Excel pivot desk finest practices for search entrepreneurs

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In 7 useful Excel formulas and functions for PPC, I shared tricks to rapidly determine high-impact PPC optimizations that may transfer the needle to your model or shopper.

I’m a agency believer in an analytical strategy to look advertising and marketing. My “weapon of selection” for manipulating search knowledge is Excel and one among my favourite options of the platform is pivot tables.

On this article, I’ll spotlight a use case you won’t be conversant in, together with some suggestions and shortcuts to reinforce your pivot desk abilities. 

Distinctive use case: Utilizing pivot tables to QA bulk sheets

If you happen to’ve come throughout pivot tables in your search advertising and marketing profession, I’d anticipate it was doubtless in a efficiency report. Nonetheless, they are often leveraged in artistic, non-analytical methods.

One such strategy I’m a very large fan of is utilizing pivot tables to QA bulk sheets.

May be a given, however you must construct your bulk sheet earlier than you should utilize this system. I received’t cowl bulk sheet suggestions on this article (only one teaser: the concatenate perform may come in useful), however one step I’ll advocate to your QA is to compile a abstract of the weather you anticipate to be included in your bulk sheet. 

I typically construct a desk within the first sheet of my workbook, such because the one that you simply see under. For the sake of this instance, there are two issues I wish to spotlight.

  • First is that there shall be precisely 5 key phrases in every advert group.
  • Secondly, Advert Group #1 throughout all campaigns drives to the ultimate URL with Web page=A, Advert Group #2 drives to web page=B, and Advert Group #3 will click on to web page=C. 

Within the screenshot, you’ll discover I included the system bar, which accommodates a system for the best way to rely distinct values in a knowledge set.

Moderately than talk about the nuts and bolts of the way it works, simply know that the referenced cells (D4:D18 on this instance) should be equivalent throughout the match features and you must get the right outcomes. 

When you’ve constructed out your bulk sheet, it’s time to create the pivot desk.

The important thing right here is to ensure you are highlighting all rows/columns that comprise the majority sheet earlier than you create the pivot desk.

Now that we’ve got our pivot desk created, we will use the rely characteristic to make sure that the majority sheet is precisely created.

Whenever you drag non-numeric fields into the Values space, the output will mechanically develop into a rely, as an alternative of a sum. It’s vital to notice that the pivot desk won’t mirror simply the distinctive values.

That is illustrated within the instance under, the place you may see that the rely of all marketing campaign components is 75, which displays the whole variety of key phrases we anticipate within the bulk sheet. 

Pivot vs Summary Table

It’s vital to acknowledge this, because it has an affect on how you must design your pivot desk for correct QA.

The very best follow I like to recommend is to focus the rely on essentially the most granular ingredient of the marketing campaign. Transfer the campaigns and advert teams to the Rows space of the pivot desk.

One last transformation to make, which is extra stylistic than something. If you happen to right-click on the Campaigns area and navigate to area settings, you may modify the view of your pivot desk.

By making the choices highlighted within the view under, you can also make the pivot desk much less vertical. 

The screenshot under exhibits the variations in pivot desk codecs, with the corresponding area settings beneath.

Once more, extra of a stylistic tip than something; nevertheless, this may format the pivot desk in a method that’s extra pleasant for copy/pasting into the Editor.

Differing Pivot Formats

With these pivot desk views, we’ve accomplished the primary a part of our QA. We’ve additionally confirmed that we’ve got 5 key phrases in every of the 15 advert teams.

If you happen to wished to audit the key phrase textual content for accuracy, you’d simply transfer Key phrases into the rows column under Marketing campaign and Advert Group. 

Within the second a part of our QA, we wish to guarantee that the advert teams in every marketing campaign are driving to the right touchdown web page.

One of many lovely issues about pivot tables is that there are a number of methods to get to the identical conclusion.

Under I’ve highlighted two methods you should utilize pivot tables to substantiate we’ve trafficked the majority sheet appropriately.

Options for QA Approach

The primary choice is much like how we QA’d the rely of key phrases in every advert group. All I did was take away Key phrases from the pivot desk and added Touchdown Web page beneath Advert Teams within the row. It will create a view that’s very simple to check to our abstract desk. 

The second choice flips issues on its head a bit. Since we all know that every one Advert Group #1s ought to drive to web page=a, we will put Touchdown Web page on the prime rows space in our pivot desk. By doing this, we’ll see all of the Advert Teams throughout the bulk sheet which are driving to Web page=A. A special view, but one I might argue is simpler for QA’ing. 

I’m solely highlighting just a few totally different views that I like. I problem you to try leveraging a pivot desk in your subsequent bulk sheet QA and don’t be confined to the examples I’ve included right here.

One of many best benefits of pivot tables is their flexibility. Mess around and determine what strategies/approaches take advantage of sense for you. 


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4 suggestions and methods for pivot desk evaluation

To reiterate, the commonest method that pivot tables are utilized in search advertising and marketing is for performance-based reporting.

With the intention to optimize the standard of your evaluation, I wish to spotlight just a few key suggestions.

1. Use customized calculations for max accuracy

I can not stress this one sufficient. Accuracy is essential for any evaluation you’re conducting.

To be sincere, I do not even export knowledge units with metrics resembling CTR, CPC, or CVR, as I’m a proponent of making these as customized fields within the pivot desk to make sure these metrics are precisely mirrored. 

It’s surprisingly simple to create these metrics in a pivot desk.

As soon as you have created your pivot desk, navigate to the pivot desk Analyze menu, go to Fields, Gadgets, & Units, and at last Calculated Subject.

Right here, you may identify and create customized fields that may mechanically replace with any adjustments you make to the filters/contents of the pivot desk. 

Though it defaults to a “Sum of” label, you may see within the screenshot it isn’t a Sum. I usually simply discover and exchange “Sum of” as soon as I’ve completed creating my calculated fields to keep away from any confusion. 

As an instance the distinction, I’ve included the typical platform CTRs in my dataset within the screenshot under. You may then see how I get to the calculated fields menu and the way I create the calculated area. 

Discover how the typical of CTRs doesn’t precisely characterize the true CTR for this knowledge set. Nonetheless, our Customized CTR is spot on. (Be at liberty to test the calculation your self!)

Custom Fields

2. Pull knowledge on the most granular degree 

The fantastic thing about Excel and pivot tables is that it’s ready to deal with comparatively giant knowledge units (about 1M rows). Pull your knowledge at a key phrase or advert degree, add segments (i.e., gadget) and all the time pull by day if a time interval. 

In doing so, you’ll guarantee which you could drill right down to the primary drivers of affect. Confer with my first Excel article for recommendations on including extra filters, resembling reworking dates to a weekly view or how VLOOKUP may also help create filters.

3. Construct stories for the long run 

PivotTable knowledge might be refreshed and up to date simply utilizing the refresh characteristic (see screenshot under). Take into consideration how one can design your report for the long run so that every one you must do is replace the back-end knowledge to create an up to date view of efficiency. 

This implies maximizing the usage of formulation in knowledge manipulation (resembling including filters) and designing the information supply in a method that these formulation will not break while you paste within the up to date knowledge. 

Whereas this may occasionally seem to be a heavy raise upfront, your finish purpose is an easy button click on to refresh your efficiency report. The squeeze is well worth the juice, belief me!

Menu for PivotTable

A fast touch upon the distinction between Refreshing a pivot desk and Altering the Information Supply. If you happen to click on Refresh, it can replace the information throughout the initially outlined knowledge supply. 

Whenever you change the information supply, you’re redefining what rows/columns must be included within the pivot desk knowledge.

If you happen to anticipate the variety of rows within the knowledge set to range over time, I like to recommend turning into conversant in the Change Information Supply choice, as this may guarantee you might have all the time included all rows/columns within the report. It is an additional step, however one which ensures your knowledge set is complete.

4. Use shortcuts for pivot tables (PC customers)

Final however not least, sharing a handful of shortcuts which have improved my pace when manipulating pivot tables. 

These are a bit extra complicated, however when you get the hold of it, you will be flying round your workbook! For these on a Mac, #1 I am sorry you are lacking out on Excel for a PC, however #2 your shortcuts are totally different!

  • Alt + N + V + T: This creates a pivot desk
  • Alt + J + T: This opens the pivot desk Analyze menu, when your cursor is on a cell throughout the pivot desk. Including just a few keystrokes to the tip will get you to generally used options/menus 
    • Alt + J + T + J + F: This opens the Calculated Fields menu
    • Alt + J + T + F + R: This refreshes the pivot desk
    • Alt + J + T + I + D: This lets you change the information supply
    • Alt + J + T + C: This opens up the chart creation menu for the contents of your pivot desk
    • Alt + J + T + E + C: This clears the contents of your pivot desk 

Bettering your Excel abilities takes follow

Just like the features I lined beforehand, it’ll take follow and time earlier than you see the effectivity advantages that include these strategies. Nonetheless, put within the time now and I can guarantee you that you will notice the payoff.

As well as, I encourage you to not restrict yourselves to the purposes of pivot tables lined right here. As proven within the Bulk Sheet QA instance, there are a number of methods to get to the identical output. 

PivotTables are extremely highly effective instruments that you should utilize to make sure you have each the 30,000-foot view of efficiency, in addition to the extra granular shifts that present your mastery of the funnel.

Use the Calculated Fields to create metrics particular to your corporation and take into consideration how the QA strategies might be utilized to different elements of your function. 

The purposes of those strategies are far-reaching.

Wish to be taught extra Excel suggestions and methods from me? Sign up for SMX Next. Take a look at my session on the best way to degree up your analytical abilities with Excel, plus you will hear from loads of different superb audio system. 


Opinions expressed on this article are these of the visitor creator and never essentially Search Engine Land. Employees authors are listed here.


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About The Creator

Anthony Tedesco

Anthony Tedesco is a search engine advertising and marketing skilled primarily based in Boston, Massachusetts. He began his profession at Pink Ventures in Charlotte, North Carolina, the place he discovered the affect of data-driven efficiency optimization and full-funnel advertising and marketing methods. He then returned to his native Boston, the place he joined DWA/Merkle B2B, working with Fortune 100 manufacturers to maximise the worth of their SEM investments. In 2021, Anthony joined the worldwide paid media crew at Cisco Methods, Inc., the place he orchestrates high-impact techniques at scale and helps resolve the complicated challenges entrepreneurs face within the evolving digital panorama. Anthony is an avid Tar Heel and Boston sports activities fan. If not watching his favourite groups, he enjoys touring to New England with household and mates or catching up on previous seasons of Survivor.



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