Do you manage your PPC ads in Microsoft Excel? If so, you have an advantage. Excel is a powerful way to manage your ads, provided you know how to get the most out of your application. The more organized you are, the easier it is to accurately calculate your PPC ROI.
Managing Google PPC ads requires numerous and large calculations, all of which are easily handled by Excel. The process of learning advanced Excel tips can be time-consuming, but here are some ways to streamline your efforts and maximize ease of use.
However, you set up your spreadsheet to make calculations, it’s helpful to set your cell reference to display as currency rather than a plain text number. Sure, you can look at “8.00” and know it means “$8,” but it’s easier just to have that formula cell display the number in dollars.
Ideally, you’ll set your cells to display currency before you enter your raw data in the respective data tab. However, there will be times when you’ll need to change existing cells into currency and that’s where keyboard shortcuts come in handy.
You can use your mouse to navigate Excel’s menu and change cells to currency, but that’s a tedious process. It’s easier to use the ctrl+shift+4 shortcut. Just highlight the cell(s) you want to display in currency, and then use this shortcut.
Another useful keyboard shortcut is one that turns the contents of cells into a percentage. This shortcut is ctrl+shift+5. This is useful when you want to look at certain numbers as a percentage rather than a whole number, but you don’t want those numbers displayed as a percentage permanently.
Sometimes you’ll need to calculate the sums of many individual rows or columns, and if you only have to do this once, it’s not a big deal to manually enter the Excel formulas. However, when you need to perform this type of calculation multiple times, it will become cumbersome.
You can automatically calculate the sum of a row or column by clicking in an empty cell and using the shortcut alt+the equal sign. If you’re on a Mac, you’ll need to use command+alt/option+the equal sign.
VLOOKUP is one of the most important, yet underused functions in Excel. This function allows you to reference data from other spreadsheets and incorporate that into your calculations. This means you don’t have to cram all of your data for every ad campaign (and corresponding ad copy) you run into one spreadsheet file just to be able to perform calculations.
Using this function does require setting the foundation, but once you set it up, your calculations between files will be smooth. To learn more about how this function works and to learn how to set it up, watch this tutorial video.
“Concatenate” means to combine or join together and is one of the best functions Excel provides for managing your PPC ads. With this function, you can combine the contents of multiple cells into one cell. You can also use it to add words or symbols to the end of multiple existing cells. For managing PPC ads, this function will speed up your work. Here are some examples.
When creating broad match modified keywords, you need to add a plus symbol to the beginning of your keyword. This isn’t easy to do manually, even when you use the copy and paste functions. The concatenate function makes this a breeze.
Just add the following function to an adjacent cell:
For all cells below B2 (or whatever cell you’re starting with), use the fill handle to copy the formula to all the other cells.
When you’re building a list of keyword variations, you’ll benefit by using concatenate. For example, say your company sells socks for men, women, and kids. You’re going to come up with keyword variations that are the same for all three of these categories. To create your list quickly, start by typing your main keywords vertically in a column like this:
Now, say you have the following variations: wool socks, cotton socks, hiking socks, work socks. You can use the concatenate function to add “wool socks” to each of your main categories, and then continue doing the same with the other types of socks you sell.
If you want to get even more advanced you can perform filter and search functions in Excel using pivot tables.
It won’t take long before your PPC ad data fills up your Excel spreadsheet and requires scrolling down the page. There’s nothing wrong with this, except for the fact that you will lose sight of your column headings. If you work with your spreadsheet regularly, you’ll probably have the headings memorized, but memory isn’t always reliable. You don’t want to look at your data one day and mistake your CTR column for your conversion rate. Additionally, if you ever need someone else to work with your data, they could get frustrated.
The solution is to freeze the rows at the top of your sheets. When a row is frozen, it will remain at the top of the sheet as you scroll down, so you’ll always have a proper reference for what you’re looking at no matter how far down you scroll.
To freeze multiple rows, highlight the row directly below the last row you want frozen. Then go to the “View” option in the main menu and select “Freeze Panes.” Choose the option “freeze pane” and every row above the one you selected will be frozen.
To freeze only your top row, you can just go to the “View” option in the main menu, select “Freeze Panes,” and choose the option “freeze top row.” Alternatively, you can use the shortcut alt+W+F+R to freeze the top row.
If you want to freeze the first column, go to the “View” option in the main menu, select “Freeze Panes,” and choose the option “freeze top column.”
When you need to count the characters in your longtail keywords, Len comes in handy. For instance, when you have exact matches longer than three words you can program it to add that to your modified broad match keywords. Len is best used in conjunction with concatenate to fill in the modifiers.
Sometimes you’ll need to apply formulas to additional cells, but doing this manually takes a long time. The trick here is to place the formula in your first cell so that it performs the first calculation, and then hover your mouse over the cell. You’ll see a plus sign appear in the bottom right corner, and when you double click on that plus sign, it will automatically calculate the remainder of cells.
Find and replace is one of the oldest life-saving functions around. It helps if you’ve accidentally clichéd and pasted something incorrectly, but it also helps you change words when you just need to make a change.
When you only have a couple of instances of a word, it’s not a big deal to change them manually. However, when you have ten or more, including hundreds or even thousands of instances, using the find and replace function will make your life easier. For instance, you might decide you want to turn all of your broad match keywords into a modified broad keyword. Use find and replace to add that plus sign in front of each instance of your keywords.
When you’re managing mass amounts of PPC data, you need a tool that will perform automatic calculations and make it easy for you to play with your data to crunch numbers in different ways. Excel is an excellent tool for the job, provided you take advantage of some of these PPC Excel tips, shortcuts and functions.