Excel Resources to Advance Your PPC Accounts

excel_for_mac_2011_iconLast week, the #PPC Chat topic was “Using Excel for PPC”, and I’ve got to be honest, it was one of my favorite chats we’ve ever had. There were so many useful tips, tricks, and spreadsheets shared that it was definitely a worthwhile hour. The full stream cap can be found here: PPC Chat Streamcap.

One of the big things I noticed during that chat was that everyone had their own way of doing things, but each got them to the same goal. I also realized, that although I’m the Excel queen around my friends, I don’t know crap compared to some of these PPC-ers. I started digging for Excel resources and I wanted to share my findings.

Below are just a few of the great Excel resources out there as well as a few specific instances where Excel can make your job as a PPC-er easier. Enjoy!

Full Guides


This site is pretty much the top of the top when it comes to learning Excel tricks. You can find almost anything you could possibly need on this site. It was started in 2007 and has since accrued over 450 articles and tutorials on Excel. This site covers the very basic, to the very advanced, and walks you through everything from macros to charts and back to your basic formulas.

Regular Expressions

This site is dedicated solely to, you guessed it, regular expressions within Excel. Regular expressions deal with the text portion of your Excel sheets. This site walks you through each type of regular expression and has a quick start guide, a more in-depth tutorial section, as well as examples, books, and other reference areas to help you grow your regex knowledge.

Microsoft Help

A little different from the two sites above, the Microsoft Office Support site can help you find all of the basics about using Excel. It certainly doesn’t go nearly as in-depth as Chandoo or Regular Expressions, but if you’re just looking for a quick refresher on the formulas, this is a great place to go. This site’s biggest benefit is that it allows you to choose the version of Excel you’re currently using and gives custom information based on your version.

Excel Easy

This site is a late addition to this post, but certainly worth a mention. Unlike the sites above, Excel Easy does a great job of visualizing every step with screen shots and highlights to let you know exactly what action to take. It also has a great in depth section on the basics of Excel, covering everything from features available on the Ribbon to keyboard shortcuts. And if you’re even interested in creating macros, this site has a great VBA tutorial section as well.

Specific Features

Not convinced advancing your Excel knowledge can help you with your job as a PPC-er? Well, here are just a couple articles I’ve found helpful in the past. Maybe these will push you over the edge.

Using Solver for Limited Budget Allocation

Every account manager should be trying to get as much out of their allotted budgets as possible, but sometimes this task is made even more difficult by low, no-room-for-error budgets. You’ve got to maximize the number of impressions, clicks, and conversions within that limited budget by shifting funds to the highest performing campaigns. Sounds simple right? Well, sometimes there are a few more pieces at play. Sam Owen at PPC Hero wrote a post earlier this year designed to help you make those budget decisions a little easier. Using the Excel Solver, Sam will walk you through his process and help you get actionable data for your campaign budget shifts.

Low Volume/Aggregate Level Ad Copy Testing

Some account managers are lucky enough to have only high level traffic keywords to run their ad copy tests on. After a couple weeks, each variation has enough data to determine a winner. But not all accounts receive that much data on a regular basis. Enter Brad Geddes. In this post, he walks you through the steps of setting up an ad copy test using aggregate level data in a low volume account. The Excel portion comes in when he shows you how to use a pivot table to combine all the data to allow you to compare data from the pieces of copy you were testing, giving aggregate level data so you can make decisions even with low impressions, clicks, conversions for each individual ad group.


This last post by Tom Demers covers how to use and possible situations on when to use the VLOOKUP function. It’s a couple years old, but everything in it still holds true. This post gives not one, but two video examples on how to use the VLOOKUP function as well as linking to three great posts about great ways to use Excel for PPC. Definitely worth checking out.

How do you use Excel in your day-to-day PPC tasks? Any other great resources or specific guides I missed? Share them in the comments!