The Back End of Pay Per Click

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with yet another great question set titled “The Back End of PPC.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: Are all of your AdWords accounts linked to Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools? Why or why not?

  • All accounts are linked to Google Analytics, not yet for Webmaster Tools – GA a must! – Matt Umbro
  • no. Not as easy to get Webmaster linked as I would like (meaning getting clients to get it done). – Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)
  • Linking up with Webmaster tools is something I’m trying to link up with my clients to compare organic search data. – Nefer Lopez (@Nefer_L)
  • Yessir…more data = better experience for all! (someone should explain that to google) – Jeff Loquist (@jmloquist)
  • Pretty much. The bonus of working at a PPC/SEO agency means ALL OF THINGS!!! get linked. – Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
  • All are linked to Analytics. Webmaster tools, not so much. Easier to get GA than WMT. – Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem)
  • GA or some post click tool for sure as we opt to bottom line, not always webmaster tools. – Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
  • Ideally? Yes. If a client doesn’t understand the importance of Google Analytics then it’s time to teach some basics. – Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
  • A) Think Webmaster will be even more important linked to Adwords now that Google is encrypting all searches. – Bryant Garvin
  • Yes, because there’s more data to make smarter decisions, plus import goals and conversions. – Leslie Drechsler (@ppcbuyers)
  • Not all of our clients use Google Analytics, so no. Not as common in this part of the world. – Martin Roettgerding (@bloomarty)
  • YES! Give me all the data! I use data from every internet channel to create a well rounded digital strategy. – Kayla Hiller (@Kayla_Hiller)
  • For the most part, yes, unless the client is running very-limited campaigns (i.e. one-time event related things). – Gil Hong (@ghong_ssm)
  • All/most to GA, don’t always have access or proper communication for Webmaster Tools. – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
  • Yes, I link my accounts to more accurately track conversions. – Jonathan Levey (@jlevey)
  • Yes for GA but not for Webmaster Tools. Still a big divide when it comes to SEO/site & PPC. That will change in coming weeks. – Brian Gaspar (@BGaspar)

Q2: What are the benefits and dangers of linking your Analytics goals within your AdWords conversion tab?

  • Too many diverse goals renders AdWords-reported conversions pretty meaningless. – David Szetela (@Szetela)
  • The only issue is the 48hr lag if you rely on imported goals/trans alone. Automated bidding tool predictive models get weird. – Heather Cooan
    • No, but there are different German solutions which better comply with local privacy laws. That’s fun, too. – Martin Roettgerding
  • Differences in data – we often do both & the numbers can be very different even though technically measuring same thing. – Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
  • Danger in exaggerating conversions if you’re looking at many-per-click vs one per. – Timothy Jensen
  • If there are goals set up in Analytics for X pages viewed, or X TOS, you might not want to import/combine those goals into AdWords. – Neil Sorenson
  • Benefit would be to see the micro-conversions (aka goals) defined in Analytics. The downside is click attribution is different. – Nefer Lopez
  • We usually track THE most important goal as an AdWords conversion, all other goals within Google Analytics. – David Szetela
  • IMO, you get inferior data due to click attribution. – Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
    • Another reason predictive models are wonky. – Heather Cooan
  • Benefit: easy way to understand and set up remarketing. Downside: Google may move remarketing to adwords only as my reps hint. – Kayla Hiller
  • Con to importing Analytics goals is inflation – we’ve had audits where we had to tell clients revenue was 1/2 what they thought. – Matt Umbro
  • Danger = too much noise in AdWords. I like to stick to top KPI in AdWords to drive quicker decision-making/optimization. – Emily Las (@emlas)
  • If I’m optimizing for it, it’s defined in AdWords and tracked on the AdWords conversion pixel. – Heather Cooan
  • Benefits are cross correlating GA KPI’s vs. AdWords perf & performance that is more reflective of that day’s performance. Danger in my case here was that it is not real time and was delayed by 2 days in show, so harder to gauge perf as it happens. – Brian Gaspar
  • Hate the delay in GA conversion/goal reporting. Can be hard to get clients to install the Adwords script. Not all clients use Google Tag Manager. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
    • Oy, tag manager implementations can be a bear too though. I’ve had a couple clients kill their data. – Heather Cooan
    • I know advertisers who will use AdWords but using GA = against policy. Not everyone wants to share their data w/Google. – Emily Las
  • Annoying from a reporting perspective as it adds another step to clean up analytics vs. AdWords conversion numbers. – Brian Gaspar

Q3: Do you believe PPC Specialists should have some experience mocking up landing page designs (through Photoshop, Excel, etc)? Why or why not?

  • I dunno about mocks, but definitely up to date on what works and what doesn’t. Best practices, etc. UX! – Heather Cooan
    • I’m glad you brought up user experience…absolutely necessary skill for PPCers to have IMHO. – Matt Umbro
  • Not necessarily experience mocking them up, but an understanding of best practices and ability to communicate suggestions. – Michelle Morgan
  • Should AT LEAST have a good, working knowledge of LP best practices, UX knowledge, etc. Essential for Opts. – Kirk Williams
  • Yes, for situations where client landing pages are seriously hindering CVR. – David Szetela
  • Definitely. Getting the click is only half the PPC story. Click is worthless if they don’t convert! – Kayla Hiller
  • It would be handy. I’m frustrated by my lack of design ability/know how. – Steve Gibson
  • I would at least advocate for knowing different best-practice layouts to A/B test out. – Gil Hong
  • Need to at least be able to wireframe, design skills help though. – Chris Kostecki (@chriskos)
  • You MUST be part of the landing page dev process. All the clicks in the world don’t matter if the landing page sucks! – Julie Bacchini
  • No, but I think it’s important for PPC Specialists to understand the best practices for landing page design. – Jonathan Levey
  • If analysts are the ones designing/launching campaigns with landing pages then yes for efficiency/consistency. – Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
  • Yes. They know clients goals, Adwords acct, helps to keep messaging aligned b/t LPs and Ads. – Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
  • Yes definitely, a well rounded PPC specialist will develop into a better manager. – Jeff Nogaj (@jeffnogaj)
  • Dependent on if you already have the resources. I have creative in-house, but I’d like more of a say in how a LP should look. – Brian Gaspar
  • Totally. I send LP page mock-ups to clients as part of my services – nearly all clients need that PPC guidance most of all. – Leslie Drechsler
  • Definitely. You don’t have to be an artist, but being able to get your ideas across is a necessity. – Jeff Loquist (@jmloquist)
  • If you’re good at this stuff you have a little knowledge of all the digital marketing pieces. – Heather Cooan
    • Yes, learn how the web works and you’ll be a better PPC Specialist for it. – Matt Umbro
  • I’ve found it helpful to have a simple knowledge of CSS for visual examples of rough (emph on ROUGH) suggestions for CTA, etc. – Kirk Williams
  • That being said, mocking up pages has been helpful for me in the past. Very crude work, but I get my points/ideas across. – Michelle Morgan
  • Utterly and completely necessary. PPC Specialists should have command of both pre- and post-click goals. – Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
  • Also,this lends to job security. If you only “know” Adwords, someone who knows Adwords and Landing Pages is a better candidate. – Luke Alley
  • We build KWs, write copy… landing page is 3rd piece of puzzle — mastering seems like a no-brainer! – Emily Las
  • Absolutely! Inbound marketing basics are important and taking the HubSpot Academy certification is a plus. – Nefer Lopez
  • I can say unofficially that I will have more of a say on LP design and CRO along with more use of web analytics where I’m at. – Brian Gaspar
  • Not actually mocking up, but yes for being apart of the LP strategy and development process. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • PPC Specialists should have more expierence mocking up landing pages designs over designers. Mock up’s should be 2nd nauture. – Brode Claire (@TheCodyBlair)
  • Also, it’s fun. And PPC peeps are such control freaks. – Elizabeth Marsten
  • For that matter, knowing how to code out the page at least well enough to convert on major browsers is almost 100% necessary. – Doug Thomas

Q4: Aside from adding PPC tracking codes, how do you help clients ensure leads are captured in the back end & attributed correctly?

  • Typically ask for access to all back end tracking. Can help when issues come up and can also help me optimize more effectively. – Michelle Morgan
  • I’ll troubleshoot to some extent, but if it’s coding, I leave this up to the client and coder. – Steve Gibson
  • It’s about back matching conversions on their lead tracking system, ensuring you can determine the referral source. – Brian Gaspar
  • Test entire sales/lead process. Implement needed codes. Hands-on code changes. Collecting, processing & verifying of leads. Also analyzing call tracing reports and verifying call routing. – James Svoboda
  • Having great dev team to make sure leads are properly captured/coded in CRM system is critical. So many diff ones out there! – Julie Bacchini
  • Another challenge. We work w/clients to make sure everything is tagged & captured. And reported on. – Melissa Mackey
  • Capture orderID and userID by referring channel. Use to understand LTV and reconcile with all referring conversion sources. – Jeff Nogaj
  • Even more basically working w clients to make sure their internal processes don’t muck up data tracking paths. – Julie Bacchini
  • I use SalesForce, custom CRM, form processor and CallTrac to analyze attribution. – Jonathan Levey
  • If I’m going to recommend call tracking or another service to help with PPC, I need to know how everything will work together. – Matt Umbro
  • We use the Portent proprietary SEO crawler to check for specific code strings. – Elizabeth Marsten
  • Call tracking. Capturing utm_source and more in forms. Follow-up on lead-to-client pipeline. Returning customer analysis. – Doug Thomas
  • I say that access to the back end gives a 360 view of the entire campaign process. Without it, there are always unknowns. – Stephanie Cockerl (@nextSTEPH)
  • In Retail, Order # reporting is effective in normalizing conversion data, catching overcounting, de-duping. – Emily Las

Q5: For ecomm advertising, how involved are you with the feed creation and optimization process (not the AdWords managent side)?

  • Pretty involved, as much as we can be anyway given dev and platform limitations internal to the client. – Heather Cooan
  • Very involved. Feed creation & optimization is half the process. – Jeff Loquist
  • We took over the feed creation and optimization. Too much at stake to leave it to product people. – Alma Smith (@Alma_Smith)
  • I tell clients it’s crucial for feed to be optimized – but admit I don’t have expertise/knowledge to do it myself. – Leslie Drechsler
  • Depends upon client, but generally very involved, work closely with dev team who creates feeds. – Kirk Williams
  • As involved as I can convince the client I need to be. Only wish I could get most of my clients to let me create labels & groups. – Theresa Zook
  • Unless there is already someone familiar w/ proper feed creation/optimization (never is) I make sure I’m as involved as possible. – Neil Sorenson
  • Most I’ve seen do not have any kind of optimization within their own systems, so a lot of the time building from the ground up. – Doug Thomas
  • Involved in feed creation, more monitor merch center to ensure running. Optimizing PLA Campaign around feed structure, totally. – Brian Gaspar
  • We advise clients on label/groupings for PLA’s, but they create the feeds. Rarely we create sample feeds as a proof of concept. – Andrew Miller (@AndrewCMiller)
  • At the very least I create labels and groupings – when I can I help with taxonomy, titles, etc. – Matt Umbro
  • Very involved with feed creation – I create, track & optimize. – Mitchell Neirick (@mneirick)
  • More involved than I’d like to be. – Elizabeth Marsten
  • If you can get involved in the feed, you can build in better controls for managing in AdWords. – Emily Las
  • Try to give as much direction as possible get SEO team involved in title and Descriptions part of feed I help w/ Adwords params. – Bryant Garvin
  • Side question, has anyone implemented the promotion offer beta for PLAs?
    • No, but I’ve seen it & it’s beast. – Melissa Mackey
    • Put in for it before switch to new site. On hold for the time being until post launch bugs are resolved. – Brian Gaspar

Q6: With the different types of remarketing available to advertisers (RLSA, Dynamic Remarketing, YouTube Remarketing, etc) what are the core competencies PPC Specialists need to have in order to run successful remarketing campaigns?

  • Make sure you are showing to the right target audience. – Brian Gaspar
  • Audience definition and targeting, by channel. – Chris Kostecki
  • A core competency would be to segment your audiences and know how to create remarketing lists in AdWords & Analytics. – Nefer Lopez
  • Segmentation skills and building remarketing windows with combination lists and recognising that remarking should have own LP’s. – Steve Cameron (@adventcom)
  • I think truly understanding you are Marketing! Get into the psychology, personas etc. – Bryant Garvin
  • Biggest miss I see is poor ad copy to target segment. – Heather Cooan
  • Understand user behavior & demographics. Learn how to use demographics data to your advantage. – Jeff Loquist
  • Tags on the right pages…and ideally a retail site. – Rojer Suggett (@roj_suggs)
  • Target/segmentation, continuing the customer’s experience with proper ad copy. – Michael Henderson (@innuHendo)
  • More generically, the ability to *think.* People who can really think, can adapt & learn. – Theresa Zooks
  • FYI, Yahoo Stores generally aren’t great for remarketing as URLs don’t follow a breadcrumb like trail. – Matt Umbro
  • Don’t forget frequency capping and converted list exclusions. – Heather Cooan
  • And don’t cookie the home page and show a branding ad…come on people. – Heather Cooan


More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Alma Smith (@Alma_Smith)
• Andrew Miller (@AndrewCMiller)
• Brian Gaspar (@BGaspar)
• Brode Claire (@TheCodyBlair)
• Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)
• Chris Kostecki (@chriskos)
• David Szetela (@Szetela)
• Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
• Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
• Emily Las (@emlas)
• Gil Hong (@ghong_ssm)
• Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
• Jeff Loquist (@jmloquist)
• Jeff Nogaj (@jeffnogaj)
• Jonathan Levey (@jlevey)
• Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
• Kayla Hiller (@Kayla_Hiller)
• Leslie Drechsler (@ppcbuyers)
• Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
• Martin Roettgerding (@bloomarty)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Michael Henderson (@innuHendo)
• Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem)
• Mitchell Neirick (@mneirick)
• Nefer Lopez (@Nefer_L)
• Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
• Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
• Rojer Suggett (@roj_suggs)
• Stephanie Cockerl (@nextSTEPH)
• Steve Cameron (@adventcom)
• Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
• Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)

Creating Streamcaps from the Back-End

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; WebRanking SEM Manager in Minneapolis, Minnesota, #PPCChat Streamcap Grabber, SEO Blog Author. Connect with me @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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