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Use CRM Data to Improve PPC Performance

Published: January 16, 2017

Author: Todd Mintz

At 3Q Digital, we’re always pushing the innovation envelope; we believe this is an essential component of success in an industry that changes so frequently. This post is part of our inaugural Innovation Week – which we’ve stretched to two weeks to showcase all manner of innovations that have improved results for our clients and teammates.

“Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.”…Winston Churchill

As part of Innovation Week at 3Q Digital, I’m happy to share with you all a tactic that I’ve used successfully for multiple clients that I’ve not seen talked about anywhere online.
In (hopefully) all professionally managed PPC accounts, conversions are tracked and the objective of the account is to generate the maximum number of conversations at a target CPA while staying within the assigned budget. The measurement metrics reside in AdWords, Google Analytics, a third-party bid management platform (like Marin), or some combination of these.
However, do these measurement metrics represent the ultimate truth of how successful the paid search efforts are? No, they don’t. These metrics might portend the ultimate truth, but true success resides within the company CRM data…and numbers can change, and change radically, between the firing of the paid conversion pixel and the CRM entry.
Some CRMs automatically record the source of marketing…which is good, though such data is generally incomplete because a large number of conversions happen via multiple channels…the weighting of which might take place via a marketing attribution system like Convertro.
However, no matter what PPC data I possess, my experience tells me that the best source of truth is the company CRM. If I’m fortunate enough to possess clean, accurate CRM data, I’m taking the whole dataset and I’m using it for one particular purpose: Geo-bidding.
With the CRM data, I mashup AdWords spend at the most relevant geographic level (State, City, or even Zip Code) and the corresponding sales/leads/revenue. I create relevant ratios for each Geo breakout; sort them high to low; calculate the percentage deviation from the “average”; and use that number as my geo-bid modification. I will cap the bid modifications both high and low…high so as not to force overbidding, and low so as not to totally cut off traffic to that locale.
I recently went through this process for a client where the paid conversions in AdWords were “Trials” but the CRM showed “Sales”. There are some places where the client got a ton of trials but very few sales (and vice-versa). Making the radical geo-bid modifications that I’ve proposed might have some negative influence on account conversions but will have a solid impact on their sales flow.
For clients that have conversions “aligned” between the paid search accounts and their CRM, I’ve gotten 20+% additional paid conversion yield for clients that were seemingly maxed out. That’s pretty darned significant on a mature account. 🙂
Many account managers might not be comfortable with such a tactic because of the lack of direct connection between the AdWords spend and CRM data. We’re taught to disregard information that doesn’t causally tie to the campaign efforts. I would strongly suggest that in the era of omni-channel convergence, strategic thinking can no longer be linear. If CRM data is the “gold standard” (which it usually is), any insights flowing from it should be considered gospel-level, trumping any developed intra-channel insights.
Don’t be afraid to broaden the client conversation…the betterment of campaign results will be totally worth it.

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