The Beginner’s Guide to the Google Ads Analysis Process

I use no-nonsense and established methodologies that I have tested for YEARS to improve the bottom line of my clients

The Beginner’s Guide to the Google Ads Analysis Process

If you are one of the 4 million plus businesses that advertise on Google Ads, having access to analytics will show you how to optimize your campaigns and increase ROI.

Small businesses waste about 25% of their PPC budget by not managing their campaigns effectively.

One of the biggest challenges that marketers face when running a PPC campaign is not knowing how to use analytics to improve ad performance. If an ad isn’t getting enough clicks or conversions, do you just remove it, or ask yourself why?

Getting results from your PPC ad campaign often requires a good strategy. Across various industries, businesses make $2 for every one dollar they spend on Google Ads.

Let me share my quick Google Ads analyzing process to help you maximize your Google Ads’ profit.

Key Performance Indicators in Google Ads

Before we discuss the Google Ads analysis process, an understanding of the basic performance metrics is crucial.

  • Clicks: This is the basic performance measure which refers to the number of clicks an ad has received for a specific time duration. This isn’t really a great way to measure the performance of an ad or campaign since it also includes all the clicks that resulted in a sale plus the ones that added to the bounce rate. An ad receiving 100 clicks might not be converting any better than an ad that receives 20 clicks a day.
  • CTR: Click-through rate is a better measure of clicks. It’s the ratio of the number of visitors who clicked the ad to the number of people who see the ad. The higher the CTR, the better. If your ads have a CTR of 1% or higher on a search network, consider it good. Usually, no further action is required in terms of CTR optimization.

  • Quality score (QS): This is not really a performance measure. However, since Google Ads uses the quality score of your ads and keywords to rate them in its system, it must be understood. Three variables affect the quality score: expected CTR, ad relevance, and landing page relevance.  A high quality score will reduce the cost per click and will increase the average position of your ads.  To increase your quality score, make your ad copy persuasive in order to increase CTR, make your ads relevant to the target audience, product, landing page, etc., and improve your landing page.
  • CPC (Cost Per Click): This is the average cost that you pay for a click on the Google Ads network. CPC is associated with the quality score. As the quality score increases, you’ll notice a reduction in CPC. Your goal is to pay less than your competitors and enjoy a better position.

There are several other metrics that can be used to measure the performance of your ads based on the campaign objectives. These include:

  • Conversion rate
  • Sales
  • Cost per conversion
  • Cost per lead
  • Lifetime value
  • Return on ad spend

You can go as deep as you want. However, the metrics discussed above are more than enough to help you get started.

Pre-Google Ads Analysis

The analysis process has three stages:

  1. Becoming familiar with the business strategy. This is the most important stage. However, it is rarely considered. Understanding the business strategy, its goals, advertising objectives, products, target market, etc. will help generate relevant and useful reports from Google Ads at a later stage.
  2. Configuring Google Ads. Google Ads is most effective in conjunction with Google Analytics. Linking AdWords and Analytics is the basic step that will be of great help in the analysis stage. Also, enabling conversions in AdWords is helpful in several ways. For instance, you can see how many of the clicks actually resulted in a conversion.
  3. In-depth analysis – continue reading below.

Without the first two stages, you cannot expect anything valuable from analysis and reporting. Since the insights gained from one stage will be used as input for the next stage, it is crucial to start from stage one if you intend to make the most of Google Ads analysis.

1. Quick Review at the Account Level

I like to start here because it gives me a birds-eye view of the account. Since every industry is different, it also helps me later to assess what is normal and what is abnormal. From the top left, click on the Home tab and choose the setting: All campaigns -> Impr. -> Vs. Conversions -> Daily:

From the top right, change the date range to three months and select Compare -> Same period last year (if there is enough data to do so). One quarter will allow access to relatively recent data, or at least enough of it to avoid unexpected fluctuations, and present you with the most accurate account performance:

After I review the information above, I dive a bit deeper by clicking “View full report” from the Top movers section. The Top Movers report shows you what campaigns and ad groups saw the biggest changes, and helps you understand what may be driving those changes. I then look at the three metrics: Cost, Interactions, and Conversions separately.

See how much information we have accessed from only a top-level review of the account? We already have a lot of information about the account performance and trends. However, we won’t stop here, but will continue to dig deeper into the account data.

2. Quick Review at the Campaign Level

You should start your analysis by reviewing your campaigns and overall account metrics.
Campaign performance is available in the Campaigns tab. The default view provides you with a general overview of how each specific campaign has performed. You can sort the data by clicking any column, such as Clicks.

A similar report with the same metrics can be generated for each ad within every ad group.

These two reports (campaign and ad-groups) provide a general overview of the basic metrics. However, these reports do not provide enough meaningful information to make decisions.

For instance, if a campaign has a low CTR, you cannot pause it. Instead, you must dig deeper to find the cause of the low CTR. It could be due to poor ad copy, irrelevant keyword targeting, low position, etc.

3.  Filters in Google Ads

Filters allow granular reporting in Google Ads. You can create specific conditions with the help of filters that can help with decision-making.
For instance, if you want to see all of the keywords that received less than 10 clicks and have 8 conversions, you can do this easily with the help of filters.
You can find filters in the secondary navigation within Google Ads. Click Create Filter to create a new filter.

Some of the filters that you can use to optimize your campaigns are listed below:

1) Expensive keywords with several clicks but no conversions. Action: Remove all such keywords.

2) Keywords with a low quality score (preferably those with Quality Score less than 5) (create filter from the Keyword tab). Action: work to improve QS for these terms.

3) Identify ads that get a lot of impressions but have a poor conversion rate (create filter from the Ad-Group tab). Action: Pause those ads and replace with new improved ones.

4) Filter ads getting lots of clicks but aren’t converting. Action: Pause those ads and replace with new improved ones.

5) Expensive ad groups that are not converting well. Action: Pause those ads groups.

6) Filter campaigns that are expensive and have a cost per conversion higher than other campaigns. Action: work to improve campaign performance.

7) Campaigns with a sufficient number of clicks, but with a massive bounce rate. Action: improve user experience on the landing pages corresponding with the campaigns shown by this filter.

There are hundreds and hundreds of filters that you can create. In fact, you can create a filter for just about anything you can think of. Furthermore, you can save all of these filters, thus saving you time later on.

4.  The Segment Feature in Google Ads

Segmentation is another nice way to analyze your campaigns at a deeper level. It provides instant access to trends within your campaigns.  An example of such a trend is how your ads perform at the top of the search results and on other sides. You can compare the differences and optimize your campaigns.

The segment feature is available in secondary navigation in the Google Ads dashboard.

There are different types of segments to choose from, such as time, conversions, network, device, and others. For any segment, Google Ads will add a new row (or rows) in the campaigns. For instance, if you run a segment for Time using the Day of the Week, you’ll see the following rows.

You can see when your campaigns receive the most clicks as well as the days of the week that are poor performers in terms of clicks, impressions, conversion rate, etc. Using this type of reporting makes it easier to optimize your campaign performance.

Listed below are three of the most recommended and insightful segments for your campaigns:

Device: Shows you campaign performance based on devices (mobile, computer, and tablet). It helps you decide whether or not it is a good idea to bid for mobile. You can increase or decrease your bid depending on how your campaign is performing on the various devices.

Time: Tracks campaign performance for a day of the week, a week of the month, a month, a quarter, a year, a day, or an hour of the day. You can adjust your campaigns on the basis of how people respond to your ads at different times.

Network: Shows how Google performs as compared to Google Search Partners. You can adjust your bid based on network performance.

5.  Dimensions

The Dimensions tab is another great feature that helps to analyze your account performance. In addition, “Dimensions”  offers more trends than segmentation.
It’s available in main navigation within the Google Ads dashboard.

You can find trends related to time, conversions, labels, destination URL, geographic, and many others.

Geographic analysis, for instance, is great for determining which countries and states are performing above average in terms of conversions, clicks, or any other metric.

Similarly, a Search Terms analysis will provide in-depth analysis of the search terms that triggered ads for your entire account.

6.  Combining Filters, Segments, and Dimensions

This is where things get interesting. You can use filters, segments, and dimensions together to generate reports that provide details that can help you understand every bit of your campaign.

Filters can be applied to an analysis generated from the dimensions feature. In order to generate a super-granular report using the three features, follow the steps below.

i) Run a dimensions analysis based on your preferred variable of choice.

ii) Click “Filters” and create a filter. This filter will be applied to the report that is already open.

iii). Click “Download.”

iv). Click “Add Segment” to add a segment to the report you’re about to download. You can choose as many segments as you wish.

v). You now have a report with all the data you need.

This type of super-granular reporting is very helpful for analysis and decision-making.

For instance, you can generate a report for your entire account for the days of the week. You can then apply conversions and a cost filter, and add a device segment and an network segment.

This will show you the days of the week when conversions are maximum and the cost is minimum.

This report will be further filtered on the basis of network and devices. On the basis of such a report, you can initiate a new campaign that runs for the specified days only, targets the best-performing network and devices, and is optimized for conversions.

7.  Competitive Metrics

Google Ads competitive metrics are useful and effective resources for comparing your campaigns and performance with those of your competitors. A common mistake is neglecting to use competitive metrics.

Follow the  steps below to add competitive metrics:
1. Click Customize Columns under Columns from your Google Ads dashboard’s secondary navigation.

2. Click Competitive Metrics and add all the metrics that you wish to analyze.

It is crucial that these competitive metrics not be ignored. Add all of the metrics to stay ahead of your competitors.

8.  Some Useful Google Analytics Data

On the top bar, click “Tools” and then “Google Analytics” in the drop down.

Demographics overview:

Keywords overview:

Other reports available in Google Analytics are:


Running an ad campaign on Google Ads is not a big deal. Your competitors are doing it too. What will make you stand out is the way you analyze and optimize your campaigns, and how quickly and effectively you do it before your competitors do.