PPC Data Analysis and PPC Goals

This week’s PPC Chat was all about PPC data analysis. It was an interesting chat, as they usually are. (If you’re not participating in #ppcchat on Twitter, stop reading right now and go mark your calendar for Tuesdays at noon Eastern time! You’ll learn something new every week.)

This week’s chat was about data analysis in PPC. We got into what types of data you analyze (anything from time of day to locations to product-by-product results) and whether a PPC manager can handle the data analysis vs. bringing in an analyst.

One of the intriguing questions was this:

Most people said they spent about 70% of their time doing analysis and 30% new builds. For me, it’s probably 80% analysis and 20% new builds. If you take your time to analyze a problem or situation in a PPC account, the optimizations themselves take little time. Unless you’re constantly adding new products to a PPC account, most of your time should be spent on analysis.

Another interesting question centered around analysis paralysis:

People made good suggestions such as stepping away for a while, asking someone else for perspective, and using a preset amount of time to work on PPC data analysis to help focus.

As I thought about my answer, I realized I rarely have analysis paralysis. Partly because I’m so busy I don’t have time to! I do remember the days of working in-house and losing hours diving into data, only to realize I couldn’t draw any meaningful conclusions. Interesting data is not always useful data.

But I think the bigger reason why I rarely have analysis paralysis is because I’m almost always working on accounts with specific goals and KPIs. If your campaign goals are clearly defined, your PPC data analysis is easy – you’re digging into whether you met your goal or not, and why or why not.

There are nearly endless ways to slice and dice PPC data. That’s what makes it so much fun. But few of us have time to just poke around to see what’s there. In order to be efficient, goals must be defined. Goals are your roadmap – without them, you’re just driving around aimlessly!

If your client (or you, as the advertiser) lacks specific PPC goals, that’s ok. You can set goals at any time. Many of our clients come to us with goals in mind, and even specific KPIs if they’ve been doing search for a while. If not, start asking questions.

We ask new clients to fill out a brief. The first question is “What is your business challenge – the problem you’re trying to solve?” This gets them thinking about why they want to use PPC in the first place. Everyone has a reason – you just need to get them to articulate it.

We also ask for their primary business goal: what does search need to accomplish? Is it awareness, traffic, lead capture, sales, or something else? The answer drives campaign setup and data analysis. If the primary KPI is lead generation, all data should focus on showing how many leads were generated, how much they cost, which keywords and ads drove the most leads, and so on. Recommendations should focus on how to get more leads: by increasing impression share, improving conversion rates, etc.

PPC data analysis is relatively easy if you know what questions you’re trying to answer. Sure, the nitty gritty of pulling data, especially if it’s coming from multiple sources, can be a challenge. But you’ll spend your time gathering data, rather than going down the rabbit hole of endless numbers that may or may not be meaningful.

For more on crafting your PPC strategy, check out my Ultimate Cheat Sheet on PPC Strategy.

Do you always establish goals with your clients, and do you find it makes PPC data analysis easier? How do you make analysis more efficient? Share in the comments!

 

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