6 Key AdWords Reports to Use for Your Small Business
Advertising your small business in Google AdWords is easy to get started. But spending your budget efficiently to connect with the most likely potential customers? That's an entirely different matter, and it means understanding the available AdWords reports.
What are reports, and why are they so helpful? As you advertise with AdWords, data generated by your campaigns, ad groups and ads is collected and saved — and we're talking huge amounts of data, ranging from which keyword phrases trigger your ads to which devices your visitors are using. This continually growing mountain of data is way too immense to be useful as a whole. You need a way to use this data and identify important trends or cautionary red flags.
That's where AdWords reports come in. Determining which reports are most worthwhile can seem overwhelming. Read on for six key AdWords reports that you should start using for your small business.
Report 1: Campaign Performance Report
Before you start digging into specific sets of data, it's good to step back and take a broad-level view of your campaigns. Do this by running a Campaign Performance report, which includes all the default stats you'll normally find at the campaign level in AdWords. These stats include clicks, click-through rate (CTR), average ad positions, conversions, conversion rates, cost per conversion and conversion value. Pay especially close attention to campaigns with low costs per conversion — find out what makes them successful and apply that knowledge to new and existing campaigns.
Also, you can customize the date ranges of Campaign Performance reports going back weeks, months or years. You'll cover the most ground with Campaign Performance reports that cover more recent timeframes, but occasional reports across larger timeframes could open your eyes to important trends you otherwise might have missed.
Report 2: Search Terms Report
Want to know how people are finding your ads? You should, and that's why the Search terms report is helpful. This report reveals the actual search queries people type (or speak) into Google that cause your ads to appear.
Adding relevant, high-performing search terms to your keyword lists usually results in more traffic at lower CPCs. Conversely, adding irrelevant search terms to your negative keyword lists will boost CTRs, reduce CPCs and likely lower your costs per conversion.
Report 3: Placement Report
The Placement Report reveals how your ads perform across Google's massive Display Network, which is generally a good source of less-expensive, high-volume traffic. However, people who click ads on the Display Network often aren't as buyer-oriented as those who shop on the Search Network. As a result, Display Network traffic often doesn't convert as well as Search Network traffic. Also, performance can vary greatly between Display Network websites. The Placement Report provides data from specific Display Network websites so you don't have to guess which ones are worthwhile. Use managed placements to target your ads toward top-performing Display Network websites, then reduce your bids for low-performing websites or block them from showing your ads.
When reviewing this report, just remember that Display Network trends usually don't mirror Search Network trends. With that in mind, you're better off focusing on conversion data rather than superficial metrics such as costs per click and CTR.
Report 4: Audience Demographics Report
Who is clicking your online ads, and which of those visitors are most likely to become paying customers? To start answering this question, check your audience demographics report data. Do this under the Display Network tab for Display ads or the Audiences tab for Search Network ads. This report breaks down your Search Network traffic by gender and age range. You can also see the parental status of Display traffic and household income for Video traffic.
If certain demographics outperform others, then you can target your campaigns specifically toward those audiences. You can also lower your bids for under-performing audiences.
Report 5: Geographic Report
Found under the Dimensions tab, the geographic report shows how well your ads perform when viewed from different areas of your campaigns' target locations. Nationwide advertisers can use this data to see how their ads perform in different states. Meanwhile, small business owners can see how ad performance changes in different parts of town.
Similar to audience demographic data, geographic report data can help you optimize the location settings for your campaigns.
Report 6: Time Report
Also found under the Dimensions tab, the Time report shows when your ads tend to be most effective. You can view specific ad data based on the year, quarter, month, week, day, day of the week and even the hour of the day. Use this data to adjust the scheduling, delivery and bids for your ads. Do this, and you'll get more bang for your buck, especially with a limited advertising budget.
Using Google AdWords isn't as simple as building and launching campaigns. Unless you optimize, you'll blow through your advertising budget while missing out on lots of potential customers. Fortunately, AdWords gives you all the tools needed to be successful. And the best tools at your disposal are the many AdWords reports.
Focus on the reports we've reviewed in this article and you'll be well on your way to efficient optimization. Want to learn more tips to improve your AdWords performance? Click here to grab your copy of our Ultimate Google AdWords checklist.
Phil is Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil leads the company’s operations and is primary creator of Main Street ROI’s marketing training programs. He is an expert in search engine marketing, website analytics, and sales funnel optimization. Phil’s marketing thought leadership has been published on Forbes.com, Inc.com, MSN.com, and many other major business media outlets.
Phil earned his Master of Engineering Management degree from Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business and his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees from Dartmouth College. While attending Dartmouth, Phil started every game on the varsity football team as the defensive safety.