Understanding performance history is critical to making the future of the account successful. If you inherit a PPC account from another management firm or another company, it’s important to begin running reports and gathering important data on key metrics you will be measuring.
Here are the key metrics that are important in every PPC campaign. This is a good checklist that will allow you to learn the account history quickly:
- Traffic Patterns: It’s a good idea to analyze your account’s traffic patterns, meaning you need to know when traffic typically decreases and increases. You can either run an account or campaign report by month for the past year, or if that information is not available you can run some keyword searches in Google Trends to find seasonality fluctuations. This is important to know because if traffic drops suddenly, you’ll want to explain to your client whether it’s due to a change in the account or to seasonality. And if you know ahead of time that traffic is expected to dip in a certain month, you can notify your client or make necessary changes to the account ahead of time in order to prevent the traffic drop.
- Bounce & Conversion Rates: If your client has made several changes to their website or landing page, it is good to understand how these changes have affected the PPC account. In Google Analytics you can run reports on bounce rate (the percentage of people who enter the site but leave without visiting any other pages) and conversion rate. If over time your bounce rate or conversion rate has dropped or increased significantly, you can pinpoint exactly when this occurred and determine what change made this happen. Then you can make a decision on whether to reverse the changes if you saw bounce and conversion rates decrease, or perhaps make more of the same changes if you observed your metrics increase for the better.
- ROI Performance: If you have a lead-based account then every lead has a cost to it as well as an average return on investment (ROI). A good way to set a goal for yourself is to understand where the company is in terms of cost-per-lead (CPL) and ROI. If over time your client has continuously increased their ROI by X percentage month-over-month, you will need to continue that growth and perhaps even exceed it — if you’re an over achiever, that is. If the cost-per-lead has been on the decline, you will need to continue to generate less-expensive leads month-over-month. To get this information you can simply run an account report by month. In order to track revenue, you can pull that data out of Google Analytics, if it’s set up, or ask your client if they can supply you with revenue reports out of their sales system.
- Ad Texts: Another important metric is an ad text report. This will show you which ads have historically performed well and which haven’t. You don’t want to use the same verbiage in an ad that has not performed well. Also, with this report you can see which verbiage or call-to-action typically performs well, then use those terms account-wide to generate an even higher click-through rate (CTR).
- Keywords: Let’s not forget about keyword data, probably the most important metric of all. It’s crucial to get performance data on specific keywords. What I wouldn’t give to know which keywords in some of my clients’ accounts have historically performed well or not so well as I took them over. This way you’re not spending time on keywords that have never performed well or that have generated non-qualified leads. That’s more money you can spend towards the more qualified keywords. And the more time and effort you can spend to further improve better-performing keywords, the more likely you are to generate additional sales for your client.
By running these reports you will know more about the account and will be able to use this knowledge to your advantage.