Analysing & Acting On Your Q4 PPC Performance

Analysing Your Q4 Performance

I remember having a conversation with a client about how they were going to Christmas card fairs in January. Apparently, this happens every year.

This got me thinking; it’s never too early to think about next Black Friday / Christmas / Boxing Day Sale / insert busy time of year here…

But, in order to do that, we must first analyse the data from the last quarter of 2018, ensuring that we capitalise on areas that performed well and look to improve in places that didn’t quite hit the heights we’d have liked. Here are my three simple steps to getting the most out of Q4s data:

1. Q4s Good Bits & Q4s Bad Bits…
A good starting point is your use of sale ads; presumably you’ll have utilised Google Ads by updating your ad copy to mention any sales you were running, plus the availability of promotion extensions for search and Merchant Promotions for your Google Shopping campaigns. If you didn’t, then why? – and don’t let that happen again! But if you did use sale messages in your ads, evaluate how they performed;
Analysing Your Q4 Performance (1)

Using real data to analyse and plan is far better than going off a hunch for what you think you should do next time. Be a data-digger and familiarise yourself with the good, the bad and all that was in-between, from what can be the busiest time of year for some advertisers.

2. Got Goals? Go Get ‘Em (But First, Plan!)
Next up, what do you need out of this year? It’s all well and good evaluating performance from last year, but acting on that involves planning for this years peak times. The best thing you can do here is use the data discussed above and use that to help focus on your aims and aspirations for the year ahead.

Maybe CTR dropped during the Black Friday weekend. That’s not good; this time around we’ll tweak the promotional messages in our ads.
Perhaps you remember seeing that some of your campaigns were limited by budget during your Boxing Day sale; in 2019 set aside extra budget for peak times to avoid missing out on potentially valuable traffic.
Last year you smashed your return on ad spend (ROAS) target in Q4, but the revenue wasn’t quite where you’d have liked it to have been; this year focus your bid optimisation around volume, rather than ROAS by modifying your bid management strategies.

There are countless ways in which you can use extremely recent data from busy times to help ensure that you’re ahead of the curve for Q4 2019.

3. ‘Here’s To The Crazy Ones’ – Steve Jobs
Okay, so maybe you don’t need to go crazy, but you could be brave in 2019 by trying something new this year. If you had a great Q4 and you’ve analysed all the data until all you’re seeing is what feels like binary code, then that’s great – well done you, reward you and your team with a pink gin and tonic (berries or cucumber optional). If Q4 was a bit rubbish, or just didn’t quite live up to expectations, then hopefully some of the above will help to inspire you to try to make sure that doesn’t happen this again year. However, whether Q4 of 2018 saw you smash targets with superb returns, or made you feel shoddy and therefore like smashing your computer up, the good news is: you get to do it all again this year!
And what better way to tweak your strategy than by adding something new? Your advertising can’t become something you want it to be if it just remains how it is!

Analysing Your Q4 Performance

One idea could be that this year you’ll be more creative with your audiences and run remarketing campaigns for users who’ve interacted with your site in the lead up to the festive season, but who haven’t purchased from you.

Another way you try something new is to run some display ads – not to be confused with the above – but by going out and targeting people who are in-market for your products, you can attract potential customers on the Google Display Network while they’re browsing various sites.

Possibly, quite possibly, 2019 could be the year you try Bing Ads for the first time. Here at Mabo we’ve recently been transforming our Bing Ads service, making sure it’s the best it can be and we’ve been rewarded by being shortlisted for Independent Agency of The Year at the EMEA Bing Partner Awards, which is super cool. So maybe you too could go all in on Bing and show it some love, expanding out onto a platform with roughly 20% of the UK market share and typically a higher average order value than that of a Google user. That’s suddenly sparked your interest, hasn’t it?

Whatever it is that you go for in 2019, make sure you’re fully aware of how the key aspects of your account performed in the last months of 2018, making sure that you analyse the data and learn from it. Where possible, get budgets, aims and strategies in place early and if all that seems too much like hard work and you feel a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of another crazy year managing your Google Ads account, or feel like it needs a second pair of eyes, you could always ask the best small PPC agency in Europe for their thoughts on your account – for free! Just going to leave that there.