Previously, I covered the basic steps involved in setting up a Google Analytics account. In this column, I’ll focus on four GA reports to help you better manage your PPC campaigns.

If you are like most search marketers, you’ve often wished for more insight into your campaigns than what AdWords alone can provide. You may also be looking for a “one-stop” place to analyze all of your PPC data from all engines and campaigns. Recent upgrades and enhancements to Google Analytics make both possible.

Google Analytics offers tons of fancy charts and graphs that can be intimidating to even the most seasoned search marketers. To turn that stream of data into useful and actionable information, you must create reports that give you the information you need when you need it.

This month, I will discuss how to create and use four fundamental GA reports to help you manage your campaigns. These are:

  • Goals > Funnel Visualization
  • Custom Reporting
  • Traffic Sources > Search Engines
  • Content >Top Content Report

A quick recap from part one: Any of the reports reviewed here can be added to your Dashboard. They can also be set up as recurring reports under the Email>Schedule tab. How you view the data varies as well, whether as a table, percentage, performance, comparison, pivot or detail. Lastly, you can deliver finished reports in Excel, or PDF, XML, TSV or CSV based on your preference.

Now let’s take a look at the four fundamental reports that will help you manage your campaigns.

Goals > funnel visualization

Setting up goals is vital to understanding PPC performance. The Goal>Funnel Visualization report will show you a visual representation of a goal funnel based on the steps that you defined for the goal. Much like a real funnel, this report can also show you where the “leaks” are in your website’s steps to goal completion.

I use this report to identify key reasons prospects don’t take the desired online actions. This is a great way to identify steps in the “path to conversion” that need to be improved. For example, if the report indicates that the vast majority of prospects are bailing before completing a registration form, then perhaps your form is too long or onerous based on the perceived value of what is received in exchange for personal contact information.

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Custom reporting

Custom reports can be set up for information that you need daily or monthly. If you find that you are running multiple reports and then combining into one report, this might be a good solution for you. The user-friendly interface makes setting up these reports pretty easy, but you will want to use the Preview Report feature to make sure that you are capturing what you intended prior to saving the report.

One custom report that I use weekly is a single view report of revenue by source/medium. With one click, I can easily review and compare how each campaign, ad group and keyword is performing in terms of revenue generation. This type of insight is critically important if you need to better focus a limited PPC budget or improve overall ROI.

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Traffic sources > search engines

This report breaks down the site traffic by source (e.g. total/paid/non-paid), site usage, goal conversion or ecommerce. This report will give you information on where your site traffic is coming from, and which sources/mediums are trending up or down. You can also look at month over last very easily.

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Content >top content report

This report shows which pages or sections are the most popular on your website. Pages with fewer visits can be better optimized and landing page efforts can be evaluated. Once you click through on to the page that you want to view, take a look at the Analysis features. Navigation and Entrance data can be displayed and is particularly helpful in analyzing user behavior.

I primarily use this report to identify landing page opportunities, opportunities for improvement in content, navigation and for text ad optimization. As you might suspect, this is a great report for SEO as well.

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PPC & Google Analytics: a symbiotic relationship

There is no doubt that using Google Analytics for all of your PPC needs makes sense. The cross-engine compatibility, user-friendly interface, robust Help section and an unlimited number of ways to pivot information makes PPC management a breeze.

Please be sure to review Part One of this article to insure that you are starting off on the right foot with Google Analytics. Of particular importance are making sure that GA has been properly installed on the website pages that you are tracking. Also, that you have properly used the GA URL Builder, or compatible application to build your keywords for the other engines.

Most importantly, have fun and remember to always test and refine. The more you use Google Analytics, the more you will learn to love it!

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: B2B Search Marketing Column | Channel: Analytics | Google: Analytics

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About The Author: is an Account Director at SmartSearch Marketing, a Boulder, Colorado-based search engine marketing agency. Sami has extensive experience in comprehensive marketing analysis across all online marketing media, including paid search, affiliate programs, organic optimization and email marketing for both B2C and B2B clients.

Connect with the author via: Email



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