Preparing and presenting a Quarterly Business Report brings the same stress as that college thesis paper that counted for 75% of your grade. Except this particular assignment happens four times per year. The agency has worked its tail off meeting and exceeding KPIs, and diligently tracking everything for reporting purposes.
But if the presentation is full of disorganized data and a narrative that jumps around, your clients are liable to think you don’t know what you’re doing. We’ve covered the most effective types of PPC reports to pull, but the way you present the reports is just as important. Here’s how to create a cohesive story that’s easy for clients to follow and will ultimately earn you trust and authority.
It takes a village to put a comprehensive QBR together, but the final document should look like it’s coming from one entity. It’s easiest to create one template at the beginning into which teammates can drop information, but you also need to have a visual gatekeeper who’s responsible for going back through with a fine tooth comb and revising anything that feels off. By pulling reports from one place, i.e. Adstage, you’ve already done half the work for yourself, since the reports will all have the same look and feel.
Get your slides in order
Just because your data prints out in a certain sequence doesn’t mean you should present it that way. In fact, shuffle everything up to force yourself and the team to think through the strongest narrative. You should always start with your KPIs since that’s the reason for the QBR in the first place, but figure out where you can slide in more data, where the story should go after you review numbers, the best place to bring up new ideas, etc.
If your slides are out of order, your story is going to be off. It could sound like someone trying to tell the tale of the Goldilocks, but the opening chapter is Goldilocks jumping out of baby bear’s bed when the homeowners return. Your audience is going to be confused about what’s going on.
Watch your length
Have you heard of the nine-minute rule? It’s based on the fact humans have short attention spans, namely the ability to concentrate on one subject for no more than 10 minutes at a time. The Forbes Agency Council suggests sticking close to it for the presentation. Make sure all the most important information comes at the beginning (and that you can cover all of it within 9 minutes), and use the remaining time for additional, but not crucial, details.
That means you’ll have to determine how deep into each report you should go. But if you present the data in a clear, beautiful manner in the first place, you won’t need to spend time explaining every little piece.
Translate the data
Your graphs might look like a spider’s web of data and require 8 point type to fit everything in, but you should be able to sum it up in one sentence. For example, “Site traffic increased 8x as a result of shifting dollars to the PPC ad budget.” Remember, many people in your client’s office will likely take a look at the QBR, so make sure each slide includes a simple explanation of the data. Don’t rely on the people in the room to turn around and give the same presentation you did to the people who weren’t in the meeting.
Use the past to talk about the future
Treat your PPC reports as a guidepost and springboard for recommendations on where to direct business. Don’t just deliver the results. As a true agency partner, you should have a strong enough understanding of what worked, what needs tweaks, and what to ditch.
Be able to make recommendations based on that information and your unique knowledge of the marketplace in which your client’s business competes. The fact that your reporting is streamlined and clear will give your client confidence you have a vision for the future and know what you’re talking about.
Check your work with a run-through
Grab a few people in the office who have never worked on the account and ask them to sit through a practice presentation. They should look for data that’s confusing, slides that seem out of order, holes in the narrative, and ask questions clients might ask.
Run-throughs are invaluable before a big presentation for the reasons mentioned, but also to help time everything out. If it’s taking 20 minutes to get through the major points, you need to go back to the presentation deck and figure out how to shuffle and cut until you’re closer to the 9-minute mark.
If you haven’t been doing this already, send regular updates to clients to avoid surprises. It may be called a Quarterly Business Review, but don’t let that be the only time you’re sharing out info. Talking often means clients feel more involved in what’s going on, issues can be flagged and talked through before anything blows up, and you have the opportunity to share good news when it’s happening.
AdStage offers the ability to have PPC reports automatically sent to clients at a customized cadence and with whatever metrics they want, so mini-QBRs take just a few minutes to prepare.
QBRs may be the biggest project you work on every three months, but at least they don’t count for 75% of your salary! Make the most of them with easy-to-pull PPC reports and a strong presentation that’ll knock their socks off.
I learned about Net Promoter Score in business school and, when I joined AdStage a few years ago as VP of Product, I thought this would be a great chance to put that skill to use. After all, Net Promoter Score is known as a universal measure for customer experience management. Once I went through the process of actually attempting to measure customer experience, however, it became clear that while the score might not be universally useful, the lessons learned in the process can be.
Getting to Know Your Users
When I first joined AdStage, step one was to make sure I truly understood our user base. Why do they use our product? What pain do we cure? How do they feel when they use it? That meant doing my best impression of a journalist delving into the complexities of a story. By the end of step one I had developed a true sense of empathy for our customers.
Step two was to go to the game film. This meant watching users as they attempted to use our product. I did this by combing through event data, user logs and even spending some time in our customers’ offices doing physical user shadow sessions. It doesn’t take long to realize users say they do one thing but actually do something very different. Ask a user if they like a feature and they’ll confidently say, “yes.” Yet you then watch them awkwardly scan the page and it’s pretty obvious they have never used that feature before.
Once I logged enough hours I felt like I had a great grasp of their workflows, mindset and behavior.
When Companies Should Employ Net Promoter Score Surveys
Like many B2B companies, we started with a handful of customers that used our product. It didn’t take long to connect with almost all of our users to learn their stories. Fortunately, that handful of customers grew to thousands. That meant I was no longer able to personally know every single customer and their challenges. I needed to put something in place to formally collect feedback.
How to Set Up Your Net Promoter Score Survey
There are lots of tools to automate your NPS survey (we use AskNicely) so it is sent to the right people at the right time. We wait 60 days after a customer has started paying for our product. This gives our customers enough time to use the product and give meaningful feedback. Remember: you want complete honesty, not a vanity metric. We then check in with another survey every 6 months.
With a little work you can also rig your customer communication tools (we use Intercom) to generate automated responses so you message Promoters, Passives and Detractors with a relevant and timely message. In my experience about 50% of people respond to my automated email asking for more detailed feedback. You can learn how to set up the Intercom Asknice.ly integration here.
The Question Itself:
A lot of people recommend changing the wording of your NPS survey question beyond the classic “How likely is it that you would recommend [brand] to a friend or colleague?” However, in my experience, it seems like customers ignore the actual question text and just think of the 0–10 rating as a way to express general satisfaction. If there’s one thing NPS has done, it’s created a standard feedback mechanism that users complete at a higher rate than traditional satisfaction surveys. So I feel it is better to leave the standard question so users quickly and honestly respond. Rewording the question forces people to read and think. Both things they hate to do.
Why Companies Should Employ Net Promoter Score Surveys
The classic Net Promoter Score survey is calculated using the answer to the survey question regarding likelihood of recommending your product and a 10-point scale. Many believe this to be the core measurement for customer experience management programs worldwide and it can work if you’re a B2C company with tons of engaged users and a huge sample size.
However, we’re a B2B platform and we simply don’t have the same scale as a consumer app. And we don’t like touting data that we don’t have a high enough sample size to back. As a result, we use the Net Promoter Score survey as a means to collect qualitative feedback and as an early warning system to discover if a user is unhappy.
In the end, we don’t use the actual “score” in Net Promoter Score. However the survey and automated messaging we set up to send and manage NPS turned into a efficient way to illicit quick and honest sentiment from our users on a regular basis. To go back to my journalist analogy, it is the tip-line that points me in the direction of a user that I need to sit down with and interview.
After spending thousands, if not millions per month on PPC advertising, your executive team will want to see how your ad efforts are paying off. Reporting on a regular cadence is an inevitable task for any business measuring ROI for their ad budgets.
The key to creating effective PPC reports is making sure that your reports are informative, digestible, and appropriate for the audience at hand. In this blog post, we’ll go over the five elements of reports that fit all of those criteria.
1. The Results
Start with the highlights. It may seem like a smooth narrative to start with the nitty gritties and build to the big picture, but providing wide lens context from the start is going to make for a much stronger meeting. Your leaders and colleagues all have a lot to do, and while we PPC managers like to nerd out on the little details, beginning a report with every campaign change or specific conversion metric will not be relevant to each person to whom you are presenting.
When showing the results, tie everything back to your business or marketing goals. Below are a few examples of PPC campaign results that refer to larger business goals:
Over the past quarter:
- We generated 150 marketing qualified leads with the same budget as last quarter
- 75 of these leads took a sales demo meeting
- 25 of these prospects converted into customers valued at $200,000 added revenue
In the month of July, we were tasked to sell-through our swimsuit inventory:
- We created new swimsuit campaigns with promotional discount pricing
- The campaign sold 75% of the available inventory, netting $200,000 in revenue
- We spent $25,000 of our total monthly budget on these campaigns
2. Key Metrics
While Google offers tons of really granular measuring tools for very specific numbers, there are a few key metrics that you should include in every PPC report. For recipients who are not used to looking at PPC reports, you can even translate the PPC terms into business terms. The five key metrics we recommend are:
Also, the numbers alone may not mean anything to executives who do not remember the benchmark metrics from the previous period. Therefore, showing the delta between the previous month and the current month will help provide context into whether campaigns are performing. Here’s an example of how you could show the delta of the key metrics in your report:
3. Trend Graphs
For many executives, their day consists of a series of meetings in which they see report after report after report from various departments. To expect someone with this schedule to be able to quickly track and understand your accomplishments over time without a little helping hand is not a reasonable ask. Including trend graphs helps them visualize performance and ask questions, especially if there are peaks or dips in traffic and conversions.
4. Explanations for Performance Changes
With each trend graph, you should include a brief explanation, outlining any campaign optimizations or changes you made to reflect major spikes or dips in performance. For example, you could say:
“In the above graph, we added negative keywords to our campaign to shape traffic more strategically. So, although the number of unique visitors went down, conversions remained the same.”
A sentence or two is all you want here. If you start including long paragraphs of text on your reports, then that’s a hint that the data isn’t speaking for itself and you need to re-think which metrics you’re including.
5. Granular Tables of Key Metrics
For the really detail-oriented readers, throw in some granular tables of key metrics. These can either be at the campaign level, usually explaining the top performing audiences, or at the creative level, to better understand what messaging is driving interest. Here is an example of what this section of your report could look like:
Follow these 5 tips and, at the very least, you’ll have the building blocks you need to have a smart, efficient conversation about your PPC performance. At the very most, your executives walk away feeling confident in your abilities, not only to run your campaigns, but to communicate your work to the greater team.
At AdStage, we know that having effective PPC reports can positively shape your relationship with investors, executives, and colleagues. That’s why we created Report. Automatically create effective PPC reports across Google, Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.