3 Great Uses for the Google Ads Reports Tab

1) Long-Term Performance (Bar chart | X: month | Y: cost and conversion value)

You know those monthly reports where the message is ‘performance was down vs last month but still strong by historical standards’…?

Adding a chart to show long term, top-level performance by month is particularly useful for giving substance to that message.

It also brings useful context to monthly reports in general, both with long-term trends and seasonal variations.

While the simplest form of chart showing cost vs value (or conversions) over time is available from the all campaigns view, this bar chart gives a much clearer view of month-by-month progress.

The analysis is mainly in the changing relationship between the heights of the cost and conversions value bars.

The relevant function of that relationship could of course be shown with a single metric: conv. value/cost (AKA ROAS).

But by using the two component metrics in this chart rather than jumping straight to the efficiency measurement, you also get a useful view of volume for each month. Profit and profitability.

2) Ad Label Report (Table | Rows: ad label | Columns: clicks, impressions, CTR, cost, conversions, cost/conv, conv. rate)

This is a good approach to answering the deceptively tricky question: “what kind of messaging is working best?”

The process involves dividing your ads into sets that share some messaging characteristic (e.g. ads that include a CTA (or a particular CTA) in headline 1… ads that mention a location… ads that mention a discount etc.

It’s not crucial that all ads are included, or even that the sets don’t cross over. This is a rough method, for rough answers, which can still be very illuminating…

Label all ads with their a set-specific label, and run the report above (you can take a short cut by running the predefined report ‘Labels – Ad’, and removing the unwanted columns)

NB You may need to watch out for ‘confounding variables’ with this one.

Ask yourself for example whether ads with a certain phrase come disproportionately from brand campaigns, or lead to a certain landing page which has more impact on CVR than the messaging itself… And take whatever precautions you can against overinterpreting the results.

For more rigorous ad testing, Ad Variations is a better solution – but running ad label reports like the one above is simpler, and more sustainable as an ongoing process.

3) Auction Insights v2 (Time Series | Series: display url domain | Value: abs. top of page rate)

Auction Insights is a unique report in Google Ads. It’s the only one that focusses specifically on the status of other advertisers.

Although ongoing competitor analysis is of limited value (in my view) in providing actionable insights, it is a topic that clients ask about frequently. It also has great explanatory power when you’re investigating a sharp rise in CPCs.

However, Auction Insights lacks some basic and important functionality.

When we open the report, we usually want to know whether and how competition levels have changed. Yet the standard report conspicuously lacks any way of showing changes over time.

It has no a time series chart, and – unlike most standard reports – does not even allow a date range comparison for showing changes within the table.

These functionality gaps were addressed a few months ago, in ‘Auction Insights v2’ … which is only available in the Reports tab.

Here you can make a time series showing how your competitors have shifted in all the usual Auction Insights metrics – making for a much clearer picture of the changing competitive landscape.

Finally…

It is well worth checking out the list of predefined reports.

Most of them are fairly basic, and they are almost all packed too full with metrics in their default state…

But there are some unique windows into campaign performance to be found here.

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