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A Comprehensive Guide to PPC Analysis: From Daily Routines to Post-Campaign

Navigating pay-per-click (PPC) advertising without deep PPC analysis is like moving in the dark. For enterprise-level companies, the stakes are even higher, and the margin for error is slim. 

In the article, we will delve into PPC analysis across various timeframes, focusing on:

  • Real-time PPC monitoring, for making adjustments while campaigns are live.
  • Post-campaign analysis to extract valuable lessons to inform future campaign strategies.
  • Routine audits, including daily and monthly checks. These audits are vital for maintaining the health and efficiency of PPC campaigns over time.

Lastly, we will go beyond PPC analysis and explore the importance of integrating PPC data with broader marketing metrics to achieve a holistic view of marketing performance, enabling more informed strategic decisions across all channels.

What Is PPC Analysis?

PPC analysis is a critical process that involves examining the performance of pay-per-click advertising campaigns to optimize for better results and higher ROI. It goes beyond merely tracking clicks and impressions. PPC analytics dives into understanding how those clicks translate into meaningful actions – conversions, sales, and ultimately revenue.

PPC analysis encompasses a range of metrics, including click-through rates (CTR), cost per conversion, quality score, and more, to provide a comprehensive view of campaign effectiveness. Marketers then leverage this data to identify trends, pinpoint areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions to refine targeting, bidding strategies, and ad copy. 

The ultimate goal is to maximize the efficiency of ad spend, ensuring that each dollar contributes to achieving the company's marketing objectives. 

Establishing a Framework for PPC Analysis

Effective PPC monitoring begins with a solid framework that guides the entire process. This framework ensures that your analysis is structured, goal-oriented, and capable of delivering actionable insights.

Setting clear objectives

Before diving into the data, it's crucial to define what success looks like for your PPC campaigns. Whether it's increasing leads, boosting sales, or improving brand awareness, having clear goals sets the direction for your analysis.

Identifying key performance indicators (KPIs)

With objectives in place, identify the KPIs that will indicate progress toward these goals. 

  • When the goal is to enhance brand visibility, KPIs such as impressions, reach, and CTR become crucial. 
  • In campaigns aimed at generating leads, Conversion Rate and Cost per Lead (CPL) are pivotal. 
  • For campaigns with a direct sales objective, return on ad spend (ROAS) and cost per acquisition (CPA) are key indicators of success.
  • When the aim is to engage customers, metrics like page views per visit and time on site come into play. 

It's important to recognize that KPIs are not static and should be revisited regularly.

Benchmarking and realistic target setting

Benchmarking involves comparing your campaign performance against historical data, industry standards, or the results of the top-performing campaigns. 

Analyze past campaign data to understand typical performance levels and identify areas of strength and weakness. Additionally, consider industry benchmarks to gauge how your campaigns stack up against competitors. This context helps in setting achievable targets that push for growth while remaining grounded in reality.

For instance, targeting a CTR of 4.6% for a search ad in the B2B sector may not be realistic, considering the average CTR for this industry is around 2.4%. Setting such unrealistic targets can lead to misjudging the performance of your campaigns. There's a risk of stopping campaigns that are actually performing well or investing resources in attempting to reach unachievable benchmarks.

Industry Average CTR for Search Ads Average CTR for Display Ads
Advocacy 4.41% 0.59%
Auto 4.00% 0.60%
B2B 2.41% 0.46%
Consumer Services 2.41% 0.51%
Dating and Personals 6.05% 0.72%
Ecommerce 2.69% 0.51%
Education 3.78% 0.53%
Employment Services 2.42% 0.59%
Finance and Insurance 2.91% 0.52%
Home Goods 2.44% 0.49%
Industrial Services 2.61% 0.50%
Legal 2.93% 0.59%
Medical and Health 3.27% 0.59%
Real Estate 3.71% 1.08%
Technology 2.09% 0.39%
Travel and Hospitality 4.68% 0.47%

Historical data analysis

Dive deep into your historical PPC data to uncover trends, patterns, and anomalies. Look for insights on which ad formats, keywords, and targeting options have historically performed well (or poorly). This historical PPC analysis informs your target setting and guides strategic adjustments to your campaigns.

An established framework for PPC analysis helps systematically assess performance, set informed targets, and iteratively refine strategies. 

Real-Time PPC Campaign Analysis

Effective PPC campaign management requires constant vigilance and the ability to react to data in real-time. Here’s an in-depth look at how to stay proactive and responsive.

Monitoring strategies

Staying ahead in PPC requires a proactive approach to campaign monitoring. This involves setting up automated alerts for significant changes in key metrics and establishing a routine check-in schedule to review campaign performance throughout the day. Regular PPC tracking enables quick identification of trends and anomalies, allowing for timely adjustments.

But even before that, ensure the foundational elements of your PPC campaign are correctly set up. This initial step includes validating branding and targeting, verifying the messaging and creative elements, and checking that UTM naming conventions are correctly applied. Even a minor oversight in messaging can lead to reputational risks, while inaccuracies in UTM parameters can obscure the ability to accurately attribute revenue to the correct campaign.

To streamline this process, leverage an automation tool designed for PPC campaign validation. Improvado, for instance, systematically reviews every component of your campaign before it goes live, from ad copy and visuals to targeting settings and UTM parameters.

Here's also an example of a campaign health audit dashboard that tracks, validates, and standardizes UTMs across your campaigns. It's the easiest way to monitor UTM quality and correct missing parameters to guarantee campaigns don't fall out of your analytics.

Automatically validate UTM tags to see how your campaigns turn into revenue with Improvado campaign health audit dashboard.
Improvado PPC dashboard: Campaign health audit

Key metrics for real-time PPC analysis

Understanding and monitoring these paid search metrics allows marketers to make informed, agile decisions in real-time:

  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): Monitoring CTR daily provides insights into the effectiveness of your ad copy and creative. A sudden drop may suggest it's time to refresh your messaging, while an increase could indicate a winning formula worth expanding on.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC): Tracking fluctuations can help you adjust bids to maintain visibility without sacrificing cost-effectiveness, especially in competitive bidding environments.
  • Conversion rate: This metric is vital for evaluating the effectiveness of your ads in driving the desired action. Daily tracking helps quickly pinpoint issues or opportunities, allowing for rapid adjustment to landing pages or call-to-action (CTA) elements.
  • Ad position: Your ads' visibility heavily influences their performance. Daily checks on ad position help ensure your ads maintain optimal visibility. 
  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): ROAS provides a direct insight into the profitability of your PPC campaigns. Tracking this metric daily helps quickly identify campaigns that are underperforming or exceeding expectations, guiding strategic investment decisions.

Making data-driven decisions

The most important step in real-time PPC analysis is acting on the findings. Understanding what specific metrics or changes signal the need for action is crucial for maintaining campaign health and optimizing performance.

Here are just some examples:

  • A sudden spike in CPC without a corresponding increase in conversion rate may indicate your campaign is becoming cost-inefficient, and it's time to stop the campaign. 
  • Declining CTR, especially on ads that previously performed well, often signals creative fatigue. Before audience disengagement impacts your campaign's effectiveness, refreshing ad visuals and copy can reinvigorate interest and improve engagement rates.
  • If your campaign's conversion rate begins to falter while CTR remains high, it might be time to revisit your targeting parameters. This discrepancy can indicate that while your ads are compelling, they're not reaching the most qualified prospects. 

Comprehensive Post-Campaign PPC Analysis

Conducting a thorough post-campaign analysis is crucial for understanding the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and laying the groundwork for future success. 

Step-by-step performance evaluation process

Begin by gathering all relevant campaign data across platforms. This includes metrics on impressions, clicks, conversions, spend, and more. To speed up the process, use marketing data aggregation tools to automatically pull all necessary data and prepare it for further analysis. 

Match your collected data against the initial PPC campaign objectives. Whether it was brand awareness, lead generation, or direct sales, assess how the campaign performed in achieving these goals.

Calculate the ROI and ROAS to measure financial efficiency. These calculations provide a clear picture of the campaign's financial impact and help justify marketing investments.

Improvado paid search dashboard is your single source of truth for paid search campaigns.
Improvado PPC dashboard: ROI analysis

Beyond just looking at the number of conversions, analyze the conversion funnel. Identify where prospects dropped off and which touchpoints had the highest conversion rates to understand user behavior better.

Compare the performance of this campaign against previous ones targeting similar objectives. Note any improvements or regressions in key metrics.

PPC keyword analysis

Let's take a closer look at another critical step of post-campaign analytics – conducting a detailed PPC keyword analysis. This analysis provides valuable insights into customer search behavior, campaign relevance, and the overall effectiveness of your keywords in driving desired outcomes. 

Learn how your audiences discover your brands and products with an Improvado keyword analysis dashboard.
Improvado PPC keyword analysis

Start with a granular examination of performance metrics for each keyword, including CTR, CPC, conversion rate, and quality score. However, the analysis must go deeper, examining the cost per acquisition (CPA) and the lifetime value (LTV) of the leads generated. 

Analyze keywords through the lens of the buyer’s journey. Identify which keywords align with awareness, consideration, and decision stages. For instance, high-funnel keywords might have lower direct conversion rates but play a critical role in initial brand exposure. While bottom-funnel keywords, closely aligned with purchase intent, may show higher conversion rates and ROI.

Segment keyword performance by target demographics, industries, job roles, and other relevant customer attributes. This segmentation reveals the preferences and behaviors of different audience segments, informing more targeted and personalized campaign strategies. 

Deriving actionable insights

To guide your post-campaign PPC analysis, here are four areas you can focus on. 

  1. Identify high-performing segments. Look for patterns in the data that indicate particularly successful audience segments, ad placements, or times of day. These insights can guide targeting in future campaigns.
  2. Understand creative performance. Evaluate which ad creatives and formats resonated most with your audience.
  3. Pinpoint optimization opportunities. Where could the campaign have been more efficient? Maybe you wasted ad spend on low-performing keywords or demographics.
  4. Evaluate technology and tool efficacy. Assess the role of automation, AI, and other tools in the campaign's performance. Determine if these technologies met expectations or if adjustments are necessary.

Routine Checks: Daily and Monthly PPC Analysis Checklists

Beyond running real-time and post-campaign PPC analysis, incorporate daily and monthly audits into your workflow. These regular PPC reports serve as a systematic approach to catch issues early, optimize continuously, and align strategies with evolving market conditions. 

Daily PPC audit checklist

Navigate through paid search performance with an Improvado paid search dashboard.
Improvado paid search dashboard, executive summary
  1. Budget monitoring: Verify daily spend against your budget to prevent overspending and ensure even distribution throughout the campaign duration.
  2. Performance fluctuations: Check for significant changes in CTR, CPC, and conversion rates. Sudden shifts may indicate external changes in the competitive landscape or internal issues like ad disapprovals.
  3. Ad status checks: Ensure all ads are running as expected. Quickly address any ads that have been disapproved or paused unexpectedly.
  4. Bid adjustments: Based on performance data, adjust bids to optimize ad placement and cost-efficiency, particularly for high-performing keywords or ad groups.

Monthly PPC report checklist

  1. Comprehensive performance analysis: Review overall campaign performance against objectives. Analyze trends, identify top-performing campaigns and ad groups, and determine areas requiring adjustment.
  2. Keyword performance review: Conduct a deep dive into keyword performance. Identify underperforming keywords for optimization or removal and explore new keyword opportunities based on search query reports.
  3. Landing page conversions: Analyze PPC landing pages and evaluate the conversion rates. Test different elements (e.g., CTA, layout, messaging) to improve performance.
  4. Competitive benchmarking: Review competitors’ strategies and performance. Adjust your approach based on insights gained from auction insights reports and competitive analysis tools.
  5. Creative refresh: Review ad creatives for freshness and relevance. Update or rotate creatives to prevent ad fatigue and maintain audience engagement.

Integrating PPC Data with Broader Marketing Insights

Integrating PPC data with insights from other marketing channels provides even more food for thought and allows for a comprehensive understanding of marketing performance.

For instance, combining PPC and web analytics data unveils conversion paths, revealing the sequences of interactions that lead to conversions. 

Merge ads performance and Google Analytics data for granular insights: geo, device, and more with Improvado.
Improvado PPC dashboard

This integrated view helps identify the most effective pathways and potential friction points within the user experience. 

For instance, if users from PPC campaigns are consistently dropping off at a particular stage in the funnel, this could indicate areas where the website fails to meet the expectations set by the ad or where the user experience needs improvement.

Use Improvado to precisely attribute conversions from 500+ platforms to see their impact on revenue growth
Improvado marketing attribution modeling dashboard

Integration of the PPC report with broader marketing insights also helps accurately assess the value contributed by PPC in conjunction with other channels, such as SEO, email marketing, and social media efforts.

PPC campaigns often serve as either the introduction or the conclusion in the multifaceted customer journey. Understanding the interplay between PPC and other marketing initiatives through attribution modeling has profound implications for strategy development and budget allocation. It enables marketing teams to pinpoint which PPC campaigns are working in tandem with other channels to nurture leads and drive conversions, thereby justifying investment in successful tactics. 

Simplify PPC analysis by partnering with a robust marketing analytics and data management platform. 

Improvado is a marketing analytics solution, tailored for large enterprises and agencies. As a central hub, it integrates with over 500 Ad, MarTech, and CRM platforms, centralizing data into a cohesive marketing dataset. On top of this dataset, Improvado builds a marketing attribution dashboard tailored to your company's needs, PPC report, or any other visualization. Solid data foundation powered by Improvado provides timely and accessible insights for near-real-time optimization opportunities.

Schedule a demo to get one step closer to precisely attributing conversions and seeing their impact on revenue growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is paid search analysis?

Paid search analysis is the process of examining data from pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns to evaluate their performance, identify trends, and uncover insights. It involves analyzing metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, cost per click, and return on ad spend to make informed decisions on optimizing ad copy, keywords, bidding strategies, and overall campaign effectiveness.

What is PPC dashboard?

A PPC dashboard is a digital tool that aggregates and displays key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics from pay-per-click advertising campaigns. It provides a visual overview of campaign performance, including data on clicks, impressions, conversion rates, and spending, enabling marketers to monitor, analyze, and optimize their PPC efforts in real time.

How do I monitor PPC?

To monitor PPC effectively, set up a comprehensive tracking system that includes KPIs like CTR, CPC, conversion rates, and ROAS. Utilize PPC dashboards for real-time tracking and analytics. Regularly review campaign settings, ad copy, and keyword performance to identify areas for optimization. Implement A/B testing to refine your approach based on data-driven insights. For a more integrated solution, Improvado offers a platform that consolidates PPC data across multiple channels into a single dashboard, facilitating easier PPC analysis and enabling marketers to make informed decisions quickly and efficiently.

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