7 Useful Custom Columns in Google Ads

There’s no shortage of metrics in Google Ads for evaluating performance.

But with custom columns, you have a much more bespoke toolkit – allowing you to combine existing metrics and external data to create a more tailored set of data.

If you like the idea but aren’t sure of how to get the most out of this feature, here are some ideas…

How to Set up Custom Columns

If you haven’t used them before – custom columns are available within most standard views in the interface, through ‘columns’ > ‘modify columns’ – and scrolling down to ‘custom columns’ .


1 Impression Conversion Rate

When judging your winning ads, you often face a trade-off between an ad with a higher CTR, and another with a better conversion rate…

Instead of weighing up those metrics against each other every time, here’s a way to cut straight to a definite winner…

Create a custom column to factor both CTR and conversion rate into a single metric: ‘impression conversion rate’. This will tell you the number of conversions each ad generated per 100 impressions – factoring in both CTR and conversion rate with a single score.

2 Mobile Performance

See your Cost per conversion (or conversion rate, or whichever performance metric you like) specifically for mobile traffic at a glance, across different campaigns / ad groups or keywords.

You can already reach this data by segmenting… but adding it as a custom column allows you to see it far more easily at a glance, as well as freeing the table up to apply a different segmentation on top of it.

3 Profit

There are a couple of levels to this one…

Gross Profit

So simple it hurts… but useful. 

It’s a calculation you’re probably doing in your head almost every time you look at your top-level performance data in Google Ads. Just spell it out with a custom column, using Conv. value – cost.

…and if you’re counting conversions rather than value – consider applying (even rough) estimated values to your conversions in order to open up this and other new metrics for evaluating performance.

Net Profit

Factor your profit margin into the custom metric to reach a more accurate picture of actual profit. Just multiply conversion value by the margin, before subtracting cost.

You could also create a bottom-line profit metric specifically for use at account level, by subtracting your management fee from net profit for a more complete picture of your client’s overall return.

4 Profitable revenue per click

How about taking your profitable revenue (say conversion value x 0.2, assuming a 20% margin) and dividing by clicks, for a really direct way of analysing whether your CPCs are in a good place?


(NB as you get precise with your metrics, take care not to start mistaking precision for accuracy. 

Visible conversions – whatever attribution model you’re using – won’t tell you the whole story of the value generated by your PPC activity. 

In the messy IRL world (yuck!) there are offline conversions / hard-to-measure lifetime values / undetectable word-of-mouth referrals / PPC conversions that were destined for you regardless of your ads… 

The data is all-important – it just isn’t ‘all’…)


5 Efficiency Ratio

(and format as a %)

This will show you how much (as a percentage) of a £ you’re spending to make a £ back. 

It’s one of several ways to determine return… but an interesting one for eCommerce specialists and clients.

It can be used as an inverse of profit margin to tell you whether / where / how far you’re really in the black.


ROAS is not available as a standard metric in the interface. (Surprising, given the target-ROAS bidding strategy…)

We have something close with the Conv.value/Cost metric, but this is

a) given as a number rather than a percentage

b) unclearly named, and likely to need some explanation if you’re sharing it in a report with a client, for example.

To see a standard, clear ROAS metric, just divide revenue by cost and format (if preferred) as a percentage.

To see ROI instead of ROAS, use the formula (conv value – cost) / cost.

7 More Conversion insights

Custom columns can create a much more intricate picture of your performance against specific conversions. Here are a few examples:

What % of conversions came from a particular goal?

or what % of revenue came from a particular conversion type?

The count of conversions from any particular goal that sits under ‘all conversions’, and isn’t fed into your conversion columns by default. (These still appear as options for segmentation under ‘Conversion action…’)

There's More to Come...

We’re likely to see more metrics (currently Impression Share metrics aren’t available [August 2021 Update: They are now 😁]) and dimensions (e.g. location) cropping up within custom columns, so it’s worth keeping an eye out to see what new insights you can dig up as they do.

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