In my ‘Three Challenges’ Post I wrote the following to describe one of the fundamental reasons why I think the process of managing paid search needs to be improved:
There is a lack of clarity. It is amazingly difficult to get accurate and complete data on campaign performance and results. Much of the data you need to see is scattered across three to five different tools and interfaces. Other data is presented in formats or based on calculations that just aren’t right. (they’re wrong.) Still other information is seemingly unavailable. There is no quick and accurate way to get reports which are satisfying.
Since then I’ve written four posts in an attempt to explain and expand. But I’m not sure I captured it. To manage something effectively it’s necessary to see cause and effect. The paid search networks use such complicated rules and hide certain key data elements which make this impossible. Search queries, which are the primary driver of search success, are a key example. But it’s really the full relationship between queries and keywords and match types and quality score and text-ads and landing pages. The truth lies in that matrix somewhere, but nobody is letting you see it. You see a pile of queries over here (partially, sometimes). A bunch of keywords over there. Some ads further off in the distance. Want to understand the relationships? Put them together in your own head. Clues are great in a mystery. Not in a business transaction.