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How to analyse Google Ads successfully

Back to all resources

How to analyse Google Ads successfully

Key take-aways

One of the crucial parts to managing a successful Google Ads campaign is consistently monitoring and analysing the performance of your ads – to allow you to react and optimise. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to analysis and the many tools that come with it, but there’s no need to panic – help is available every step of the way.

Begin by grasping the basics of a successful Google Ads analysis. From setting up conversion tracking to measuring the ad performance corresponding to different characteristics. Ultimately, we want to show you how, no matter the size of your business, a thorough analysis can boost your online marketing efforts. So, from how Google Ads works, to how to analyse Google Ads data, read on for our most useful tips.

1. Setting up and monitoring conversion tracking

2. Measuring your Return on Investment

3. Finding the most productive keywords

4. Checking the quality score

5. Using reports

What is Google Ads?

Google Ads is an advertising service by Google for businesses that want to display ads on Google search results and its advertising network.

Try Google Ads now

1. Setting up and monitoring conversion tracking

A conversion is what happens every time your ad achieves its purpose – that is, valuable customer activity. With Google Ads conversion tracking, you can see how effectively your ad clicks lead to an action, which can be different for every business. Valuable activity can be anything from website purchases, phone calls, app downloads or newsletter sign-ups. The set-up process is different depending on the type of conversion that you’re tracking, so the first step in setting up conversion tracking would be choosing a conversion source, or where your conversions come from.

How you create your ads will influence the conversions you want your potential customers to complete.For example, whether it’s on your website, app or phone. Here is how they differ:

If you want to track multiple conversions from this list, just set up a different conversion action for each type of conversion that you want to track. For example, you can set up one conversion action to track purchases on your website, and another to track calls from your ads.

Monitoring Conversions

Monitoring your conversion data couldn’t be easier. The "Conversions" column shows you the number of conversions that you've received, across your conversion actions. You can use this column to see how often your ads led customers to actions that you’ve defined as valuable to your business. You can customise how the data in your "Conversions" column is tracked with the following settings: ‘Include in Conversions’ and ‘Attribution model’.

Besides these settings, there are several related columns that use your “Conversions” data to give you more information, such as cost per conversion, conversion rate, total conversion value, conversion value per cost, conversion value per click and value per conversion. A lot to take in? Get a full run down on your conversion tracking data.

Attribution model

On the path to a conversion, a customer may do multiple searches and interact with multiple ads from the same advertiser. Attribution models let you choose how much credit each click gets for your conversions. You can attribute the credit to the customer's first click, last click, or a combination of multiple clicks.

Learn more

2. Measuring your return on investment

Measuring your return on investment (ROI) is the one main metric we would recommend all Google Ads users to monitor consistently. Whether you use Google Ads to increase sales, generate leads, or drive other valuable customer activity, it's a good idea to measure your ROI - AKA the ratio of your net profit to your costs.

This is typically the most important measurement for an advertiser because it's based on your specific advertising goals and shows the real effect your advertising efforts have on your business - that being, how much of a profit you’re making. The exact method you use to calculate ROI depends upon the goals of your campaign, but knowing your ROI helps you evaluate whether the money you're spending on Google Ads is equalling healthy profits for your business.

Once you've started to measure conversions, you can begin to evaluate your ROI. The value of each conversion should be greater than the amount that you spent to get the conversion. For example, if you spend £5 on clicks to get a sale, and receive £50 for that sale, you've made money (£45) and received a good return on your investment.

Return on investment

How much profit you've made from your ads compared to how much you've spent on those ads. To calculate ROI, take the revenue that resulted from your ads, subtract your overall costs, then divide by your overall costs: ROI = (Revenue - Cost of goods sold) / Cost of goods sold.

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3. Analysing the search terms report

The search terms report is a list of search terms that people have used, and that resulted in your ad being shown and clicked. Depending on your keyword matching options, the search terms listed might be different from your keyword list. When analysing Google Ads, you can use the search terms report to see how your ads performed when triggered by actual searches within the Search Network. How does this work? The search terms report tells you how closely the search terms that triggered your ads on Google are related to the actual keywords in your account. This can be extremely useful because, by seeing which match types are working well for which keywords and searches, you can refine match types for all your keywords so that only the right searches cause your ad to show - making your budget go further. The 'Keyword' column tells you which of your keywords matched someone’s search term and triggered your ad. (Note: this column doesn't show by default, so make sure you’re displaying it.)

Check out how different search terms that triggered your ads on Google are related to your keywords.

The best use of the search terms report is to use these insights to refine your keyword selection. Here are a few ideas of how you can apply these learnings:

  • Add high-performing search terms to your ad group as keywords. Consider adjusting your bids as well, since search terms appearing in the search terms report are already receiving traffic. Therefore adding those terms as keywords shouldn't do much unless paired with changes to bids, ad text or both.

  • If a search term is appearing that isn’t relevant to the products or services that you offer, add it as a negative keyword. If you’re working with a modest budget especially, it pays (literally) to do your research and concentrate on the areas you’re performing best in - this will help keep your ad from showing to people who are looking for something that you don’t sell.

  • Select the correct match type (e.g. broad, phrase, exact or negative) for existing keywords. The 'Match type' column can help you understand how keyword match type is affecting your ad performance.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with info, don’t worry - you can get instructions on how to view and understand the search terms report.

Ad group

An ad group contains one or more ads that share a set of keywords. Each of your campaigns is made up of one or more ad groups. Use ad groups to organise your ads by a common theme. For example, try separating ad groups into the different product or service types that you offer.

Learn more

4. Checking the quality score

Google uses a measurement called Quality Score as an estimate of how relevant your ads, keywords and landing page are to a person seeing your ad. Once you’ve established and fine-tuned your ads, you will hopefully have a higher Quality Score - typically leading to lower costs and better ad positions. As the old saying goes, it’s quality, not quantity.

So how can you improve your Quality Score? Two big tips are, firstly, use keywords and phrases that your audience are likely to include in their searches, making your ad more likely to rank higher and making it easier for them to find you. Secondly, it’s important to create ads that are relevant to your keywords and what you're advertising. Relevant ads tend to earn more clicks, appear in a higher position and bring you the most success.

5. Using reports

To see data in the Google Ads reports, you first have to:

  • Make sure you’ve enabled auto-tagging, either during the linking process or by editing your Google Ads Account settings.

The Google Ads reports give you post-click performance metrics for users who clicked on your ads and then came through to your website, or installed and started using your mobile app. These reports provide a window into your users' journey, how you acquire users, their behavior on your site after acquisition, and their conversion patterns. By default, the Google Ads reports show valuable metrics from both Google Ads (e.g., Clicks) and Analytics (e.g., Bounce Rate), providing you with additional insight into which advertising strategies are working well for you, and which ones could be improved.

Find out everything you need to know about Google Ads reports.

These tips should give you an adequate introduction to successfully analysing your Google Ads activity. As well as the more technical options, there are simpler things to bear in mind which will also help attract the right potential customers, things such as ensuring your ad copy is compelling and relevant, adapting your bidding method and budgets, and including as well as excluding locations in your activity. Explore the world of online marketing and get all the support you need here, with Google.

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