If you manage a Google Ads account, you know that it can be a real challenge to stay on top of everything going on in your campaigns. Optimizations can have unintended consequences; with so many ways to look at your data, those consequences can easily go unnoticed or become very difficult to detect. Given the competitive nature of the education marketing space, you would need every edge that you can get.
One very useful hack to remedy this issue has been made possible by Google’s in-platform reporting tool. It was given a great deal of new functionality a while back. Unfortunately, this tool is still underutilized by many of today’s paid search marketers.
Specifically, we’ve found the visual reporting features in Google Ads to be extremely useful for quickly spotting and remedying trends that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. Here are a handful of the reports that we often use here at Grow Enrollments to keep our education client accounts running profitably and smoothly:
Impression Share by Device
Keeping an eye on your impression share is a great way to maintain awareness of opportunities for more relevant traffic. You can supercharge the power of this insight when you view it visually—both over time and segmented by relevant factors like device.
Viewing impression share at just a particular point in time, however, does not provide enough context to draw any real conclusions from the data. But when you see how these metrics have changed over time, especially when cross-referenced with recent account changes, you get a much more profound, actionable perspective into your account’s performance. Breaking things out by device also gives you deeper information about device-specific directions and opportunities.
As a little bonus, we suggest viewing both Top Impression Share and Absolute Top Impression Share in the same way to gain additional insights. This information can also be viewed for specific campaigns and ad groups if you want to dive even deeper.
Performance Data by Region
Campaign geographical data is another area where it’s extremely useful to view the information visually. A bar chart like the one below allows you to graph up to two data points for each region included in your campaign. This will provide insights into geographical areas where you may be missing out on opportunities for new enrollments, or perhaps areas that just don’t perform well for you. Armed with this information, you will be better equipped to make adjustments, and thereby improve your performance.
We suggest experimenting with several different account metrics in this report to better understand your regional performance. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you learn!
Click Volume Over Time by Campaign
Another area of campaign management that often goes unnoticed is when certain campaigns have sudden breakouts in performance relative to other campaigns. A report like the one below, viewed at least once every few weeks, can ensure that this is something that never catches you off guard. Note that even though the graph can look pretty messy, this report isn’t about doing any kind of deep analysis. Instead, it allows you to easily see inflection points in performance and pinpoint their cause.
As with almost all of these reports, this report proves useful when viewing several different kinds of account metrics— from traffic to CTR, conversion rate, impression share, and more.
Search Term Clicks Over Time
This report is very similar to the one above, except that instead of showing campaigns, we’re drawing a graph of traffic data broken out by search terms. This information can prove very useful when looking to identify inflections in search behavior for specific queries. Changes caused by the news cycle, up and coming trends, and updates you’ve made to your campaigns can be a lot easier to spot using this view. Again, viewing a representation of this information over time provides you with a lot more insight than you’d get by looking at a single data point for a given date range. One other useful thing is that this report automatically aggregates the data for a given search query, no matter how many campaigns, ad groups, or keywords the search query might have shown up for.
As this is another report that can get quite messy, we’d suggest using a filter based on the search query to focus the report on the specific queries in which you are interested in.
Paid search ads often present multiple options for interaction: from clicking on the ad headline, to a sitelink extension, to asking for location details, or calling your number directly. It’s always good to stay wary of how your prospective students are engaging with your ads; this simple pie chart will provide you with that information at a glance.
Performance Breakdown – Hour of Day / Day of Week
It’s very common for prospect engagement (read: conversion rate) to vary a great deal based on when the search is being conducted. As Google provides us with the ability to adjust our bids based on either the hour of the day or the day of the week, this visualization makes it much easier to pinpoint areas of opportunity that may exist within your campaigns. These insights may also lead you to adjust bids upward or downward during certain times of the day or week. It can even help in deciding about pausing your campaigns during specific time periods.
Click Volume by Landing Page
If you are running paid search traffic to multiple landing pages, or if your pages tend to change for any reason, looking at your click volume by landing page over time can be a great way to quickly understand how and exactly when changes might have been made to the landing pages being used inside your account. Believe us when we say it’s a lot easier than trying to piece together the same information from just one or more CSV files!
Quality Score Distribution – Impressions
Wrapping up our list, this report provides a way to visually see how your campaigns are doing when it comes to quality score. When your impressions are distributed farther to the right of the chart towards higher quality scores like in the example below, it paints a picture of healthy relevance in your campaign buildout between searches, ad copy, and your landing pages. Conversely, if you see a heavy concentration towards the left or middle, you probably have opportunity for improvement.
Note that this report is probably the most actionable when focused on certain types of campaigns or groups of keywords. This is easily accomplished using one or more filters to get down to the information you are looking for.
There you have it – some of our favorite visual reports for managing Google Ads campaigns. If you see some ideas that you’ve not tried out in the past, we’d encourage you to take a few minutes and save some of these reports in your own Google Ads account for easy future reference. Once they are set up, you can pull them up with a single click at any time, quickly making any minor adjustments based on date range or other factors.
We’re confident that as you use this powerful means of viewing your data, you will be able to make much better decisions in your campaign optimization, and stay on top of changes in performance trends that most of your competition is going to miss.