Analyzing Your Google Ads Performance From Top To Bottom

Google Ads are becoming more and more expensive as more customers try to position their business at the top of search engine results pages.

As costs rise, you need to be able to understand why people click on your ad and what they do after they click on your ad.  

This guide will show you 5 ways to analyze Google Ads data to improve your ppc campaigns.

Google Ads Performance

How To Set Up Google AdWords Conversion Tracking

Before you start running any ads, you need to make sure that Google Ads conversion tracking is set up and recording properly.  

Google support has detailed information about setting up conversion tracking here.

Essentially, what you have to do is create your first conversion action and then grab the global site tag from Google Ads and paste the code on your website.  This tag will need to be placed on your website once and goes into the <head> section.

After the code is installed you can head back to the conversion section of Google Ads and create as many conversion actions as you need.  Some of the most popular conversion actions include form fills, phone calls, mobile app installs and revenue generated on an e-commerce website.

Your next step is to connect your Google Ads account to your Google Analytics account.  Once these two accounts are connected, you are ready to start tracking your Google Ads performance.

Analyzing Google Ads Campaigns

Google Ads Campaigns gives you a broad overview of how your Ad Groups are performing.  Good practice when setting up your Google Ads Campaigns is to organize them by the type of service or the brand you want to focus on.

Google Ads Campaigns

For example, at Concrete Internet Marketing we offer PPC management services and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services.  Therefore, I would want to set up separate campaigns for PPC and SEO.  This will make it easy to analyze my performance based on the specific services I offer.

With conversion tracking already set up, you will now be able to access important data such as costs, impressions, click through rate, cost per click and conversion rates as well as revenue generated for e-commerce websites.

Since the Google Ads Campaigns section is top level, this is a good place to analyze your performance on a month over month basis or year over year basis.  Here you will be able to see how much progress you have made, or lost, over time.  

Be sure to enable all campaign statuses so you can analyze all paused and enabled ad groups.  Look for discrepancies between click through rates and conversion rates.

If your click through rate is up but your conversion rate is down, that could mean you have great ad copy but something is wrong with the keywords you are, or aren’t, targeting.

If your click through rate is down but your conversion rate is up, this could mean that you are targeting a lot of bad keywords but the people who are clicking through are likely searching a highly relevant keyword and are intrigued by your ad copy.

Whatever the case may be, you will want to dig deeper into your Google Ads account to get a better understanding of what is driving conversions.

Analyzing Google Ads Ad Groups

Analyzing your Ad Groups is where things really start to get interesting.  We recommend analyzing one Ad Group within an ad campaign at a time. This is because you are going to want to take a look at how your ads are performing on a granular level.

Setting Up Your Ad Groups

We find the key to Ad Groups is to create very specific groups that are centered around your Ad Campaign.

For example, our SEO Campaign could have Ad Groups centered around SEO company and SEO services.  We would then create ads for each individual Ad Group, one set of ads focusing on SEO company and the other focusing on SEO services.

The biggest mistake we see in Ad Groups is that they are not set up to focus on a granular level.  

In the example above, it is common for us to see a single ad group that focuses on both SEO services and SEO companies.  Setting an Ad Group up this way can lead to poor results because the ad text Google displays may not be as relevant to the search as it could be.

In the example below I did a quick Google search for “seo services”.  The first result, which is us, and the second result both mention services in the headline and throughout the ad.  The third result does not mention services anywhere.

Google Ads Group SEO Search

By separating our Ad Groups and focusing our ad title and description on very targeted keywords we were able to land the first position.  

The Google Ads algorithm works pretty much the same as the Google Search algorithm.  The more relevant your ad is, the higher you are likely to rank and the less you pay for clicks.

Configuring Your Ad Group Settings & Ads

Now that you have your Ad Groups set up properly, it’s time to take a look at your actual ads and their settings.

When you are in the settings tabs of your ads, there is an option called “Ad rotation”.  You have 2 options under this setting.

Option 1 is to let Google Ads optimize your ads and show the best performing ads.  Do not use this option.

Option 2 is to rotate ads indefinitely.  This is the option you want to use and I will explain why shortly.

Google Ads Rotation

When setting up your ads, it is recommended to have a minimum of 3 ads per Ad Group.  2 of your ads should be “Expanded text ads” and 1 should be a “Responsive search ad”. Setting up a bare minimum of 3 ads that rotate indefinitely gives you the ability to analyze your ads for performance and make weekly adjustments.

When looking at your ads performance, you will want to take into consideration your KPI’s.  How many impressions did each ad have, what are the click through rates, costs, cost per click, conversions, revenue and so on.

You will quickly be able to identify which ads are performing the best.

Now here comes the part where many advertisers fail.  

They do nothing!  

In order to run a successful Google Ads campaign you have to make changes at least once a week.

Now that you have analyzed your Google Ads and you know which ad is the weakest in your Ad Group, it’s time to make changes.  

You can either pause the worst performing ad and create a new one or make changes to the headline or ad copy of the current ad that is running.

When changing your worst performing ad, look for similarities in the two ads that performed better on a week over week basis.  Try to implement combinations of both ads in your new ad to see if it will outperform the 2 other ads over the upcoming week.

Follow this practice week in and week out and you will start to see better ad performance guaranteed!

Analyzing Google Ads Keywords

Analyzing your keywords in Google Ads has become complicated over the years.  Google Ads has added different types of bidding strategies where you no longer have to rely on placing a dollar value on specific keywords.

The type of bidding strategies Google Ads offers include Cost Per Acquisition (CPA), Target Return On Ad Spend (ROAS), Maximize Clicks, Maximize Conversions, Maximize Conversion Value, Target Impression Share and Manual Cost Per Click (CPC).

You can learn more about how to use the different types of Google Ads bidding strategies effectively here.

Adjusting Reporting Columns

No matter what type of bidding strategy you use, you will be able to analyze all the KPI’s that are important to your business and your objectives on a keyword basis.  

However, you are also going to want to adjust your reporting columns to get a better understanding of how your keywords are performing.

My 3 favorite reporting columns to ads to my Google Ads reporting table are “Top Impression Rate”,  “Search Impression Share” and “Ad Relevance”.

Adjusting Google Ads Reporting Columns

Your top impression rate is going to tell you how often your ads show up above the organic results when a keyword is searched.

Search impression share is going to tell you how often your ads show up when your keyword is searched for.

Ad relevance is going to tell you how well your keyword matches your ad titles and descriptions.

These 3 columns alone are going to tell you how well your keywords align with your ad copy.  You will know you are doing a good job when your ad is showing up at the top of search results most of the time when people search your keyword.

If you find yourself somewhere in the middle of impression shares and top impressions, try increasing your bid or focusing your weekly new ad copy around that keyword.

If all else fails and you find some keywords just aren’t fitting into the ad group, consider creating a new ad group centered around that keyword and keywords that are alike.  If the keyword isn’t that important, just get rid of it and focus on the keywords that are driving your KPI’s.

By simply adding these 3 columns you are going to get a better idea of the structure of your campaign.  This will lead to a well optimized Google Ads account geared to drive the most conversions for your business at the lowest costs.

Analyzing Google Ads Search Terms

Analyzing your Google Ads search terms is the most overlooked, yet the most crucial task you should complete every single week.  If this is the only piece of advice you get out of this article, you are already 10 steps ahead of your competition.

The “Search Terms” section of Google Ads is located under “Search Keywords” right after “Negative Keywords”.  

This section is important because it tells you all the exact keywords people are searching that lead to your ad displaying.

The Search Terms section is where you are going to find new keywords and build your negative keyword list.

Finding New Keywords

Finding new keywords is easy when you have the data that tells you what keywords triggered your ads.

Finding New Keywords For Google Ads

In the Search Terms section, organize your data by impressions to see what keyword phrases are being searched the most.

You will likely see a bunch of keyword phrases that play off of keywords that you are already targeting.  That is okay because what you are going to do is add the keywords phrases that are performing the best as exact match keywords.

By adding new keywords and keywords phrases as an exact match, you will find that your cost per click is going to decrease.

For example, if I am bidding on the keyword “SEO company” and my search terms are telling me that I am showing up for the keyword phrase “Minneapolis SEO company”, I would add “Minneapolis SEO Company” as an exact match keyword.

Since Minneapolis SEO company is searched for less and has less competition, my cost per click will be lower than that of SEO company.

Adding Negative Keywords

Having a healthy list of negative keywords in your Google Ads campaigns is necessary to reduce your wasted ad spend.

Finding Negative Keywords In Google Ads Search Terms

Negative keywords tells Google Ads that you do not want your ad to show when a specific keyword or keyword phrase is searched for.

For example, if I am bidding on the keyword “SEO services” and I see that my ad is showing up for “DIY SEO services”, I would want to add “DIY” as a negative keyword.  Now whenever somebody searches for anything with “DIY” in their query my ad will not show.

If you review your search terms every week and add highly targeted exact match keyword phrases and get rid of unwanted search terms, I guarantee that you will decrease your cost per lead and increase your return on ad spend.

Analyzing Google Ads Website Performance with Google Analytics

Analyzing your Google Ads performance in your Google Analytics dashboard is another area that is often overlooked but provides tremendous value.

In Google Analytics, you get some of the same data that is in Google Ads such as the number of clicks, overall costs, CPC, conversion rates and revenue generated.

However, you can also see how engaged visitors are by taking a look at the bounce rate and the average number of pages per session. 

Analyzing Google Ads Data in Google Analytics

You can look at this data based on your campaigns, keywords, and search queries.

You can use this data to cross reference with your Google Ads data.  So let say that Google Ads is telling me that the keyword “SEO Company” is positioned well, has a good click through rate and is driving conversions.

However, when I look at Google Analytics I see that the keyword “SEO Company” has a high bounce rate even though it is driving some conversions.

This tells me that my landing page needs some work because my ad is working but it could be better.

The Takeaway

Setting and forgetting you Google Ads is a surefire way to waste a lot of money.  

If you really want your pay per click campaigns on Google Ads to work you have to spend a minimum of at least 1 day a week tracking conversions and optimizing your ads.

If you spend at least 1 day a week using the 5 steps above, you will see your CPC and wasted ad spend decrease, your conversions increase and your quality score improve.

So, are you going to follow the 5 steps above?  Maybe you have something to add. Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.