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How to build a PPC report

Building an actionable report is a crucial part of any pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. However, PPC reporting isn’t just about gathering numbers and data. PPC reports should give clients a complete performance review and a solid plan going forward.

To really benefit from a report, you will need to have clear goals, a suitable tool or template, and a defined PPC strategy. We’ve created this guide to help you get your PPC game plan together and create a highly productive and comprehensible report.

Step 1: Identify your primary PPC goal

It is best to take an initial step back from the data and numbers – and instead, think about what your main PPC goal is. This might sound obvious, but once you’ve established exactly what you want to achieve from your PPC campaigns – you will find it much easier to decide which metrics are the most important.

Let’s say, for example, you are a new business and want to drive some initial abrand awareness. That means you simply want people to find your site or app, In this case, we would suggest focusing on and measuring clicks as opposed to conversions.

On the other hand, if you are aiming to sell a new product, then focusing on clicks alone wouldn’t be enough. A lead generation campaign would focus on measuring conversions.

Step 2: Have you considered secondary PPC goals?

Once you’ve established your primary PPC objective – you’ll need to consider the secondary goals. A secondary goal – also known as a micro conversion – is essentially any goal that is leading to your primary goal. So, if you are aiming for conversions – what other steps indicate that a user is close to that point?

People very often visit a site multiple times before deciding to purchase or complete another desired action. That means we can’t just assume a lack of conversions is necessarily a bad sign. A secondary goal is in indication that somebody is close to converting – which is a huge focus point from a digital marketing point of view. An example could be a site visitor putting something in their basket, reserving an item or even copying a discount code.

You can use the ‘behaviour’ tab in Google Analytics to identify a relevant secondary goal for your campaign. It’s a way of finding out the behaviour of users who ended up completing a conversion.

Step 3: Choose your KPIs

PPC requires a lot of data – but it doesn’t mean you need to report on all of it. That is why your key performance indicators are so important. We’ve already mentioned how important your goals are when it comes to building a report.

Use your PPC marketing goals and business objectives to help decide which metrics are more suited to you. How will you measure your performance? Which metrics will show whether you’re on the right track and meeting those goals?

Step 4: Establish your audience

Once you begin to build a PPC report – you should already have an established target audience in terms of your PPC ads. Now, you will also need to think about who will be viewing the actual report. This is because different stakeholders will require different amounts of data. For example, your digital marketing executive will want to access more information than say the finance team who might only be interested in costs.

The good news is, most PPC report building tools offer templates that will cater to varied positions and levels of detail. This brings me on to your next step:

Step 5: Plan your reporting

The reporting tool you use is crucial to your performance – but before we can think about that, consider what type of report you want. This should be a fairly simple process. Using the questions highlighted above, establish what you really want to gain from your report.

Will you need a graph? A table? How much data will need to fit in your report?  What are the roles of people viewing the report? This step is just to take some time to think about what you want before picking a tool at random.

Step 6: Choose your report building tool

Google Ads offer predefined reports which have a fairly simple drag and drop interface. Google Ads Reports help you to view, organise and analyse your data in one place. You can also place large amounts of data into multi-dimension tables and customisable dashboards.  You can find out how to use Reports and spot patterns and trends here.

Now, if you have PPC campaigns on multiple platforms – then you will want to be able to pull in multiple data sources. We would recommend using Data Studio. Data Studio is a great tool for those detailed reports which allow us to access performance across channels. The key features include:

  • Maximum control over customisation of reports and visuals
  • Interactive reports with viewer filters and date range controls
  • Links and clickable images to create product catalogs, video libraries, and other hyperlinked content
  • Live data connection (over 200 data sources)
  • Dynamic controls with report and page level filters
  • Advanced formulas such as calculated metrics

Find Data Studio here.

Step 7: Provide insight

Once you’ve pulled data with Data Studio or another tool – you should then offer your own insight. Analyse your results and think about how this relates to your entire PPC campaign:

  • What worked and what didn’t?
  • What can you do next?

Without this step – the report itself wouldn’t be productive. When it comes to PPC, results tend to vary month to month. You might find that there is a drop in performance one month – so you will need to make suggestions based on that. For example, do you need to improve your ad headline? Or are people clicking but then exiting your landing page? The most important part of the reporting process is when you can offer strategy and insights on the PPC data you found.

Get in Touch

By following these steps – hopefully you should feel more confident creating PPC reports that add value to a business. If you have any questions, you can get in touch with our London based PPC team here.