Now that we’re more than halfway through 2020, there are some reports you can be running to identify high-level trends with (likely) a decent amount of data.
1. Long-term Search Query Analysis
This is most certainly a part of your regular PPC analysis, but having 180+ days worth of data can be powerful in identifying trends that might be missed on month-to-month reviews.
A couple of filters that you can apply to quickly identify on-going trends:
- Impression Threshold + Not “Added or Excluded”: Setting an impression threshold of greater than 10, 25 or 50 impressions will help to identify queries that are appearing frequently. This can help you identify terms that should be watched or even considered as a negative if it is outside the scope of your products or services.
- Conversions + Not “Added or Excluded”: This filter can help you identify queries that should be considered to be added as keywords.
2. User Location Reports
This is one of my favorite reports as it shows the region, metro area, city and most specific location target where users are viewing your ads. This can be helpful to identify areas that your ads may or may not be performing as expected.
If you’re targeting the entire U.S., or even a large chunk of states, it can take a long period to generate enough data to see actionable trends.
This report can be found under the Predefined Reports section.
You can view this report directly within Google Ads and even add or remove columns as needed.
Depending on traffic levels, you might want to consider adding some of these geographic target as layers in your campaigns. If not, at least it’s a great way to keep an eye on trends for the remainder of the year!
3. Competitor Analysis
Especially in today’s market, it’s important to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing – in PPC and in paid social.
Paid Social Competitor Analysis
In recent years, Facebook and LinkedIn have released tools that allow advertisers’ ads to be available for viewing at any time. Facebook’s Ad Library allows you to see active and inactive ads, countries and states that the ads are targeting, an estimate of amount spent on the ad and an estimated age/gender breakdown.
LinkedIn has a similar tool that allows you to see ads by Page. While you can’t see estimated spend, breakdowns of age/genders who saw the ads, or how long the ad has been running, you can see the preview of the ad as well as click through to the landing page.
PPC Competitor Analysis
I recently wrote an in-depth article about tips for PPC competitor analysis.
In both Google and Microsoft, you can utilize the Ad Preview & Diagnostics Tools that allow you to see your ads and competitor ads live on the SERPs without racking up impressions.
In addition to the tools made available by the channels, I also recommend using a third-party tool like SpyFu to help identify holes in your PPC strategies that competitors may be using.
4. Quality Score Analysis
While Quality Score is not a KPI, it is an important metric that can have lingering effects on your keywords and account overall.
There is often a correlation between low Quality Score and high CPCs/CPAs. This is a useful report to run at least two times per year to identify keywords that may need improvements.
If you want to get started with a Quality Score Analysis, I’d recommend checking out this post from Clix’s Abby Woodcock about how to take a deep dive.
A couple of quick tips:
- Download all of your active keywords into Excel.
- Create a pivot table by Quality Score including the metrics that are most important to you.
- Since CPA and conversion rate are usually KPIs for my clients, we use those to identify which QS needs the most help.
- I like to add the landing page experience and ad relevance columns for more insight on what Google thinks about these. (I take these scores with a grain of salt.)
5. Low Clickthrough Analysis
This analysis is actually one of my personal favorites. I like to conduct this analysis at least twice a year as well.
I prefer to use a benchmark of less than 1.0% clickthrough rate, but you can adjust that to fit your accounts. If the account is really large, I’ll add an impression filter of greater than 50/100/200 impressions so that I can dedicate time to keywords with the most volume. This analysis can be very time consuming, as there are a lot of factors that can play into low CTR.
If you want to hop into a low CTR analysis, I’d recommend this guide to the Ultimate Low CTR Analysis. It outlines the five buckets you should examine: below first page bid, low intent, bad queries, high competition, and ad copy..
6. Display Ads Auto Placement Review
Similar to search query analysis, this is likely a report you run bi-weekly or monthly on your Display campaigns.
However, even despite your best efforts, if you’re not reviewing the placements at a longer interval than every 14- to 30-days, you’re likely missing long-term trends that can have a big impact on your campaigns.
Tips for useful auto-placement reviews:
- Download the auto-placement report. I like to add a filter to only look at placements with greater than 10 impressions. You could even go up to 50 impressions if the campaign has a lot of traffic.
- Create a pivot table to see the summary for each placement.
- If you copy/paste the pivot table data (without column headers) into a blank sheet, you can use filters to identify placements with words or suffixes that you want to weed out.
Here is a recent post on reviewing auto-placements on the Google Display Network that I would recommend for an even deeper dive!
7. Day of the Week/Time of Day Reports
This is a report that you likely reviewed to get an ad schedule in place. Why is this something you should review mid-year? Because search behavior can change throughout the year. Since summer is a time that people traditionally travel and spend time outside away from devices, it’s like there are some fluctuations during this time.
Especially with the current market, it’s likely that your customers are searching differently or interacting with your ads a bit differently than they did prior to March 2020.
By reviewing this report, you can make any necessary changes to your ad schedules (like extending ads to show until 10 P.M. versus 8 P.M. in the winter). You will also be able to identify if budgets need to be adjusted based on time of day reports.
8. Extension Review
Extensions are something that I like to review regularly, but it can often take 90, 120 or ever 180 days to gather enough data to make informed decisions.
Reviewing these mid-year at a high-level will allow you to identify what is or isn’t working.
To get the most useful view of extension performance in Google, you’ll want to segment This Extensions vs. Other to get the full picture.
This report will show you the metrics associated with clicks directly on that extension versus metrics associated with other parts of the ad. I like to use 30/60/90/120 day increments to identify any on-going trends that may not be as obvious in regular monthly reviews.
Google has introduced a couple of new extension types that could also be tested in the remaining months of 2020. For B2B and lead gen advertisers, Google lead form extensions can be useful. Earlier this year, Google began rolling out image extensions. New extensions were also released for YouTube ads in late 2019.
These are the 8 year-to-date reports and analyses I would recommend. There are a lot of additional takeaways that can be garnered from these reports and audits to improve your accounts!
What reports, audits and analyses do you recommend? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!