How do I know if my Google Ads are Working?
Google ads can be a powerful way to bring people to your business, but it can also be a huge waste of money. How can you tell if your Google Ads are effective?
Brief Overview of Google Ads
If you’re already familiar with Google ads, you can skip down to the Understanding the Numbers portion. If you’re not confident in your ability to navigate the Google Ads interface, here’s a quick overview.
On the far left side, are your Ad Campaigns (light purple boxes in the image). These are the categories of ads. They should represent one primary keyphrase that all the ads in this group should fall under. For example, if you’re advertising music lessons for multiple instruments, each Ad Campaign should be focused around 1 instrument.
The lighter grey box next to that dark grey box has the Ads and Extensions, Landing Pages, and Keywords. These are the statistics we’ll be looking at below.
Understanding the Numbers
The three groups of statistics we’ll be looking at will be similar in their setup, though the conclusions will differ. We’ll start with the Ads & Extensions.
Ads and Extensions
These include the actual ad text and the pages (extensions) your ad is sending users to . You can either see all the Ads & Extensions OR you can choose a campaign on the left and then see only the Ads & Extensions that are a part of that campaign. This is a good way to compare which ads are doing better.
You should always have more than 1 ad running at a time so that you can do an easy A/B Testing to compare which ads are doing better.
There are several columns you’ll see:
Clicks | Impressions | CTR (Click through rate) | Avg CPC (Average cost per click) | Cost | Conversions |
Cost/Conv (cost per conversion | Conv Rate (Conversion Rate)
Clicks. These are the number of clicks your ad has received during the time period in the upper right.
Impressions. The number of times people are seeing your ad. If your site doesn’t have many impressions, your keywords may be too rare.
CTR. The number of clicks compared to the number of impressions. If the ad showed up 100 times, and only 10 people clicked on it, you’d have a 10% click through rate (100/10). Google does the math for you! Depending on your field, a good CTR will vary. The goal is always to increase the CTR. There are several ways of doing this, but here are a few:
- Double-check your ad text & headline closely pertains to the keywords you’ve chosen.
- Edit your at text to better entice people to click.
- Double-check the extension is using URL that makes people want to click.
Average CPC. The average cost per click is telling you how much money you’re paying for each click. If your CPC is $5, and out of those people, 50% choose to buy a product that costs $100, then you’re paying $10 per $100 product. The CPC can be lowered in several ways:
- Make sure your keywords are incredibly specific to the page your sending people to. Google will charge you more if your keywords aren’t relevant.
- When the CTRs go up, your cost will go down because a higher CTR means people are marking your link as relevant and Google likes that.
- Make sure you keep iterating your ads to keep increasing your CTRs.
- If everything else is working – your CTR is increasing, your keywords are super relevant – You can try lowering your bid amount (according to some experts), but keep a close eye on your stats so you don’t lose your impressions.
Cost. This is what you’ve paid for the ads during the time period in the upper right.
Conversion. If you haven’t set up conversions on your site, you won’t see any numbers here. This is essentially Google being able to tell you the math on Average CPC above ($5 per click, 50% choose to buy product – convert, paying $10 per $100 product).
This isn’t always as clear-cut. For example, maybe your conversion is filling out a form. Then out of those who send fill out the form, only 5% actual sign up for your service. You’ll have to decide what your Cost per Conversion is worth.
Cost/Conv. The same time of math done for CPC, except this is cost per conversion. You’ll need to figure out how much each conversion is worth based on what your final goal is.
Conversion Rate. Same basic setup as CTR, just with conversions. Note that the conversions must be set up by a web developer on your site.
Just like the stats on the Ads & Extensions section, the Landing pages will show the same information. “Extensions” are not the same as “Landing Pages”. Extensions is the text for the URL you’re sending someone to; your Landing Page is the actual page they go to. While your Landing Page might be yourwebsite.com/landing-page-here, Google will let you “mask” it by displaying a link yourwebsite.com/keyword-keyword-keyword.
You can then combine the well-performing landing pages with the well-performing Ads & Extensions to work towards a higher CTR.
You won’t see the conversion stats on this section, but it can tell you some interesting information. For example, the CTR, Impressions, and average CPC can let you know which landing pages people like. You can then combine the well-performing landing pages with the well-performing Ads & Extensions to work towards a higher CTR on the ad.
Keywords are a bit more extensive than the Landing Pages. Make sure you’re within a Campaign (left side, black bar) and then view the stats on all the keywords for this campaign.
You’re looking for keywords that have high impressions (so popular), high CTRs (so people see them as related to the keywords), and lower CPC (so you pay less). Google will even alert you (red text) if the keyword has a low quality score – based on your bid and how closely your Landing Page relates to that keyword. You should make sure you increase your quality scores for any low keywords.
But sometimes you’ll want to keep keywords that may not perform as well because they’re your primary keywords. For example, your CTR on the primary keywords might be low, but since they’re highly related to what you’re doing, instead of adjusting the keywords, you adjust the Ads & Extensions.
#1 Rule of Ads: Iterate, Iterate, Iterate
Google ads is part knowing the basics to start from, part experimenting, and part analyzing what’s happening to iterate better next time. Because of the wide variety of industries available, what works in one industry might not always work in another. In fact, if your ads are location based, what works in one location might not always work in all locations.
If your numbers aren’t what you’re looking for, or your conversion costs are too high, continuing to refine your ads can make your ads as profitable as possible.