8-MINUTE READ · By Misty Faucheux
Most of us look at paid search reports oftentimes with a mix of reluctance and necessity. Why? Well, while we know that we need to showcase results to clients, you might be wondering why you have to create a report to fulfil this need.
Much of this stems from the way that we’ve always done reports – often in Excel documents by manually typing in results, pasting screenshots, or downloading and uploading certain data. It’s labor intensive and, frankly, often doesn’t provide a lot of actionable insights. But what if there was a way to create better ppc reports for clients and make the creation of them easier on us?
In this article we’ll outline a five-step framework that PPC agency marketers can use to create better client reports. But before we dive any further into how you should be setting up your reports, it’s worth reviewing some data.
Why are we creating PPC reports for clients?
You know you have to, but what really is the true goal of creating paid search reports? The number one, of course, is being able to showcase to your stakeholders that what you’re doing is actually effective. If you can’t showcase that what you’ve done has even had an impact, then you might as well not be doing anything at all.
But beyond that, PPC reports provide you an opportunity to build rapport with clients. Even if something isn’t working at the moment, you can explain what how you’re planning to address it and steps you’ve taken to improve the numbers in the report. This shows your client that you’ve taken the initiative and are willing to try other tactics to get the results that you want with your PPC marketing.
Keep these goals in mind when you start framing your paid search reports. It will help give them focus and ensure that you can make your clients happy. Now, it’s on to actually building them.
1. Define what constitutes a good PPC report
Before you ever start filling out numbers, really think about what you would want to see in a report if you were a client. An insightful report will have a number of items. These include all of the following
Goals & objectives
Every client that you work with is bound to have goals and objectives. And, if they don’t, then this is something that you should discuss long before launching anything. But most will want something – increased number of leads, more sales, higher brand penetration. Get to the bottom of these long before you start your campaign. Then, tailor your reports around these objectives. The report should identify opportunities that have led to, say, a higher number of product sales. And, it should be front and center on the report.
Be sure to highlight what has worked during the last reporting period. Your client will be happy to see that the money that was entrusted to you is being well-spent, and you can demonstrate your effectiveness.
No matter how skilled we are, there are bound to be down numbers. Don’t try to hide these. You’ll only make your client not trust you when the truth comes out, and it gives you a chance to offer opportunities to address them.
Here’s where you can talk about what’s not working and find an alternative solution that might fix it. The more that you can show that you’re working hard to find a better avenue, the more your client will allow you to keep running the campaign.
There are always some items that don’t seem fixable. For example, if you keep running out of budget and aren’t making the numbers, then you will need to go back to your clients and try to get them to raise the budget. Laying out with what you need help will ensure that items get addressed sooner before they’re critical.
You were hired to be the expert so you need to show your client that you’re always thinking several steps ahead. In this section, you can propose new campaigns, ad groups, etc. to try and meet the goals.
While you should definitely have a break down of raw data in the report, you should also have aggregate numbers for the reporting period. You might be running several different campaigns on various platforms, but it’s worth rolling up these numbers to showcase the bigger picture – as well as how each campaign is supporting another. Roll-up data can be done using third-party software reporting tools like Supermetrics.
High-level and detailed numbers
Some clients will only want to see the overall picture; others will want to dive into individual stats. Some teams will have people who want a mix of both. Have the high-level numbers available early on in the report, and then go into details in other tabs.
All this data should be presented in plain English and be part of the executive summary (typically located at the top of the page or on a separate tab). Many clients don’t like jargon and often feel that marketers are doing it to hide their results. If you’re working with a client that is unfamiliar with digital marketing, add definitions. You might understand what attribution modeling is or quality score, but your client may not.
Also, don’t try to overwhelm the client with too many numbers. Most want to know how their campaign is doing. Beyond that, they may not care too much about quality score or user flow. If they do, great. If not, don’t try to showcase this data. You’ll only confuse them.
2. Identify key metrics for PPC reporting
Key metrics will always relate back to your goals – and they’ll typically differ by clients. That’s why you shouldn’t have a static reporting template. For a client who’s interested in brand awareness, this company might not be solely focused on conversions and cost per conversion while a retailer who’s wanting to increase online sales may not care about newsletter signups.
Before creating your reporting template, figure out what’s important to the client. What do they consider success? Are there particular numbers in which they’re interested? And, then make sure your report addresses these.
One item to consider, however, is the customer journey. Every keyword or ad group might not be set up to drive direct conversions. Instead of simply focusing on last-click attribution, showcase indirect performance with attribution modeling. Some keywords – or even campaigns – might be assisting with conversions, which will make your performance look bad if you’re only focusing on the end result. For example, a social campaign might be driving the initial clicks and then direct the final conversion. Be sure to tell this story as well.
3. Populate your PPC reports with clean data
As mentioned, many people are used to manually inputting data into reports. This means downloading data from different sources and typing them into spreadsheets. The problem with this is that you mess up entering data, which can lead to reporting issues.
So, this makes automated reports much more efficient. If you’re working in Google Analytics or Ads, you can schedule reports to go out on a regular basis. The problem is that you still have to consolidate the reports with data from all of your different campaigns across multiple platforms – not just Google. But there are third-party systems that will consolidate the data and provide you with comprehensive reports.
Supermetrics allows you to automatically add data to reports via its connectors. If your company is used to spreadsheets, then you can auto populate Google Sheets. If you want more visual reports, however, Supermetrics also connects with Google Data Studio. This allows you to comprehensively compare all sorts of data in a single spreadsheet.
4. Personalize and visualize your reports
After you determine which system you’re going to use to create your reports, you must personalize them. Not only does this refer to creating key metrics that directly match their needs; it also means adding their color schemes and logos to reports. Your customers will appreciate the extra effort.
Besides adding customer data, you should also try to make your reports more visual. No one wants just raw numbers. Adding graphs, charts and more will allow your clients to quickly skim the reports and seeing what’s working and what’s not. Plus, it will easily break up chunks of raw data into manageable vignettes.
5. Include a report summary
While you might not want to put this directly into the report – even though it could be a separate tab – you should provide summaries of what you’ve done and what you plan on doing. Sometimes, this works pretty well in the email body if you send reports this way, laying out what you still need from the client, what needs to be updated and more.
These shouldn’t be more than a paragraph or two, and you might want to make it a bulleted list so the client can quickly skim the data.
The goal of reporting is always to provide clients with a comprehensive overview of how you’re working hard on their behalf. So, always get feedback from your clients as to whether the report is covering what they want to see. Don’t be afraid to tweak the report based on their feedback – adding or subtracting items as needed.
Sometimes, what you think is a necessary metric or chart doesn’t match what your client needs. Updating the report on a regular basis will make sure that you’re always addressing exactly what your customer requires.
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About Misty Faucheux
Misty Faucheux is an Integrated Online Marketing Specialist at Faucheux Enterprises and a guest writer for Supermetrics. She is a digital marketer, specializing in SEO, SEM, content marketing/writing and social ads. Misty helps companies develop a cohesive online marketing strategy that directly addresses their overall business goals and objectives. You can find her on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Flickr.