Guide To Understanding Your Google Ad Campaign Analytics

Guide To Understanding Your Google Ad Campaign Analytics

So, you’ve started an online ad campaign, most likely in Google Ads. You’ve done your keyword research and created campaigns,  you’ve planned out your budgets, you’ve created text ads, responsive ads, and maybe even some display ads. Now what? Now you have a whole dashboard of stuff to look at and you’re not sure where to start. Conversions? Calls? Clicks, Click-Thrus? What is all of this? 

Let’s go through each of the main metrics that you’ll see on your dashboard. When you first open your dashboard, you’re going to see your clicks, impressions, the average cost per click (CPC), and total cost. It looks like this and you can choose which lines you want to see in the graph by clicking each of the boxes. You’ll see the lines if the boxes are colored and not when the boxes are white. 

Google Ads Dashboard

Next, you’ll see cards below that that show your biggest changes in your ad groups. This is a quick view of your top changes by clicks, impressions, conversions, average CPC, and lots of other metrics. It’s a great way to see how your ad groups are performing and where you might need to make some adjustments. Other cards you’ll see are campaigns, search keywords that you’ve picked, search keywords, your most shown ads, display ads, auction insights, devices, demographics, networks, and the day and hour your ads were most shown. Depending on the types of ad formats you’ll be using, you may see some other cards for quick viewing as well. 


That’s a lot of information, so let’s dig into some of what you’ll need to know as you go through your account. Think of this as a glossary of sorts. 

Metrics Terms

  • Clicks: clicks are when someone clicks on one of your ads.
  • Impressions: impressions are when your ad was triggered to be shown when someone types in a query similar to yours but didn’t click on your ad. 
  • Click Thru Rate (CTR): this is when your ad was shown and someone clicked on it. It’s always shown as a percentage. Average CTRs for text ads are about 2% and about 0.35% for display (image) ads. 
  • Conversions: when a specific action was taken to result in a visitor converting on an ad (sale, lead, phone call, etc.).
  • Cost Per Click: pretty simple - this is how much you’ve spent on each click, whether it’s an average or an exact measure.
  • Conversion Rate (CVR): The rate at which clicks to your ads result in conversions. 
  • Conversion Value: You can assign a value to specific conversions to help you track conversions and optimize your return on ad spend (ROAS).
  • Conversion Value/Cost: This is the total value of your conversion divided by the cost you’ve spent.
  • Interaction Rate: This is the rate of engagement people have taken with your various ad formats.
  • Interactions: If you’re running ads on multiple channels, this shows you the main interactions people take with your ad format - viewing videos, click text ads and display ads, clicks on shopping ads, etc. 


Now that we have figured out what the main metrics are that you’ll be using in your reports, let’s take a look at how you can update your graphs. 

Google Ads Metrics Graph

Here you can compare 2 lines in your graph. Maybe you want to see your total costs versus your conversion values. This is a great way to get a snapshot of your ad campaigns over time. You can choose the date range that you want to look at. Always get in here to look at your values every day. Then, as time goes on, you can look from month to month, check out how you’re doing quarterly, and at the end of the year, see how your campaigns have progressed. 


Bid Strategies

Keywords, campaigns, ad groups, planning, budgets, oh my! So much going on, isn’t there? Well, now as your campaigns age and you’ve done some optimizations, you can also update your bid strategies. So, let’s review what those are. Optimizing your bid strategies will help you maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns as well as optimizing your budgets. No one really wants to overpay on the marketing costs and we’re certain that you don’t either. 

First, when you create your campaign, you’ll want to focus on one of 4 things - conversions, conversion value, clicks, or impression share. If you’re tracking conversions, Google will automatically recommend bidding to increase conversions. If you’re looking for a more branded approach, then go with impression share. If you’re going for traffic, go ahead and choose clicks. 

Google Ads Bidding

Once you’ve chosen the overall bid strategy, you can create portfolio bid strategies. You may want to get more clicks or maximize your conversions. What Google will do is optimize your campaigns based on your overall strategy and then help optimize your budgets with automated bidding. You can even get more advanced and set seasonality to your bidding strategies, too. This is especially helpful if you have seasonality with your business.

Google Ads Bidding Strategies

Let’s review what each of these bidding strategies means. 

  • Target CPA: This is a flexible bidding strategy where Google will optimize your campaigns to reach the target cost per acquisition that you’ve set. 
  • Target ROAS: This lets you target your return on ad spend and is a Google Ads smart bidding strategy that helps you get more value out of your campaign.
  • Maximize Clicks: This automated bidding strategy lets you set the budget and Google automagically sets your bid to help you get as many clicks within your budget.
  • Maximize Conversions: Google will automatically set bids based on your to maximize your conversions that you have set for your campaigns.
  • Maximize Conversion Value: This bidding strategy uses advanced machine learning to maximize the total conversion value of your campaign within your set budget.
  • Target Impression Share: If you want to stay top of mind as people search for your brand, product, or service, this will help keep your ads at the absolute top of the page or anywhere on a Google Search Result Page (SERP). 



Yes, we know, you’ve already picked your keywords so why are we going over this again? Well, there’s more to this than you might know. There are search terms and there are negative keywords. Let’s review what these mean for your account optimization. 

Search Terms

These are terms that people use in their search queries that result in triggering one of your ads. They are similar in value to one of the keywords in your ad groups. Let’s say that you’re in the business of selling kitchen sinks. So, you’ve picked out keywords that are similar to “kitchen sinks” like “trough kitchen sink,” “apron kitchen sink,” and “copper kitchen sinks.” 

Then someone comes along and is searching for “stone kitchen sinks” or “cement kitchen sinks.” If your keywords are set to phrase and broad match, then your ads will be triggered to show up for their search queries. You can find these search terms in the Search Terms report. You can also use this report to add new keywords to your campaigns and ad groups that you may not have originally thought of. 

Google Ads Search Terms & Keywords

Negative Keywords

Wait, what? I shouldn’t show up for certain keywords? Yup. Let’s say that you don’t want to show up for cement or stone sinks because you don’t sell them. Or any number of search terms that you may not want to be associated with. If people are looking to remodel their bathrooms and looking for types of bathroom sinks that you don’t have, it would be a waste of your budgeting dollars for people to click on your kitchen sink ads for something that they aren’t looking for. 

Using the search terms report will also help you find terms that you just simply don’t want to show for you as well. You can append them to campaigns or ad groups as you like. 



Knowing what kind of devices people are using to find your ads is important data because you can see what those devices are. Using this data will help you find ways to optimize your website, too. What we have been seeing since the advent of smartphones is that the majority of people searching the internet these days are on their iPhones, Galaxies, and more. Depending on your industry, you’ll find that you could have a near 50/50 split with a smattering of tablets in the middle, or even up to more than 80% of your traffic coming to your site from mobile phones. 

Google Ads Devices

Fair warning for restaurants, though, you will really need to focus on making sure that your website is fully designed mobile-first due to the high demand of people searching for your content on their phones. That also means to make your menu mobile friendly as well. (Hint hint, no more PDFs, that was so 10 years ago).



Knowing the general age and gender of your audience is also incredibly helpful. This can help you form your ad content from images to content to better fit your audience. Also, if you’re selling something that is more likely to be used by women, making sure that your ad creatives reflect that will help in maintaining your CTR and costs. 

Google Ads Demographics

Day and Hour

Unless you’re an international company, taking a look to see what time people are seeing and clicking on your ads is also helpful in optimizing your campaigns. If you don’t see a lot of night owls, turning your ads off during lulls of activity can help maximize your budget. Why spend money on clicks during times that people are asleep? Most of the time, they aren’t going to be quality clicks anyhow. Not a lot of people are trying to buy a kitchen sink at 3 in the morning (unless you’re buying insurance from Jake).

Google Ads Day & Hour

These are the basic elements that you’ll need to make sure that you’re running your Google Ads campaigns smoothly. There are plenty more advanced options that we will go over with you in another post, but we hope that this guide to Google Ads helps give you a leg up over your competition. Need more help? Contact us today and we can help you even further.