If you’re going to invest in an AdWords search or display campaign, it is extremely important you know how to read and interpret the reports you’re given. Whether your doing it in-house, working with a freelancer or have a digital advertising agency handling your account, knowing a couple of simple numbers to keep an eye on will ensure your campaigns are getting the ROI AdWords can provide for any business.
1) The Basics of an AdWords Reports
Digital advertising gives you access to thousands of data points. To say there were only 5 things you can look at a month to measure the success of a campaign would give an underwhelming impression of a campaign’s impact on your business. These simply metrics are the minimum for any AdWords report you receive.
- Click Through Rate (CTR)
- Total Cost
- Cost per-Conversion
- Conversion Rate
- Search Impression Share
Seems like a lot, right? Think about AdWords like your accountant looks at your finances. You need the bottom line to improve. To do that, you need to know how the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) impact the bottom line to get a complete description of what is happening and why. Maybe your seeing a dip in clicks, that could be due to bad positioning, which is impacted by CTR – and so on. When one of these metrics is lacking, your AdWords account manager should be able to answer those questions for you.
2) Conversion Breakdown
Tracking every conversion from any advertising campaign is near to impossible. Digital marketing gives you the best opportunity to track conversions (sales) without too much human error. However, it simply can never be perfect. Understanding that you may have some conversions missing from your reports, it is important to understand what types of conversions your AdWords Campaign is tracking.
If the goal of your campaign is to increase the number of calls to your business, you may only be getting 2 conversions (calls) from your campaign’s ad per month. However, when you dig deeper and notice that there were an additional 5 calls from your website and 15 form submissions the campaign is converting much better than the numbers initially lead on.
Knowing where your conversions are coming from, also allows you to make effective business decisions that drive more traffic to those areas to get more conversions.
These are what your “searchers” are actually seeing on Google. Just like traditional media campaigns, you should be reviewing the ads in your campaign to ensure that it is conveying the proper messaging for your company. AdWords Ads are made up 3 vey basic elements:
- Headline – (2) 30-character pieces of text
- Display URL – This shows the actual URL of your website and up to 2 “paths” describing where you are taking them on your site
- Descriptions –an 80-character body of text diving more detail on your business or offer
4) Search Queries Report
AdWords at its most basic form is search queries. It’s the reason why you decided to advertise on the platform, to begin with because you’re getting to serve ads to people that are already interested in your service. What the search queries report is, is a list of all the actual searches people performed when they clicked on your ads. This is what you are getting from your campaign, period.
Being able to review the search queries report is an excellent way to be able to track the performance of your AdWords manager, agency or freelance service.
BONUS: If you’re personally managing your AdWords account, use the search queries report to identify negative keywords, potential new keywords and manage your current keywords. Being able to see actual search queries allows you to identify trending keywords that maybe you haven’t thought of and could add at a low.
5) Location Breakdown
Especially for the hyper-local targeted campaigns, most businesses require, knowing where the clicks for your campaign are coming from keeps your AdWords Manager or AdWords Freelancer honest. Unless your business or service is completely digital, you probably need to target a specific geographic area. Even if your AdWords account is set up to only include a specific area, there could be out of market clicks you are receiving. With this report, you are able to track those clicks and optimize your account for your specific businesses geographic area.
Sounds like a lot right? That’s why so many people have been jumping into this field over the past 18 years. It can seem daunting and overwhelming but with the right experience and knowledge of the system, managing a campaign is extremely intuitive. Get to know your AdWords Manager before launching the campaign to ensure these key metrics will be conveyed you at least once a month. You can receive reports on a weekly basis, but for most campaigns, it will be most effective to let this data grow over a month and then discuss optimization opportunities.
Anthony Taylor is the digital lead for Mean Joe Advertising. His expertise across the digital advertising landscape allows him to provide omnichannel solutions for partners with measurable results.