5 Critical AdWords Reports for Optimal PPC Optimization

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1. ROAS reports For Revenue-Based Accounts

For whatever strange reason, AdWords will give you ROAS (return on ad spend) in the Reporting Center, but not in the Campaign Summary interface. If you’re doing lead generation and cost per conversion is your KPI, that’s easier- ads and keywords have that. But if ROAS is your metric and you need to also consider the average sale for ads and keywords (part of ROAS), you have to run reports in the Reporting Center.

Note, you have to set up your conversion tracking code to pass the sale amount through your form/checkout’s variable to AdWords if you want the sale amount and ROAS metrics. This isn’t always a lot of fun to do if you have to go through a third party, but be annoying- it’s critical.

DO NOT optimize revenue-based accounts based on cost per conversion. You could severely limit your ROI.

2. Search Query Report for Negative Keywords

This is the best way to generate negative keywords. Within AdGroups, other than using multiple match types to granularly optimize, you need to see what keywords (typed by real searchers) are showing your ads.

You usually can find at least 5-10 negative keywords per AdGroup that will increase your CTR and improve your key metric. Increasing CTR will not only increase clicks but also lower your cost per click for the same position and thus lower cost per conversion, and thus increase overall conversions for the same ad spend.

It’s easy to neglect this, but can make a huge difference in performance.

The Search Query’s limitation is not showing EVERY granular search. If you want all the searches, you’ll have to marry your AdWords and Google Analytics and get the rest of the searches there.

3. URL Performance for Landing Page Diagnosis

If you’re testing the best landing pages through ads, you may get this information in your ad optimization.

But you can also use this to find and fix poor converting landing pages.

Compare the average conversion rate of all your destination pages with each one. Look for the page with the significantly lower CR. Ask yourself if it’s the AdGroup, the ads, or if there’s something about that destination page that makes conversion less likely.

Try Google Website Optimizer to increase the page’s conversion rate.

4. Geographic Performance

Finding out how your account performs in different geographic areas can help you better GeoTarget for better results.

As it turns out, GeoTargeting does not prevent AdWords from showing ads outside your chosen geographic areas. Ya, totally non-intuitive, but true. Just found this out in the last couple weeks. I’m calling it GeoSuggestion now and feeling a little bitter.

I have yet to ascertain the average % of clicks we get from outside our chosen areas, which Google tells me is probably quite low, but we’re reviewing that now.

5. Placement Report

If you don’t start with Site-Targeting, but you do run Content Network campaigns, a good next step is to use the Placement Report to find out what sites are and aren’t getting you the results you want. Then you can exclude the sites that don’t work. If the ones that do work can be Site-Targeted, you can set those up in a Site-Targeting campaign specifically.

Don’t ignore the Content Network and Site-Targeting. Yes, in many cases, the ROI isn’t as good as the Search Network, but we’ve had clients that perform well in Content and poorly in Search. I always start with Search, and if it doesn’t produce good ROI and/or we need more click volume, I test the Content Network.

We had one client that discovered a negative article about them on a site that serves Google ads. They placed their ads there with Site-Targeting, and it turned out to be one of the best cost per conversion performing campaigns in their AdWords account.

Brian Carter is the Director of Search Engine Marketing for Fuel Interactive, an interactive marketing agency in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He is responsible for the SEO, PPC, SMM, and ORM programs at Fuel and its partner traditional agency Brandon Advertising & PR.

Brian Carter
Brian is author of The Like Economy: How Businesses Make Money With Facebook and Facebook Marketing: Leveraging Facebook's Features For Your Marketing Campaigns, How to Get More Fans on Facebook, and LinkedIn For Business: How Advertisers, Marketers and Salespeople get Leads, Sales and Profits from LinkedInBrian has 12 years experience as a freelance consultant and digital marketing agency director. His hands-on business experience, cutting edge insights, background in improv and stand up comedy culminate in a keynote speaker, and social media trainer who leaves every audience not only entertained, but armed with powerful strategies and tactics.
Brian Carter
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  • http://LocalizeInternetMarketing.com Sean Galusha

    Nice piece Brian! I especially like the placement report and use it quite regularly to find some hidden gems for clients and our own affiliate campaigns alike.

  • http://www.sharmainfoway.com SEO Services India

    all reports are useful but from that 5, i like placement report and Search Query Report most

  • http://www.widerfunnel.com/blog Chris Goward

    Good tips, Brian.

    Connecting the dots from AdWords to final conversion alone can be an eye-opener for lead generation marketers.

    We’ve got some interesting lead generation and ecommerce conversion optimization case studies here:

    If you haven’t tested your conversion funnels with Google Website Optimizer yet, you’re almost guaranteed to get a lift.

  • http://www.blackhatsoftware.net Michael Johnson

    One of the best, most targeted Adwords advice articles I have come across. I can honestly say this article will save me money because I have made most of the mistakes outlined in the 5 topics listed here.


  • http://vexxt.com Mike Johnson

    Ha! That last little bit about the negative article and site-targeting is a great gem. I guess the lesson is to test!