Section 11.1. Monitoring Your AdWords Activity

11.1. Monitoring Your AdWords Activity

It's important to keep frequent track of the progress of your ads. The key high-level questions are:

  • How much are you spending?

  • How effective are your ads?

The AdWords Campaign Management Campaign Summary window (shown in Figure 11-1), which is the first thing you'll see when you log on to AdWords, gives you a pretty good idea of the answers to these questions.

Figure 11-1. The opening AdWords Campaign Management window provides a great way to get a snapshot of your activity for the current day (or over any other time period)

11.1.1. Understanding Your Campaign Summary

You can set the Campaign Summary window to display information for the current day or for almost any date range after the beginning of your AdWords account. Preset time periods besides the current day include the current week, the current month, and all time (since you opened your AdWords account).

For the purpose of monitoring your AdWords performance, you should check the current day's activity at least once a day before reviewing other time periods.

Here's what the columns in the Campaign Summary window tell you about each of your campaigns:


Campaign status can be Active, Paused, or Deleted. If a campaign is Active, AdGroups within the campaign can be paused. Paused campaigns are campaigns that are not running, but can be reactivated and set to Active. The number of paused Ad Groups within a campaign will be displayed below the campaign's status. Deleted campaigns cannot be reactivated. The historical data about deleted campaigns is still present, so you can use this information for the purposes of analysis.

Current Budget

This is the daily amount you've budgeted for each campaign.


The aggregate number of times ads within a campaign have been clicked.


The aggregate number of impressions, or times the ads within a campaign have been displayed.


The click-through rate, or ratio of clicks to impressions, for a campaign.

Avg. CPC

The average cost-per-click for the ads in a campaign (for CPC-based ads).

Avg. CPM

The average cost per thousand impressions for CPM-based ads.


The total cost for all the ads in a campaign.

11.1.2. Drilling Down into a Campaign

To get more detailed information about a specific campaign, click the campaign in the Campaign Summary window. A summary window, like the window shown in Figure 11-2, showing each Ad Group within the campaign, will open.

Figure 11-2. A summary is shown of each Ad Group within a campaign

Here's the information shown for each Ad Group within a campaign (in each case for the time period selected):


Ad Group status can be Active, Paused, or Deleted.

Max. CPC

This is the maximum cost per click you are willing to pay for a particular ad. (For CPM ads, this column is maximum CPM rather than CPC.)


The aggregate number of times an ad has been clicked.


The aggregate number of impressions, or times an ad has been displayed.


The click-through rate, or ratio of clicks to impressions, for a campaign.

Avg. CPC

The average cost-per-click for an ad (for CPC-based ads).

Avg. CPM

The average cost per thousand impressions for CPM-based ads.


The cost of the ad.

Avg. Pos.

The average position in which, when there is a keyword search match, your ad is likely to be displayed.

For CPM ads, the Avg. Pos. column does not appear.

Understanding Average Position

Average position is an integer that is 1 or greater, usually followed by a decimal point and a single integer after the decimal point, for example, 1.7.

Simply put, the closer to 1.0 your ad's average position, the more likely it is to appear in search results ads. Ads with an average position between 1 and 8 will appear on the first page of search results; those with an average position between 9 and 16 will appear on the second page of search results, and so on.

The reason for the decimal number is that it is the calculation of an average estimateactual placement is not guaranteed and depends on many factors.

11.1.3. Understanding Ad Group Performance

The real information about ad performance comes at the granular level of the Ad Group. To see performance of an individual Ad Group, click on the Ad Group in the summary for a particular campaign. A window will open displaying the ad contained by the Ad Group and showing keyword statistics for the ad, like the one shown in Figure 11-3.

At first glance, the statistics for an Ad Group appear to be roughly similar to those presented for individual campaigns, and for the Ad Campaign summary, but there are some important differences:

Figure 11-3. The Summary window for each Ad Group provides a detailed account of individual keyword performance

  • Aggregate results are broken out by Search versus Content network.

  • Results are broken out by individual keyword.

  • Each keyword is assigned a status.

Properly understanding the statistics relating to the individual keywords associated with your ads can help you target ads better and improve your ad performance. Search and content results

Statistics for a given ad are divided between Searchads appearing on Google search results pagesand Contentads appearing on Google's network of web sites affiliated via AdSense.

Google also contracts for its AdWords ads to appear on a number of networks besides AdSense, including those provided by America Online, Amazon, Ask Jeeves, and EarthLink, so there's no telling exactly where your ads may appear!

Search versus content statistics are significant because your ad may do better in one context than the other. If you learn that this is happening, you may decide to run your ad only in Search or only in Content.

It's normal to expect much lower CTR on content ads than on Google search results ads. This is so much the case that Google does not include content results when calculating keyword status. Individual keyword results

Individual keyword results are important because they allow you to determine how well your ads are being targeted. For most CPC advertisers, the ultimate goal of an advertising campaign is customer conversion, that is, getting a site visitor to take an affirmative step such as joining or buying something. Clicking through is the single most significant thing someone on the Web can do on the journey towards customer conversion. If you don't get click throughs, your ad campaign is not working, at least if customer conversion is the goal.

Some ad campaigns don't have customer conversion as their primary goal. For these campaigns, created brand awareness might be the main purpose of an ad. Managers of these campaigns might be well advised to choose CMP rather than CPC advertising. In any event, they will pay less attention to CTR rates. They may also figure that CPC advertising with no click throughs is a good deal, because there are no costs associated with the advertising.

Assuming that your goals are like those of most advertisers on the Webto drive traffic to your site with the hope of converting traffic into paying customersyou should monitor both absolute CTR and how your click-through rates are changing.

A CTR of 2% or better is extremely good.

By comparison, a direct mail campaign with a response rate of just 0.2%an order of magnitude less than 2%is considered successful.

On the other hand, if your absolute CTR for an ad is below 0.4% you should think about how to bring that rate up, by either:

  • Improving your ad so that it is more compelling

  • Improving your keywords, so they are more relevant to your ad

In a similar spirit, an increasing CTR for a keyword is a good thing, but a decreasing CTR is not and may mean that your ad has reached a saturation point for a specific keyword. If this is happening, you should think about alternative keyword targeting, starting with synonyms. Keyword status

Google does not want ads to appear on its network that are targeted against keywords that it expects to have a CTR of less than 0.5%. So Google evaluates the keywords you've chosen for targeting based on their CTR with AdWords ads in general and on the CTR of similar keywords.

Keyword status is based on ads appearing on Google search results pages, not on ads appearing on content pages.

If one of your keywords falls below the minimum threshold in Google's estimating process, the keyword will be disabled, meaning your ad won't be targeted to that keyword. Glancing at the keyword status column in the statistics display for an ad is a good way to quickly make sure that your keywords are performing acceptably.

The possible keyword status labels and their meanings are shown in Table 11-1.

Table 11-1. Keyword status labels and meanings

Keyword status label



Targeted keywords are above Google's minimum 0.5% CTR threshold; ads targeted to these keywords should display normally.

In trial

Keywords are below the minimum CTR threshold and under evaluation. Ads targeted to these keywords will continue to be served until Google is statistically confident that the keywords will deliver a CTR above or below the minimumwhen the keyword will be moved to Normal or Disabled status, respectively. Each account has a limited (but unspecified) number of keywords that can be in trial at any one time.

On hold

The On hold status is assigned when an account's In trial limit has been exceeded and a keyword is slightly below the minimum threshold. When In trial space becomes available, On hold keywords are automatically moved up to In trial status.


Keywords are disabled if they don't meet the minimum quality threshold (the 0.5% CTR) or if they haven't triggered a click through in 90 days. If you really think a disabled keyword is relevant to your ad, you can try turning the keyword into a descriptive phrase; for example, "yacht buying service" rather than "yacht."

11.1.4. Using the Ads Diagnostic Tool

Will my ad appear on a Google page that answers a specific search query? This is a question of vital importance to an ad campaign manager, who may care more about the answer to this practical issue than about the theoretical improvement of keywords.

The Ads Diagnostic Tool is intended to answer this question by telling you which of your ads are likely to appear on Google search results pages.

To open the Ads Diagnostic Tool, with the AdWords Campaign Management tab open, click the Tools link, and click Ads Diagnostic Tool. The Ads Diagnostic Tool, shown in Figure 11-4, will open.

The Ads Diagnostic Tool provides two different mechanisms, which come up with the same result provided you use the same search query with each option (See "Entering Search Queries or Search Results Page URLs," later in this chapter).

What Decides Whether Your Ad Will Appear?

Keyword selectionand performanceplays a crucial role in determining whether your ad will appear in response to a specific query, but so do other factors. For example, if you've used up your budget for the day for an Ad Group, your ad will probably not appear. (Note that this is not an absolute, because budgets are expressed as rolling 30-day averages; Google can overbudget on your behalf one day, and make up for it on another day.)

Additionally, if the maximum CPC you are willing to pay for a given ad is less than other advertisers are willing to pay for ads targeted to the same keyword, it becomes less likely that your ad will appear in response to a query for that keyword.

Figure 11-4. You can use the Ads Diagnostic Tool to see if your ad is targeted to a keyword on Google search results pages

Entering Search Queries or Search Results Page URLs

Option 1 and Option 2 shown in Figure 11-4 provide two different mechanisms that use the inputs and show the same results. If the keyword phrase you enter in the Option 1 box is the same as the search you used in Google prior to copying and pasting it into the Option 2 box, then the results will be the same.

However, if the keyword phrase you enter in the Option 1 box contains multiple terms, you must remember either to put plus symbols between the keywords or quote the phrase (in contrast, Google search will take care of this for you automatically with Option 2).

To use Option 1, enter a keyword or keyword phrase in the Keyword text box, as shown in Figure 11-5.

Figure 11-5. Enter a keyword or use the plus (+) operator or quotes to enter a multiword term

Next, click Continue. The Ad Diagnostics Results window will tell you if the ads in your account that are targeted to the keyword or keyword phrase you entered are likely to run on Google search pages (Figure 11-6).

Figure 11-6. The tool displays your ads targeted to the keywords you are investigating and shows you if they fail to meet minimum CTR requirements

The ads shown in Figure 11-6 fail to meet minimum CTR requirements for the keywords under investigation. This means that they would be good candidates for keyword improvement, using the tools explained in "Optimizing Your Ads" next.

On the other hand, you can see if an ad is likely to be shown using another keyword targeted for the ad. If the ad will be shown, results like those shown in Figure 11-7 will be displayed.

Figure 11-7. If you try a keyword that does meet threshold requirements, the ad targeted to the keyword is displayed

The difference between the keyword targeted (and results shown) in Figures 11-6 and 11-7 lies in the broadness and lack of specificity of the terms ("digital photo blog" in Figure 11-6) versus the very precise and narrow term shown in Figure 11-7 ("f-stop," which refers to a photographic lens aperture). Narrow, precise, and technical terms will almost always have higher CTRs (although these searches will not come up as often as searches for broader terms).

In some ways, the Ad Diagnostics Tool Option 2 may be more convenient and intuitive than Option 1. You can search in Google to your heart's content (you may even see your own ads as you search!).

When you find a specific query that you want to find out about (or want to verify your empirical findings that your ad does or does not appear on search results pages), copy the address for the Google search query from your browser's address bar. Paste the URL into the Search Results Page URL text box, shown in Figure 11-8.

Figure 11-8. You can alternatively search using a Google URL if you want to verify whether a particular search page will (or will not) display your ad

The results from this procedure are exactly the same as if you used the query part of the Google search URL (the part after the q=sex+blogs in Figure 11-8) in Option 1.

The Ad Diagnostics Results will tell you if your ad should display (Figure 11-9) or provide diagnostic messages like the one shown in Figure 11-6 if it will not.

Figure 11-9. Google shows you when your keyword and related ad does meet minimum CTR thresholds (as in this case) and also when your ad and keyword do not

Google Advertising Tools. Cashing in with AdSense, AdWords, and the Google APIs
Google Advertising Tools: Cashing in with Adsense, Adwords, and the Google APIs
ISBN: 0596101082
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 145
Authors: Harold Davis

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