Google Ads Reporting 101: Metrics, Tools, and Hacks to Make Better Data-Driven Decisions

Google Ads reporting is the key to unlocking the full potential of your advertising campaigns. Here’s everything you need to know!

Google Ads Reporting 101: Metrics, Tools, and Hacks to Make Better Data-Driven Decisions

Remember, successful advertising is not just about creating eye-catching ads. You also need to research the right keywords, refine your audience targeting, optimize your bidding strategy, and manage your costs.  

Google Ads reporting is the key to unlocking the full potential of your advertising campaigns. 

Remember, successful advertising is not just about creating eye-catching ads. You also need to research the right keywords, refine your audience targeting, optimize your bidding strategy, and manage your costs.  

With Google Ads reports, you'll have all the information you need to make the right calls. 

Here's everything you need to know.

What is a Google Ads Report? 

Google Ads reports track important metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that measure the performance of your advertising campaigns. They sharpen your ability to make data-driven decisions by revealing insights like:

  • Which keywords generate the most conversions 
  • What campaigns get the most clicks
  • Whether or not your campaign is profitable

You can track built-in reports through the 'Insights and reports' section of your Google Ads account. 

A lot of advertisers also link their Google Ads account with Google Analytics 4. This unlocks advanced tools like "Explorations," custom conversion goals, and AI-powered insights through "Analytics Intelligence." 

Top Benefits of Tracking Google Ads Reports

Below are the top five reasons why your business should care about Google Ads reporting:

  • Turn data into actionable insights. Google Ads automatically collects campaign data such as clicks, Click-Through Rate (CTR), and impressions. Reports not only let you access these data, but also analyze them via interactive visualizations, tables, and customizable dashboards to empower your decision-making.
  • Understand your target audience. In addition to performance metrics, Google Ads also tracks basic demographic data, namely age, gender, and household income. Segment data based on the device used to create ad content that matches user preferences. 
  • Manage your budget more effectively. Google Ads reports let you analyze and compare the profitability of your ad campaigns, allowing you to adjust your budget accordingly. Maximize your Return on Investment (ROI) by doubling down on campaigns that generate the most conversions.
  • Create better landing pages. Measure the effectiveness of your ad campaign landing pages directly from your Google Ads account. The landing pages report includes page-level metrics like mobile speed score, click-through rate, cost per conversion, and engagement rate.
  • Gauge the competition. The Auction Insights report on Google Ads includes metrics that compare your ad campaign's performance with your competitors. This includes the overlap rate (how often you share ad impressions with a competitor) and the "position above" rate (how often a competitor's ad is displayed higher than yours). 

How to Use Google Ads Reports: Metrics and KPIs to Track

To reap the full benefits of Google Ads reports, you need to identify metrics and KPIs that are relevant to your specific advertising goals. 

1. Cost Per Acquisition

CPA is the average cost you spend to acquire a single customer. 

Suppose you pay $2 for each click. If you convert one customer every 10 clicks, then your CPA is $20 ($2 multiplied by 10). 

On Google Ads, your CPA is reflected by the metric "Cost Per Conversion." 

Tracking your CPA is essential for ensuring the profitability of your ad campaign. 

As a rule of thumb, keep your CPA lower than the average profit you generate from a single customer. 

For example, if your online store customers have an average order value of $60, a CPA of $20 means you're making $40 per sale through advertising ($60 - $20 = $40). 

2. Return on Ad Spend

Return on Ad Spend or ROAS is a broader KPI that's directly tied to the overall success of your advertising efforts. 

To get your ROAS, simply divide your campaign's total revenue by your ad spend. 

For instance, if your ads generated $12,000 in revenue from a budget of $5,000, start with the formula below:

Convert the result to a ratio or multiply it by 100 to get your actual ROAS. 

The higher your ROAS, the more profitable your advertising campaign. But if your ROAS is less than 100 percent, your campaign is bleeding money. 

3. Conversion Rate

In advertising campaigns, conversion rate tracks the percentage of ad interactions that lead to conversions. 

Google Ads include preset conversion categories for lead generation and sales goals. This makes it easier to configure the ad analytics tracker and reporting features. 

Divide your total conversions by the number of ad interactions to get your campaign's conversion rate. Ad interactions include user actions like clicks, swipes, and video plays. 

You can use conversion rate to evaluate different aspects of your campaign. This lets you test the effectiveness of iterative changes to your ad or its individual elements — from the copy to your target keywords. 

Consider conducting a split or A/B test to achieve the peak version of your ad much faster. 

Apart from conversion rate, there are other Google Ads metrics you can use to analyze performance. This includes interaction rate, clicks, and CTR.

4. Conversions

Conversions is a straightforward metric that sums up the amount of customers or leads you generated from your campaign. You'll find this metric across different reporting tools in your Google Ads account. 

For example, in the 'Campaigns' section of your dashboard, just look for the "Conversions" column in your campaigns table.

Tracking conversions over time will help you identify trends in your target audience's behavior. It can also reveal other factors that affect your campaign's profitability, such as keyword and product seasonality.

5. Impressions

Impressions measure how many times your ad is shown to your target audience — regardless of whether it resulted in a click. 

While this metric doesn't directly measure profitability, it's indicative of your audience targeting, bidding, and keyword strategy performance. 

Total impressions is one of the highlighted metrics on your Google Ads 'Overview' page. 

Just like conversions, it's important to pay attention to your total impressions over time. This will help you analyze changes in your keyword strategy and audience targeting configurations. 

6. Revenue

Total revenue generated is one of the most important Google Ads metrics every business should track. 

It's not just helpful for measuring the profitability of your campaigns. It's also an essential variable for calculating your ROAS and adjusting your budget allocation. 

In Google Ads, revenue is tracked as "all conversion value." It is the combined value generated by all campaign conversion actions. 

It's worth noting that Google Ads comes with a "Smart Bidding" tool that automatically adjusts your campaign budget based on a target ROAS. 

In a nutshell, the Smart Bidding algorithm bids high on searches that are likely to generate a high-value conversion. It also does the opposite for searches with low conversion value potential — helping you stick with your target ROAS without manual bidding adjustments.

7. Customer Lifetime Value

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) measures the total revenue you generate from a customer throughout their relationship with your business. 

This is calculated by multiplying the average amount customers spend each year by your average customer lifespan (how long they do business with you). 

Take note that Google Ads don't natively track CLV. You'll need a tool like Google Analytics 4 to crunch your historical conversion data and calculate your user lifetime revenue. 

So, what does CLV have to do with Google Ads? 

Calculating your average CLV helps ensure a healthy profit margin for your business. It allows for more flexibility in your advertising budget, especially when considering your ROAS and CPA. 

Suppose you spent $50 to acquire a customer who only purchased a $25 product on their first transaction — a $25 loss. 

However, if your customers tend to make four purchases per year, you're looking at a yearly value of $100. In other words, your $25 loss actually becomes a $75 gain.  

This, of course, requires you to invest in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and customer retention strategies. Consider upselling, cross-selling, email marketing, and social media campaigns to turn one-time buyers into long-term, loyal customers.

8. Quality Score

Quality Score is a metric designed to evaluate and compare the quality of your ads with competitors. It's measured on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest quality rating.

Your Quality Score depends on three key factors: 

  • Expected CTR. Google predicts your ad's chances of getting clicks based on your ads' historical performance for keywords. 
  • Ad-intent alignment. Optimized ads that match the user intent behind keywords lead to a higher Quality Score. 
  • Landing page quality. Lastly, Google analyzes your landing page to determine if it provides a relevant and useful experience to your audience.

To check the Quality Score of your ads for specific keywords, head to the 'Audiences, keywords, and content' section of your Google Ads dashboard. In the 'Search keywords' section, click the 'Columns' button and add 'Quality Score' to pull the data you need. 

Measuring Quality Score can help you optimize your content strategy, landing page design, and keyword targeting. Aim for a score of 7-10 to boost your ad's chances of appearing in search results. 

9. Average Cost Per Click (CPC)

Lastly, your average CPC measures the average amount you spend per ad click.

To get your average CPC yourself, divide the total cost of your ad campaign by the total number of clicks generated. Or, just go to the 'Overview' page of your Google Ads account and look at the highlighted metrics.

Mind your average CPC to maximize the profitability of your Google Ads campaigns. Tracking CPC on a keyword-level also lets you find your best (and worst) keywords. 

Tips to Make The Most Out of Google Ads Reports

Now that you know the top metrics and KPIs to track in your Google Ads reporting, only one question remains: 

What are you going to do with all these data?

Here are four must-know tips to fully utilize Google Ads reports:

1. Define Your Success Metrics

It's easy to get lost in your Google Ads data if you don't have clearly-defined advertising goals in mind. 

You may be looking to cut costs, acquire more leads, increase sales, or fine-tune your keyword targeting for future campaigns. Whatever your goal, you need to identify the specific metrics and KPIs that will help you measure success.

Let's say your goal is to reduce your advertising costs. 

Below are the priority metrics you need to underline in your reports:

  • Cost Per Acquisition
  • Average Cost Per Click
  • Conversion Rate
  • Return on Ad Spend

2. Use a Google Ads Reporting Template

Google Ads includes a report editor that converts raw campaign data into readable visualizations. Create tables, tree charts, pie charts, bar graphs, and other elements to streamline data analysis and make data-driven decisions faster.  

You can build a custom report from scratch or modify a predefined report to save time. 

While useful, predefined Google Ads reports are basic at best. 

A better option is to use a dedicated Business Intelligence (BI) dashboard builder with a built-in Google Ads reporting template. Polymer, for example, lets you take advantage of conversion funnels, pivot tables, scorecards, and other data visualization tools to convert data into actionable insights.

3. Track Your Change History

Google Ads compiles all the changes you implement into your advertising campaigns into a single report. 

On the 'Change history' page, you'll find a complete list of changes to your keywords, target audiences, advertising budget, and more. 

The change history chart also lets you align strategic changes over time with changes in performance metrics. In other words, you'll be able to assess which changes actually influenced clicks, cost per conversion, CTR, average CPC, and so on. 

4. Centralize Your Google Ads Reporting

Your Google Ads dashboard is a goldmine of valuable insights that lead to improvement opportunities. 

However, the steep learning curve — along with the large pile of data and disjointed interfaces — can make the experience jarring for some users. 

This will improve over time as you use the Google Ads reporting tool. Alternatively, consolidate all your analytics data into a centralized dashboard to boost efficiency, build unified reports, and create a single source of truth for your entire organization.

Polymer, for example, integrates with a diverse set of data sources, including advertising networks, CRM software, ecommerce platforms, and other data management tools. 

It also comes with a drag-and-drop dashboard builder that simplifies the creation of visualizations like heatmaps, charts, scatter plots, scorecards, and pivot tables

To help you save time, use the "Suggested Insights" feature to instantly generate actionable insights. You may also use Poly AI to effortlessly create visualizations based on the information you need. 

Google Ads Reporting Software: How to Use Polymer to Streamline Your Analytics

Another advantage of using Polymer to track your Google Ads data is ease of use. 

First, you need to connect your Google Ads account as a data source. 

Click the 'Data Manager' icon in the upper-right corner (power plug icon) to view your data sources. From there, click 'Add New Data Source.'

Next, click 'Google Ads' in either the "All connectors" or "Marketing" tab.

Proceed by signing in to your Google Ads account and granting the required access permissions. 

Finally, select the Google Ads account you want to use with Polymer. Click 'Connect' and choose the specific channel, report, segment, and date range you want to import.

That's it — you're ready to build your Google Ads dashboard. 

Feel free to explore the dashboard builder and use blocks to visualize your Google Ads data. Again, you can also use Poly AI and suggested insights to kickstart data analysis. 

Get Started with Polymer for Free 

Google Ads reporting reveals which aspects of your advertising campaigns work, and which don't. 

But first, you need a more reliable and accessible way to crunch the numbers. 

Use Polymer to consolidate your Google Ads analytics and build convenient, informative dashboards with ease. Start your free trial today.

Posted on
February 19, 2024
under Blog
February 19, 2024
Written by
Rand Owens
Founding team member at Motive (Formerly KeepTruckin) and passionate about all things Marketing, RevOps, and Go-To-Market. VP of Marketing @ Polymer Search.

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