want to research how your retailer is tracking that information and what will be available to you.
3. Align your Campaigns with your Goals and KPIs
A retailer’s physical foot traffic may be hard to track, but fortunately, most shoppers leave a clean digital footprint that you can use to prove your marketing ROI. Design campaigns that target both online shoppers and those who prefer a more traditional experience.
Just like with online-only advertising, you can use codes, promotions and customized printed promotions that are redeemable online to give you deeper insight into what is driving customers through the doors. This is as simple as a link or QR code the customer scans in order to retrieve a voucher, and if your retailer’s clientele is less digitally oriented, it could be displayed throughout the store or conducted via a text-based sign-up campaign.
4. Measure Retail ROI With Closed-Loop Reporting
Once you’ve planned your campaigns, use AdStage’s software to schedule a number of ads targeted towards your ideal audiences, and measure engagement and retail marketing impact using closed-loop reporting, combining paid marketing campaigns data with your conversion data, online and off.
If you’re running a business in 2018, you certainly know that your success largely depends on your ability to acquire high-value customers at a low cost. If your ability to monetize new customers falls below the cost of getting clicks and sign-ups, your business is in trouble. Closed-loop reporting helps marketers measure and track sales/marketing efficiency to better understand this ratio and improve business performance.
What is Closed-Loop Reporting?
Closed-loop reporting is the process of organizing and presenting data in order to monitor and understand how the investment in paid marketing brings business growth. Closed-loop reporting helps marketers access and link disparate data sources, including multiple ad networks and conversion data, in order to extract meaningful insights and take action at scale.
The closed-loop reporting approach challenges the traditional methods of measuring paid marketing effectiveness with traffic or lead volume, raising the following business questions about deeper-funnel metrics:
- What kind of ROI are we getting on X ad network/campaign?
- Did we get any new customers/pipeline from it?
- How do you know that worked?
This approach supports radical transparency about the return on advertising spend, meaning everyone knows how ad dollars translate into actual business growth; and meaningful KPIs like revenue or customer lifetime value replace vanity metrics.
Marketers that have adopted closed-loop reporting can more easily figure out the best-performing ad, network, and channel and justify the budget increase based on measurable results that improve the bottom line.
Closed-loop reporting consists of three major components, displayed on the graphic below:
1. Ad Campaigns
Reporting starts with the ad campaigns you’re running on Facebook, Google AdWords, LinkedIn, Bing, Yahoo Gemini, or any other ad network. Consolidating all your cross-network data in one place is the first step to closing the loop in paid marketing attribution.
2. Conversion Data
Conversion data lives in different places, such as spreadsheets, CRM, and other marketing tools. Paid marketers need conversion data to understand if campaigns are bringing actual revenue, not just clicks. Siloed conversion data creates a fuzzy vision of paid marketing performance. Just like driving in the dark with misaligned headlights can be a traffic hazard, optimizing with campaign-level-only data may lead to wasted spend.
3. Return on Investment (ROI)
The link between ad campaigns and conversion data is key to closed-loop reporting and analytics. Once you attribute your conversion data to the original campaign, you can scale campaigns that bring more return on investment, pause the ones that don’t perform well, and easily prove the impact of your paid marketing efforts.
7 Benefits of Closed-Loop Reporting
Today, CMOs and agency clients expect paid marketers to report on how each ad dollar translates into value. In response to this trend, data-minded marketers are adopting the closed-loop reporting approach to show measurable impact. Here’re 7 reasons why closed-loop reporting is the logical step for matured PPC teams:
- It helps teams understand the best-performing networks and campaigns.
Before you dive into optimizations, it helps to understand which advertising networks and campaigns are the most cost-effective so you can better focus your time and budget.
- It helps track customer journey metrics from the initial touch to the purchase.
Using closed-loop reporting, marketers can track everything from clicks to purchase or lead quality, a metric with the most obvious tie to revenue for B2B marketers. A customer journey for B2B marketers includes many touch points, including web actions, emails, events, calls, and coffee meetings (or steak dinners). Closed-loop reporting helps understand the impact of paid marketing on metrics from opportunities to closed-won revenue.
- It enables the bird’s-eye view of the impact of marketing spend, potentially lowering cost per acquisition.
Reports are helpful if you actually understand what the data is telling you. Closed-loop reporting means all your paid marketing data is organized in a logical, easy-to-read way, with the level of granularity as detailed or high-level as you like, so you can easier optimize for cost per customer acquisition across all channels.
- It helps marketers to allocate marketing budget in the most effective way.
How you allocate your marketing budget has a direct impact on the company’s growth trajectory. Clarity about the ROI of each channel takes the guesswork out of planning your paid marketing spend.
- PPC teams will gain more credibility and trust within the company by reporting on the most meaningful metrics.
The closed-loop reporting approach builds the culture of transparency across departments. With the data on how each marketing campaign generates leads and sales in relation to the cost of the campaign, paid marketers can share the results of their work with anyone in the organization, PPCer or not.
- It uncovers trends and data to set better goals.
Easy access to granular paid marketing data helps uncover trends and opportunities for optimizations, as well as help set better goals based on past performance.
- It simplifies access to insights needed to maximize the return on investment and justify ad spend to senior management and clients.
Closed-loop reporting helps paid marketers create PPC reports for senior-level marketing executives, CMOs, and investors who focus on the bigger picture. When you can simply explain the dollars in/dollars out ratio of your campaigns, it’s easier to ask for a budget increase.
Measure the Impact of Each Advertising Dollar
Closed-loop reporting gives paid marketers the ability to quickly visualize, analyze, report, and optimize their ad performance. With this approach, marketers don’t stop at counting clicks and leads — they can measure and optimize performance based on the full-funnel impact of each campaign, across all networks.
The closed-loop reporting approach begins with consolidating all ad network data in one place. Then, marketers can bring in offline conversions from all their tools and platforms, such as CRM data or spreadsheets. By connecting campaigns with conversion data, marketers can understand the ROI of each ad campaign and easily calculate the revenue broken down by each lead source. That means, they can track dollars in and dollars out for each paid search and paid social channel, essentially closing the loop between campaigns and business growth.
You have finished your campaign. You see all the data you’ve collected during the campaign. To your delight, everything looks great. As you open the csv’s and xslx’s you have exported from Google AdWords or Facebook Ads Manager, which tool should you use to create PPC reports: Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel?
We recently polled our customers and found that our customers use both Sheets and Excel. In fact, 78% of the respondents said they used Sheets, while 74% said they used Excel. So why are marketers using, and paying for, both tools?!
To answer this question, I will rank Excel and Google Sheets on the following five parameters:
- Design and formatting
- Data visualization (charts)
- Google Analytics integration
- Team collaboration
Let’s dive into it.
1. Design and Formatting
The way you structure, organize, and display your report can make or break your presentation success. You can have the best data and insights, but if don’t present it well, your boss won’t understand it.
You could design a report from scratch and make it look perfect for your executive team, but that will take you hours of your valuable time. Instead, you can use a template. Both Excel and Sheets offer many template designs.
As you open Excel, you can find 30 template designs ranging from business to family budget. If you need more designs, you can go to the Excel templates pages. You can also download template designs made by other users (Smartsheet has an excellent collection of free Excel spreadsheet templates).
Google Sheets offers about 20 reporting designs, equally split between those for personal and professional use.
When it comes to formatting, Excel is a winner: it offers 60 table formatting options which can give your tables a more elegant look.
Verdict: When it comes to templates and formatting, Excel wins by a large margin.
Creating a report takes more than dumping data into a spreadsheet. It’s your job to give meaning to your data. An effective way to do so is by using charts to visualize data. Both Excel and Google Sheets offer many ways to create charts with just a few clicks.
To create a chart with Excel, you only need to highlight all the data you want to use in your chart, click the “Insert” tab, and choose one of the many recommended charts you have at your disposal. The charts include 17 options such as bar, line, and pie charts, histograms, and plot charts, among others. You can also create different variations of each chart to give them a more personalized look.
With the chart created, you can add text, format the colors of the chart, add borders and fills, among many more customizations. To edit a chart, click on “Format” tab, and you will see all the options available to you.
Google Sheets has a simpler set of tools to create charts. To create a chart with Sheets, you need to do the same as you did with Excel: select the data, go to Insert > Chart, and select the chart you want to use to display your data. Once you create a chart, Sheets offers you the ability to customize its look.
Google Sheets offers a wide selection of charts, including the same ones mentioned above with Excel, such as the pie, line, bar, area and column charts, among others.
Verdict: Excel wins thanks to the larger variety of chart formatting and editing options.
3. Google Analytics Integration
Anyone who has ever developed a PPC report knows about the importance of Google Analytics, especially for those who specialize in Google Adwords. Accessing its data can be crucial for developing in-depth reports.
Since Google owns both Sheets and Analytics, they have made it extremely easy for anyone to integrate both services with their API.
In contrast, Excel doesn’t offer a direct integration with Google Analytics. The best way to integrate both services is by using an add-on like Analytics Edge.
AdStage’s Google Sheets add-on is the easiest way to pull your paid search and paid social data into your spreadsheets. With this add-on, you can automatically fetch your PPC performance data from Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads, Twitter Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Yahoo Gemini, and Google Analytics.
Verdict: Learning to integrate Google Analytics with either G-Sheets or Excel isn’t simple if you don’t know much about how marketing APIs work. Still, if you take into consideration the installation process and the way the analytics tool and the reporting one are integrated, Sheets wins in this category.
4. Team Collaboration
Long gone are the days when someone created a report, took it to the executive team, and called it a day. Nowadays, multiple stakeholders can participate in the creation of a report, so collaboration features are critical.
To create a comment on an Excel spreadsheet, first, select the cell you are interested in, go to the Review tab on the Ribbon, and click on “New Comment.” Once you create the comment, you will see in the cell a text box with a yellow background featuring your name at the top. Unfortunately, comments have no threading capabilities (i.e., you can’t have a back-and-forth conversation among several people). In other words, each comment works separately from the rest, making collaboration harder.
Google has made collaboration much easier. If you put your cursor in a cell on a Sheets report and select Insert > Comment, you will find a box with your name at the top. Then, you’d type your comment into a text box and click Comment. If you take a look back at the comment in the cell you selected, you will see an orange triangle in the upper-right corner of the cell which shows that a comment is there. To read the comment, you only need to click the cell or hover the cursor.
Anyone with access to the Google spreadsheet can click on the comment and reply to it, creating a real-time conversation with any stakeholder involved in the report. You can also create a link to any comment and then send that link to someone else. Finally, after you finish a conversation, the original commenter can click the “Resolve” button and the original comment, along with its replies, will disappear.
Verdict: Thanks to its simplicity and ease-of-use, Sheets is a clear winner in this category.
Both Excel and Sheets are relatively cheap compared to more advanced PPC reporting solutions.
Microsoft Excel is sold as part of Microsoft Office, which is categorized by personal or business use and is available on an annual subscription and as a one-time purchase. Currently, Office 365 Home costs $100 per year and can be used on up to five PCs or Macs, five tablets, and five phones; including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access, along with 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage. As a one-time purchase, it costs $149.
Office 365 for Business offers the same applications and features as Home, at $10 per user (up to 300) paid monthly, or $100 paid annually. Office 365 for Business Premium includes access to more services, like Skype, Yammer, Exchange, and more, priced at $15 per user paid monthly or $12.50 per user paid annually.
While Microsoft offers a great deal for Excel, Google offers Sheets as a part of their G Suite package for businesses with prices per user at $5 paid monthly for their Basic plan and $10 per user paid monthly for its Business plan. The main difference between both plans is the cloud storage: 30GB on a Basic plan versus unlimited storage and complete access to all the tools from the G Suite for Business.
Verdict: On a head-to-head comparison, Sheets is the clear winner in this category, costing half as much as Excel.
With the increase of international hack scandals and data breaches, security has become one of the most pressing issues. Both Excel and Sheets offer security protection.
Google has recently switched their entire services protocol encryption to HTTPS, the securely encrypted version of HTTP. However, having HTTPS doesn’t mean the data you have on your Google Drive account is encrypted; only the connection is. If you want to increase the safety of your data, you can add a 2-Step Verification for Google Drive and get a security key.
Excel also uses HTTPS on their OneDrive service, making all the data in transit encrypted. They also offer a 2-step Verification for those who want to take extra precautions. So far, both services feature the same safety benefits. Things get better in their business plan option, where you can add a per-file encryption for your data at rest, meaning if one file is hacked, all the other ones would still be safe.
Verdict: Excel offers more advanced security capabilities than Sheets.
After our careful analysis of the most important features of both tools, the result shows us a tie, with 3 wins for Sheets, and 3 for Excel. You have seen Excel is more powerful in features but may be too complex to use for some of you who have simpler reporting needs. Also, its collaboration features need work and improvement.
In contrast, Google Sheets can be of great help for those who want to create a report without bells and whistles but with great collaboration features.
For more advanced paid marketers at larger companies and agencies, an automated paid marketing reporting solution like AdStage may work better than Excel or Google Sheets. With the time saved on reporting across multiple accounts and networks, automated tools provide a clear return on investment.
Google Data Studio is a data visualization tool that allows you to create custom dashboards and reports that are easy to read and share.
Over the last month, we put Google Data Studio’s PPC reporting features to the test. We found that diving in was easy, the tool itself is free, many of the data connectors are free, and the other connectors have free trials. Learning the interface was mostly a breeze.
On a mission to create a PPC report, I used AdStage’s Data Studio Connector to bring my paid search and paid social campaigns (AdWords, Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) into Data Studio. After playing around with the new tool for a while, I finally got a good grasp on how it works and thought I’d share what I learned.
In this tutorial, I cover how to create a PPC report with Google Data Studio.
1. Building Charts
Data Studio offers about a dozen chart options. In this video, I call out high-level KPIs with the Scorecard widget, show spend across networks with an area chart and pie chart, and visualize conversions over time with a bar chart.
2. Customizing Your Report
More than just styling, which I do cover, Data Studio offers filter control where viewers of your report can adjust key aspects even if they don’t have edit access. I expose date range and ad networks, so viewers can adjust the global date range and the specific networks included in the report.
3. Filtering Data
Data Studio has a lot of great filtering options, from Spend > 0, to Ad URL does not contain ‘blog’. You can create multiple filters using OR and AND and save them for future widgets.
Explore AdStage’s Google Data Studio Connector
Getting started with AdStage’s Google Data Studio Connector is easy — sign up today for our 14-day free trial.
One of the advantages of working at an agency is getting an unfettered look into the data of many different businesses. Not only does this helps leaders and directors shore up the financial wellness of the agency, but it also guides them in improving their clients’ business, and highlights when an adjustment to a team might be a good idea.
In a recent post, Why Your Agency Needs Branded PPC Reports, we highlighted how clients want to feel like they’re the only one you’re servicing. But from the perspective of an agency director, the agency is a business, and you want to have a pulse on how each and every customer is affecting profit and success. An encompassing look at all accounts and their PPC performance via a custom dashboard is a necessity for all agencies, for a number of reasons, including the power of comparison.
When looking at an account individually, you can pretty easily make some comparisons, like year over year, month over month, or even week over week on fast moving campaigns. But you’ll only ever know about that account. This approach could be compared to the Silo Mentality, when departments within an organization refuse to share info or work together, which Forbes says contributes to the demise of business.
Let’s dive into several reasons why agencies need custom agency health reports.
1. Know Who Your Best Customers Are
Great businesses know which customers are most valuable and treat them accordingly. They also know they must figure out ways to transform average customers into their best customers. But it’s impossible to know who’s a top performer unless you’re looking at your entire customer pool. While it might not always be apples to apples, a client comparison dashboard should show you which clients have seasonal budgets, consistent monthly budgets, and which ones are small spenders but still require a lot of account manager time.
As a leader in an agency, formulating a monthly PPC report template across accounts is the easiest and most conclusive way to check in on the health of the agency without manually pulling multiple reports across several accounts or bugging account managers. Using PPC reporting software filters, you can adjust client views and dates in a few clicks to get a comparison view.
2. Share Learnings
How do you get ok clients to be some of your best customers? You figure out what’s working on your top accounts and replicate. If one client is seeing killer performance in one area, take a look at the marketing plan for a lagging client and see what insights you can recommend or incorporate to boost their performance. That’s why agencies are super careful about who they take on as clients, and the good agencies would never take on competing businesses.
For example, let’s say your cosmetics client sees a bump in conversions after reallocating some spend to Instagram video. You might want to make the same recommendation to your women’s clothing client since you can make the assumption the audience the two are going after is largely the same and would respond similarly.
If you’re sharing monthly PPC reports internally, there are shared learnings to be had across team members at every level, too. Staff gets a glimpse into what their colleagues are working on, what tactics are seeing success, and who to turn to for advice when working on similar projects or challenges.
How do you get ok clients to be some of your best customers? You figure out what’s working on your top accounts and replicate.
3. Determine Trends in the Marketplace
If you remember way back to middle school science or statistics classes, you know it’s much easier to come to a conclusion if you have a large sample size. This goes for spotting trends in your clients’ PPC data, too.
In this case, your sample size is all of your clients’ performance data put together. You might see historical trends within one client’s performance, but aggregating all accounts against each other will give you a look at what’s happening now. For example, it’s much easier to spot the effects of Facebook’s latest algorithm change when you can look at the results across multiple accounts.
4. Spot Benchmarks and Red Flags
Think of it as a case of “one of these things is not like the others.” If you know you’re spending roughly the same amount for two (or more) clients in AdWords, but one is getting drastically lower CPCs, you can immediately catch that something’s amiss and take a closer look at what’s going on. Without comparison, you rely on historical data from that account, or any benchmarks you could scrounge up from studies or blog posts from other digital marketers.
Related, knowing the lowest and highest performance numbers for comparable accounts will help you set quantitative KPIs that are rooted in results that are more assured than calculated projections.
5. Check In On Staff
As a manager, you want to know all teams are operating at full capacity for clients. If two accounts have similar profiles, spends, etc., but one is always lagging, a comparison look at the accounts will help you surface potential staff issues and make necessary adjustments.
Eager to get a look at what’s happening across your agency? AdStage’s Dynamic Dashboards have capabilities that allow you to customize dashboards as needed. Throw in graphs and tables and fine-tune views with custom metric options to get the most concise account comparison possible. However you decide to put your dashboard together, there are a few basic data points you’ll want to make sure to include:
- Quality score – created by Google to measure how relevant your ad content is. The better the ad, the less you pay for 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
Check out our post on KPIs that matter to CMOs, directors, and managers for more pointers on what a PPC report should include at certain levels.
And as our post “What Makes A Great Monthly PPC Report?” suggested, all great PPC reports should end by looking forward to the future.
Based on everything that comes up in the report, you’ll want to ask yourself (and/or your team):
- What are the strategies for the following month?
- Do we need to stay the course or make big swings in strategy?
- What actionable steps are we going to take to improve performance next month?
Take advantage of being able to see into multiple accounts at one time. Not only will it help you give clients a leg up, no doubt it will accelerate your learning, too.
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|
|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|
|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.
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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 AdStage’s PPC 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.