How to Turn Complex PPC Data into Simple Stories

By Brad


General, Google Ads Insights, Performance Analyzer, Reporting

An important aspect of PPC is having your client (which might be your boss or an internal division) understand what is happening in the account from a data perspective and then adding context to the numbers so that someone can easily grasp what is happening.

To accomplish this we need:

  1. An easy way to visualize the data
  2. An understanding of PPC as to how metrics affect each other
  3. Context of what we did in the account in the past timeframe being reported

Most PPC people should have a good idea of #3; as they are the ones who made the changes.

The issues generally stem from easy ways to visualize lots of data and then seeing how metrics are interrelated.

To help with data visualization and interconnected metrics, we use the performance analyzer to give us a quick jumpstart.

For instance, this is a travel company and here’s the main context from the previous month:

  • Travel season is slowing down as most people have already booked summer trips
  • Budgets were reallocated to focus more on fall travel destinations instead of summer travel destinations
    • As the fall is further away than the summer; these conversion rates are generally lower than summer travel due to time delay (people are still planning more than booking) and conversion rates are generally a bit lower in the fall compared to the summer.
  • Ad tests were finished and acted upon
  • The general day to day management was also done

By taking the below chart and those few facts, we can now make a quick story to explain exactly what happened in the account.

A Quick Data Filled Story

In the past month, search volume dropped by 6%. This was to be expected with most summer travel plans already booked. However, due to how we reworked the budgets to focus on the fall vacation packages, our impression share went up by 15% even with the lower search volume. This resulted in a net gain of 8% in impressions.

We finished the ad tests in the campaigns related to 21+ day cruises and 14+ day island getaways and found that these users prefer to watch 20 or more minutes of video about the destination and then call to book their package and get custom recommendations, especially for any flights someone has to take to reach the ports where their cruise ships depart. After reworking the ads to include calls to action to view videos of the destinations; our overall CTR increased by 17% in those specific campaigns 10% account wide.

With the increase in impressions and the increase in CTR; we had 19% more clicks. The CPC did rise 4%, so with the large increase in clicks the total spend went up 24% to $79,094.

The conversion rate slightly declined, decreasing by 7%. As much of the additional volume was for these large fall packages, we expect to see the conversion rate increase from remarketing in the next 30-60 days as users go from examining the packages to booking them.

With the change in clicks and conversion rates, in total we saw an 11% increase in conversions from 308 to 341.

The next step is to increase the remarketing for these long fall vacation packages, especially focusing on YouTube audience remarketing where much of the video watching is taking place along with the destination pages on the website. In the next month, we believe that the remarketing for the long fall vacation trips will increase. We will also start working on the Christmas vacation getaways for families as those package sales are slowly trickling in as family vacations (especially for parents with children) are booked out further in advance than fall vacation packages, which are generally for couples who don’t have children about to start school.

Visualizing the Data

While you can add more client specific context to your story, that short few paragraphs sets the overall tone for what happened, why, and what’s next. It’s not filled with many pages of charts and graphs. You might have that story for a few different initiatives that you are working on; but showing a quick synopsis of what happened and why lets an advertiser quickly understand all the reports and data you are sending them.

To easily create that story (it was less than 5 minutes of work); you need a way to visualize the data. While we prefer the Performance Analyzer as it lays out data from pre-click to click to post-click and the interrelated metrics, you should be using some sort of data visualization tools to make putting the stats down in a graph very easy, and then use your creative side of the brain to look at what happened and provide context to the charts.



Many clients are tired of the old 20+ page data dumps of reports and spreadsheets that don’t really tell them a good story. By using data visualization tools; you are automating the hard part of data analysis and focusing your time on storytelling – which is what helps the client to understand what you are doing, why, and the results in a very easy to comprehend way.

The data just shows data. The story tells someone the actual work you are doing and what their results were from that work so that you can keep your client educated about what is happening so they keep funding your PPC efforts 🙂

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