Effectively Managing Multiple PPC Platforms

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

Q1: For accounts to achieve their full potential, do you believe advertisers need to expand beyond Google and Bing? Why or why not?

  • Absolutely! Social ads are a huge opportunity b/c of their demo targeting – LinkedIn for B2B especially. Keep in mind too with social demo targeting, you can then retarget via Google creating a multi-pronged strategy. – Andy Groller (@AndyGroller)
  • I would say yes. From using Bing and Google, I get lower cost per clicks and have a lower CPA. I’ve expanded to Facebook and I’m having VERY good results with Lookalike audiences. – David Prochaska (@DavidProHQ)
  • Depends on available budget and returns on existing campaign. If those are good, then expand, measure & optimize. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • Yes, if for nothing else to realize that these new audiences may not be right for the client. – Matt Umbro
  • Absolutely – you haven’t reached your full potential if you haven’t expanded as far as possible. – Amy Bishop (@Hoffman8)
  • In general, yes. Can grab people that fit your demo but aren’t searching for your product in social ads. – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
  • Accounts should definitely expand into other distribution sources, other sources can provide more relevant traffic & lower CPC’s. – Juan Restrepo (@juanrrestrepo)
  • I for one am generally skeptical of platforms outside of Google and Bing, but I do recognize their necessity for account growth. – Matt Umbro
  • If the advertiser has a global presence, definitely need to expand to engines like Yandex, Baidu, and Naver. – Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
  • What do you mean by “account”? For a co to achieve full potential, it may be necessary to go beyond PPC. Depends what FP means. – Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
    • By account I mean client, apologies for the confusion. – Matt Umbro
  • Yes the targeting and pricing on Facebook for example can be amazing. As well as Conv. Rates. – Ross Kaplan-Winn (@RossKWSEM)
  • I believe in testing, but if the return isn’t there, then it’s not a necessity. – Jonathan Maltz (@MaltzPPC)
  • We work with some campaigns that are more awareness focused then lead/sale focused. Social ads especially valuable there. – Timothy Jensen
  • Yes! Especially for INTL accounts. Don’t rule out potential gains from running in engines like Yandex, Naver, Baidu, etc. – Maddie Cary (@MaddieMarketer)
  • Always need to keep in mind that returns will vary by platform as well as audience segment. Test. Measure. Refine. Repeat. – James Svoboda
  • Definitely! You never know what potential lies in other platforms if you don’t test. But having budget and time is key too. – Erika Schmidt (@erikapdx)
  • Yup. Social retargeting any even off-line marketing can complement any search SEM initiative. – Farzin Esphani (@FarzinOja)
  • PPC is just one way to get clients – and, for most industries, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. (People looking on SE’s). – Steve Gibson
  • Skeptical but willing to wait & see. For my clients, search-based marketing really is best approach. I don’t think the return elsewhere would be worth it. – Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
  • If I had to rank the reliability of foreign engines, I would say: 1 Yandex, 2 Yahoo Japan, 3 Baidu, 4 Naver. Hard but worth it. – Chris Haleua
  • Yes, paid ads on social allow some great demographic targeting and options for testing. – Jason James (@Jason_A_James)

Q2: How do you manage and report conversions across platforms? Do you use native tools (conversion tracking) or your own tracking?

  • Native tools plus GA + Multi-channel funnels + a disclaimer. – Jonathan Maltz
  • I do use native tools, but I ALWAYS tag links, especially with Yahoo Gemini. – Matt Umbro
  • Depends on client. Platform-specific conversion tracking & Google Analytics for sure, but sometimes client-side CRM too. – Andy Groller
  • I use Google Analytics with tagged links. Simple and effective. – David Prochaska
  • Site Analytics and media management platforms are helpful for aggregating data. – Amy Bishop
  • Now if only LinkedIn ads offered more robust tracking, that would be awesome. – Andy Groller
  • We use our own tracking to avoid discrepancies and help us maintain consistent comparison across engines. – Chris Haleua
  • Attribution is especially important as you expand into multiple markets. Last click doesn’t always give the full picture. – Amy Bishop
  • Generally native tools are fine. People don’t exactly jump from engine to engine so double-counting is minimal. – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
  • If the client is used to one method, i keep consistent. But, Analytics is a good universal reporting base except Click-to-Calls. – Kevin Adams (@KevinAdamsPPC)
  • I rarely trust third party platform reporting a lot of them value VTCs at 100% by default. – Andrew Bethel (@AndrewPPC)
  • It depends on the product/service Leads based would benefit more of an inhouse conversion tracking. For ecommerce native works. – Juan Restrepo
  • Most common solution is to track everything in your analytics platform as possible so you are comparing apples to apples. Then Measure All The Things! Leads, Sales, Calls, Newsletter Subscribers, Add-To-Carts, Social Engagements, Page Prints, etc. – James Svoboda
  • We use Google Analytics for cross-platform conversion tracking in addition to native conversion tracking provided. – Jason James
  • A mix of custom tracking and Adobe’s tools. Attribution tracking is the struggle. – Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)

Q3: How do you most efficiently report on all PPC channels (in other words, how do you not get bogged down with reporting)?

  • Find out what metrics are crucial to client & focus on those. Use tools like Acquisio’s reporting suite. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • Set up a template within a tool, or use scripts or some form of automation for as much as possible. – Amy Bishop
  • You can either go simple for reporting, or deep. Simple doesn’t show the whole picture. Deep can take tons of time. – James Svoboda
  • Try to automate as much as possible with tools like Acquisio, GA custom reports, etc. For your sanity, avoid doing manually. – Andy Groller
  • We used to use good old fashioned powerpoint’s for reporting but this was too time-intensive, now we use Raven Tools – Jason James
  • Channel trend charts, engine YoY deltas, and campaign MoM deltas in dashboard auto updated w/ scheduled reports to Google drive. – Chris Haleua
  • Focus on what is improtant. Create diff views for diff levels of the org. An Exec View for Mgmt an indepth view for the mgr. – Christi Olson
  • Educate people so they don’t ask for things they don’t really need. – Matt Vaillancourt (@SEM_PPC_MattV)
  • Remember not to get too “inside baseball” w/ reporting. Clients want context & action plans backed by data. – Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
  • Recently moved my reporting from home-baked to Swydo & really like it. Simplifies & Prettifies. – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • Custom report templates formatted to all the necessary data dumbs on other tabs. – Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
  • Drill into trends w/ predictive analytics in Adobe Analytics for anomaly detection&contribution analysis. – Chris Haleua
  • We have our own agency dashboard. Fetching in the important metrics and creating custom report for each client. – Farzin Espahani
  • For routine reporting GA – Google Sheets add-on saves time. – Jonathan Ng (@ThankYouJon)
  • Then manually drill deeper into anomalies. Focus on the audience segments behind the campaigns driving the growth or loss. – Chris Haleua
  • Present layout to the client upfront, tweak for 1 or 2 rounds and lock it in. Then it’s a matter of updating data tables. – Jordon Meyer (@jordonmeyer)
  • We use Raven, but their reporting has been so out of whack lately that we are moving to custom GA dashboards & excel. – Erika Schmidt
  • Supermetrics Data Grabber integrates AdWords&GA into Excel, create 1 super report and you can populate data in mins. – George Haslett (@GeorgeHaslett)

Q4: Beyond Google and Bing, what PPC platform and/or feature do you recommend utilizing (media channels or specific aspects of these channels)? Why?

  • Bid Opt platform to automate bidding and reporting! It’s there on the weekends even when you are not! + Utilize Scripts! – Christi Olson (@ChristiJOlson)
  • Experiment with utilizing ads in the social platform where your customer base is already focused. – Kirk Williams
  • Facebook ads for their targeting options. – Kevin Adams
  • For a platform, we are getting amazing LinkedIn results for clients (20%+ conversion rates) so that’s a go-to right now. – Andy Groller
  • Do social platforms count? If so, those. Because they work. – Joe Martinez
  • Superpages is a hit or miss distribution source, but I sure do enjoy the low cost. – Juan Restrepo
  • Well other than AdWords or Bind Ads we also run PPC campaigns on Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, and LinkedInMktg. – Jason James
  • Social Channels can work really well for the right audiences (LI, FB, Twitter) and we like adRoll, as well. – Amy Hoffman
  • None – unless you’re multi-national. Time is finite. Here in UK, only Google and maybe Bing are worth spending time on. – Steve Gibson
  • For visualization I have a crush on Tableau. For simpler dashboards I use the annotated trendlines. – Chris Haleua
  • Test PLA format ads in every behavioral-targeted environment you can! – Matt Vaillancourt
  • Been getting great results from Facebook and Twitter lately. – Melissa Mackey
  • I’m in love with FB lookalike audiences. Seeing early success from Pinterest as well. – Aaron Levy
    • I’m looking forward to running some Pinterest campaigns – let me know how it goes. – Matt Umbro
  • If you mean PPC ad management platforms, I guess we just use Raven Tools now but have used Ad Stage and AdRoll too. – Jason James
  • For PPC Platforms, I find AdMarketplace interesting for some industries like automotive. – Chris Haleua
  • As for tools to optimise PPC campaigns, we’ve built a lot of our own. – Coy Robison (@IamCoy)
  • Honestly would completely depend on your business segment and goals. We’re extremely excited about fb dynamic product ads. – Hannah Alexander (@HanXela)
  • AdRoll is decent, Perfect Audience is awesome. FB is crushing it lately. YouTube…seriously you should try pre-roll ads. – Jordon Meyer
    • Love Perfect Audience! Also seeing decent results from YouTube ads. – Matt Umbro
  • Shopzilla is another one, low volume but decent CPC’s and good return. – Coy Robison
  • Despite LI sucking in many ways, it still produces for lots of B2B clients. – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
  • I’m a huge fan of Lookalike Audiences in Facebook. I’ve had better experience with Perfect Audience rather than Adroll. – David Prochaska
  • Facebook’s remarketing via custom audiences is immense, as a % of total remarketing inventory available it’s almost a must-do. – George Haslett

Q5: What PPC platform would you NOT recommend using or at the very least investing much budget into? Why?

  • If we’re talking tools, don’t invest in one you won’t use a lot. For ad networks, it depends on the client/vertical. – Melissa Mackey
  • Don’t waste time where your audience is not. If you sell AC parts might not want to start with Pinterest. – Kirk Williams
  • The one that gives you the lowest ROI. – Jonathan Maltz
  • For a UK advertiser on Bing Ads we’ve found much smaller budgets are required. Haven’t had much luck with LinkedIn ads. – Jason James
  • If it does not help put right message in front of right person at right time, then pass. – Julie Bacchini
  • If you don’t have great tracking & awesome LPs, don’t do LI. – Robert Brady
  • Totally depends on client/vertical. Twitter has been hit or miss so that might be the one for now. – Andy Groller
  • I’m always cautious with LinkedIn. The $2 min CPC is a barrier, and the ad space is minimal. But if it works. – Jonathan Maltz
  • Agreed w/ the “it depends” answer. For me, I’ve see poor quality from Yahoo Steam ads. – Brandon Holm (@brandon_holm)
  • Not an actual “platform,” but sorta close: Search Partners for lead-gen initiatives.
    Lead quality from SP = garbage. – Matt Vaillancourt
  • Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but I put limited budget into Yahoo Stream Ads (Gemini) – I consistently see 90%+ bounce rates. – Matt Umbro
  • If any competitors are reading, I would say avoid AdWords and Bing. But really, CSEs have often been unreliable as you scale. – Jordon Meyer
  • Not a big fan of AdRoll retargeting. It tanked for a partner due to its limited targeting capabilities. – Erika Schmidt
    • Used to love AdRoll but have had extremely poor experiences w targeting accuracy and visit quality lately. – Timothy Jensen
  • Depending on the client’s industry I can be quite apprehensive with Bing to be honest, always a last resort for more traffic. – George Haslett
  • Be deliberate in everything you do – clients prioritize goals. Then, figure out where to put them to get there. – Julie Bacchini

Q6: What client expectations do you generally set when expanding into new PPC platforms? Why?

  • Always tee it up as a test. We will try it and quickly learn whether it works or not. – Melissa Mackey
  • The same as with any new tactic. Might work, might not. Give insight from similar clients as positive reinforcement for a test. Also let them know how it will be controlled/monitored, so that they don’t think you are starting a forest fire. – Amy Bishop
  • I tell them to expect *nothing* for a while. Takes time to optimize. – Theresa Zook
  • Emphasize that expansion is a test while setting parameters and KPIs to measure success. – Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy
  • Keep expectations in check no matter what they’ve read/heard because it’s a test. Needs time to see how it performs. – Andy Groller
  • Test, test, test! It’s all about testing and optimizing. – Erika Schmidt
  • Treat any new initiative as an experiment – a very well researched & conducted experiment, but experiment nonetheless. – Julie Bacchini
  • It’s a test, please leave preconceived notions & expectations at the door. We’ll make adjustments as data accrues. – Matt Vaillancourt
  • I tell my clients that any new platform has to get in the ballpark vs current platform, then it has to match it. If not, turf! – Glen Schmelzle (@heyglenns)
  • When trying out new PPC platforms for clients we always frame it as a test initially, quickly learn if it works and move on. – Jason James
  • Depends on the platform. If it’s Google, Bing or Facebook, I can give them a reliable idea. Otherwise, I set low expectations. – Steve Gibson
  • Like any investment, be prepared and comfortable losing it. Target a ROAS, but don’t over-promise results. Start small. – Jordon Meyer

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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)
• Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
• Amy Bishop (@Hoffman8)
• Andrew Bethel (@AndrewPPC)
• Andy Groller (@AndyGroller)
• Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
• Christi Olson (@ChristiJOlson)
• Coy Robison (@IamCoy)
• David Prochaska (@DavidProHQ)
• Erika Schmidt (@erikapdx)
• Farzin Esphani (@FarzinOja)
• George Haslett (@GeorgeHaslett)
• Glen Schmelzle (@heyglenns)
• Hannah Alexander (@HanXela)
• Jason James (@Jason_A_James)
• Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)
• Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
• Jonathan Maltz (@MaltzPPC)
• Jonathan Ng (@ThankYouJon)
• Jordon Meyer (@jordonmeyer)
• Juan Restrepo (@juanrrestrepo)
• Kevin Adams (@KevinAdamsPPC)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Maddie Cary (@MaddieMarketer)
• Matt Vaillancourt (@SEM_PPC_MattV)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
• Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
• Ross Kaplan-Winn (@RossKWSEM)
• Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
• Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
• Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)

Effectively Managing Mulitple Streamcaps

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; works at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Paul owns and operates the best way to find 93 octane gas stations in the US.
Connect with Paul @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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One Response to Effectively Managing Multiple PPC Platforms

  1. Adriaan Boot says:

    Nice discussion, but don’t CSE’s count as PPC networks as well? I sure miss them in the discussion.

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