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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- One-by-one using the Google Custom URL builder.
- Use templates such as Google’s ValueTrack parameters or Facebook’s URL parameters section when creating an ad.
- Use an Excel or G-Sheets template.
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:
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.
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:
- We use the AdStage Google Sheets data connector add-on to pull in all of our ad campaign data quickly and efficiently.
- Learn more about AdStage for G-Sheets.
- We use the G-Connector for Salesforce add-on to pull in Salesforce reports into Google Sheets.
- Then we use some VLOOKUP formula magic in G-Sheets to merge campaign and account IDs with sales metrics.
- 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.
- 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.
Time is a scarce resource, and especially at the C-level. A face-to-face meeting with the company’s senior executives is a rare opportunity to highlight your team’s successes and prove your department’s business impact. Here’s how to make the most out of it.
When presenting to the C-suite, marketers can borrow some techniques from sales. Take the “3Cs” framework (context, content, and contact). Top consultants use the “3Cs” when selling to top-level decision makers, and this framework applies just as well to a marketing presentation.
- Set the context by framing your data into a cohesive narrative
- Structure the content to support your insights with the right data and metrics
- Contact your audience by connecting with their goals and values
Obviously, a PPC dashboard for an e-Commerce business will differ from that one of an in-house B2B software company. But no matter the case: solid data, convincing logic, and an engaging story will score you a strong “A” in your PPC report card.
1. Present Your PPC Metrics Within the Right Context
A PPC report for the C-suite should tell a story that is actionable at the executive manager’s level. Of course, you need a high-level summary. But don’t leave out the core PPC metrics; help your audience to make comparisons, see trends over time, analyze distribution, and understand relationships between metrics.
Here’re the foundational PPC reporting metrics to get started:
|Spend||How much money was spent on advertising for a given date range|
|Clicks||How many times users click on your ad and get to the landing page|
|Impressions||How many times users saw your ad|
|Click-through rate (CTR)||The number of clicks divided by the number of impressions|
|Average cost per click (CPC)||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||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||The number of conversions divided by the number of clicks|
|Cost per conversion||How much you pay for a conversion|
As you work with these metrics, focus on how this data can provide insight into your PPC performance in a way that makes sense to the C-level executive. For example:
- Show spend against your budget goal
- Compare CVR (conversions) and cost per conversion at one time period with that of a comparable time period to see trends over time. Year over year (YOY) and quarter on quarter comparisons are very common (2016 vs. 2017, Q3 vs. Q4)
- Visualize spend distribution to show percentage by channel and network
- Show spend and cost per conversion to explain how increasing your budget could help drive conversions at a lower cost.
2. Structure Your Content Using the Minto Pyramid Principle
Developed by Barbara Minto, McKinsey’s first ever female consultant, the Minto Pyramid Principle is used to help business people to structure their writing, thinking, presenting, and problem-solving. The goal of the framework is to make it easy for the audience to consume information. The idea is that you start on top of the pyramid (your executive summary) and move down to your key insights and then down to supporting facts.
- Start with your key recommendation.By giving an executive manager your advice upfront, you’ll help her focus on the areas of your report that are most relevant.
For example, “My key recommendation is to increase our testing budget. The learnings will help us inform our holiday budget allocation in the next quarter. Platform X and Y recently launched Z options for targeting and creative, and I’d like to explore how they will work for our brand. This quarter, we tested user-generated content vs. in-house produced ads, and UGC outperformed against ads by 8 percent. ”
- Group your metrics and insights.The data in each grouping should reflect one key idea or insight. For example, if you discuss your spend against the budget goal, you can group your spend by channels. Use visuals such as pie charts and graphs.
- Organize your metrics in a logical order.
When analyzing things, people usually seek to identify cause/effect relationships, divide a whole into its parts, or classify similar things. So when you zoom in on your metrics, structure your thoughts logically. Say, you want to discuss an uplift in impressions. Start with the effect (impressions went up) and discuss the cause (we tested this new channel; we refreshed creatives and copy; we narrowed ad targeting). Or if you wanted to talk about spend across channels, you could visualize your paid search and paid social budget as a whole and talk about the ad networks as its parts.
You may want to follow a different approach for an interim check-in report, where you just walk your boss or client through your data and some of the insights. You can also adjust your presentation and go more granular when you share your report in writing. But for an in-person presentation for the C-level, the Minto Pyramid has proven to be effective by major consulting firms.
3. Contact and Build Rapport by “De-geeking” the PPC Lingo
When PPCers meet, their language seems foreign to an outsider. The subject of the conversation may shift from the latest Facebook Ads Manager update to discussing the early results of testing a new AdWords extension. These things are all exciting, but they don’t speak to the problems, values, plans, and desires of a C-level executive. So bring out the graphs and build rapport with the C-suite by learning their language.
AdStage’s Marketing Director, Mike McEuen, has great advice on translating PPC metrics into common business terms. Three more “C’s” from Mike will help you “de-geek” the report:
Take clicks. What are these clicks? Business people will relate better if you bring up website visitors or buyers and describe the audiences you’re targeting.
While “cost” makes much more sense to anyone outside of the PPC industry, frame it as “budget spend” and talk about relevant goals and metrics, such as percent spend, projected needs, year over year change, etc.
When you talk about conversions, use descriptive terms that show business value: “leads,” “sign-ups,” or “purchases.”
Showcase performance trends across channels, accounts, and campaigns with graphs, charts, or tables. Pull in your custom business metrics to paint the full picture, not just pay-per-click dollars. With tools like AdStage, you can upload data from your CRM, marketing automation systems, apps, BI tools, and billing systems to get a full view of how your teams are driving value for the business.
After the presentation, leave some time for questions. When you don’t know the answer to a follow-up question, just say it and ask to get back to the executive via email.
As you’re using the “3Cs” framework to present your PPC report the executive audience, structure your report in a way that provides just enough context to grasp the essential insights. Use logical order to frame your content into a cohesive narrative. Finally, contact your audience by connecting with them through effective visuals and common language.
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Google Sheets have quickly become a valuable tool for marketers. And with the addition of Google Sheets add-ons are one the most powerful automation tools marketers have at their disposal.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of Google Sheets. I still love Excel’s workflow and power. However, with the right add-ons, I can automatically conduct keyword research, pull monthly campaign reports, merge CRM data, analyze the data, and run predictive models. Plus, I can do all of this without having to cobble together multiple reports, and it’s saved in the cloud which makes it easier for collaboration.
So how can you do this? Below I’ve listed out powerful Google Sheets add-ons designed for marketers. Some are free and others require a fee or subscription. Either way give them all a try and unlock the power of Google Sheets.
21 of the Best Google Sheets Add-Ons for Marketers
Solve resource allocation problems with linear and mixed-integer programming, nonlinear optimization, and evolutionary algorithms.
With the Solver Add-on, created by Frontline Systems, developers of the Solver in Microsoft Excel, you can define and solve many types of optimization problems in Google Sheets, just as you can with the Excel Solver.
You can solve linear programming and mixed-integer programming problems with the Simplex LP Solver, nonlinear optimization problems with the GRG Nonlinear Solver, global optimization problems with the multistart method, and ‘arbitrary’ Sheets models containing any numeric formulas with the Evolutionary Solver.
Get all your Paid Search and Social advertising data into Google Sheets.
Stop manually exporting data from all those ad networks! AdStage for Google Sheets lets you instantly add your paid performance data into Google Sheets.
- Get your PPC performance data from Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads, Twitter Ads, LinkedIn Ads and Google Analytics.
- Pull in information about your ad campaigns like Campaign Type, Status, and Campaign, Ad Group and Ad Id.
- Get cross network SEM data in a single table or chart.
- Customize your reporting views with performance data organized by AdStage Account Groups or Folders.
- Use our A/B Testing template to find your best campaigns, ad group or ads.
- Give others access to your reports & dashboards.
Supported sources in the AdStage Google Sheets add-on include:
- Google AdWords
- Bing Ads
- Facebook Ads
- Twitter Ads
- LinkedIn Ads
- Google Analytics
- Yahoo Gemini (Beta)
- First party data you’ve passed to the AdStage Universal Data API
You must be a AdStage customer to use this add-on. Start your free AdStage trial!
The BigML add-on brings the power of the Machine Learning models and clusters in BigML to your Google Spreadsheets. The add-on provides an easy access to the models and clusters under your account in BigML within the Google Sheet. Using them, the blank cells in your datasheet can be filled with the predictions that the model can extract from the known values in each data row.
No matter your technical background, this add-on gives you the power of engineering and data science – and all you need are your spreadsheet skills. BlockSpring is not free, it’s a subscription for $15/ month.
Blockspring features you won’t want to miss. Instantly get data:
- Pull data from apps like Twitter, scrape websites with import.io, get government info using Socrata, financial info using Quandl, all without leaving Google Sheets.
Add custom functions to Google Sheets using R, Python, Ruby, PHP, and JS:
- Are you a developer? Skip the restrictions of Google Scripts and extend Google Sheets with custom functions using your favorite language. These functions don’t just work with Google, they automatically work with Excel too!
Machine learning, simplified:
- Extract concepts from text, run world-class image recognition… take advantage of the world’s most powerful algorithms without programming.
Share data between Excel, your local databases, Salesforce, and Google Sheets, without importing or exporting!
We publish Connectors that will bring your data in and out of Sheets from Excel, Salesforce, or your local MySQL, Sql Server, Access, Oracle, or PostgreSQL databases. We also have a Google Forms add-on that can send data directly to all of these destinations.
Data Everywhere is a cloud database for spreadsheet data. Open your spreadsheet, highlight the data you want to share, and Publish your Data Feed.
You can share the data with anyone, all you need is an email address. Just add the new users as viewers or editors of your feed.
Our new Automatic Publish and Refresh feature makes it easy to automatically sync your data as well. You won’t need to even have the Google Sheet open in order to get data transferred.
This addon to Google Spreadsheets will let you pull any data from Salesforce.com and schedule automatic refresh of that data even when you’re offline.
Pull a report, set up your update schedule (can be hourly, daily, weekly (on specified days), or monthly), then share the document with any number of non-salesforce users in Google Drive and they will all have access to almost live data coming from your Salesforce.com org.
With this Google connector you will save a lot of time by doing Salesforce data loads, queries, mass updates and insert not from Salesforce, but directly from your Google Spreadsheets.
You’ll be able to pull data directly from Salesforce.com using a custom query or by simply pulling a report you’d previously created in Salesforce.com.
You can edit the data and push it back to Salesforce using Update command.
You can also import new data to Salesforce.com from your existing Google Spreadsheets using the Insert command.
- Great for SLT reporting, data manipulation, data migration and data cleanup.
- Schedule automatic refreshes of a Salesforce.com report or data pulled via SOQL. The updates are running even when you’re offline!
- Keep historical data by creating report snapshots in your Google Drive automatically up to every hour.
- Run metrics on your data up to once an hour and send out alerts to multiple people if a metric is off.
Powered by the AYLIEN Text Analysis API, this add-on brings a package of easy to use Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning tools to your Spreadsheets to allow you to quickly and easily analyze any text. Let our Text Analysis add-on transform your Spreadsheet into a powerful easy-to-use Text Analysis Tool!
Whether you’re a savvy marketer or a seasoned data junkie the AYLIEN Text Analysis Add-on for Google Sheets allows you to analyze text with no programming or Text Analysis expertise in a matter of minutes.
AYLIEN Text Analysis for Google Sheets allows Analysts, Marketers and Researchers to Analyze text with no technical programming experience. Use our Text Analysis add-on to analyze documents, news articles, Tweets and URL’s from within your spreadsheet.
- Summarize and Classify documents and articles
- Analyze the Sentiment of Tweets
- Extract context and entities from any text
- 6 languages supported
Getting started is easy and you can be up and running in a matter of minutes. Check out our walkthroughs and videos on our tutorial page.
Statistical analysis in Google Sheets, with functions matching the Analysis ToolPak in desktop Excel.
With the XLMiner Analysis ToolPak Add-on, you can easily perform statistical analyses of the same types available in the Analysis ToolPak add-in that has been part of Microsoft Excel for over 20 years, and has been featured in large numbers of textbooks, videos, statistics courses and the like.
The add-on provides all 19 interactive functions included in the Excel Analysis ToolPak, plus a 20th function often requested by users, logistic regression. Sidebar input fields and output on the spreadsheet will be very familiar to Excel Analysis ToolPak users.
The 20 functions are:
- ANOVA: Single Factor
- ANOVA: Two-Factor with Replication
- ANOVA: Two-Factor without Replication
- Descriptive Statistics
- Exponential Smoothing
- F-Test Two-Sample for Variances
- Fourier Analysis
- Linear Regression
- Logistic Regression
- Moving Average
- Random Number Generation
- Rank and Percentile
- t-Test: Paired Two-Sample for Means
- t-Test: Two-Sample Assuming Equal Variances
- t-Test: Two-Sample Assuming Unequal Variances
- z-Test: Paired Two-Sample for Means
Results will generally match the Excel Analysis ToolPak, as seen in many textbooks, screen images and videos. The add-on’s Random Number Generation function uses the Mersenne Twister algorithm.
Scan two sheets for the same values based on key columns and update your main table with the missing information.
Five simple steps of the Merge Sheets wizard will guide you through the process of joining data from two tables. If you have at least one common identifier column in both sheets, e.g. product ID, the add-on will insert all the missing information for the same records in your main table.
- Select the table you want to update and the one to pull information from
- Define common columns the add-on can use to find the same records
- Choose the columns to update or add to your main sheet
The merge assistant will do the rest. It will quickly compare key columns and find the necessary updates, no vlookup formulas needed. You can highlight changes with color, work only with the empty cells, and have all new records added to the end of the table. When the merge is complete, you’ll see the summary of all changes that the add-on has made.
You can use this tool whenever you need to compare two sheets and bring the latest changes to your table.
Flexible, easy to use document merge tool that creates PDF or shared Documents from spreadsheet data. Automate the creation and sharing of personalized documents with autoCrat.
AutoCrat is a multi-purpose document merge tool that allows you to take data from a spreadsheet and merge it into a document via a template. Tell autoCrat which fields to merge via <<merge tags>> and then let autoCrat mass-generate personalized documents. Optionally send the documents as email attachments. Optionally tell autoCrat to run when new forms are submitted to created truly automated processes.
In response to user feedback and demand, the new version of autoCrat now has the following upgrades and new features:
- A single, simpler user interface. We got rid of the sidebar. Everything happens through the primary dialogue.
- More modern design/interface.
- Cleaner code under the hood. Hopefully you notice faster performance and more reliable triggers.
- Single document mode. You can now produce a single document for a merge job. E.g. a single doc or PDF, with each row of data that meets your job criteria merged into it. Previously you could only create one document per row of data. This was one of the most asked for feature requests. (NOTE: This only works for docs at the moment, not spreadsheets)
- Image merge. You can now merge images into your docs from a publicly hosted image URL.
- Hyperlink merge. Easily add hyperlinks to your merged Google docs.
11. Google Analytics
Access all of your Google Analytics data in Google Spreadsheets.
The Google Analytics spreadsheet add-on brings you the power of the Google Analytics API combined with the power of data manipulation in Google Spreadsheets. With this tool, you can:
- Query data from multiple views (profiles).
- Create custom calculations from your report data.
- Create dashboards with embedded data visualizations.
- Schedule reports to run automatically so your data is always current.
- Easily control who can see these data and visualizations by leveraging Google Spreadsheet’s existing sharing and privacy features.
Retrieve data and create automatic backups from Google Search Console into Google Sheets.
Search Analytics for Sheets allows you to:
1. Retrieve query, page, clicks and other data on-demand for any of your verified websites from Google Search Console directly into Google Sheets.
- supports grouping and filtering data by “Query”, “Page”, “Country” and “Device”
- offers data on “Clicks”, “Impressions”, “CTR” and “Position”
- allows up to 5000 rows of data per request
2. Create automatic data backups in Google Sheets so you’re no longer constrained by the 90 days Search Analytics limitation
- backup monthly Google Search Console data for any site in its own spreadsheet
- create unlimited number of backups
- create both aggregated-data backups as well as grouped/filtered backups
The introduction of Wolfram|Alpha defined a fundamentally new paradigm for getting knowledge and answers—not by searching the web, but by doing dynamic computations based on a vast collection of built-in data, algorithms and methods.
Bringing broad, deep, expert-level knowledge to everyone… anytime, anywhere.
In your spreadsheet, go to the “Wolfram|Alpha for Sheets” Add-on menu and select “Open Wolfram|Alpha Sidebar” to get immediate access to the computational power and knowledge of Wolfram|Alpha.
Whenever you feel like you are wasting too much energy on monotonous repetitive work, you realize there must be a better solution. Power Tools takes the burden of such problems off your shoulders.
Here you’ll find the features you miss most.
- One-click solutions for the most popular tasks: change case, sum by color, and more
- Merge records, split text with the special tools you get
- Delete duplicates and any redundant values
- Discover plenty other time-savers that come with the add-on
Power Tools will streamline all the routine operations in spreadsheets, show your recent actions and keep a list of your favorites so that you can re-apply them to other cells at any time.
At last – it’s quick and easy to create equations, graphs, stats displays and math quizzes to insert in Google Docs or Sheets.
g(Math) can create graphs from data in spreadsheet cells, or plot directly from a list of points you enter. And it can instantly visualize statistical data as histograms, bar charts and box-and-whisker plots, too.
Write virtually any mathematical expression directly on your PC or Chromebook’s keyboard or touchscreen. Input’s easy: you don’t need to know any math code or programming languages. g(Math) understands what you’re typing, instantly turning your expressions into clear, accurate on-screen formulas.
You can save even more time by picking from a huge range of ready-made formulas and functions, including quadratic equations, matrices and more. Then insert your expression into any spreadsheet cell or doc with a simple click.
If you’d prefer to dictate your equations or formulas, there is a Speech Input function within the Add-on. With these features, you can cater the tool to your unique learning style.
Quickly create and insert flowchart, UML, wireframe, mind map, and more diagrams directly into a Google document.
The easiest way to draw flowcharts, mockups, UML, mind maps and more. Work together in real time with your team and clients.
With the Lucidchart add-on for Google Sheets, you can quickly:
- Create and edit Lucidchart documents from Sheets
- Insert diagrams directly into a Google Sheet
- Update inserted diagrams with latest changes made in Lucidchart
Lucidchart is an HTML5-based visual collaboration tool that makes drawing diagrams fast and easy. Work together with an unlimited number of others to create and edit diagrams in real time, with changes merged and synced instantaneously — great for team collaboration and working with clients.
Build charts in Google Sheets based on data from Google BigQuery. Easy online integration without CSV. 100% Google Cloud Platform.
* Create your own collection of queries
- Analysts or developers can save queries with the preset variables that you need.
* No CSV export needed
- Seamless extraction of query results to Google Sheets.
* Build charts
- Visualize, works with and share data while enjoying the benefits of Google Sheets.
* Scheduled updates
- Update your reports and dashboards regularly
* Upload results to Google BigQuery
- Use data from your sheets in your queries
18. Table Styles
Apply a uniform style to your tables in one click, add your own custom style templates. Table Styles add-on lets you quickly apply a professional and uniform look to your tables in Google Sheets.
You can select your data and use one of predefined styles that come with the add-on. The templates are very flexible in use as they let you apply format only of those table elements that you check off.
If your company uses custom colors, select an existing table and add its style to your collection. You can also create your formatting template from scratch and use it in any spreadsheet: add borders, change font and background color in any table part like header or first row stripe.
Besides 24 pre-supplied styles, the current version keeps three of the most recent styles you create active. At the same time the add-on gives you the possibility to edit or delete all your custom templates to keep them up-to-date.
Get all your SEM, SEO & social media data into Google Sheets
Supermetrics for Google Sheets is a powerful add-on that turns Google Sheets into a full-blown business reporting system for SEM, SEO, web analytics and social media.
With this tool, you can:
- Get metrics from multiple sources into Google Sheets. We provide integration for Google Analytics, Adwords, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads, Twitter Ads and dozens of other platforms listed below
- Refresh reports automatically or by a click of a button.
- Create professional-looking reports with our pre-made templates
- Schedule automatic emailing as PDF, Excel, CSV or HTML, or give others access to your reports & dashboards.
- Avoid Google Analytics data sampling and the 90-day limit of Google Search Console data
20. Clearbit Sheets
Create targeted email lists and qualify leads in seconds.
Want to create targeted email lists in a few minutes? Or automate research across all your web signups? Clearbit’s software is the first to fully automate both lead generation and research.
Select emails in Google Sheets and, with one click, process them through Clearbit populating the spreadsheet with the researched leads. Clearbit returns any public social information they can find connected to an email, such as a Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn account. Clearbit also returns any company information associated with the email’s domain, such as number of employees, investment, market categories and location.
This product has an initial free trial, and is then $129/month from then on.
21. Twitter Archiver
Search Twitter for any keyword or hashtag and save matching tweets in a Google Sheet. It polls Twitter every hour for new tweets.
Twitter Archiver lets you easily save tweets for any search keyword or hashtag in a Google Spreadsheet. Enter a search query, or an hashtag, and all matching tweets are automatically saved in the Google Sheet. You can write simple queries, use boolean search or include advanced Twitter search operators to create more complex queries.
Twitter Archiver can be used for saving tweets around trending hashtags, conference tweets, your brand mentions, geo-tagged tweets, and more. It polls twitter every hour and pulls all the matching tweets into the Google Spreadsheet
Bonus Chrome Extension
For making it this far, I saved the best for last. Catalytics replaces people on the Google Analytics homepage with surly looking cats. Great for playing jokes on our co-workers who leave their computer unlocked while away from their desk. 😉
And there you have it. 21 super powerful Google Sheets add-ons waiting for you to put them to use. I hope you’ve already installed a couple while reading through this post. There are literally hundreds of add-ons available, but these are my favorite or at least the most relevant for me as a marketer.
Which one of these is your favorite? Did I miss your favorite add-on? Let me know in the comments!
With our core mission to “connect marketers to the data they need to analyze, automate, and report on their digital ad campaigns”, many of our latest products have been developed using our Universal Data API.
The API allows developers and analysts to query ad performance data from eight major channel sources (Google AdWords, Bing, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter Ads, and Google Analytics) and pull it in as one, normalized feed. Sending the data anywhere they want.
We use our own API internally to power new products that help marketers report on and analyze their paid campaign performance trends in interesting ways. Whether that’s allowing users to ask their personal assistant Alexa about current ad spend trends, or granting the ability to pull all their ad data into Google Sheets with our AdStage Add-On.
Today, we’re proud to announce a new member to the reporting family, AskAdStage, a smart bot that allows marketers to report on and pause their ads in Slack.
AskAdStage is an AI-powered reporting tool that allows marketers to create paid search and social campaign reports on-the-fly in Slack. Then if desired, take action on performance trends by pausing your campaigns or ad groups/sets within a table view.
What Are the Core Features?
Integrate and report across your core ad networks
Set up your account in AdStage, and pull reports across your Google AdWords, Bing, Yahoo! Gemini, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter ad campaigns.
Pull performance metrics on demand
Create paid social and social reports on-the-go from any Slack supported device (mobile, tablet, or desktop).
Visualize ad performance data with flexible line, bar, and pie charts
Tell AskAdStage your preferred report type, networks, metrics and time range—then receive a report back in seconds. Change your chart type easily with quick action buttons.
Apply advanced filters to hone in on the metrics you care about
Perfect your reporting views with network, campaign type, and status filters. Learn all the possible commands.
Take action on underperforming campaigns or ad creative
View your report, then pause or re-enable a list of campaigns, ad groups/ad sets, or creatives based on performance.
Pull quick campaign performance reports for your team
Add the AskAdStage bot to any team Slack channel, allowing team members to change the chart type, add comments, or pull their own report!
How to Get Started
Get set up with AskAdStage, the smart ad reporting assistant for Slack, in 4 quick steps:
- Ensure you are an AdStage customer or actively trialing the product.
- If you’re new to AdStage, sign up for a free 14-day trial here (no cc required)
- Visit the AskAdStage page or Slack app listing to download the app.
- Assign the app a Slack team instance and channel.
- AskAdStage to pull a paid campaign report using this format:
- Chart format (list, bar, line chart) + reporting level (account, campaign, ad group/ad set) + metric you care about (CTR, conversions, CPA, etc.) + time range (ex: last 14 days)
- Example query:
- “/askadstage show me a line chart of the top 10 best performing Facebook ad sets by CTR over the last 7 days”
Help Us Get the Word Out
Creating new products takes a lot of dedication and good ole fashioned elbow grease. We’d be grateful if you helped us get the word out! Please find us on ProductHunt and show us some love—our CEO has graciously agreed to respond to every question or user feedback.
The Best 15 Slack Apps for Marketers
With over 5 million daily active users, it’s no surprise Slack is one of the most popular apps for businesses. Marketers, in particular, love Slack apps because they can integrate it with other apps and tools, making it the mission control center for managing work.
With over 600 apps available for integration, it can be hard to decide which ones are the best for marketers. That’s why in this article, you will learn about the best 15 Slack apps for marketers.
Get The Best 15 Slack Apps for Marketers
Delegating to an assistant is one of the most common tasks any manager does to lower his work load. With the fast development of artificial intelligence, now managers can use automated queries to get all sort of useful information.
GrowthBot is an automated Slack assistant that quickly fetches marketing and sales information for you. With GrowthBot, you can find and report the top Twitter users in your city, you can get the search keywords one of your competitors ranks for, or what SaaS companies use a specific tool. All of this with the help of natural language interface, so it will feel as if you are talking to a real assistant
Since GrowthBot doesn’t have a specific suite of features, you should discover some of what it can do by typing in “Hello” and then “Give me a hint.”
Finally, it connects to a diverse set of tools such as HubSpot Marketing, HubSpot CRM, Google, and other data providers to provide quick and convenient answers to common questions.
AskAdStage is a paid search & social campaign reporting tool that gives PPC managers access to a wide variety of reports to analyze your campaign’s performance right in your Slack channels.
AskAdStage connects to eight ad networks, which include:
- Facebook Ads
- Instagram Ads
- Twitter Ads
- LinkedIn Ads
- Google AdWords
- Bing Ads
- Yahoo Gemini
You can use AskAdStage to compare performance metrics across each of the search and social networks mentioned before in just a few clicks. You can get detailed reports on the performance of your search or social networks campaigns, the campaign objectives of each one, and their statuses.
If you prefer to see the performance of your campaigns, you can use AskAdStage to get visualized data trends with bar, line, and pie charts.
Finally, you can use AskAdStage to pause or enable your ad campaigns, ad groups, or individual ads.
If you run a software or e-commerce business, staying up to date with analytics can be tough. There are many tools most marketers use, like Google Analytics, Mixpanel, and Salesforce, among others.
StatsBot is an AI-driven analytics monitoring assistant that delivers reports to your Slack channels. Whenever there’s a change in an important metric (which could include pageviews, lead acquired, or revenue), StatsBot sends you a message in one of your Slack channels.
The tool pulls specific metrics you define from all your favorite analytics tools, including Google Analytics, Stripe, and Mixpanel.
“Get to know your customers,” is an old mantra that business has been practicing for a long time due to the vast amount of marketing ideas it can help marketers untap. Given the scarce time marketers have, talking to your customers can be a challenging task, to say the least.
The situation changes with Drift, a communications tool which makes it easy to talk with your customers in real-time. Drift also simplifies the way your marketing team generates leads and schedule meetings faster using real-time messaging.
Thanks to the integration between Drift and Slack together, you can manage all the conversations without having to leave Slack.
Marketing automation is a powerful way to communicate with your customers. By creating and sending automated customer journeys, you can give all the information your visitors need to make them more interested in your company’s offers.
With Autopilot, you can send personalized emails, in-app messages, SMS, or even postcards, and nurture your leads into high paying customers.
The integration between Autopilot and Slack offers many benefits to marketers, some of which include:
- Get notifications when the sales team gets a demo requests
- Send internal message to the team’s Slack channel, so that the team can now view new user challenges as they happen and respond fast
- Engage your users by showing signs they are ready to upgrade or churn
There are billions of social media users, making them a priority for marketers as a communications channel. But how do you take the time to create and send all your team’s Facebook updates, tweets, and Instagram posts?
HootSuite is the most widely used platform for managing social media, with over 10 million people around the globe and trusted by more than 800 of the Fortune 1000.
The Slack integration for HootSuite allows you to send social messages from your Hootsuite dashboard directly to any channel within your Slack team.
As a marketer, you must follow the most important metrics closely for your startup, like the monthly recurring revenue, the churn rate, and the number of new customers.
Baremetrics is an analytics and monitoring tool that gives you access to metrics you can act on. They also provide you with information about your customer profiles. You can find out their LTV and MRR, among other metrics.
The integration of Baremetrics sends important updates to your team’s Slack channel. You can receive the latest data from your most important metrics so you don’t miss what’s happening in your company.
Whether your company is large or small, people will talk about it in both good and bad ways. You must follow what they say about you, so you can react fast if there’s any PR problem or if a potential customer needs an extra push to sign up.
Mention is media monitoring tool that gives you access to real-time brand mentions across the web. You can also use Mention to analyze your competitors, reach out to influencers, or get insights on your industry.
With Mention’s Slack integration, you can monitor important keywords right from your team’s Slack channels. You can also ensure that all mentions are attended to by assigning them to team members with Slack’s @mention feature.
Meetings, one of the pillars that makes up any company’s culture. Whether you find them useful or not, you will have to meet with members of your marketing team. Sometimes the need for a meeting shows up without short notice. You can go and create a meeting with Google Calendar or another similar tool, but if you are in a hurry it may take you more than you wished to do so.
Drum allows you to create an instant web meeting within your chosen Slack channel or direct message. By integrating Drum into your Slack team, you can benefit from instant web meetings with the same functionality you would expect within your face to face meeting.
You can create a meeting quickly by using the code “<code>/drum</code>” into your Slack channel or direct message. Your team will be able to join a meeting with Drum’s local dial-numbers at no charge. They can even join a web meeting with just a click.
If you are like most companies, you use dozens of different tools to make your job. After a while, it can be hard to get anything done with so many tools to use. To simplify your life, you could use a bit of automation.
Zapier allows you to connect over 750+ apps, including Gmail, Basecamp, HubSpot, Evernote, Google Sheets, Typeform, and more. In just a few minutes, you can set up automations called “Zaps,” which will turn your Slack into your team’s central command.
You can connect calendar events, social media mentions, or new lead details straight into any chat.
11. Content Tracker
Content marketing is one of the most effective channels for online marketers. Despite its power, 57% of B2B marketers have a hard time measuring its effectiveness.
Content Tracker by Priceonomics is a dashboard for measuring content marketing performance. By integration Content Tracker with Slack, you can get real-time notifications of events such as:
- When you get an inbound link to your content
- When new content is published
- When your blog content hits big milestones on social sharing and traffic
- When one of your articles goes going viral
With the Slack integration, you will get all your content marketing analytics directly in Slack.
We’ve mentioned PPC, content marketing, and analytics. But we can’t forget about SEO, which is another highly powerful marketing acquisition channel.
Raven is one of the most complete SEO tools. Lots of marketers use Raven to schedule marketing reports, discover on-page SEO issues, and manage their marketing campaigns. By automating your reports, you can save many hours. You can get ranking reports, analytics, SEO, social media, and advertising data all in one place.
The integration of Raven and Slack gives you real-time information about your marketing campaigns right in your Slack channels. With Raven, you can receive notifications such as:
- When one of the on-page SEO audits are complete
- When someone adds or removes an inbound link
- When a scheduled report is sent to a client
Growth hacking is a popular term among startups marketers as it brings the power of customer acquisition, data, and programming all in one place. There are many growth hacks which are very simple yet effective, which is why marketers love sharing and using them.
The RandomGrowth Marketing Ideas Bot gives you short, actionable growth hacks and marketing ideas used by the most successful startups in your Slack team. The RandomGrowth Growth Hacks Generator is Ideal for busy early and seasoned entrepreneurs constantly working on multiple projects.
Project management is a discipline all marketers use to plan, execute, and control the work of a team to achieve specific goals. That’s why most companies, whether they are large or small, use project management tools to improve their results.
Trello is one of the most popular project management tools due to its simplicity. With Trello, you can create new projects (called “cards”), and see who’s responsible for each task within each project.
If you have separate teams working on specific cards or tasks, the Trello integration can help you manage the process efficiently. You can create a Slack channel with everyone in the loop and have a central chat/content management system to keep all projects in check.
Trello lets you create cards (projects), assign them to teammates, set deadlines and leave comments when necessary.
15. Google Drive
It’s a fact employees generate vast amounts of files for their work: writers make content pieces, designers create Photoshop files, and developers have multiple files with their code.
Google Drive allows you to store all your files securely online and access them from anywhere. The integration of Google Drive with Slack helps you create Google Docs and import any type of file from Google Drive without leaving your conversations in Slack.
Here’s a handy guide made by Slack on how to setup and use Google Drive.
As you have seen, Slack isn’t just a powerful communications app. The vast amount of app integrations will help you save time, which in turn will make you a more productive marketer. Now it’s your turn to get started.
Pick one of the mentioned Slack apps, and integrate it with your company’s channels. Try it out for yourself, and see how powerful Slack apps can really be.
PPC industry terms and acronyms can seem like a foreign language to those not managing digital media.
It’s important to translate how performance metrics impact overall business goals. Slim your reports down to the key metrics that matter, and explain trends in common terms.
Report on PPC Metrics in Common Business Terms
From an outsider clicks don’t seem all that valuable. Is it unique clicks? Clicks to what exactly? Describe these are active searchers, who were looking for your industry, product, or service and were interested to learn more.
Use instead: Web Visitors
This indicates the total amount of money the company owes for running ads. But, what is it in relation to? The C-suite allots budgets to departments based on performance and goals. How does this expenditure relate to your monthly/ quarterly/yearly budget?
Use instead: Budget spent or spend
This is a broad universal term used for when a goal is achieved. How is a conversion defined in your business? Replace the word conversion with your objective:
- Lead generation for sales
- Email address capture
- E-commerce purchase
Use instead: Lead, sign-up, or purchase
Cost Per Conversion
Is this relative cost high or low? Some conversions are worth thousands, others worth a few dollars. Use a more descriptive term to easily gauge value.
Use instead: Cost per lead, cost per form fill, or cost per sale.
Return On Ad Spend (ROAS)
This formula reveals the net revenue gained from your ad campaigns.
ROAS = (Revenue – Cost) / Cost
Use instead: Return on investment (ROI)
This is how your CEO/CFO reports company health to the company, board, or investors. Don’t just provide the percentage – also include a ratio. Ex: 300% ROI. Or, a 3:1 return. Currently, every $1 spent is yielding $3 in return on average.
Tips for a Good MonthlyReport
1. Provide a highlight summary at the top
- Include bullets on performance trends of the most important metrics.
- Sum up performance across channels, accounts, and campaigns.
- Include next action steps.
2. Visualize performance trends in graphs
Your CFO and you might love seeing all the raw data, but for others, it’s time consuming and hard to draw conclusions.
Appeal to visual learners by showcasing a slice of data within a graph, chart, or table. Use a PPC reporting tool to help automate the visualization creation.
Provide additional context with the graph.
Example: Within this graph, you can see that total lead volumes have been increasing (total conversions), while the average cost per lead (cost per conversion) has been declining since May.
3. Explain how your results impact the business as a whole
Explain how your PPC results impact the business as a whole.
Include other department insights or metrics if available. Examples:
Goal: Lead Generation
Over the past 3 months we generated 95 additional leads on the same budget, compared to the last quarter. This has translated into 60 additional sales demos ran, netting 15 new sales, totaling $105,000 in new revenue.
The warehouse manager noted there is a large stock of chainsaw inventory sitting in the warehouse for months. We created new chainsaw campaigns with promo discount pricing to move more products. The campaign sold 65% of the overstocked inventory, netting $85,000 in revenue—spending just $35,000 of our total monthly budget.
Remember, the executive team often is faced with making complex decisions with limited time. Whittle your report down to the essential viewpoints they can understand quickly. Finally, explain how paid media initiatives are aiding the company’s top line growth and net profits.
Take Your Monthly PPC Reports from Good to Great
PPC reporting is a necessary evil in our line of work. Though nearly all of us would much rather be making campaign optimizations based on all the data we’ve accrued, it’s important that we’re sharing with stakeholders and able to convey what’s going on to them in a meaningful way.
So what actually makes a good PPC report? It’s not terribly difficult, but it’s easy to put together just a mediocre report if you’re not paying close attention. Great PPC reports require some foresight and a little effort upfront to ensure they’ll have maximum impact. Let’s walk through some of the most important aspects that I try to focus on with each report I send out.
Start with the End Reader(s) in Mind
Before you begin to build your reports, it’s important to think about the recipient. More than likely they have their own areas of focus and style of communicating. Before you strike your first key or make your first chart, ask yourself questions that can help drive what your end product looks like:
- Who is the recipient of this report?
- Are there multiple levels of personnel I need to convey information to?
- What is important to the recipient(s) and what do they to want to know?
- What is important for them to know, whether they’re interested in it or not?
- What questions will they have about what I’m presenting and how can I answer them?
- What level of knowledge does the end user have? Can you utilize industry jargon or do you need to explain things more explicitly?
This certainly isn’t a complete list, but each of these guiding questions can help you determine what should and shouldn’t be in your reports and how you convey that information. For the remainder of this post, I’ll show you the questions I hear in my head while I’m putting together my monthly reports based on a fictionalized client to ensure I’m covering my bases.
Call out the portions in the data that are important to each stakeholder. (If you don’t, they’re just going to ask you about them later.) For a CMO, you might stick to higher level discussions about account trends, competitor trends, and ad messaging. For a fellow Marketing Manager, you might be better off digging further into the details and zeroing in on a couple specific areas of focus for them.
That said, your reports shouldn’t just include pandering information. It’s also critical to call out things that are important to account performance, whether they want to hear them or not. Use your expertise to identify important positive/negative aspects of the performance and address them in the report. Who knows, maybe one of these days folks will stop worrying about tenths of percent changes in CTR when CPA is fluctuating by 20%.
Visualize What’s Most Important
In a perfect world, our report recipient would have endless time to read, review, and digest the amazing reports we’ve put together for them. And some people might make that time. But most will not. I’ve found it valuable to make the top two to three takeaways from the month into visuals.
You might be saying, “But I already use charts to highlight the data in my report”, and that’s great! But odds are you’re showing some iteration of clicks vs CPC, conversions vs CPA, or ROI compared to average order value throughout the month. And you’re showing that every month. Again, that’s great and can be valuable, but it’s not what I’m referring to.
Similar to calling out your recipients focus areas, find a way to visually represent the top pieces of the month. If you’ve been trying to make non-brand search a larger share of the budget and you made some good strides this month create a before and after style pie chart calling out the progress. This might not be a permanent staple of all your reports, but it’s important for this month and something you want to make sure your client/boss remembers.
Pro tip: it’s important to make sure your visuals are telling the right story. Check out this post to get a little insight about making valuable charts.
It’s the Data, Stupid
It’s fairly obvious that it’s hard to have a great PPC report without the actual data, but it’s even harder to have one that doesn’t make a couple of pretty common mistakes. Let’s go through the two biggest mistakes with data in PPC reports.
“With great data comes great responsibility.” ~ Michelle Morgan
Just because you have lots of data doesn’t mean you have to throw it in people’s faces. The people you’re reporting to don’t have time to dig through the data like you do. That’s why they hired you in the first place. Distill things down to what they need to know. In my mind that consists of the following:
- A high level summary of important metrics that show how your efforts are performing overall.
- Breakdowns of channel statistics and performance.
- Insights into campaign groups within channels when applicable (i.e. Retargeting vs Search vs Display).
- Top performing ad variants and keywords.
- Insights into specific tests of interest.
That’s about it. Otherwise, you run the risk of including so much data that someone simply can’t wade through it all and come out the other side with a concise understanding of what happened. They’ll be all over the place.
If there are other areas of interest that are frequently discussed, like top performing geographies or mobile insights, then certainly look to include those. As we’ll cover a bit more here in a moment, you want to include the stats that the stakeholder is interested in, but be conscious of data dumping and don’t throw data at them just for the sake of doing it. Include the high level, things that need action, and the points they care most about and leave everything else for another day.
Leaving Out the Goals
More than likely, when you began the month there were clear goals as to what you wanted your campaigns to achieve. If you’re not calling those out in your report and whether you crushed those goals or fell short, then your reporting needs to have a change in focus.
If you’re needing help figuring out how to add goal numbers, there are a couple different ways.
In the Data Itself
Create some charts that show where your goal metrics are and where you ended up, then call out the surpluses or deficits. Sometimes it can be very easy to just add an additional column to a table or a new chart to the report to directly, visually compare actual performance to goals.
In the Written Portion of the Monthly Report
“In May, we spent a total of $73,136 (1% below goal of $74,000) and generated 1,283 conversions (7% over goal of 1,200) bringing our end demo CPA to $57 (7% below goal of $61.50).”
You can also include them in a written portion of the report. This can be a bit easier since it won’t require additional formatting, but can be more easily overlooked by your recipient.
It’s not so much important as to where you put them, it’s that they’re included and a major point of the report.
Give Context to Your Data
Numbers without context are effectively meaningless. It’s up to you to provide the context so your client/boss can understand what you’re showing them. Be sure you’re making clear, high level context to what the numbers mean and what that means for your accounts.
Outline the Strategy Changes and Their Impact
Each report should call out what your actual strategy was for the month.
- Did you decide to launch new channels?
- Were there changes to your call to action?
- Did you decide you want to be in position 1 no matter what?
- What things were different last month that would have impacted the stats?
If you’re not calling out the changes made you’re losing context as to why the numbers are what they are.
Draw Conclusions About the Strategy
If you’re not drawing conclusions about strategies, you’re leaving it up to your client or boss to do it, and that’s not their job. That’s your job. Draw conclusions about the strategies based on the data and context you’ve provided.
Did your strategies work?
Did they fail?
Somewhere in the middle?
Call Out Outside Influences, Unforeseen Problems
Your strategy isn’t the only thing that can greatly impact performance. Were there delays getting the strategy in place? Did an outside force affect your campaigns and either give your efforts a boost or squash them?
It’s important to give context around the things outside of your control but that influenced performance. Again, without this you’ll be painting an incomplete picture and leaving the recipient wondering why things were so different without a good enough reason.
Compare to Historical Performance
Although you’re tying numbers back to goals for the month, it’s also important to keep an eye on bigger trends. Great PPC reports should include some form of historical data to provide trend insights.
Some examples would be:
- Month over Month: good for showing recent fluctuations in performance.
- Year over Year: important if seasonality is in play and more recent comparisons won’t yield true comparisons.
- Rolling 3 or 6 months: great for showing a long term trend in a positive or negative direction.
Each of these has their role to play, but again, don’t include too much data. Find the historical reference that’s most important for the particular month and focus there. In future months you can call out other ranges if needed.
Ok, What’s Next?
If you’re a fan of The West Wing, you’ll know that one of the famous quotes from President Bartlet is “What’s next?” It sounds simple enough, but in the context of the show, it’s full meaning was “I’ve understood what you’ve said and I see where we’ve been. Let’s close that chapter and move on. What are we going to do next?”
I’ve always felt that the folks who completely ‘get’ PPC would have similar discussions with me about their PPC reports. “I understand the full picture of last month’s performance and findings and how that compares to the past. Now what are we going to do next month to make things even better?”
All great PPC reports should end by looking forward to the future. Based on everything that’s come prior in the report, what are the strategies for the following month? Do we need to stay the course or make big swings in strategy? How are you going to improve performance next month?
If you’re having regular calls with your client/boss, odds are you’ve already begun discussing strategies for the future. Those should also be included in this section of the report. Discuss what you’ll be testing and why you’re giving that strategy a shot. Bonus points if you can tie any future strategy pieces to the specific stats in the report.
Writing a great PPC report isn’t rocket science, but it’s certainly not something that can be done on autopilot. Spend a little time upfront to fully understand your audience, then craft the report in ways that are meaningful to them and don’t just drown them in data.
Lastly, give them a full understanding of where they’ve been and where they’re going. They’ll appreciate the extra effort, you’ll like that they start paying more attention to the report you’ve worked so hard on, everyone wins. And isn’t that what we’re all after anyway?
Amazon Announces New Lookalike Audiences Tool
Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods is intriguing news that’s been covered by just about every major media outlet, but the company quietly announced another addition to its capabilities in the past few weeks. One that marketers may find even more exciting.
Amazon, in its blog post, describes Advertiser Audiences as “a new self-service capability that allows advertisers to securely engage their customers and extend campaign reach on and off Amazon.” If you haven’t yet considered Amazon as an advertising channel, this could be a good time to start testing.
Advertiser Audiences allows you to reach existing customers – of which Amazon says case study participant Burt’s Bees saw click-through rate increase by 2x, consideration rate increase by 9x, and purchase rate increase by 4x to 8x – but the real power lies in creating lookalike audiences. To do that, advertisers anonymously match a list of their customers with Amazon shoppers to create new targeting segments to use in Amazon advertising campaigns.
Pros of Advertiser Audiences
Unlike other platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest, people looking at Amazon are the farthest along the funnel, and couldn’t be closer to a purchasing decision. This allows marketers to shape messaging accordingly. Instead of spending time and money on ads that inform, educate, or interest, messaging can be much more blunt and aggressive.
While you won’t get direct insight into Amazon’s customers, campaign results, if interpreted correctly, will reveal behavioral data for those people who have made it nearly all the way through the funnel. This information can inform future advertising decisions, even outside of Amazon campaigns.
Cons of Advertiser Audiences
Currently, Advertiser audiences is not an easy-to-use, intuitive platform. It’s a manual process that unless you’re experienced (or very patient) may require agency assistance.
As mentioned above, the tool will help you reach lookalike audiences, but don’t expect a huge dump of data in return. Some analysts have described Amazon’s advertising offerings as “black-box,” and this one is no exception.
Only Amazon advertisers (advertisers placing buys directly with/through it) have access to the channel and can use it only for their Amazon campaigns.
Advertiser Audiences In Action
Amazon worked with Burt’s Bees to test and ramp up Advertiser Audiences. Over the last holiday season, Burt’s Bees wanted to focus on their gift packs and stocking stuffers. Using Advertiser Audiences, they discovered 68% of their website customers also used Amazon for online purchases. They used that info to build a lookalike segment and saw that matched customers purchased 4x more.
How to Get Started
Though technically Advertiser Audiences is a self-serve platform, Amazon suggests you contact your account exec to get started. Pay close attention as he or she walks you through the process so you can take over from there and not have to depend on someone else to launch future campaigns.
As part of Amazon’s terms to use Advertiser Audiences, you will need to anonymize your customer email list using either a self-service user interface or if you know how, you can pre-hash your list before submission. (A search for “SHA256 generator” turns up quite a few encryption options. SHA256 refers to the algorithm that carries out the anonymizing).