#PPCFright2014 Day 10: Finding Casper, A PPC Account’s Friendly Ghost

In most movies, ghosts are portrayed as specters to be feared. I have yet to meet someone that wanted to be haunted (hey, that rhymes). Sometimes they can even influence the world of the living in negative ways (looking at you Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and Slimer). But can ghosts be helpful?

Casper The Friendly Ghost

Contrary to the habits of most ghosts to scare the living, Casper is friendly. He wants friends and wants to help people. That’s the kind of ghost I want to know!

Looking at your account’s past, you may feel like the ghosts you find are terrifying. You may be haunted by overly broad keywords that spent tons of money without converting. Perhaps you experimented with the Display Network, got burned, and you don’t want to go there again. However, not all the ghosts have to be bad. How can you find the Casper’s in your accounts? Here are a couple tactics to coax that friendly ghost out to say hello:

Get All The Data

To find a friendly ghost you need to make sure you’re looking everywhere. Casper is shy. To do so, make sure you’re viewing “All” your campaigns, ad groups, or keywords. You’ll notice the dropdown just below the Campaign tab and just above the performance graph. It will look like this:
View All
If you don’t select this, you might not find your friendly ghost.

Go Back To The Good Times

Everyone likes to reminisce about the “good ol’ days” and you want to look there as well. If you know that last year at this time you were killing it with your PPC, then set your date range to that time last year! Seems obvious right? Then look at some of these key metrics to see what has changed since then:

  • Impressions – Are there are many available searches?
  • Impression share – Have your competitors gotten a leg up on you?
  • Avg. CPC & position – Same as above, maybe you’re not keeping up with the competition.
  • Conversion rate – This is a big one because it involves a lot of areas. Perhaps you changed your site and the new pages aren’t doing as well. Or you might not have changed anything and your pages are stale. Nothing can move the needle quite like conversion rate (for better or worse).


Sort & Pivot

For quick looks you can just sort by conversions to see what was driving the most results or sort by conversion rate to find what was performing most efficiently. If you’ve got a very friendly ghost this might get them out of the shadows. However, you might want to download that data into Excel and break out some pivot tables to really dig into what has been working. If you don’t know how to do that or just want a refresher, here is a video tutorial by Annie Cushing (the queen of Excel) on pivot tables.

By pivoting you’ll see larger trends that you probably missed in your quick sorting in the interface and you’ll find those really shy Caspers.


You don’t have to be scared of ghosts from your past, you just have to find the right ghosts. By getting all the data included, looking at the good times, and then sorting & pivoting you’ll find the friendly ghosts that will help you get more out of your PPC efforts.