Proving The Value Of PPC

This week Mark Sullivan (@mpsulli) fills in for Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) hosting PPCChat with a great question set titled “Proving The Value Of PPC.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: What metrics are vital when proving ROI of your PPC campaigns?

  • Profit. – Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
  • Making sure that conversion tracking is installed and running correctly – have to make decisions based upon this data. – Matt Umbro
  • Cost per aquisition from within AdWords and from other channels. – Jacob Baadsgaard (@jakebaadsgaard)
  • ROAS. Revenue.Profit. – Jeremy Krantz (@JeremyKrantz)
    • Agreed! What if you can’t get those #’s, what do you use in that case? – Mark Sullivan
  • *Incremental* sales / sign ups / profit. – Sam Owen (@SamOwenPPC)
    • Yes! Those *incremental* sign ups, calls, etc are important to leading people down the funnel, escpecially long funnels. – Erika Schmidt (@erikapdx)
  • Understand what the client’s goals are 1st, then connect the metrics to the goal. Don’t forget about attribution too! – Erika Schmidt
  • Lowest funnel metrics available! $$ is ultimate metric. form submissions, calls, texts, emails, appointments set are good too. – Mark Sullivan
  • The problem with every other metric (other than profit) is that any one of them can be improved while reducing profit. – Steve Gibson
    • Segment customers by categories that make sense for biz and calculate LTV 4 each. Go after high LTV segments 1st. – Mark Sullivan
  • Start trying to track LTV. A user you bring in with PPC might convert many other times down the road via other channels. – Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
  • CLV is vital to measuring ROI. Other metrics depend on goal. Conversions and View through conversions are key too. Thoughts? – Jason Stockwell (@jj_stockwell)
  • New customer acquisition and lifetime value. Profit doesn’t show full value of our efforts. – Kevin Cronin (@cropiece10)
  • Remember the difference between ROAS and ROI. Fees we charge are an investment too. They should be included in ROI numbers. – Joe Martinez
  • Cost per acquisition, profit, lifetime value. But it all starts with proper conversion tracking. And attribution considerations. – Mark Subel (@marksubel)
  • To me, ROI considers: – Steps leading to sales (forms, calls, emails) – Attribution – Lifetime Value – Profit

Q2: How do you and your clients agree on what a successful ppc campaign looks like?

  • For my B2B clients we try to figure out what a lead is worth (and update every quarter). Must know the value of a goal. – Joe Martinez
  • Talk early (and often) about how perf. will be measured. Focus on calculated KPIs (ROAS) not individual kw metrics. – Mark Sullivan
  • Set clear expectations & goals from the start. Goals of campaigns will vary based on business needs but always tied to profit. – Maria Corcoran (@mariacorcoran)
    • I can’t stress this enough to marketing agencies: Set clear expectations. – Mark Sullivan
  • Often depends on the clients’ goals – positive ROI, increased LTV, influenced/touched user somewhere along the cycle, etc. – Heidi Smith (@heidinksmith)
  • Establish conversion targets, CPA, ROAS and improve all metrics is usually the basic model. Each relationship is unique though. – Roxana Hassel (@RoxanaHassel)
  • Also have a lot of lead gen clients, so that’s a different conversation altogether. – Heidi Smith
  • I tell them, and they agree. – Steve Gibson
  • Communication! Talk to make sure you understand their goals and their intent so you can make recommendations. – Christi Olson (@ChristiJOlson)
  • My agency caters to SMBs, so our clients trust us to outline goals and KPIs since they don’t have too much marketing knowledge. – Erika Schmidt
  • Discuss up front what REALISTIC goals are and what expectations are on both sides for tracking those. – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)

Q3: What tools do you use to track and analyze ppc performance? Separately, what client facing reporting tools do you use?

  • EXCEL, the tool of PPC Champions. – Christi Olson
  • Obvs I use the best tools out there. 😛 Joking aside, be sure to have solid analytics implementation in place or you’re doomed. – Maria Corcoran
  • Google Analytics, Steadybudget, Optmyzr, Excel. Swydo is my client facing report tool. – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • I’ve used many platforms in the past. Very impressed with AMO, but full disclosure, I work for Adobe. – Josh Kelson (@JoshKelson)
  • All jesting aside, Excel, with add-ins to pull directly from analytics platforms and PowerBI / Tableau for visuals. – Christi Olson
  • For B2B again you can’t beat a well set-up CRM. But if no CRM, use Google Tag Manager to track company form fields in GA. – Joe Martinez
    • Tag manager is a great one & like Kirk mentioned Optmyzr as well. – Maria Corcoran
  • GA, Excel for backend analysis. We use Megalytic for client reporting. – Timothy Jensen
  • Excel is still a staple. I’ve heard good things of AdAlysis as well. Always open to evaluating new tools. – Josh Kelson
  • Excel and Google Anaytics mainly. – Heidi Smith
  • Excel, CRM, GA or other Analytics, GTM and soon Google DataStudio I think. – Roxana Hassel
  • Excel, AdAlysis, GA, and for reporting, Acquisio. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • I hate to say it, but for Google only spenders having SCRIPTS might be enough. Bing will have scripts in the next year. – Christi Olson
  • Most people use Excel, GA, CRM (if attribution). I use & work for AdHawk for reporting & analytics. – Bobby Stemper (@bobbystemper)

Q4: How do you measure success on accounts with limited access to lower funnel data like phone calls or sales?

  • Have to go with the closest proxy for PPC success. If that’s converted clicks or even just clicks-it’s getting into the funnel. – Mark Sullivan
  • Try to implement as low as possible in funnel. Work with client to improve implementation. Work with what you have. But essentially you’re guessing in my mind if you don’t have good implementation and attribution. – Josh Kelson
    • “Work with what you have” = No excuses for not explaining our work/success to clients. Love it.- Mark Sullivan
      • I think setting expectations with client is key in those cases…set them, then go kick ass improving the metric set. – Josh Kelson
  • Have an up front conversation with the client about the limits of your reporting & the need to factor in other data. – Timothy Jensen

Q5: How do you defend PPC against other forms of advertising?

  • When proper analytics and tracking/attribution is set…I don’t have to. When not, I show them clients who have good analytics. – Josh Kelson
  • I like to focus on the positive with Search, that is: you can show an ad specifically to a person “asking” for your product. – Kirk Williams
  • It’s not defend per se, it’s justify budget allocation. Over 50% of research starts on a SE — do you want to ber there or not? – Christi Olson
    • 100% this. It’s really a question of do you want to play in the space your competitors are at/in. – Maria Corcoran
  • Not really defend but I try to show how well all the various marketing channels help each other out. – Joe Martinez
  • Talk about the level of trackability & targeting vs. traditional + the need to be where your audience is (online). – Timothy Jensen
  • Always will be my favorite aspect of PPC btw, good ole keywords/queries & personal intent. – Kirk Williams
  • Don’t sell it as competition. PPC can cooperate with other channels as part of a larger strategy. – Emma Franks (@akaEmmaLouise)
  • No question to me – Search produces highest intent leads, IMHO (backed by 10 years of data, of course!). – Mark Sullivan
  • I don’t. I’ve no interest in trying to persuade prospects to use PPC. If they can’t see obvious value, they’d be poor clients. – Steve Gibson
  • My real answer: trackability! You wanna know if PPC sucks or is winning? We can track that! Traditional = Let me estimate. – Erika Schmidt
  • Also, as long as you’re having that funnel conversation- search can give access to a different audience than other channels. – Emma Franks
  • PPC works in concert with other advertising – it informs other marketing. Doesn’t compete. – Melissa Mackey
  • Also, paid search doesn’t create demand, it captures it. Other advertising is still important and even vital for success. – Josh Kelson

Q6: Honest opinions here, however strong they are. How do discovery advertising conversions (e.g. display) compare with search?

  • They don’t compare, they compliment. It’s a different marketing tactic, location in the funnel. All necessary parts of the cycle. – Maria Corcoran
  • Depends on market, but will usually, on average, be lower initial spend and shorter lifetime. – Steve Gibson
  • Haven’t had ton of success w display w/o tightly managed retargeting list. Too many bad leads = costing more than it should. – Mark Sullivan
  • Boosts our Branded search traffic. Also, not discovery, but Display with remarketing has been successful for several clients. – Emma Franks

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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)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Bobby Stemper (@bobbystemper)
• Christi Olson (@ChristiJOlson)
• Emma Franks (@akaEmmaLouise)
• Erika Schmidt (@erikapdx)
• Heidi Smith (@heidinksmith)
• Jacob Baadsgaard (@jakebaadsgaard)
• Jason Stockwell (@jj_stockwell)
• Jeremy Krantz (@JeremyKrantz)
• Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
• Josh Kelson (@JoshKelson)
• Kevin Cronin (@cropiece10)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Maria Corcoran (@mariacorcoran)
• Mark Subel (@marksubel)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Roxana Hassel (@RoxanaHassel)
• Sam Owen (@SamOwenPPC)
• Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
• Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)

Proving the Value of PPCChat with Streamcaps

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; works at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Connect with Paul @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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