Performance Management in PPC: Daily Doses of Data

By Buck Dossey, Associate Director, Client Strategy & Development

Microsoft Excel provides search marketers with more tools than we know what to do with – sorting, de-duping, pivot tables, pivot charts, pie charts, bar charts, area charts, scatter-plots, database connectivity, Microsoft query, web queries, conditional formatting, plug-ins, macros, forms, vbscript, etc., etc. etc… The list really is too long to enumerate. The key to driving the greatest amount of success for search marketers is being able to leverage the right tools in the right way on a consistent basis, and also to evangelize those methods and practices across all members of the team.

One challenge that senior search marketers run into is that many team members approach data analysis in as many different ways as there are members of the team. In other words, no one looks at data in the same way. This provides the benefit that everyone should be able to bring different observations to daily performance discussions, but unfortunately that does not outweigh the drawbacks of this approach.

What happens all-too-often is that, without a consistent, disciplined approach to daily data analysis, achieving a uniform base-level understanding of actual performance is often not possible. It is usually overlooked in favor of developing analysis of specific nuances of an account that might appeal to each individual user. In many cases, team members end up spending time discussing what actual performance is rather than focusing on solutions or new ideas. In the bleakest of scenarios, performance might even not be discussed in favor of talking about what is next in the tactical plan and what must be done for the day.

Of course, not all initiatives require daily monitoring. As any search marketer knows, for some campaigns in slower verticals with awareness or consideration goals, it is recommended to not look at the data every single day to mitigate over-optimization. But for the lion’s share, (and exacerbated by the worsening economy), efficiency is king and daily monitoring, essential.

This is no truer than in the case of aggressive DR marketers. It is absolutely essential that every person on every team have an established framework for analyzing data on a consistent basis. Ideally, that framework would have roots in consistency across all members of the team, but would allow for each individual to conduct his or her own investigations into trends that catch their attention, and allow them to innovate new ways of viewing data, should they desire.

So try it out! You’ll find as a search marketer that you’ll have a great deal of success with helping each person on your team develop a baseline view of data that takes a consistent form so that the level of conversation between team members escalates beyond “what happened and what are we doing next?” to “I saw this happen and think x,y or z solutions could capitalize further.” Teams spend less time discussing performance with each other and spend more time talking about solutions that affect the businesses.

It’s this type of proactive attitude that drives teams to think from the innovative, entrepreneurial, business-focused perspective that drives growth for our campaigns, our companies, and ourselves.


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