The Power of Data in PPC and Digital Marketing: How to Use it for Success

Lauren Hall 03/02/2023 6 minutes

Data is the foundation of everything we do at Passion. It’s important for digital marketing in general as it helps marketers understand the target audiences and make informed marketing decisions.

By analysing data, we can identify trends, patterns and insights to help shape our marketing strategies, allowing us to give informed recommendations. In this blog post, Lauren, our PPC Account Manager, takes a look at how data is integral to PPC campaigns.

Why Is Data Important in PPC and Digital Marketing?

Data helps us understand who our target audience is and what they’re interested in, which can help us make better decisions about campaigns. It also helps us figure out what’s working and what’s not, so we can improve the performance of specific projects.

As well as this, data can show us where people are dropping off in the customer journey, allowing us to make changes to websites or marketing efforts to keep them moving forward through the funnel.

Why is data important in PPC marketing?

We use data to track the performance of our PPC campaigns and make better decisions about how to optimise them. As PPC campaigns are highly measurable, data is crucial to determine what’s working.

For example, we can use data to see how well our ads perform by looking into the click-through and conversion rates. We can also find the best keywords and audiences to target in our PPC campaigns, based on things like search volume and competition level.

Using performance data, we can adjust our bids for the most valuable keywords or audiences, or we can optimise for specific goals, such as cost-per-conversion. This allows us to determine how much return our PPC campaigns are generating. 

Overall, data is crucial for PPC marketing because it helps us understand what’s driving results and make informed optimisation decisions.

What types of data are most important in PPC?

There are various types of data that can be helpful in PPC campaigns. Some examples include:

  • Search query data — this tells us what people are searching for on Google
  • Demographic data — this helps us understand the age, gender, and interests of our target audience
  • Behavioural data — this shows us how people are interacting with our ads and website

Collecting and analysing data on our target audience can greatly improve the effectiveness of our PPC campaigns by providing insights that inform decision-making.

How can we use data within PPC?

  • Identifying target audience: By analysing data on the demographics, interests and behaviours of our target audience, we can make more informed targeting decisions in our PPC campaigns
  • Keyword research: Identifying the most relevant and valuable keywords to target in a PPC campaign, based on search volume and competition level
  • Ad copy and creative optimisation: Discovering which ad copy and creative elements are most effective at driving clicks and conversions
  • Landing page optimisation: Analysing performance data to understand which landing pages are performing well (or poorly) and to make improvements as needed
  • Campaign tracking and analysis: Tracking metrics such as click-through rate, conversion rate, and cost-per-conversion
  • Bid optimisation: Using performance data to inform bid optimisation strategies, such as targeting the most valuable keywords or audiences, or adjusting bids 
  • Audience segmentation: Segmenting audiences and creating targeted campaigns for different groups, based on factors such as location, interests, or past behaviour

Smart ways to utilise PPC data

Knight Frank — combining historical and real-time data

One way we can use data cleverly is by combining historical data with real-time data. For example, we recently worked on a campaign for our client, Knight Frank, a leading global real estate company. We used historical data to understand which keywords and ad copy had performed well in the past, and combined that with current data on search trends and customer behaviour to optimise the campaign in real time.

Out-of-the-box thinking led to the creation of a unique heatmap — a completely new data manipulation strategy for us — to distribute budget and activity more effectively within the right countries, at the right time.

Through a Google Trends review of data from 2017-2021, we obtained previous search volumes in countries where the client has property/wanted to prioritise sales. Data was mapped over the year to allow us to best distribute the campaign budget.

The result was a highly successful campaign that drove a significant increase in leads and conversions for Knight Frank, so successful in fact we won an award for our efforts! Take a look at the full case study to find out more. 

B2B cloud solutions client — developing a wider measurement strategy

Another example of clever application of data in PPC campaigns was for our global  B2B  cloud solutions client. They have  invested heavily in search over the past five years and have been heavily reliant on on-site tracking (form fills). In order to start informing optimisation and increasing efficiencies, we were challenged to begin looking at a wider measurement strategy.

Working with their Development team, we recommended setting up hidden fields within their forms which capture both the GCLID (Google Click ID) and UTM parameters from our URL string. This information was carried across to their CRM (Salesforce) as an independent data column.

This data — now associated with the lead — allowed us to continually match back the lead progress to the original activity. Upon completion of a sale, we utilised the UTM data to understand the origin of this activity.

In addition, we were able to upload this GCLID data to Google Ads, giving us a true performance view (in platform) which helped inform account optimisations.

Although we witnessed a higher number of leads in 2021, our rate at which these converted to SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads) was low. Through real data optimisation, we saw a significant increase in lead quality in 2022.

Other ways to cleverly utilise data in PPC:

  • Utilising customer data for personalised targeting: By analysing customer data, such as past purchase history or demographics, companies can create targeted PPC campaigns that are more likely to resonate with their audience
  • A/B testing: Using A/B testing to compare the performance of different aspects of their campaigns — such as ad copy or creative — in order to identify the most effective elements for driving results
  • Dynamic ad targeting: Analysing a user’s past behaviour and interests, allowing companies to create and deliver personalised ads that are more likely to be relevant and appealing to the user
  • Remarketing: Collecting data on users who have interacted with their brand in the past to create targeted remarketing campaigns to bring those users back to the website

What Does the Move to First-Party Data Mean for Campaign Performance and Targeting?

What is first-party data?

First-party data is data collected directly from your own sources — like your website or CRM system. Switching to first-party data can bring many benefits to your PPC campaigns, such as: 

  • Allowing you to get a better understanding of your customers and target them more effectively
  • Helping you stay compliant with privacy regulations
  • First-party data is usually more accurate and reliable than data from external sources

First-party data and targeting 

Using first-party data can help you understand and target your own customers better, this can result in more relevant and personalised ads that can improve campaign performance. It also gives you a more complete view of the customer journey, helping you optimise your efforts and improve the overall effectiveness of your campaign. In short, first-party data can be a real game-changer for your PPC campaigns!

First-party data and user privacy

Another advantage of first-party data is the ability to better protect user privacy. As concerns around data privacy continues to grow, companies are increasingly turning to first-party data as a way to avoid the potential risks associated with using third-party data.

Overall, the move to first-party data can lead to improved campaign performance and targeting, as well as a more comprehensive understanding of the customer journey. It is an exciting development for the world of PPC, and one that is likely to continue to grow in importance in the coming years.

Data is crucial for successful PPC campaigns and by using it smartly like combining past and current data businesses can create super effective campaigns that bring in results. The switch to first-party data gives companies new chances to understand and target their customers better and it’s a hugely exciting time. If you’re looking for an agency to help you maximise this opportunity please get in touch with our team today.