3 No-duh PPC Tips That You Forget to Use

By Jeff Allen | @JeffAllenUT | President at Hanapin Marketing

PPC is riddled with tips and best practices. Sometimes this means that some of the more simple tips get lost and forgotton. Here are 3 forecasting, reporting and optimization PPC tips that are no-brainers but we often forget to use.


PPC Change Forecasting Using Expected Value

Amanda wrote a brain tingling post on bookending PPC changes back in April. This gave a comprehensive overview of how to forecast the impact changes/optimizations you intend to make to a PPC account. The first half of this no-duh tip is to read Amanda’s post and always bookend your changes. The second half is to use Expected Value (EV) as part of that forecasting model.

While to some this may seem complicated, it’s really pretty simple. EV is simply the percentage chance you think a change has at realizing its fully forecasted value multiplied by the forecasted value.

For example, if you are going to make a change that over a month is forecasted to increase spend by $1,000 and leads by 10 but think that there is only about a 75% chance that those numbers will be fully realized, your adjusted forecast is for $750 increase in spend and 7.5 new leads.

Applying Expected Value to your forecasting, while simply an estimate, help make your numbers more accurate. They can also help you focus on tasks that have the highest Expected Value versus the highest gross forecast value.

Imagine you have two tasks. Task A is projected to bring in 10 leads, and B is projected to bring in 7 leads. Using raw data only you will stare your day focused on task A. But A is a more complicated task, such as a QS breakout, and has only a 50% chance of realizing its full value. On the other hand, task B is keyword additions where you have done an analysis and found some keywords that you feel are likely to convert. You place a 75% EV on those keyword. In this case A is expected to generate 5 conversions and B is expected to generate 5.25 conversions.


Report on Forecasting in Monthly Reports

Most monthly reports include a great analysis of the past month with some pretty graphs, charts, and comparisons. They will likely include some important dates (such as when the account was launched in a new engine, or started remarketing) and even some action items for the next month. One thing that is often missing from these reports is a forecast for the next month.

This isn’t just budget and lead goals, but a further analysis of what the account is actually expected to do based on seasonality, conversion rate optimizations (CRO), concluded tests, etc. The goals are the benchmarks, but the forecasting gives you, your boss, and/or the client an idea of how achievable those goals are based on real insight.

Last week a post (okay, I wrote the post) was written on using Google Insights for Search. This combined with some internally created projections should be added to your next monthly reports. This will help you understand where you have work to do, and will prevent those awkward mid month conversations where you are explaining that impressions are down for the month and how that’s a seasonal trend.


Determine (and stick to) Your Lag Conversion Attribution Model

Some accounts have near 0 conversion lag. This means that most, if not all, of their conversions come on the same day as the first click on a PPC ad. Other accounts have time lag so significant that it can make a major impact on strategy and optimization. If you know this, and adjust accordingly, it’s just one more step in your reporting and account management process. But if you ignore this you could be hurting your accounts, and making yourself look bad.

A quick example of this is an ecommerce client of mine. When doing the April monthly report for this client there were 250 conversions for the month. Within 2-days there were 6 more conversions. That’s a 2.6% increase in conversions. Luckily, we make sure to attribute these conversions to May (because that’s when they actually came in and our client made revenue off of them).

It’s an easy process. When doing this month’s monthly report you look at last month’s numbers as (keep track in a simple excel spreadsheet), then pull up the interface and see how many more you’ve had over that number, and add those conversions to how many you see this month in the interface.

You can do your numbers differently; the important thing is simply that you are consistent, and that you don’t ignore lag conversions.


Those are my 3 no-duh tips that most people forget to keep in mind when forecasting, optimizing or creating monthly reports.  What simple things do you do that many people forget?