Understand Your Google Ads (AdWords) Metrics

Goal-Based KPI’s For Measuring Success

If you’re running your own Google Ads account (previously AdWords) and are a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of performance metrics you need to interpret, this article’s here to help you understand a few key metrics so you can tweak your campaign for ultimate success.

Regular optimisations are the best way to ensure your ads are the most relevant and appealing to your audience while lowering your cost per click, but when you’re knee deep in data, how do you even begin?

I’ll guide you through some basic metrics to help you not only reach your advertising goals but to make you look really cool in a meeting – because this stuff can sound super complicated, but don’t worry, it’s not.

Understand Your Goals

You’ll never be able to accurately gauge the performance of your ads if you don’t understand your goals. If you haven’t got a clearly defined concept of your campaign goals yet, take some time to think about what you want to achieve with your ad campaign.

Do you want users to buy products on your site? Your goal is to drive action.

Are you selling a subscription service? Your goal, again, is to drive action.

Are you launching a new brand and want to tell as many people as possible? Your goal would be to build awareness.

Are you launching a new product for your already established brand? Your goal would be to influence consideration.

Measure & Tweak The Performance Of Your Campaigns

Once you have a clearer idea of what you want to achieve through your campaigns, let’s talk about how to measure the success of your ads.

Goal: Build Awareness/ Discovery

You’re trying to reach as many people as possible while also hoping to retain their attention. This is the first phase of the purchase funnel, these guys are still researching and discovering new products and aren’t likely to follow through with a purchase just yet.

You need to track the number of people your ads have been served to, the appeal of your ads to an audience, and how well your ads did against your competitors to understand the effectiveness of your ads.

The first metrics to look at are your Clicks (the number of times someone has clicked on your ad)Impressions (The number of times your ad is served on Google’s ad networks) and Click-Through Rate (CTR).

Your click-through rate is calculated by dividing the number of clicks your ad receives by the number of times your ad has shown – although you want to be seen by as many people as possible, you also want to make sure that your ads appeal and people are clicking on them.

This metric helps you understand the effectiveness of your ad: the lower your CTR, the less effective. Measure your ad groups & campaigns CTR against industry benchmarks. Identify the campaigns with a low CTR and determine the cause.

Are some ads performing less than others? Tweak your copy.

Are you targeting people who aren’t likely to be interested in your product? Adjust your targeting.

Another metric to look at would be your Traffic Sources through Analytics, and Ad Placements in AdWords, you may find that certain placements are earning you more traffic & engaged users, so increasing your bids for those and similar placements can earn you more quality traffic.

Lastly, look at your Bidding Structure – Set your campaign’s bidding goal to focus on clicks and bid on a manual or automatic CPC bidding structure to cast the widest net.

Goal: Influence Consideration

Your brand or website has an influence on your market already, but you want to increase customer engagement and attract new customers to your site.

You want to make sure that people are coming back to your site after they have seen your ad and clicked through to your site.

Start by looking at your Impressions, Clicks and CTR metrics to see if your ads appeal to your audience.  Next, look at your Impression Share (the number of impressions you’ve received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive), you can find this in your Auction Insights tab.

The impression share metric relates more to your quality score, but it indirectly gives you competitive insight, because if you own 40% of the impression share for that keyword/placement, your competitors probably own the rest. Improve your impression share by improving your quality score.

Another useful metric is your Relative CTR(your clickthrough rate divided by the average clickthrough rate of all advertisers on the websites that show your ads) to gain more insight into your competitors’ performance. You want yours to be as high as possible, the higher your relative CTR is compared to your competitors, the more people will see your ads.

Next, take a look at Auction Insights, this metric gives you insight into how your ads served compared to your competition. Take a look at your Impression Share (The impressions you’ve received, divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive)the higher, the better, raise this by increasing your quality score and adjusting your targeting settings.

Take a look at your Conversions and Conversion Rate, and measure them against industry benchmarks. At this stage of the funnel, you want users to not only click on your ad but to engage with the content on your website. Conversions are a good way of telling you if people are performing the actions you’d like them to online.

Another helpful metric would be View-Through Conversions, this metric tracks conversions that are recorded when users view (but don’t interact with) an ad and then later convert. This helps measure the true impact of your ad, by giving you insight into how people respond to your ad after it has been served to them.

Take a look at your Bounce RateAvg. Time On Page, and Page Views, in Analytics to gauge user retention. Measure your bounce rate against industry benchmarks, although you do want to aim to consistently decrease your bounce rate.

If you find that your bounce rate is high, and your page views and time spent on a page are low, it might be a sign that your ads are misleading the user, your user experience on the site is poor, or your products don’t appeal to your audience. These problems are fixable by adjusting your audience, ad copy, tweaking your website and page load time among other things, so get adjusting before you lose more customers!

At this stage of the funnel, you want users not just to click on an ad, but to engage with your brand or product online.

Tip: Remarketing Lists do wonders for user engagement and really help drive action, so at this stage, it is imperative that you ensure your remarketing lists are up and running.

Create separate campaigns for website visitors and converters, and offer them incentives to come back to your site.

You could offer a special promotion to new visitors with a percentage off their first purchase, while past converters may receive special offers on products they’re interested in, or discount codes only available on brands they have previously bought from your site.

Goal: Drive Action

This is the last stage of the marketing funnel, the user has been introduced to your brand, they are aware of your products, they are convinced of the quality of your product/service and are ready to buy/sign up.

Key metrics to measure here are your Conversions and Conversion RateBounce Rate and Landing Page Experience. You want the highest conversion rate possible but there are a few factors to take into account.

Your Landing Page Experience estimates how relevant and useful your landing page is to people who click your ad. It takes into account factors like how well your landing page content matches a person’s search term, and how easy it is for people to navigate your page.

A poor landing page experience could be frustrating your new users before they have a chance to convert. If your conversions are low, your landing page experience is low, but your bounce rate is high, tweak your landing page to help guide your user through your landing page to reach a desired action.

Next, look at your Cost Per Conversion and make sure it’s in line with your budget and marketing goals, a high cost per conversion may be costing you more money than its worth – Figure out the value of a conversion to you, and the amount you are willing to pay for it. Add your conversion value to your conversion settings and adjust your bidding settings to Enhanced CPA or Target Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) to help you keep your spending in line with your goals.


Well, there you have it, I hope that helped you navigate your Adwords account better! Please, let me know if you would like to receive more content like this, if there is anything specific you’d like to know or if you think I may have overlooked some important information in this blog post.

Leave a Comment