3 New Google Analytics Custom Reports a PPC Marketer Should Be Using
Michael Wiegand Nov 18 2008
If there’s one amazing thing about Google Analytics, it’s that Google’s ability to improve it is never dormant. At their Mountain View compound, they’re always looking for a way to constantly better their products.
Here at Portent, we have a similar resolve – except that ours is to exploit Google’s tools to achieve our internet marketing goals.
That being said, here are 3 new reports that you can put together quickly that’ll immediately benefit your PPC campaign building techniques. Just open up the Custom Reporting section and click on “create a new custom report” to get started!
Traffic Quality by Hour of the Day
One of my favorite pastimes – for paid search especially – is to determine which hours of the day are best for the internet business in question. In the past, Hour of the Day was merely a time filter that you could apply to goal and revenue data. Now, with custom reporting, you can make Hour of the day your dimension and measure any site usage stat you want against it.
I chose to highlight 3 key metrics widely regarded as good traffic quality indicators: Time on Site, Pages per Visit, and Bounce Rate.
With these metrics in my custom report, I can see exactly how people are behaving on the site during what hours of the day and can then adjust the ad scheduling and budget in my campaigns accordingly.
For example, during the hours of 11am and 1pm on Mondays and Wednesdays, I saw that visitors stayed on the site longer, saw more pages and didn’t bounce nearly as often. I adjusted my budgets to make sure that during those hours on those days that my ads appeared to capture those interested visitors. Conversely on Fridays during those same hours, I saw a much poorer quality of visitor and lessened my bids for that day and time.
In-Depth Revenue by City
Another high demand feature is not only determining when your users are at their most attentive, but also where.
Geo-targeting is a common practice in paid search, and this’ll give you a fantastic starting point for figuring out where to allocate your PPC dollars, your break-even point, and how much you shoot for spending per click to get a great ROI.
To create your own custom report to determine revenue by city and set City as your dimension. Then choose these metrics: Revenue, Per Visit Value, and Average Value and save.
Geo-targeting, previously, was limited to revenue data. Now there’s no limit to the depth of how you can look at performance data from a particular city or metro.
For instance, I would notice that I get less traffic from several cities in Virginia, but the traffic I do get has a very high level of conversion, and the average visitor value is much higher than the rest of my campaign. Taking this into account, I could duplicate a campaign using my most popular ads and keywords and target them just to Richmond, Norfolk, etc. This would help me bypass competition is other larger areas and save budget for these valuable visitors in a specific region.
AdWords Keyword Visualization
For us “visual learners”, the new custom reporting tool has a visualization feature.
Under “Traffic Sources,” enter Keyword as your dimension and pick the metrics: Clicks, Cost, and CTR. Then run your new report on the account of your choice. In the top grey navigation (next to the export options) there’s a button that says “Visualize.” Click that and watch your data come alive!
It’ll create a slick flash-driven graph with a fully customizable x and y axis. In addition to mapping out your chart in separate colors (and optional sizes), you can play a time lapse video of your date range to look for spikes in costs or click through rate.
It may seem purely aesthetic, but actually seeing a huge spike in costs or clicks on a particular day can be very useful and allow you to better diagnose problems or spot improvements in your campaigns.
Let’s say your costs spike on a particular day for a certain keyword – go back to AdWords Change History tool and check: was there a campaign or bid change made that day? Or, if it’s a traffic spike: did you add a keyword that day or make changes to match types? In either scenario, this is a very fast way to make a conclusion and adjust accordingly.
From Useful to Game Changing
This feature set isn’t only useful, it’ll change the way you run your campaigns. Google Analytics started as a tool that gave us a slew of site usage data and now it’s evolving into a tool that allows us to dynamically use that data in a very powerful and meaningful way.
In 14 years as a marketer, Michael's experience has run the gamut from design, development, direct mail, multivariate testing, print and search. He now heads Portent's Analytics practice, overseeing everything from Google Tag Management, to CRM integration for closed loop analytics, to solving ponderous digital marketing questions. Outside of work, he enjoys recording music, playing JRPGs and supporting Seattle Sounders FC. Read More