How to Ace Your PPC Reports

In Paid Search by Colette Smith

If you work in digital paid media, you know that reporting time can be a hard slog. Well, not always. When results are amazing, it can be like a brisk walk around the block, but when your results require more investigation and intensive interpretation, it’s a bit more like a marathon… underwater… with kettlebells tied to your feet. 

Given the choice, it’s likely the one task most PPC specialists would change about their jobs, but we all know reporting isn’t going anywhere. One way or another, we have to be able to translate what we do as specialists or generalists (and what this impacts) to someone else who also really needs it as part of their job. It’s also a valuable opportunity to take a look at your account from your client’s perspective, which benefits everyone. 

Reporting can be really stressful, but there are ways in which you can limit the mental (and emotional) impact of PPC reporting week. Sourced from paid media veterans and some of the cleverest people in the industry, here are our top tips for maximising reporting and communication effectiveness.

Who Is Your Report For?

Determining who you’re reporting for and why is a big time-saver. This will give you a solid idea of what information you should include and how to present it. 

A very senior C-suite individual often won’t have a need for granular details, so stay away from standard PPC tables with impressions and CTR%, etc. The more senior, the more visual and the closer to their business bottom line the data needs to be. 

If you are dealing with a marketing manager or account manager, you could even ask who they need their report for; that way, you can cut out a step and save everyone time by adapting it for the right audience right from the get-go.

Only Give Them What They Need

Avoid getting trapped in the reporting hamster wheel. Are you sure that the dinosaur manual report that takes you six hours to do that someone set up in 2014 is still relevant? Many clients will appreciate an open conversation about what they want from their report. They might not be aware of what is possible or too polite to say that they don’t want something that’s not valuable to them. The bottom line is, don’t waste time on irrelevant information that the client doesn’t need. Rather give them what they feel is valuable and which offers real-world application.

Assume Nothing

Always assume that the person who is reading the report has no context. You never know who your report is going to reach. The worst-case scenario is that it’s you 6-months from now trying to decypher what in tarnation you were even on about. But in all seriousness, anybody reading your report will appreciate any background and contextual information.

In the same vein, ensure tables and charts always have descriptive titles and dates, and you name the X and Y-axis. This makes these easy to use in executive reports and also just ensures the person seeing it knows what they are interpreting.

Label Your Raw PPC Reporting Data

When it’s crunch time, it can be really hard to keep a clear head and organise raw data that might plug into your reporting software. Luckily, most file-storing systems have a search function, so at the very least, you should give your data a descriptive name so that you don’t have to pull the same data over and over again. 

If you need to do ad hoc tables, try and keep them all on the same sheet. The risk is very small (because you are brilliant), but you might need to edit that table, and knowing where it is will make you less likely to burst into tears at the thought of having to redo it. Again!

Avoid Report Reverts

Don’t do it. Don’t send any report without having someone take another look. Reporting week is stressful enough; the last thing you need is to have to fix an awkward error two minutes before someone has to share their screen with a conference room full of very senior people.

No report should go out without someone having given it a focused review. Also, don’t forget the tables. Someone should always sense-check your tables as, even with reporting tools, there could be errors with date ranges and filters that can slip through the cracks.

PPC Reporting Software

Lastly, we mentioned reporting tools. Use them. If you are still doing manual reporting, it might be for a reason (data can be temperamental), or you are simply an Excel legend. However, many automated reporting tools are free and can integrate with most platforms, even spreadsheets. 

Google Data Studio is one of the most commonly used tools and is mostly free, so if you don’t know how to use it or you don’t understand how to use all the features, dedicate some time to play around with it. Once you have your reports set up, most of the hard work is done, meaning you have time to spend on providing valuable insights and topping up your coffee. Plus, it’s actually quite fun in a geeky sort of way. 
Do you have questions about PPC reporting – or PPC in general? Our dedicated team here at Kaomi is all ready and willing to assist you in your madly successful digital marketing journey – get in touch.