Using the AdWords Report Editor to Optimize Campaigns

By Megalytic Staff - February 09, 2017

Humans are visual creatures. A widely cited statistic states that 65% of the population are "visual learners". No wonder most people would agree with the colloquial wisdom that “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
Google gets that, and that's why there are a number of great ways to use the AdWords Report Editor for both data analysis and client communication.
The Report Editor is perhaps one of the most underused features in AdWords. Rolled out toward the end of 2015, this tool allows you to analyze data within your account in a more visual, and sometimes more granular, view than the main reporting section can produce. In fact, you can even create some reports that previously required an export into Excel.
PPC managers can use the Report Editor in a number of ways to look at performance and use those metrics to optimize campaigns. In this article, we’ll walk through accessing this tool and using it to create some practical, and fascinating, reports.


AdWords Clicks by Country


Accessing the Report Editor

To access the Report Editor within AdWords, click Reports in the top navigation bar. From here, you’ll see a screen where you can create your first report.


Access AdWords Reports


From here, you can choose to create a new report via the red “Report” button, or you can select an existing one from the “Pre-defined reports” dropdown. When creating a new report, you’ll choose from four different types of charts: table, line chart, bar chart, or pie chart.

Once you’re in the report builder section, you can select various metrics, dimensions, and targeting criteria to include by dragging them over from the left side. In this example, we’ve built a report showing performance by device at the campaign level.


AdWords Table Report


Use the dropdowns by any metric in the table to filter what shows up in the report. For instance, you may want to only see data campaigns that resulted in one or more conversions. Select the dropdown by “Conversions” and use the field to filter by numbers greater than or equal to 1.

You can also select the “funnel” in the lefthand sidebar to filter by further criteria. In this example, we’ve selected a specific campaign (Search - General) and chosen to show only data from Google Search, excluding search partners.


AdWords Filter Network


Comparing Performance by Time

Measuring AdWords performance by day and hour allows you to pinpoint times when conversions are most likely to happen, as well as highlighting when you’re paying expensive costs for low-converting clicks. The Report Editor can quickly visualize data broken down by time.


AdWords Report Showing Conversions by Day of Week


This example shows a graph breaking down conversion rate and cost per conversion by day of the week. Here, you can immediately see that Saturday has the lowest cost per conversion and highest conversion rate, suggesting that you should bid higher on this day. Conversely, Tuesday and Wednesday have higher costs per conversion and lower conversion rates, implying that you should bid lower on these days.

The next example breaks down clicks and conversions by hour of day. Here, you can see when the highest volume of people are likely to be searching for your service and converting on your site. From this, we can note that 8 a.m and 4 p.m. appear to be peak times and so a higher bid at these times may help to capture more search activity.


AdWords Report Showing Conversions by Hour of Day


Segmenting by Geography

Looking at which regions perform the best will also help you to know where to focus your ad spend and where to pull back. Depending on the scale of a campaign, you should look at geographic on multiple levels: city, metro area, state, and country.

In this example, you can see clicks broken down by country, providing perspective on which countries drive the most traffic. South Africa drives the highest volume, followed by the United States.


AdWords Clicks by Country


Now, say that we want to dig further into which countries actually drive the best performance, as click volume alone doesn’t tell the full story. We’ll build a table chart including conversion data, using the filter on the “Conversions” column to only show countries that have had ten or more conversions in our timeframe. Finally, we’ll sort by conversion rate to show which countries are most likely to drive leads.


AdWords Report Showing Conversions by Country


In these results, Ireland now ranks at the top, with the highest conversion rate showing that visitors from here are very likely to sign up for a trial. This also correlates with a lower cost per conversion, shown in the next column. Based on this data, it would make sense to bid higher for traffic from Ireland.

We can also look for costly conversions by sorting in the cost per conversion column. Here, we can see that Canada and Germany have the highest costs per conversion, so bidding down in these countries would be logical.

Analyzing Long-Term Trends

Using the Report Editor, a line chart can help you see how metrics have risen or fallen over a period of time. Many businesses incorporate call extensions into ads to drive phone calls from searchers; in this example, we compare phone calls and phone impressions over the past several months.


AdWords Report Showing Phone Calls


From this data, we can show that phone call volume spiked in early summer, early fall, and winter, correlating with weather trends that make sense for an HVAC company. Warm weather leads to calls for AC repair while cold weather leads to calls for furnace repair. Also, total phone calls overtook phone impressions later in the graph, meaning that people who saw phone numbers were more likely to call.

In the next example, we compare average CPC among campaigns to analyze how much we’ve been paying for traffic over time. We’ve selected key search campaigns from the account to compare.


AdWords Report Showing Cost per Click


We can see that the Capital Region campaign spiked up recently, while the Wappingers Falls and Vestal campaigns have been trending downward. Using this report, we can pinpoint campaigns that may need extra attention, analyzing how much of a factor edits, such as bid changes or ad copy adjustments, have affected increases.

Including Google Analytics Data

Another benefit of the Report Editor is its ability to tie in Google Analytics metrics, if you’ve linked your Analytics and AdWords accounts together. Once you’ve taken that step, you’ll see these metrics, along with the standard AdWords ones, in the list available to add to your report.


AdWords Report Integrating Google Analytics Data


In the example above, we’re looking at bounce rate and pages per session for keywords with 10 or more clicks. We’ve also added CTR to show that the highest CTR doesn’t always correlate with the highest engagement.


While the Report Editor isn’t an end-all reporting solution, it provides a number of ways to take a more in-depth dive into AdWords data. If you haven’t yet used this section of AdWords, experiment with creating reports and focusing on different data points to reveal a variety of insights. As you view data in various charts, you may be surprised by what you can take away to help you improve your PPC campaigns.

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