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In the spotlight, PPC reporting, Running an online Agency

Going Granular To Maximize Paid Campaign ROI

18 September 2018

Compared to many traditional media channels, digital marketing can be a more cost-effective and efficient solution for small to mid-size businesses, particularly through precise targeting and careful budget control. But as its popularity increases, so does competition and pricing. To maximize your clients’ marketing spend and ROI, attribution and understanding the customer journey is more important than ever. In this spotlight, Plankton Digital’s Luke Moulton shares his insights on granular campaign tracking through UTM codes, thoughts on digital marketing trends and more.

How would you describe your company in less than 150 words?

Plankton Digital is a “boutique” (that’s marketing speak for small) Search Marketing agency based in Melbourne Australia. We service a wide range of clients, but do some of our best work with e-commerce businesses.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

About two and a half years ago, when Facebook Lead Ads arrived on the scene, we saw an opportunity to create a side project – a service that would email our customers when a new lead arrived. That’s now grown into a business of its own called, which provides a stream of steady revenue, helping to smooth out the ups and downs inherent with a small agency cash flow.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

We have 3 large clients, so I tend to block each day into client activities. These include AdWords, Facebook/Instagram Ads, email marketing and reporting.

My day usually starts in Google Analytics to review overall performance of the previous day, 7 days and 30 days. This is not just to check on paid campaign performance, but it’s also a litmus test to see if anything’s broken (you’d be surprised how long things can go unnoticed if they’re not being critiqued).

From there it’s usually into Adwords and Facebook ads to check on campaigns and light new ones up where required. Then it’s writing briefs for creatives who will design video and static ads, landing pages and email banners.

Besides acquiring new customers, what is the biggest challenge in growing your business?

Finding good people 🙂

What do you think is the most interesting trend in digital advertising now?

One of the most interesting trends is in on-site messenger bots, like Drift.  Whilst I’ve had little experience with this tool to-date, one of my clients is in the process of implementing it with the view to engaging website visitors and automatically booking an appointment. I see these becoming more and more powerful as AI gets applied.

Do you see any trends specific to PPC reporting?

As a marketer, I’m more and more interested in seeing attribution models – what touch points has the customer had before they arrive at the point of conversion. Tools like are making it easier for marketers to visualise these funnels – without having a dedicated Data Analyst in house.

Google Analytics also has a solid attribution report that shows first click, last click and assisted interactions. Just this morning I had a customer suggest that we couldn’t solely attribute a sale to AdWords – the person might have found them organically first then clicked on an ad. Using the Google Analytics attribution report I was able to illustrate to him that the first interaction the customer has was via an AdWords ad.

How will these trends impact advertisers in the future?

Paid advertising platforms like AdWords and Facebook keep getting more and more competitive and therefore more expensive. As a result, reviewing the customer journey and carefully mapping ROI it’s more important than ever to make sure we are maximizing clients’ budgets.

What are the biggest challenges you face in PPC campaign management?

Being granular with UTM tracking codes. AdWords is great if you’re working using Google Analytics, but (in most cases) you have to manually add them to other ad links. This can get tedious if you want to track individual ad performance.

For example, if you want to have unique tracking codes on every different ad you setup as part of a Facebook Ads campaign, you have to manually add them. It seems Facebook used to have dynamic tracking available but appears to have pulled it recently. If you’re running large campaigns, then AdExpresso is a possible solution.

I recommend advertisers create their own UTM tracking convention, document it and stick with it. For example:


UTM tracking certainly isn’t “sexy”, but I’ve found the extra effort creates a more complete picture of how our clients marketing efforts are translating into ROI. Whether you invest in a tool, use Google’s free URL generator, or create your own homegrown Google Sheet with formulas, I think you’ll find it’s resources well spent.

What are the top 5 tools or apps you use almost every day?

  1. AdWords
  2. Facebook Ads Manager
  3. Google Analytics
  4. Slack for team and client communication
  5. Trello for project management

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I used to sweep the floors and clean the toilets at an old factory on a weekend when I was studying at Uni. It was a great motivation for finishing my studies 😉

What people have influenced your thinking (and why) and might be of interest to others?

  • Author Malcolm Gladwell – mainly for his book “The Tipping Point”
  • Timothy Ferris – yep, you guessed it, “The Four Hour Work Week”. Somehow this still eludes me, but the outsourcing aspect certainly helped me grow my business.
  • Richard Branson, he’s just a very inspirational entrepreneur

What is your favorite quote?

“This above all… to thine own self be true.” ~ Shakespeare

Where do you see your company in the next 3-5 years?

With the way technology and digital marketing changes, it’s hard to say what my business will look like in 3 to 5 years. However, the tools and platforms continue to become more and more sophisticated so small to medium sized businesses are going to continue to need specialists to help them navigate these tools – so our plan is to be there and provide that service and expertise!

Luke MoultonBIO:

Luke runs Plankton Digital, a boutique digital marketing agency in Melbourne Australia. He’s been an online professional for 17 years, with the last 10 years spent in e-commerce and digital marketing. Luke’s worked with anything from $0 marketing budgets with start-ups, up to millions with global e-commerce businesses. Having bootstrapped the growth of his Facebook Lead Ads app, LeadSync, he’s also spent plenty of his own “hard earned” which has made him an ROI focused marketer. Luke can be contacted via LinkedIn or Twitter.