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Five Killer Paid Search Reports

If you’re a typical marketer, you probably spend three to four days per month reporting. You need to make the most of that time, or reduce it by a day, or your personal ROI—the contribution you make to your company’s or client’s results—goes down! Do everyone a favor and stop drowning yourself in meaningless data. Instead, pull high-impact, actionable reports that provide true insight. Picking favorite reports is a little subjective, but here are five I go to often. Here, I reference Google Analytics report formats. If you’re using another solution, adjust the terminology accordingly.

Map Overlay

Geotargeting is baked into some accounts, but in other cases it only comes into play when trying to fine-tune mature accounts. I use the map overlay report to get an idea of what geographic locations are performing best, and to gauge where to continue with optimization efforts. I’ll scale back or pause terms in geographic locations that are not converting. I’ll also look to see if it makes sense to increase exposure in hot markets. Needless to say, you want to tie ROI to the geographical information you’re presented with in this report. It would obviously be a mistake to focus solely on click volume or other obvious measures of popularity or spend.


Per Visit Value

Located in ecommerce type reporting, this report allows us to see revenue per click as opposed to the narrower viewpoint provided by the cost per order stat. With this, fuller revenue information is attributed to specific keywords. In a campaign geared to selling packaging materials, we incorporated the words “bulk” and “wholesale,” expecting that we would target a different type of consumer—specifically larger order and larger dollar value customers. In looking at this report, we learned that this was not the case and the revenue per click was comparable to any other typical keywords in the account. Essentially, the data showed that bulk and wholesale terms are just another set of keywords that do not predictably lead to a different type of customer. Had we assumed a larger cost per order figure and watched on the cost per order report, we may have overbid on bulk terms and underestimated lifetime value for “ordinary” terms.

Site Overlay

The report visually displays the number of clicks, transactions, revenue or specific goal values related to hyperlinks on web pages. With this report, I focus on areas that have very high and/or very low revenue figures. In the areas on the page with a high number of clicks, I look for:

  • Keyword brainstorming and generating additional keyword ideas
  • Additional product advertising ideas
  • New campaign ideas
  • Landing page optimization ideas especially related to the location of information (in this case hyperlinks) on a page

In the areas on the page with a low number of clicks, I focus on removing information, images, navigation that’s people are not clicking on. In general, if information is not serving a specific and useful purpose, it should not be on the page. Clearing out poorly performing information makes room for other information (like information that converts well).


Landing Page Performance

At a glance, this report gives you information on which landing pages are and are not converting. The report can quickly pinpoint pages that need improvement. Also, in examining pages that are converting, advertisers can brainstorm ideas related to which elements are working and test them on non-converting or under-converting landing pages.

Budget Optimization


In this report, you can see the percentage of ad spend broken out per hour of the day. In the example above, it may make sense to pause campaigns from 1am to 6am when there is less than 1% of budget being spent per hour and reallocate it to times when there’s more traffic and budget spent. Again, advertisers would have to cross reference budget optimization information with sales data to ensure accounts are being optimizing to ROI and not only click volume.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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