Troubleshooting Lookup Functions in Excel
It’s easy to get discouraged from using Excel when we run into errors. This post guides you as you troubleshoot your Lookup functions so you don’t refrain from using them!
As the countdown to 2017 continues, sticking with the theme of wrapping up 2016 seems fitting. While PPC will continue full speed ahead going into 2017, one thing won’t change and that’s the performance of your PPC account in 2016. You may be thinking, “2016 was an amazing year, bring on the comparisons.” On the other hand, you may be thinking, “Well, we saw some dips but there is always next year.” Either way, reporting is almost inevitable and will more than likely drive decisions and conversations going into 2017.
Today, I will walk through three pointers for year-end reporting, where to begin, and where to keep the focus. You want to use the data to tell a story and avoid irrelevant metrics that won’t contribute or matter going into 2017.
The hardest part is starting. If you are in excel, a blank spreadsheet can be intimidating and the worst thing you can do is to start creating reports that have no purpose and that just simply take up space. The second worst thing you can do is to start pulling reports without thinking it through. Then, half-way through a massive pivot table, realize you forgot columns vital to the report.
With that said, here are some questions you may want to ask yourself before you begin, which will drive the direction of your reporting.
These are just questions to get you started but the main point is that you should go into reporting with a plan instead of going in blindly.
This is probably one of the most import steps in terms of pulling the data. When thinking about KPIs, you want to use those that are relevant and that will contribute to the overall picture. To me, there is nothing worse than having to sift through columns that are irrelevant or looking for specific metrics that are nowhere to be found. I want to look through the data as quickly as possible and then draw conclusions based on the data.
With too many KPIs, two things can happen.
It’s all about perspective and being concise when creating large, year-end reports.
Outside of generating the report, this is by far the biggest part of year-end reporting. Owning the data. It doesn’t matter how good or bad performance was/is, if you don’t know why the numbers read like they do, you have missed a vital step. Below is a completely hypothetical situation that shows the value in owning the data and spinning in circles with the data.
Peggy is an Account Manager and has just sent a report that includes the following information.
Then, during the call to go over the numbers, the recipient only had one question, “What happened to cause click-through-rate to decrease by 62%?”
Notice that the recipient skipped the good and went straight to the negative numbers.
At this point, there are two scenarios:
In the first scenario, Peggy went in circles with the data and wasn’t able to offer a feasible explanation. In the second, however, Peggy took the decrease in CTR and gave a reasonable explanation that made her look in-control of the data and added value to a seemingly negative situation.
While everyone has their own approach to year-end reporting, these are just a few pointers to get you on your way. It’s not about the positive or negatives but rather the story behind the data. The Titanic had a tragic ending but the story is what made it what is was. If the Titanic had sank without any explanation, James Cameron would have had a lot of explaining to do. However, he orchestrated a story to paint a picture of the events that led to the sinking of the ship.
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