Projecting PPC Spends & Metrics

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

Q1: What is your definition of a PPC projection(s)? Why?

  • Any metrics that you or the client can use to help forecast and ultimately improve PPC performance. – Matt Umbro
  • PPC projections= Efforts + Output. – Sameer Hakim (@hakim_sameer)
  • Predicting future key metrics: clicks, conversions, revenue, etc. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • Usually trying to estimate the net effect an optimization may have. Ex. Ad copy testing on CTRs, Ad extensions on Ad rank. – Vamsi Ponada (@Vapo1126)
  • Based on estimated search traffic, costs and manpower, these are the main traffic metrics we can hope to achieve. – Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
  • A numbers based statement about the future. – Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
  • Measuring the future based on historical performance. Usually for budget planning. – Zach Griffith (@ZachGriffith)
  • Projecting future activity, largely based on the data / performance you’ve already accumulated. – Leo Sussan (@lsussan)
  • Prediction of month-end metrics based off of current performance so we can get ahead of lag metrics. – Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
  • An estimation of month end performance based on current trends. – Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem)

Q2: Do your clients ask for PPC spend and metrics projections? Do you provide? Why or why not?

  • Yes and yes – required for billing purposes. – Melissa Mackey
  • We provide them. That way everyone can keep on the same page about opts. – Heather Cooan
  • Yes and sometimes. Useful tool for discussing plans. – Richard Fergie
  • Depends on the client, but most like to see where things are going from an investment and return perspective. – Zach Griffith
  • Yep, give them both. Gives an idea of input and output levels. – Michelle Morgan
  • Spend projections, yes. Metrics projections: rough estimates if asked. – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
  • They usually like to see a very-broad estimate based on their biggest areas of business. Helps them plan budgets. – Joe Martinez
  • Yes, and I do. You can very accurately estimate spend based on Average CPCs and CTR. – Leo Sussan
  • Yes & Esti. Helps client understand my strategies in numbers and help’ him allocate budget & help him prepare his inventory for later. – Sameer Hakim
  • I will provide projection data, but make sure they know that there is a big grain of salt. – Matt Umbro
    • For sure. Always know it’s an *estimate*. Past performance isn’t a guarantee of future success. – Michelle Morgan
    • You never want a client to become too reliant to the projections and hold you to them – goals are fine, but projections vary. – Matt Umbro
      • What would you say the difference is between a projection and a goal in this case? e.g. if I say “increasing spend on remarketing by X% will deliver $$Y” is that a goal or projection or both? – Richard Fergie
        • Good question, I guess I consider a goal to be based more on historical data (year over year) and current trends. Projections are based upon tools & act as guides for account management- goal is really what you’re striving toward. – Matt Umbro
        • To me, a goal is client-driven; a projection comes from us. – Melissa Mackey
        • My opinion is that a goal is something to aim for, where is prediction is something we think will be. Eg Goal is aspirational. – Josh Devlin
        • To me projection. Guess of perf based on past stats. If client asked for $X CPA for rmktg that’s a goal. – Michelle Morgan
        • Goal is where you want to be. Projection is data driven. – Ryan Mower (@ryandmower)
        • Consensus on projections vs goals semantics seems to be that projections are from us, goals from clients. – Richard Fergie
        • Goals = if everything goes perfectly! Predictions = best case scenario based on current data. – Vamsi Ponada
        • I also feel like projections don’t involve emotions and external factors as much as goals do. – Matt Umbro
        • And projections show how we’re pacing on current goals. – Michelle Morgan
  • Only all the time! Yes, always do, but I always tell them that figures could vary a lot. Adwords has proven me wrong many times. – Vamsi Ponada
  • Projections could be more useful on a budget limited account when pitching to increase budget. – Josh Devlin (@JayPeeDevlin)
    • 100% Agree. We have B2B clients who are more stingy on monthly budgets. Projections help ease that unknown. – Joe Martinez
  • Goals are hard set based on old data, projections are forecast of how you will create new data. – Sameer Hakim

Q3: Where does your PPC projection data come from? Why?

  • I prefer use logarithmic scatter plot forecasts to show clients the tradeoff between Volume (conv or Rev) and Efficiency (ROI). – Matt Wilkinson (@WilkinsonSEM)
  • This can vary. Can depend on what the client is using to track other digital channels to be as consistent as possible. – Amy Bishop (@Hoffman8)
  • Use all relevant performance and cost points from AdWords, Bing, & revenue numbers from GA. Sometimes outside lead systems. – Michelle Morgan
  • Historic data, Current performance, Seasonality etc. – Ashwin Chandra (@ashwin_chandra)
  • Historical YoY metrics and seasonality trends. Also, hoping to integrate Steady Budget’s predictions soon. – Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
  • Past 7 days and month to date actuals on all major metrics, all channels. – Heather Cooan
  • Past performance & guessing. – Richard Fergie
  • Traffic estimates come from the independent platforms. Revenue / Conversion metrics from Marin. – Leo Sussan
  • Pulling in Google Trends data is a great way to align on expectations. Demand for anything is finite and it is either up/down. – Matt Wilkinson
  • All of the typical KW tools around. Plus information based on similar industries or what we’ve seen from similar, past clients. – Joe Martinez
  • Old Data + Goals set + current trends. – Sameer Hakim
  • Ad platform data combined with analytic data. Typically calculated in a custom bad to the bone Excel spreadsheet using dumps. – Zach Griffith
  • Current run rate helps a lot. We can calculate the projected run rate based on the goals for the month. – Ashwin Chandra
  • Historical data if I have it b/c its the most accurate data I have.Kwd planner and the other tools rarely give me accurate data. – Vamsi Ponada
  • Also always include notes. What happened & what’s next. Hopefully we’ll have a call but still never know who it will be FWD to. – Amy Bishop

Q4: Do you find metrics like lost impression share valuable when providing projections? Why or why not?

  • If I’m making a projection to try and get more budget then lost IS v useful. – Richard Fergie
  • Usually no. Only if we’re trying to scale will I discuss IS. Mostly just use it for my optimization decisions. – Michelle Morgan
  • If I’m projecting to get $ for something new (e.g. retargeting) then less so. – Richard Fergie
  • I think there is value for capped budget clients in reminding them of impact that has on possible traffic. – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • Never have. Only use them to show opportunity on areas we can improve or new areas to go after. – Joe Martinez
  • Depends on the projections and the goals. Usually no but maybe if we need to make a case for budget and IS is bad. – Amy Bishop
  • Sometimes…The accuracy is pretty weak, so saying ESTIMATE at least three times during delivery is key
  • Lost IS due to budget can be telling, IS lost because of ranking there are other factors. – Maria Corcoran (@mariacorcoran)
  • Q4.1: Does anyone utilize their own metrics for projections? How so?
    • Not really – my projections are hard enough to understand anyway without me making new stuff up. – Richard Fergie

Q5: How much stock do you put into PPC projections?

  • How the projection was made, what is being projected, how long the projection is for, the agenda of the person making the projection and whether or not I trust them. – Richard Fergie
  • As said before, it is too dynamic but again if the numbers have been committed to the client then you got to run behind it! – Ashwin Chandra
  • Monthly Budgets: At the beginning of the month, not so much. Week 3 and on, quite a bit. – Zach Griffith
  • Coming from an in-house point of view, execs could care less about projections. They want conversions & don’t care how they come. – Ryan Mower
  • My month-ends are pretty accurate given current pacing. But I use them to guide opts to get my month to close how I need it to. – Heather Cooan
  • Whether I agree with the guesswork on external factors included in the projection. – Richard Fergie
  • Very little. Account is going to change very frequently. And if goals ever change then original projection is almost worthless. – Joe Martinez
  • Little. Projections depend of volume, which depends on CTR, CPC, QS, trends & seasonality… so many variables. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • Depends on what is being projected and for what time frame. Shorter time frames with stable accounts should be pretty accurate. – Amy Bishop
  • Very little.There are tons of other factors that effect numbers that you have no control on but the client still wants it so. – Vamsi Ponada
  • Decent. They are interim milestones. They will only change when you do an action <-> based on the projections given in past. – Sameer Hakim
  • I think the consensus is that PPC projections can be worthwhile but aren’t the be all end all. – Matt Umbro

Q6: Is there a downside to presenting PPC projections? Why or why not?

  • Many have already brought this up, but downside to projections is that they are estimates so expectation mgmt is essential. – Kirk Williams
  • Most of the time the client takes your numbers as if they’re written in stone which can bite you in the a** later on. – Vamsi Ponada
  • Projections do help me in driving the results though. It sets up the expectations and drives to give performance. – Ashwin Chandra
  • Definitely. It can set the wrong expectation. No matter how many grains of salt you bring up first impression is hard to change. – Joe Martinez
  • As long as it’s clear they’re projections & not guarantees, it’s fine. Sometimes clients take them as guarantees though. – Melissa Mackey
  • If you’re not clear, projections can be taken as a promise of performance, which isn’t true. They’re just for gauging performance. – Michelle Morgan
  • No downside here. Just act like that dude from ancient aliens…Use “possibly”, “could be” & “estimates” and you’re good to go. – Zach Griffith
  • Repeat- Projections are not goals. They are the tracks not the station/train. – Sameer Hakim

PPCChat Sponsored by

CallRail is a call tracking platform that brings enterprise-level call analytics to businesses and agencies. CallRail makes it easy to track which marketing sources and keywords make your phone ring. We provide call tracking, recording, and analytics for PPC, SEO, web, and offline marketing campaigns. With CallRail, you can create tracking phone numbers instantly, get reports in real time, and increase your advertising ROI by learning which campaigns and keywords deliver valuable phone leads.



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)
• Amy Bishop (@Hoffman8)
• Ashwin Chandra (@ashwin_chandra)
• Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
• Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
• Josh Devlin (@JayPeeDevlin)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Leo Sussan (@lsussan)
• Maria Corcoran (@mariacorcoran)
• Matt Wilkinson (@WilkinsonSEM)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem)
• Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
• Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
• Ryan Mower (@ryandmower)
• Sameer Hakim (@hakim_sameer)
• Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
• Vamsi Ponada (@Vapo1126)
• Zach Griffith (@ZachGriffith)

Projecting Streamcaps….I’m projecting that next week we’ll have at least 1 more streamcap.

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

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sponsored By

Recent Tweets

I am speaking at SMX East was rated one of the Best PPC Blogs by Boost CTR