Sep 5, 2017

5 advanced ways to use Supermetrics for better PPC management

By Supermetrics

Performance Marketing Analytics

[ Updated Sep 5, 2017 ]

9-MINUTE READ · By Supermetrics on September 5 2017.

As you probably know, Supermetrics is great for basic PPC marketing reporting, like creating monthly reports for your Adwords or Facebook Ads campaigns.

What you may not have realized is that there is a lot more you can do with Supermetrics to make PPC management easier.

In this post, we’ll show 5 things advanced Supermetrics users are doing to stay on top of their PPC game. And with these tools in your arsenal, you can step up your game too!

These 5 use cases are

  1. Cross-channel reporting
  2. Budget pacing
  3. Connect PPC & analytics data
  4. Cross-account data collection
  5. Alerts for performance, budget and others

Pour yourself a nice cup of coffee and let’s dive in!

Cross-channel reporting

Why cross-channel reporting?

A few reasons.

You should always optimize all of the paid channels as a whole for a client or for your business, and dynamically adjust budget for each channel to maximize the overall ROI. You don’t want to focus on just one channel or sometimes that channel just one campaign because you may win some of those small battles but in the end lose the overall war.

If you run campaigns across several networks, you very likely do, it’s important to stay on top of all your channels. But on the other hand it’s quite time-consuming to log into each platform every day.

Especially if you’re expanding to new channels, you’ll just keep adding things to check off in your to-do list.

Time is your most scarce resource. Every minute you save from logging into different networks or manual reporting is a minute you can spend on more valuable things, such as campaign optimization, analysis and learning new things, or simply spend more time with your loved ones!

Examples and templates

Here is a paid channel mix report we built in Google Data Studio. We actually shared it on our blog as a template that you can use for your own accounts.

It covers four platforms, Adwords, Facebook, Twitter and Bing. In the upper part, it shows a summary of KPIs of all the four platforms. So you can have an overview on the performance of all of your paid channels.

In the lower part, it compares the performances of these four channels. So you can see which channels perform better, which channel perform worse, how much money you spend on each channel and what results each channel brings.

How to do it?

Since Google Data Studio doesn’t natively support Facebook, Twitter or Bing and in Data Studio you can’t pull data from two data sources into the same table or chart, the only option is to use Data Studio’s Google Sheets connector to create this report. We built a sheet like this one below, with four simple Supermetrics queries, which will take no more than 5 minutes.

The trick here is adding a column as the first column to label which platform the data is coming from. And in the first row, give your metrics common labels to allow aggregation.

Our cross-channel reporting templates, for free

Here is a list of cross-channel reporting templates we have to offer, for both Google Sheets and Google Data Studio:

Balanced score card

This is a concept called balanced scorecard developed by a digital strategy agency named Gauge. The idea is to compare the spend share against the revenue share, to fully optimize your media budget allocation. You can use it with all kinds of dimensions, platforms, campaigns, ad groups and countries, just to name a few.

In this example, you can see Facebook takes 5% of the ad spend but contributes 10% of the revenues while Adwords has a smaller revenue share than its spend share. So if you have a budget cap, it probably makes sense to move some budget from Adwords to Facebook. Or if there is no strict budget limit as long as your can ensure a positive ROI, you may always want to prioritize networks and campaigns with positive revenue shares.

This can be really helpful even with a single network. You can use it to know which parts of the network, which ad groups or ad sets, are actually driving the revenue.

In an ideal world, spend shares should be close to revenue shares in all dimensions.

Budget pacing

Why budget pacing?

Prevent over-spending and under-spending

Daily spend caps in PPC networks are not strict. It doesn’t rigorously limit spend and can easily exceed your cap by 10%-20%. 20% overspending won’t make you look good to the clients who are strict with their budgets. You can always lower the daily caps to avoid overspending. But the possibility of under-spending may leave you to the danger of not achieving all the business goals. There’s nothing worse than realizing at the end of the month that you’ve gone off your budget, especially when you’re off.

Effortlessly stay on top of all your accounts

If you manage a number of accounts, within the same network or across networks, it isn’t easy to keep yourself on top of all the accounts without any tools, especially for those accounts that just get started or evolve quickly. Having a budget pacing tool means you don’t have a single place to check on it without having to do the manual labor yourself of hopping through multiple platforms or doing all that in your head or in the spreadsheets.

So it’s essential to have a way to frequently monitor and pace your daily budgets.

A basic example

Andrew Garberson from Lunametrics wrote a post about Google Ads Budget Pacing.

It comes down to five simple steps.

  1. Pull in the month-to-date cost data (cell A2)
  2. Get the number of past days in the month (cell B3)
  3. Calculate how many days you’re into that month (cell B4)
  4. Calculate the current position in the month (cell B5 – divide B3 by B4)
  5. Calculate how much of the monthly budget has been used (cell B6). The second part, “3000,” is the monthly budget. Update that to reflect yours.

Once you get all these formulas set up, you’ll get a table like this one below.

Multi-accounts budget pacing

Here is an example multi-account budget pacing report we built in Google Sheets. We call it client budget tracker and alerts and offer it as template in our template gallery.

In the 1st column, you have a list of clients or accounts. And the 2nd column is the monthly budget for each client. Then it shows you the current spend, % spent for each client. In the projection column, it show you how big percentage of the monthly budget will be spent by the end of month if you keep your current pace of spending. It can go above 100%.

Setting up auto-refresh

The last step of building any budget pacing report is to set up auto-refresh.

It’s very simple. You go to schedule refresh & emailing, set up a trigger and then store that trigger.


However frequently you are refreshing, we’d always recommend putting a little bit of lag in there. For some metrics there’s always going to be a lag between when the events happen and when they’re processed by the system. We usually do that at 2 or 3 am in the morning to make sure there is enough buffer time.

Connect PPC & analytics data

Why connect the two?

In short, connecting your PPC and analytics data helps you get a better sense of what’s actually going on with your paid campaigns.

Post-click analysis

It’s important to see what the visitors acquired by your paid campaigns do after they land on your site. All the different ad networks help you figure out what are your most effective ads, which ads lead to purchases, which ads lead people to click or get on the site. But if you don’t look at Google Analytics or Adobe or which analytics platform you use, you’re going to miss what’s happening on the site. And that actually makes a big difference. Whatever your conversion process is, you are just dropping people on the site and hoping for the best.

Measure performance across a standard model

Your performance analysis can be muddied by different attribution systems across platforms. A classic example is why your Facebook data and Google Analytics never match up. The transactions are different because they use different models for tracking.

Connecting your PPC and analytics data helps you measure performance across a standard model. So you can make sure you’re comparing apples to apples when you’re analyzing your paid channel performance.

Tie back analytics goals and events to paid channels

If you’re using an analytics platform, you’re probably using some tracking, be it tracking of page views or events, to measure micro conversions to better understand the values.

A lot of times it isn’t enough just looking at conversions. It’s crucial to understand the micro-conversions that lead to purchases, say download an e-book, visit a certain page or sign up for your email newsletters.

All of these are things that you may not be tracking these with your advertising platform but you’re tracking with your analytics. It’s helpful to tie them back to platform performance.

Connect FB Ads & GA data

In this example, cost revenue and ROAS are pulled from Facebook while bounce rate and average pageview per session are from Google Analytics. A Vlookup by campaign names is used to connect the two tables.

This helps you understand the root causes to our top-performing or under-performing campaigns. The reasons can be different for each individual business.

Say a campaign isn’t converting as much as you expected. With post-click analysis, you end up with a conclusion that it’s because the bounce rate is too high. Then the next step is to find a way to reduce the bounce rate, and see if that actually helps you get more conversions.

There can be problems with the landing page which cause the high bounce rate. Or you may find out that it’s more due to the targeting. You’re just targeting very broad audience, only a small subset of which is actually interested in your offerings.

The key is to constantly develop hypotheses to test, analyze the results, and use it to optimize your campaigns.

Evaluating source value

This is an example of breaking down your transactions, first interactions and assisted conversions by source & medium. It shows how much of the revenue comes from each stage of the funnel.

As you can see, a lot of first clicks are through direct traffic. People are coming through other channels. Maybe they hear you from a podcast or you’re referred to them by their friends.

Direct traffic isn’t contributing as much of the final revenue but is very valuable piece of the puzzle. If you only look at its 28% contribution to the revenue, you may think you should focus on Google or coupon or referrals. But if you actually cut out other channels, you could be doing harm because 68% of your traffic their first interaction is through direct.

Here you can compare different models. And this is where the value of GA comes in. You can throw whatever you want to compare and get a better idea of how you should prioritize each channel based on their actual contribution.

Cross-account data collection

Report across multiple accounts in one network

A lot of companies have more than one accounts in a network. It’s very helpful to be able to quickly pull data from several accounts at once, filter and segment them, and push it to your report. It enables you to quickly analyze all the accounts as a whole or compare the performances of those accounts.

For example, Digital Uncut, a London-based agency, worked with the head office team of a client and ran seven Adwords account each targeting a separate country. They were interested in how different countries perform overall for the client against a few metrics, and to identify the best performing countries and under performing one. This allowed the agency to quickly make bid adjustments which improved ROI for that client.

Or sometimes it can be multiple sub-brands or franchises where your direct client wanted to see the overall performance.

In the Digital Uncut case, setting up a query and getting the data they needed for this took only five minutes. Without Supermetrics it could have easily taken an hour. A lot times, the bottleneck for ad-hoc analysis isn’t the analysis itself, but rather the manual work of fetching data and processing data.

Pushing data to data visualization or BI tools

Another use case for cross account data collection is if you are using 3rd party data visualization tools such as Google Data Studio or BI tools such as Tableau.

Most of these tools do offer native connectors for at least Adwords and FB Ads. But with the native connectors you can only access one account at a time. That’s where the ability to pull data from multiple accounts in one single query becomes quite handy.

This diagram was made by iProspect. They use Supermetrics to gather data from multiple Adwords accounts at the same time and feed that data into their in-house data visualization platform.

Easy peasy with Supermetrics

It’s rather easy to pull data from multiple accounts with Supermetrics. When you select accounts, you simply add all the accounts you want to report on. And there are no limits on the number of accounts you can select for one query.

Or we have this toggle select view in case you have a large number of accounts. It allows you to multi-select accounts. Makes easier to select and navigate through the accounts.

Alerts for performance, budget and others

For PPC management, there are metrics that are important but you don’t pay close attention to every day. It can be useful to set up automated alerts for those. It reduces risks and at the same time relieves you from maintaining a mental spreadsheet for those metrics.

When should you use platforms’ automated alerts

That’s why most marketing platforms offer automated alerts. In Google Analytics, it’s called Custom Alerts. In Adwords and Facebook Ads, it’s called Automated Rules. If you never used any automated alerts before or only have a small number of alerts for platform pre-defined metrics (vs. your own calculated metrics), you should start with the built-in automated alerts.

When & how should you use Supermetrics’ automated alerts

Cross-platform or cross-account alerts

Naturally with built-in alerts are confined to each platform and each account. A simple example is to create an alert for total daily spend on Adwords and Facebook Ads.

To set it up, you need a couple of simple queries and formulas.

First, create two queries to pull your Adwords and Facebook cost data for yesterday. Then sum them up and put your total daily budget into a separate cell. After that, use an IF formula to create the trigger for your alert. Leave the alert cell empty if the cost doesn’t exceed the budget.

Once you set all these up, it should look like this.

Finally in the add-on, open up the menu, go to scheduled refresh and emailing, select refresh & email daily in Action, tick the condition emailing box on the right, and use the alert cell B5 we just set up in cell address.

You can also customize the message for your subject, email content or the file name. Here I chose to include the cell value and the date of yesterday in the subject so I don’t even to open this email to see the actual alert. The email looks like this in my inbox.

You can use the same method to set up cost alerts for multiple accounts in the same network.

Actively managing a large number of alerts

If you have a mass of alerts across multiple accounts and multiple platforms, or if you need to update your triggers from time to time, managing them in the native UIs can be messy. That’s where having those alerts in a spreadsheet comes in handy.

Say you want to set up overspend alerts for three Adwords accounts and three Facebook Ads accounts. A simple spreadsheet table like this will do.

Use calculated metrics or logic in triggers

Built-in alerts provided by platforms are great for using simple logics and the most common pre-defined metrics. But you’re strictly limited to small lists of metrics that are available for automated alerts. Setting up alerts in Google Sheets leaves you all kinds of possibilities of using any calculated metric or complex logics.

Closing thoughts

These 5 use cases are just the tip of the iceberg what you can do with Supermetrics. Smart users like yourself use Supermetrics in a wide variety of ways to report or analyze their PPC data. We really hope you can go above and beyond these cases, find your own way to relieve yourself from the boring manual reporting tasks and focus your time on more valuable things.

Turn your marketing data into opportunity

We streamline your marketing data so you can focus on the insights.

Book Demo