Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Google Search Ads Performance Measurement & Optimization Guide

If you are advertising your business on Google Search Ads, it’s important for you to understand if the campaigns are running effectively, and if the campaigns are driving results or not.
In this article, we will understand the key metrics to look at while measuring performance for your search ads and also we will understand how to optimize them to improve results.
I will take you through 3 Google Ads account actual data to understand Google search ads performance measurement & optimization in detail. 
So let’s get started!

Here are the key metrics and parameters you should measure & optimize for your search ads!

1. Average Position
The first important metric to look at in search campaign is it’s average position. The average position is available on the summary dashboard of Google Ads account.
Below is an example of one of my Google Ad accounts where you can see that the average position is 1.1 or 1.2 in most of the cases. This means that my ad is ranking on the first position most of the time. Position of anything less than 1.5 is a good position for search ads
Average Position – Ad Account 1
Search Ads Average Position
Below is another example from another Google Ads accounts, where you can see that the average position is 3.0.
Average Position – Ad Account 2
Measuring Google Search Ads
Average Position – Ad Account 3
Search Ads Average Position Importance
Now example 2, the average position is 3 and in example 3 the average position of few campaigns is 4.0 and 3.0, which is very low. If my ad is ranking at no 3 or no 4, my ads would receive low clicks.
A good average position for search campaign should be anything less than 1.5
2. CTR
The next metric to look at is CTR. Let’s have a look at CTR for all the above 3 examples
CTR –  Ad Account 1
You can see different CTR’s for all campaigns below, few of the campaigns have CTR 5.87%, 4.42%, 10.66% and so on
CTR in Google Ads Measurement
CTR – Ad Account 2
In this ad account, I have only 1 campaign. We can see that the CTR is around 7.31%
CTR in Google Ads
CTR – Ad Account 3
In this ad account, you can see different CTR’s for different campaigns including 4.63%, 2.60%, 2.18% and so on
CTR in Google Ads Measurement
CTR for any search campaign should be minimum 5%, if you are observing CTR less than 5%, then it means that the keywords targeted are not business keywords.
3. Keywords
The next parameter to look at, are keywords in the campaign which have received clicks. So let’s view all the 3 Ad accounts, keyword report. You can view the keywords report of any campaign by clicking on the campaign and then clicking on the keywords tab on the left hand side (refer below)
In the keywords report for any campaign, we need to look at the impressions, clicks, CTR, CPC, Avg position, conversions etc.
Keywords of Ad Account 1
Google Search Ads Optimisation
Through keywords report, I can understand which keywords have generated clicks for my campaign, what is the CPC of those keywords, what is the CTR, Avg Position for each keyword and so on.
Keywords of Ad Account 2
Keywords Optimisation in Search Ads
Keywords of Ad Account 3
Keywords Analysis in Search Ads
When you are reading the keywords report, look at the keywords which are driving maximum clicks to your landing page, also look at the keyword average position and CTR of your keyword.
For Eg: In Ad Account 3, you can see keyword b has an average position of 4.9 and CTR of 3.29%, so both the metrics are low, we need to increase the average position to 1.5 and CTR also should be above 5% by optimization of the campaign.
4. Search Term Report
The next aspect to look at is search term report. Search term report is under keywords option, you need to click search terms which is next to negative keywords.
So What is a Search Terms report?
Search Terms report is a report of the queries which users searched on Google, which generated clicks for your Google Search ads campaign.
This is one of the important reports in Google search campaigns because it helps you to understand the queries which generated clicks for the campaign. From these reports, if you see any queries which are irrelevant to your business, in that case you should add these queries as negatives in your campaign, so that your ads don’t trigger again for those keywords which are irrelevant.
You should regularly check search terms report because, it helps you to understand if your budget is getting consumed on the right keywords which are your business keywords. You can also increase bids of keywords if you see that these keywords are driving results. As in the search report of below example of Ad Account 1, I can see that search term D is driving conversions, so I can take a call to increase the bid of that particular keyword, so that keyword participates in the auction with higher bidding to drive more conversions.
Search Term Report – Ad Account 1
Search Term Report in Search Ads
Search Term Report – Ad Account 2
Search Term Report Analysis
Search Term Report – Ad Account 3
Search Term Report Analysis
In search term report of ad account 3, you can see that the average position of search term A is 3.5 but it is driving conversions, so again you can take a call of increasing bidding to be more aggressive for these keywords on Google search.
Now basis above examples, you must have observed that increasing average position leads to higher CTR. Higher CTR means you are driving more users from your search ads to your landing page, which means there are higher chances of conversions. So let’s understand further how to improve average position.
So How To Improve Search Campaign Average Position?
In order to improve average position for your search campaigns, you need to look at the keywords report
Keywords Report – Ad Account 3
If you look at the below keywords report, you can see the average position for each keyword, plus you can see on the right column which says Quality Score. Hope you remember quality score (we have discussed this in our article What is Ad Rank – Click Here To Access What is Ad Rank Article)
Quality Score in Google Ads
If you are not able to see quality score column on the dashboard, then click on columns option and then click on modify columns, from here you can add the quality score option to your dashboard.
Modify Columns in Google Reports
You can see that the quality score for most of the keywords is less than 5, which is a low quality score. A good quality score is anything above 7.
Quality Score is a score given to a keyword basis three parameters as below
  • Ad Copy Relevance
  • Landing Page Relevance
  • CTR
So Ad Rank = Bid x Quality Score
In order to improve average position, we need to improve quality score, which improves your ad rank resulting in higher position for your search ad.
If you have started your search campaign today, you won’t be able to see the quality score immediately, it takes 2 to 3 days or sufficient clicks to show the quality score. 
5. Conversions
Conversions are total no of leads (if it’s a form fill website) or transactions (if it’s a website with a payment method option). You should look at the total no of conversions generated for your search campaign because your key objective of search ads is conversions.
Also, when you are looking at conversions, look at the keywords which are driving conversions for your search ads.
Conversions – Ad Account 1
Conversion Reporting in Google Ads
In ad account 1, you can see different keywords driving conversions. Look at different metrics including average position, CTR, quality score etc of the keyword and further optimize to drive more conversions.
Conversions – Ad Account 3
Conversion Analysis
In ad account 3 report you can see no of conversions are 82, also you can see the no of conversions with respect to each keyword. Now if you observe the quality score is low for most of the keywords, so here you need to improve the quality score by improving the ad rank.
6. Conversion Rate
Conversion rate is the percentage of users converted from the clicks received on your ad copy. It is important to measure conversion rate, because if the conversion rate increases, the conversions increase
Conversion Rate – Ad Account 1
Conversion Rate Optimization
Conversion Rate – Ad Account 3
Conversion Rate Measurement
In ad account 1& ad account 3 report, you can see that each an every keyword has a different conversion rate. In order to improve conversion rate it is important to improve CTR. CTR can be further improved by testing different ad copies and improving the ad position of search ads.
You need to look at conversion rate at ad group level, campaign level and keyword level.
7. Cost Per Conversion
Next parameter to look at is cost per conversion. Different ad campaigns will have different cost per conversions and different keywords will have different cost per conversions, our goal will be to get conversions at the minimum cost as possible.
Cost Per Conversion – Ad Account 1
Cost Per Conversion Optimization
Cost Per Conversion – Ad Account 3
Google Search Ads Campaign Optimization

There is no fixed cost per conversion defined for a product or service. Cost per conversion will depend upon the real time bidding and the no of the clicks generated to convert a user. In order to reduce cost per conversion is to improve ad rank, if the ad rank improves, the cost per clicks decreases, further helping to reduce cost per conversion.
8. Ad Copy
You would be using multiple ad copies in your search ad campaigns. While monitoring your ad campaigns, it’s important for you to understand which ad copies are working for your or not.
Ad Copy – Ad Account 1
Ad Copy Analysis in Google Ads
Ad Copy – Ad Account 2
Ad Copy Optimization
Ad Copy – Ad Account 3
Analysis of Search Ads Campaign
While measuring ad copy performance, you need to look at the average position, the CTR and conversion rate. This helps you to understand which ad copies are working for you. From the above examples, you can observe that ad account 2 has an average position above 3, also in example of ad account 3, ad copy A, you can see that the average position is 3.3. So you need to improve your position by improving your ad rank.
9. Devices
Next aspect is to observe the devices report. Devices report helps you to understand which device is performing better for you, basis that you can further improve the metrics on the performing device.
Devices – Ad Account 1
Devices Optimization in Search Ads
Devices – Ad Account 3
Devices Analysis
You can see that in both the above devices report, mobile device is driving the majority of the traffic. You need to then look at all the metrics including avg position, ctr, conversion rate, conversions etc.
In ad account 1, the cost per conversion is very high, so you need to reduce the cost per conversion by optimizing the ad copy, bidding strategy, landing pages, ad rank etc.
10. Ad Scheduling Report
Ad scheduling report helps you to understand how your campaign is performing during different hours of the day, different days of the week, different hours of specific day etc
Ad Scheduling Reports
Day & Hour Reports in Google Ads
Google Ads Day Parting Reports
Ad Scheduling Hour Wise Reports
For the above reports, you can observe that there are high conversion on Monday between 12 pm to 10 pm, also you can see the breakup hourwise to measure hourly data of your campaign.
Once you know which days and at which hours you are receiving high conversions, you can optimize your campaigns accordingly by being more aggressive during those time slots, bidding more aggressively, trying different A/B testing methods for ad copies and landing pages.
11. Landing Page Reports
If you are using multiple landing pages, it’s important to understand which landing pages are performing better. You can view landing page report by clicking on landing page option on the left hand side of your dashboard
Landing Pages – Ad Account 1
Landing Page Analysis
For the above report, you can see that landing page B is performing better with respect to conversions and also the cost per conversion is comparatively lower than landing page A. You can further optimize the landing page basis the content which is there on the web page. This report will help you to measure performance of different landing pages and also help you to make further strategy for landing page optimization. 
12. Ad Extensions Report
The next thing is to view the ad extensions report. You would have used multiple ad extensions for your search ad campaigns, so it’s important to understand which one is performing and which one is not. You can view the ad extensions report by clicking on the left hand side of the dashboard and then clicking on extensions on the top.
Ad Extensions – Ad Account 1
Ad Extensions Reports
In the above report you can see how many clicks have generated for sitelinks, how many clicks generated on headline when callout extensions were triggered.
You need to keep experimenting with different copies for your extensions to improve the interaction on your ad copy through ad extensions.
To know more about different types of ad extensions – Refer article, Google Ad Extensions Guide To Increase ROI
13. Auction Insights Report
Auction Insights report helps to understand other competitors who are visible when your ad is shown on Google search. Also it helps you to understand your impression share with competitors impression share and their ad position.
Auction Insights – Ad Account 1
Auction Insights Report in Google Ads


Measuring the performance of Google search ad campaign is important as it helps you to further optimize your campaign which leads to higher ROI. Before you start measuring the search ad campaign, you should make sure that you have understood the fundamentals and it’s relation with different metrics, to evaluate the performance effectively!

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