The Unsung Metric Heroes of your Google AdWords Account

Graph growth trend from laptop screenSome often overlooked, yet crucial metrics to take into account when reviewing your Google AdWords campaigns.

Often, when people are reviewing AdWords accounts effectiveness, all the emphasis is placed on just a few performance metrics. These are invariably the CTR (Click-through-Rate), CPC (Cost-Per-Click) and of course, Conversions/Conversion Rate. While these are the primary benchmarks that allow us at a glance to see whether the campaign is ‘healthy’, there are a few often overlooked tabs within your campaign reporting screen that can really assist in taking your campaign to the next level.

Firstly, let’s look at impression share. This is found on the keyword level of the account, in columns- and is titled “Search Impr. share”. As a performance metric, this can be a real eye opener. There are many accounts that historically have good placement (as in, when an ad is triggered it’s often in the first three positions) on bids ‘below the first page bid’, and when these keywords show, have fantastic conversion rates. But this column will let you know at a glance whether your ad is showing for this keyword consistently. If your impression share is sitting below the 40% mark, you may want to seriously consider increasing your bids incrementally, and if necessary; your campaign budget.

Next, let’s look at the auction insights report. When seeing fluctuations in your actual CPC, this is a simple way to cross reference who you are competing with, and whether they have actively been making changes in their bidding/ campaign budgets. It’s an unavoidable reality that AdWords is an open auction house, and that all the people competing on a keyword will affect the actual CPC dependent on their bids –  and by heading here you can quickly ascertain whether a competitor is making an aggressive push with their marketing campaign. If last month, competitor “X” had an impression share of under 20% and a top of page rate of 15%, and all of a sudden their impression share has skyrocketed to 80% and the top of page rate has followed suite, then the clear conclusion is not just that they have decided to revamp their budget and bidding strategy, but that it’s time to have a look at their ads and see whether they have revamped their site! To access this report, from the campaign or AdGroups screen, select ‘Details’, then ‘Auction Insights’. This report is invaluable when determining whether your current budget is sufficient or not.

By no means least, but for the purposes of this article we will call it last, let’s quickly review the dimensions tab . This tab has a couple of absolute gems as options when it comes to determining your Campaign settings. There are two in particular that for me personally are first port of calls when reviewing a campaign. Firstly, there is ‘Time: Hour of Day’. This is a fantastic way to quickly review the all-time (or even recent) performance of a campaign based on your hour by hour averages. Here you will discover when searches, clicks, and conversions peak and ebb, and as such there are a few simple conclusions that can be quickly reached. For example, if the campaign has been getting clicks between the hours of midnight and 5am, but no conversions – then it is logical to adjust your ad scheduling to exclude these ineffective hours. If the campaign has a tendency to convert well early in the day, but at a reduced rate in the evening – it may be worth considering creating a secondary ‘off peak’ campaign for the latter hours, which can then be optimised autonomously to your peak campaign.

The second ‘port of call’ that I often reference within the dimensions tab is ‘User Locations’. This will tell us if our ads are showing outside of our targeted locations, and further to this, segment geographically where our conversions are coming from. This allows us to make educated decisions within the geo targeting settings within the campaign – for example, if you discover that your conversion rate is particularly high is Sydney, whilst greater NSW has a high volume of traffic and few conversions, we can then head to settings, and increase bids for Sydney by 5-10% to prioritise these searches.

As always, I hope you enjoyed this brief article, and found new angles to explore within your AdWords account – Happy Advertising!