Over the years, a lot has changed about PPC. Clients expect us to be more integrated with their overall business strategy and goals, and not just work in a silo. In particular, I have noticed a shift in our audit clients and what sort of presentation resonates the best. Gone are the days when we can just poke through an account’s settings, list high CPL keywords, recommend some ad scheduling and call it a day.
In a recent overhauling of our audit process, we’ve outlined an improved process for getting the right information from the client, and structuring our analysis & findings in a way that tells a better story. If you saw the title of this post and immediately thought “this doesn’t apply to me, I don’t do audits” – the principles outlined here apply to any client facing (or boss facing!) presentation.
Here’s how to set up your audit for success.
In order to provide relevant and useful information, we need to know about the business. Here’s a list of questions I like to ask on the kickoff call.
- What is the main thing you’re hoping to get out of this audit?
- What is your sales process like?
- If ecommerce -> which products are your best sellers / highest profit margins?
- If lead gen -> talk us through the sales process, how long is the sales cycle?
- What are your major pain points that we can help you with?
- What are our KPIs? What metrics does your boss care about?
The most important piece at this stage in the process is clarity. We should leave this meeting having a clear picture of the business and what challenges we are aiming to help them with.
After the initial call, go through your call notes (you did have a designated note taker, right??) and create an outline. For each pain point, list what analysis and/or tools you are going to use to provide recommendations. In my experience, the benefits of having a strong outline are as follows:
- Saves you time – don’t waste time on pulling reports that you don’t need!
- Guides your final presentation
- Ensures that your points are actually solving issues the client cares about
- Ensures that you are providing concrete takeaways & action items
Here’s an example of how we format this
As a bonus, I like to add the checkbox feature and some conditional formatting to indicate which tasks have been completed.
My favorite part of structuring the outline in this way is that it easily translates into a slide deck. Each challenge that is a major headline is a section in the presentation. This will help you cut out the fluff will drastically improve the flow of your presentation.
Data analysis is well received when we can tell a story with it. Instead of just dumping a bunch of numbers and graphs into a slide deck, give some context behind it. Why is this important? What does it mean for the business? These are key questions that you should consider for every single slide and every takeaway.
Here is how we might structure the slides for each section (which corresponds to a specific objective):
- Significance: why are we talking about this? How are business KPIs impacted by an inefficient account?
- Historical Performance & Findings: let’s talk about the past data & trends
- Recommendations: based on the significance and historical performance review, give very specific action items (include estimated impact on revenue/leads if possible)
A crucial piece of a successful audit is providing any necessary supporting documents. I highly recommend not trying to cram everything into PowerPoint slides. It’s not pretty, and it’s just not effective. Instead, take this approach:
Did you create a slide that you really love about quality score, but get the feeling that it doesn’t quite fit where you’ve placed it? The appendix might be a good spot for it! This allows you to focus on your most impactful material during the presentation. A good audit will include a thorough review of the “boring” stuff – like campaign settings, number of ad extensions, location targeting, etc. – but that doesn’t necessarily need to be a large focus in the presentation.
This is a great way to avoid placing too much text on your slides. I like to include detailed notes in notes section for each slide, which I send along after the presentation. Letting the client know that you will do so before you begin also lets them know they don’t need to be preoccupied with taking diligent notes.
Excel files and Google Sheets are best sent to the client following the audit delivery. Some examples of follow up material include:
- Example campaign build-outs
- Estimates from keyword planner
- Keywords to pause/enable
- Performance estimates for maxed out impression share
- A complete list of campaigns that are missing ad extensions
And so on.
As the PPC industry gets more complex and competitive, it’s imperative that we’re listening to our clients individual needs and delivering audits that are tailored to them. Cookie cutter audits are no longer going to provide enough value, and as PPC analysts and account managers, it’s our job to connect the dots to business objectives.