“When performance is measured performance improves and when performance is measured and reported the rate of performance accelerates.”
PPC advertising is the one element of your online marketing mix that should be 100% transparent. You can see exactly how many clicks each keyword receives, the average cost of those clicks, and AdWords even has conversion tracking that tells you when your clicks turn into conversions (ie sales, leads, signups, etc.) That’s great, but did you know that you can also see which sites on the content network are most effective, which geographic area produces the best clicks, and the exact search term that triggered your ads?
The Sin of Ignorance
If you don’t know where to find the above-mentioned information, you have likely committed the Sin of Ignorance, which is to ignore the Reports tab and its functionality. Google became the search engine of choice because it crunched a bigger index in less time and produced better results than its predecessors. You’d better believe that Google has provided some bitchin’ reporting.
What Reports Are Available?
The AdWords Help explains every report in minute detail. I’ll just highlight a couple of my favorites. First off, let’s see what is available:
Use this report to assist with the Sin of Foolishness and really take advantage of the Google content network. You’ll see which sites get the most impressions, which sites get the most clicks, which sites get you a healthy CTR, and most importantly, which sites are getting you conversions. When you find poorly performing sites, add them to your list of excluded sites. If you find some good sites, consider creating a placement-targeted campaign that targets only your best performers and pump up the volume with increased bids.
Search Query Performance
Without a doubt this is the most helpful report for keywords. Sure the keyword report will show you how each keyword is doing, but this report will show you which phrases, as entered by the user, are most effective. This report is a treasure trove of hidden gems. Keywords and phrases that you may never have even considered. Some are pure gold and you should add them to your keyword lists. Some are cancerous and you should add them as negative keywords. Either way, as you run this report, mine it for useful data, and make changes according to your observations you will improve your overall performance by leaps and bounds.
Three nuances that will be helpful during your penance. First, the Report Center only holds 15 reports at any one time, so make sure to save reports on your computer if you want them later. Second, when you have constructed a good report, save it as a template so you can run it with a single click. Lastly, you can set a report to run daily or weekly and have it emailed to your inbox. A great way to keep an eye on things without having to login, run a report and wait for it to finish.