PPC Analysis: 4 Expert Tips for Conducting an Impactful PPC Analysis

Author's avatar Analytics UPDATED Apr 23, 2024 PUBLISHED Mar 8, 2024 11 minutes read

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    Peter Caputa

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    A thorough PPC analysis helps you understand how your pay-per-click (PPC) campaign did and ways you can improve it.

    However, the key to an effective PPC analysis that leaves you with actionable takeaways to try for the next PPC campaign is making sure you’re looking at the right metrics.

    Without that, you can easily end up looking at numbers that don’t contribute much to a PPC campaign’s success.

    So which PPC analysis metrics should you be looking at? And what are some never-miss PPC analysis best practices?

    We asked 33 experts — all of whom perform PPC analysis. 48.57% of them come from the agency world (marketing, digital, or media), 37.14% are from the B2C services/products field, and the remaining 14.29% are from the B2B services/products industry.

    Here’s what you’ll learn today:


    What Should Be Included in a PPC Analysis?

    CTR, traffic, budget, quality score, and audience are the top five things to look at in a PPC analysis. 50% and more of the companies we spoke to agreed that they monitor these metrics.

    Let’s break it down:

    • 77.14% look at their click-through rate or how often people looking at their ad, click and engage with it.
    • 71.43 keep tabs on the traffic that they drive to their website from the PPC campaign.
    • 62.86% monitor their budget — how much of it has been spent or how much more has been spent to meet the campaign’s objective.
    • 57.14% look at the quality score or the score that Google gives your ads and the keywords you’re targeting to determine their quality and relevance.
    • 54.29% review their audience. This includes understanding the devices they use, their socioeconomic status, interests, and demographic information helps create a more effective bid strategy and better optimize your ad copy.

    Related: Google Ads Click-Through Rate (CTR): What’s Considered “Good” and How Can You Increase It?

    Other important metrics to include in a PPC analysis are impression share, profile per impression/click, engagement times, ad groups and their segmentation, wasted spend, and more.

    What Should Be Included in a PPC Analysis?

    Top 3 PPC Analysis Tools

    The majority of our contributors use the following tools for analyzing their PPC campaigns:

    1. SEMrush. 62.86% use it.
    2. Ahrefs. 57.14% use it.
    3. Google Ads editor. 57.14% use it.

    Additionally, Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends are two more widely used tools that are both used by 48.57% of the surveyed companies.

    Best PPC Analysis Tools

    How Do You Analyze a PPC Campaign? 4 Best Practices and Examples from PPC Experts

    Now for the meaty bit. Briefly:

    1. Keep researching your audience
    2. Track your competition
    3. Find performance bottlenecks
    4. Always check the basics

    1. Keep researching your audience

    Studying your target audience is the most effective tip for optimizing any marketing campaign — be it a PPC campaign or a social media plan.

    The reason? It’s only when you can reach the correct people that you can get conversions. Even if you’re reaching the right people, it’s important to bear in mind that your ads can only encourage them to engage if the content resonates with them.

    The secret to this? Knowing your audience — the device they’re using, their interests, their location, and more.

    Dads Agree’s Brandon Walsh echoes the same. “In my experience, the most impactful way to conduct a PPC analysis is to identify the target audience. Understanding the audience is a key factor in helping me determine how well my PPC campaigns work (or don’t).”

    Here’s what they do as part of their audience research: “What I do is analyze my customers based on their demographic. So, things such as what average age my target audience is, what location they are from, and what socio-economic background they belong to are all important.

    “This gives me a deeper insight into who my customers really are,” Walsh explains. “Additionally, I also look at the way they interact on my sites, such as through comments and reviews. As a result, I can understand their preferences and create better PPC ads.”

    “It also helps to know what device they are using when they click on my ads. So, if the audience mostly uses mobile phones, I can optimize the site accordingly.”

    Talking about the benefits of thoroughly studying their audience, Walsh writes: “Knowing about these small things has helped me develop strategies to improve their overall experience. I have also been able to create ad copies that the audience can better relate to.

    As a result, this has led to higher engagement and better conversion rates. All in all, my company’s overall sales have also improved.”

    At The Rideshare Guy, the focus is similar. Harry Campbell shares, “Our initial focus when analyzing PPC campaigns was to analyze our audience in-depth and optimize accordingly. We analyzed who our audience is and explored the best ways to serve our ads.”

    To add to this, Campbell notes: “Analyzing our competitors and their methods was also important as it allowed us to find shortcuts and more efficient ways to advertise. This helped us minimize wasted spend and optimize all of our ads for quality score & top performance.”

    What’s more, studying competitors can help you see how they’re engaging their audience. Reading their product/service reviews will also help you understand what people are liking and disliking about them. Use the information to unearth your audience’s struggles and position your business as the solution they need.

    2. Track your competition

    Speaking of studying the competition, Rodney Warner from Connective Web Design points out,

    “The best way to conduct an impactful PPC analysis is to track your competition. This is one of the most important practices to keep in mind because it shows how successful your campaigns are compared to others.”

    “It also allows us to analyze the keywords used by the competitors on their site, which increases their organic traffic,” Warner adds.  

    “So, we incorporate the same SEO words to increase our engagement and brand reach. This particular strategy has further helped us to narrow down our list of keywords. That’s because we can see what works after reviewing competitors’ campaigns.”

    Studying competitors helps you not just identify keywords to target but also understand how their ad copy differs. Look for how their copy is formatted, their calls-to-action (CTAs), the power words they use in their copy, and so on.

    The plan here isn’t to copy. Instead, identify patterns to understand what works. Then, double down on that.

    3. Find performance bottlenecks

    Even though it seems a PPC campaign’s goal is to drive traffic, the ultimate end goal is conversions. But the truth is that it can be easy to lose sight of this end goal.

    So, instead of obsessing over ad click traffic, National Positions’ Matt Erickson recommends identifying conversion bottlenecks. In other words, look for possible reasons why the incoming traffic isn’t converting after clicking your ads.

    For example, why isn’t the traffic completing a form you’ve shared, requesting a free trial, buying your products, signing up for your newsletter — whatever your goal may be.

    Says Erickson: “While on the surface, businesses may think that all they need are more ad click traffic — the reality is that we need to know where the conversion bottlenecks really are in order to build a campaign strategy that will keep ROAS high and CPL in check at the same time.”

    Related: Google Ads Forecasting: How to Improve Your ROAS With Accurate Projections

    “The best way we have found is to start by uncovering where the actual performance bottlenecks are before building or optimizing a strategy,” Erickson explains. “For example, where are the biggest gaps in exposure, actual ad clicks, landing page conversion/goal completions, etc.”

    Other possible bottlenecks include: 

    • A poorly designed landing page that does little to hold the traffic’s attention
    • A slow-loading website or landing
    • An unclear CTA

    Related: 16 Expert Strategies for Researching Your Ad Campaign’s PPC Keywords

    4. Always check the basics

    This one’s a hat tip to Patrick Garde from ExaWeb Corporation who recommends:

    1. Looking at your ad segments
    2. Checking your campaign settings and bidding method
    3. Reviewing your budget

    “To conduct an impactful PPC analysis, we usually get back to the basics,” Garde shares. “First, we check the campaign structure to check if the ad groups are correctly segmented.”

    Sharing a client’s example, Garde points out: “We have a client that previously only had one campaign and one ad group for all their product categories. We noticed that some ads show even though it’s not relevant or there should have been a more appropriate landing page, for example.”

    “Second, we double-check the Campaign Settings and Bidding Method,” Garde continues. “In our experience, we have a client that did not have proper settings and bidding strategy.

    Related: When Should You Use Google Ads Smart Bidding? Advice from 20+ PPC Experts

    Their campaign goal was App Downloads, even though they do not have an app available for download. Their bidding method was Target Impression Share. However, Maximize Conversions is more appropriate as they monitor how many leads messaged them via their contact form.”

    “Lastly, we review the Budget and other ways we can avoid ‘Wasted Spend’ like adding negative keywords, running ads on a schedule, etc,” concludes Garde.

    At Pixoul, this last point on reducing wasted spending is crucial. Devon Fata from the team shares, “This is one of the standard analyses we run with our clients when they’re reviewing their overall online presence.

    Our number one focus with PPC ads is on reducing wasted spending. We want to do everything we can to make sure that both the ad itself and the landing page are going to effectively lead to solid conversions.”

    Some ways to reduce your ad spend include improving your ad quality score, targeting a specific audience, advertising on channels where your audience is present, and using the right keywords.

    Related: Google Ads Quality Score: 18 Tips for Improving Your Next Campaign


    Monitor and Analyze Your PPC Performance in Databox

    In a nutshell, a thorough PPC analysis mainly involves studying your audience and competitors, identifying performance bottlenecks, and reviewing the basics such as campaign settings and bidding model.

    As you study your PPC campaigns though, make sure you have an easy overview of the campaign performance. In fact, you can only best review your PPC campaign’s performance when you see the key campaign metrics in an easy-to-understand manner.

    To this end, we recommend plugging your campaign data sources into Databox so that it can show all your metrics (think: campaign impressions, clicks, cost, and more) on one dashboard.

    This makes it super easy for you to review important PPC campaign metrics since all metrics are displayed on one screen and they’re all presented in a visually engaging manner.

    So what are you waiting for? Sign up for Databox for free and create your first, easy-to-read PPC analysis dashboard today.

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    Masooma Memon

    Masooma is a freelance writer for SaaS and a lover to-do lists. When she's not writing, she usually has her head buried in a business book or fantasy novel.

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