Like any online marketing platform, setting up and getting going is one thing, but the main route to ongoing success is to continually learn, tweak and analyse, and Google Ads is no exception to this rule, as the main effort when it comes to making your campaign more successful relies on hard work and optimisation.
Too many businesses and business owners get a flash of inspiration, sign up to Google Ads, rush a campaign out and then check back in a few months to find lots of money spent and no results, so rather than the system not being right for the business, it is more the business not using the system correctly. Ads, when you get it working, WILL deliver results, no matter whether you are a large retailer of Silver Jewellery or you are a local plumber, the results come from making sure your campaign is working properly, and this takes time and of course, knowledge.
Google Ads offers a wide range of reports for people that use it, so we take a look at 6 of the most important reports that you should be checking (often) in your Google Ads account and then using the data to improve your campaign performance.
Time And Day Of the Week
I recommend that all of my clients set bid adjustments for the days and even hours of the week that generally convert really well and then use this data to either set an ad schedule, or to run less spend on the days that just do not do much for their campaign. This report shows you the day of the week and the traffic you get (and conversions if you have this set up) and also the hour of the day as well, so if you know that over the past month you never get a conversion on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 1am and 6am, you can remove the spend from these times and allow the times and days that do convert to have more budget.
If your campaigns are running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week then the Google Ads system has to try to make sure the spend will go the distance, so by removing the days or hours that just never bring much to the table, you then spend the money on the times that do work.
There are two main reasons why you need to know the search terms that have sent people to your website and the first one is to see which search terms are really doing well and converting, the second reason is to make sure that you keep an eye on your keywords and add them to your negative list when you start seeing irrelevant or non-converting searches. It is important you know what you are spending your money on, so if you never check this report then how can you really fully understand the kind of search terms people are using and the traffic you are getting?
Negative keywords are so important to keep on top of, as if you fail to check the keyword searches for a few weeks, by that point you will have probably wasted a ton of money on keyword searches and bids that are just never going to convert. For example, if you are bidding on “web design” and you fail to add Jobs, Careers, Free, Courses, Software and many others to your negative keyword list then I can assure you that your budget will be quickly spent and you will be lucky to get any business from your spend. Make sure you check at least every few days and build up your negative keyword list, and you can also increase the bids on any search term that seems to be working well for you.
Geography Of Visitors
This report can shed some decent insight onto your campaign performance, both from a positive point of view in terms of making sure the location click throughs are exactly as you want them to be, but you can also make sure that you are not getting traffic from areas that you do not want business in. The Geography report shows where your visitors have come from, and if you set the columns up correctly then you can find out their country, county, town and sometimes area postcode, which when it comes to making better use of targeting really is a must. As we mention, it is also good to look at this report to make sure you have set your targeting correctly, as you do not want to find out a month down the line none of your clicks were from the right area(s)!
If you are running radius campaigns then you should take this data and look at the areas that are really working and add bid adjustments to these, but also look at excluding areas that are sending you many clicks but little to no conversions. Google Ads is always about optimisation and making sure that you spend every pound correctly, so by bidding on the areas that are working and removing those that are not can help to get more from your campaign.
As a minimum, each ad group should be running at least 4 adverts, with one mobile preferred and one call only advert as well. This is why looking at your advert performance is vital to determine not only how successful your campaign is, but to also find areas for improvement in terms of ad copy and to make them more appealing, which in turn can increase your CTR, reduce your max CPC and of course result in more conversions.
Your advert performance, if you have the correct columns set up and conversion tracking in place can tell you a lot, including how often the advert is being served (as a percentage to others in the same ad group), the amount of click throughs, CTR, average position, impressions and of course, conversion success. Taking this data and understanding it allows you to plan new adverts, tweak existing ones or remove ads that are just not cutting it in terms of performance or results, which then makes sure you are continually optimising your campaign to get better results from the money you spend and your overall ROI.
Ad Extensions Performance Report
You should be as a minimum making sure that you have Sitelinks, Call Extensions and Call Outs in place for your Adwords campaign, although if you are able to add some of the others then this can really help to not only make your advert more visible, but to increase your CTR on these adverts as well. If you do have these live on your adverts, then head into your account to see how many clicks and impressions your ad extension has received, how much it has cost you and a range of other useful statistics, including CTR and conversions as well.
The main reason to keep on top of these is to make sure that you are using the right ones, as if you have not really set them up correctly then you might have the wrong kind of site links on your adverts that make no sense or have no relevance, and these reports quickly show you performance related information that you can then use to improve your ad extensions across your campaign.
You can get a much more detailed view of what these stats mean by visiting the official page on Google Adwords help for Ad Extensions.
Product Conversions (Shopping Only)
If you are running a shopping feed and campaign then you simply must make sure you have conversion tracking in place, as if you do, this report will open your eyes into a whole new world of performance related data. There are multiple reporting options under the shopping reports, but the main ones to look at are the specific product conversions and the ranges or categories, as you can then quickly see which products are selling well and which might need some work. This will also allow you to work out if the products you are selling are really making you that much money, as I have had instances where a client might be selling thousands of one type of product, but the ROI on is not that great, so it might make sense to remove this product and allow spend into other areas.
The amount of data you can pull from the shopping reports really is immense, and you must be making use of it to make sure that the products you are selling are the right ones, as if you have a feed of over 1,000 products, then you could argue that not all of these are really going to make you the kind of return on investment you are looking for, which is why with a few reports and a bit of time, you can remove the ones that simply are not worth selling and increase your bidding on the ones that really are.