How to Read Google AdWords Reports

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I was writing a pretty lengthy email to one of our clients tonight about how to read their Google AdWords report and realized that I would probably be writing this same email over and over again. But, as my business partner Harry Casimir likes to say, “never do something more than once, automate!”

Many of our clients are not technologically savvy, but I realize that even those who are (and this particular client is) might have trouble reading the default reports generated by Google. Maybe it’s their use of abbreviation or that some of the main elements of their reports are formulas, but I’ve noticed many of our clients at Unique ID have asked me to explain, in some form, their reports.

I am a huge proponent of Google AdWords, and like Google AdSense, it has revolutionized the web (but on the opposite spectrum) and it has led to the success of many of our web sites and the elation of many of our clients. But, as Action International explained at a recent Small Business Development seminar “You Must Measure Everything!” Many of our clients have requested detailed reports of their Google AdWords accounts. My employees and I are very familiar with the system, and consequently, the reports are easy to read, but for those unaquainted with the system I can understand their frustration. So I put together a simple guide to reading Google’s Adword reports (an explanation of each column of the report, names and prices have been changed to protect the innocent).

Date: The date or date range of the data.

Campaign: Arbitrary information that lets you know under what campaign the reporting information is for. In the examples’ case we only have one active campaign “Regionally Targeted”

Ad Group: Arbitrary information that lets you know under what ad group the reporting information is for. In the examples’ case we only have one active adgroup “Sounds.” In the case of other reports (depending on how your or your search marketing company have set up your account) there might be additional items.

Keyword Matching: The type of system the keyword was displayed on. Broad means Google’s search engine or search engine affiliates (companies that use Google’s software and utilities to drive their own search engines). Content means those sites that have agreed to run Google’s ads through the AdSense network.

Keyword Status: Shows the current status of the Keywords for that month (active, deleted, paused, etc.).

Keyword Min CPC: The minimum cost per click that was paid for term(s). This is just the absolute minimum Google charged for the specific term (most likely based on competition for the term you were bidding on).

Current Maximum CPC: Current maximum cost per click. This is the item that is adjusted to increase or decrease our terms rankings. This is the maximum amount we are willing to pay Google for a single click for that term. Most of the time this is edited on a Ad Group wide level so every maximum cost per click should be the same. You can edit each keyterm individual and the report may reflect that.

Impressions: The number of times an ad was shown.

Clicks: The number of clicks we received.

CTR: Click through rate, clicks divided by impressions. This is one of the biggest measurements of the success of an account. A high click through rate means our ads and keywords are very well matched and targeted. Our standard measure for CTR is 0.5% or 1 click for every 200 impressions.

Average CPC: Average cost per click. The average price you paid for a click for that specific term.

Cost: Clicks x Average CPC (cost per click).

Avg Position: Average Position, or the position on Google the ad appeared at. Typically a higher position means a higher CTR. And alternatively, accounts with higher click through rates typically receive better placement.

Conversions: the number of direct web contacts received through google. These are the number of people that fulfilled every step, they searched for your term found your ad relevant, clicked through to your site, and either signed up or purchased something. Click through rate is only a measure of web leads or contacts, some visitors might have been ‘converted’ through the telephone or direct email.

Conversion Rate: Conversions divided by clicks. If you had 3 people click through to your site for “chicage killgrass7” and 1 person actually contacted you through the web contact form you would have a conversion rate of 33% for that term.

Cost/Conversion: Cost divided by conversions. This is done on a per term basis and also as a total at the bottom.

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