SEM Reporting: Making the Most of Your Campaigns


Published: September 18, 2017 Author: Jason Holicky - Hometown Design Studio Inc.
SEM Reporting: Making the Most of Your Campaigns

Following up on the performance of your search engine marketing campaigns is an important way to make sure you’re not only targeting the right people, but also that you’re making the most of your budget.

Here’s what you need to know about common reports, what to look for, and which insights matter the most. Which Advertising System to Use?

When you choose Google Adwords or Bing Ads for your SEM, each comes with robust reporting capabilities that you can use to analyze information. For example, Google Analytics is a one-stop location for SEM reports along with analytics for your website, too.

If you’re using a third party to manage your advertising, you might receive custom reports that are built just for you. Which Numbers Matter Most?

The first time you take a look at SEM reports, you might be overwhelmed with the amount of information that is available. While a highly-focused look into some campaign specifics can be a good way to zero in on trouble areas, the most important figures should include:

  • Total Spend. This number is pretty straightforward: it’s how much you’ve spent over the designated time frame. Even if you’ve set a budget, the numbers do not always match up exactly so you want to see what the bottom line is.

  • Impressions. Although you are not paying for impressions with a PPC campaign, it’s still important to see how many times your ads were viewed. In the Google Display Network, you’ll be paying for impressions so this number is critical.

  • Clicks. For a PPC campaign, clicks are what you’re paying for so keeping a close eye is important. For every type of digital advertising, knowing your click-through rate--or the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions--will give you an idea of how your audience is responding to your ads.

  • Conversions. In most cases, this is the number that counts the most. Is your audience taking the action you want from your advertising? Is the number of conversion on par with the number of impressions and clicks?

Along with these main items, you’ll also want to take a look at any areas that have a significant change over time. Positive changes will show you what’s working; negative changes will show you where you need to dig a little deeper to find out what to improve.

Expert Insights

When you’re working with an SEM company to help with your SEM, you should be looking for key recommendations based on the reporting as well. For example, you’ll want to see specific ideas for improving ad performance including fine-tuning keywords, updating landing pages, or increasing your budget. It’s also helpful to get SEO recommendations as all your digital assets should be working together to improve your bottom line.

How Often to Check Reporting?

A daily check-in with your PPC campaigns is usually a good idea, but you don’t need detailed reporting on a daily basis. Instead, you should only be looking for things that stand out or that have changed significantly in a short period.

Weekly reporting for your campaigns will help keep things on track and on budget. The most helpful insights will come after your SEM campaigns and SEO efforts have had a few months to work as comparing data over time will give you the best idea of your overall performance.

About the Author

Creative Director Jason co-founded Hometown Design Studio of New Lenox, IL in 2013. He spends his days guiding and consulting industrial clients and small businesses owners on their marketing strategy and projects. Jason enables everyone to be successful and grow their business by sharing his knowledge and experience.
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