April 4, 2018

Master Managing Your Mass of Digital Data

Master Managing Your Mass of Digital Data

In SEM, managing data is at the core of the job description. When entering a new SEM role, one of the first actions we all take is a thorough analysis of the accounts we will be working on, looking for things like nomenclature, keyword groupings in ad groups, negative keyword lists, etc. Whether you are managing large global accounts, or just a mom-and-pop shop in your local market, the most important skill a SEM professional can develop is management.

Management of the many is the same as management of the few. It is a matter of organization.” – Sun Tzu

Fortunately we give you few tips to help the SEM professional at any level cope with managing their data!


Data Management - Filters

Ad group name


This may seem like a basic piece of advice to more experienced SEM’ers, but for those professionals who are still relatively green, using filters is one of the most important things you can do to stay organized. Filters allow you to pull and view data at all levels, from campaigns all the way down to keywords.

You can filter on almost every SEM applications’ UI’s and also in Excel and Google Sheets documents. What you need to remember is that when you filter to pull data, you are only viewing data that matches the applied filter. Sometimes it is better to pull all the data and filter it with Excel tactics such as pivot tables.

In the example shown, the corresponding filters taken from a real AdWords account are going to show you data based upon all campaigns existing in the account, that have more than 10 conversions, and more than 15 phone calls.



Data Management - Labels

Like filters, labels are used to sort your data into more organized groupings. They can also be applied at any level, from campaign down to keyword. Labels are an oftenunderutilized feature in SEM. The amount of organization they can bring into an account can literally be the difference-maker into how the account is run.

Whether you are trying to segment by market, tactic, experiment, theme, promotion, or any other reason, there should never be a hesitation of “Should this have a label on it?”, because the answer is always a definitive “Yes.”. However, there are still some basic rules that you should follow.

Do’s and Don’ts of Labels

  1. Do create a new label for a specific promotion and apply that to all elements of said promotion.
  2. Do create separate labels for different tactics implemented in the campaigns.
  3. Do create special labels for A/B Testing.
  4. Don’t create special event labels and apply them to generic elements of your campaigns.
  5. Don’t apply incorrect labels to the wrong elements.


Third-party Bid Management Platforms

Depending upon the size and scope of your company (as well as your job responsibilities), utilizing a third-party bid management platform may be a good option to pursue, in some cases it could even be a necessity.

There are a few well-known platforms out there (Marin, Kenshoo, Acquisio, Google’s DoubleClick) that can act as a master-level My Client Center that can link all your MCC’s together under one umbrella.

Platforms like this can also be used to link up social media campaigns like Facebook and LinkedIn. The platforms are great for your larger accounts with hundreds, if not thousands, of campaigns. Being able to make bulk changes for a few hundred campaigns on both AdWords and Bing (at the same time) not only saves you time and headache, but it allows you to minimize errors, stay consistent, and more successfully implement optimizations for your key performance indicators.



While less common than most other tools, RStudio can still be quite effective for those more experienced SEM professionals who have picked up some skill with coding languages along their career paths.

If you’ve never heard of RStudio, then let us explain. RStudio is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). It includes a console, syntax-highlighting editor that supports direct code execution, as well as tools for plotting, history, debugging and workspace management.

RStudio is available in open source and commercial editions and runs on the desktop (Windows, Mac, and Linux) or in a browser connected to RStudio Server or RStudio Server Pro (Debian/Ubuntu, RedHat/CentOS, and SUSE Linux). Here’s a quick example look into the RStudio dashboard.





In order to use RStudio for SEM purposes, you first need to put data into RStudio. To do that, you can code it to read an Excel .csv file, a Google Sheets document, or (if you have an AdWords developer token) pull data directly from the AdWords API. Once your data has been uploaded into RStudio, you’ll be able to navigate data like you never thought to be possible.

RStudio is also able to run analyses that even Excel isn’t capable of. For example, if you have single keyword ad groups in several campaigns and want to find out which are which for labeling purposes, RStudio allows you to filter for that, and group into a pivot table!

RStudio also has great visual aid tools for plotting graphs and heat maps, for those who prefer to analyze using visual aids.

With organizational knowledge such as this at your disposal, you will be able to break down and build up effectively managed accounts in a matter of no time. Happy sorting!