How to optimize google search ad campaigns with metrics

Google campaign optimization

How to optimize Search ad campaigns

How to optimize search campaigns

Maintaining search ads is awesome. Before you start how to optimize  search campaigns, you should know about the metrics that leads to attain the goals of your campaigns.

Track & Monitor

Tracking and analyzing things is one of the reasons digital marketing has became a thing. It is ridiculously impossible to track things in traditional marketing. If you want to learn more about the tracking you can visit here ( interlink).

Also analysis something that is done after the campaign is created and run. Henceforth this was included after the campaign creation part.

Google search optimization & analysis :

Before jumping deep into optimize search campaigns & analysis, let’s discuss few options and concepts. By knowing these vocabulary of metrics it would be easy to you to follow along on analysis concepts.

Understanding google ad-words dashboard

Date range :

This is one of the basic parameters when it comes to analysis. Often things change ( increased cost in conversions, increased cpc, drop in positions) from one time to another. You can predict when the change happens based data range. You can also use ”compare” feature to compare between various date range.

Date filter in google search offer these pre-built features:

  • Today
  • Yesterday
  • This week ( sun- today)  
  • This week  ( Monday – today)
  • Last 7 days
  • Last week (Sun-sat)
  • Last week ( mon-sun)
  • Last Business week
  • Last 14 days
  • This month
  • Last 30 days
  • Last Month
  • All

You can compare between this week & last week. You can compare this year with last year. You can compare almost all the metrics to each other. You just have to switch compare button on the bottom.

Key performance metrics:

When it comes to analyzing google search these are the metrics you need to be aware of:

  • Cost per click
  • Quality score
  • Avg position
  • Cost per conversion
  • Conversions
  • CTR
  • Impression share
  • Average cpc

Sometime all these metrics you can’t see in the reporting dashboard. In those cases, you have to actually enable those metrics in the “ columns ” tab. Click on the columns and click on the modify columns, you will see all the metrics associated with google search.

It contains categories and subcategories :

  • Attributes
  • Performance
  • Conversions
  • Attribution
  • Social Metrics
  • Call Metrics
  • Competitive metrics
  • Performance ( active views)
  • Google analytics
  • Change history
  • Gmail Metrics
  • YouTube Earner Actions
  • Custom columns

Let’s see what are each categories & subcategories mean and you can use for analysis:


This metrics is about basic information of the campaign and campaign sub types. It contains fields such as campaign type, campaign sub type, labels, campaign id, bid strategy type, bid strategy. All these metrics can be used to understand about the campaign parameters such as campaign type and other related metrics.    

Performance :

This category contains most of the metrics used in analysis. This contains metrics which can be used to measure the ad delivery and user action measurement. This contains metrics such as clicks, impressions, CTR,  Avg CPM , cost , Avg pos, Total cost, Invalid Clicks , invalid clicks rate, Engagements, Engagement Rate, Avg CPE , views , View rate, Avg cpv ,Interactions, interaction rate, Invalid interactions, watch time, Average watch time/impressions.

Let’s discuss core metrics that can used in analyzing the search volume :

Clicks :

This metrics will be available for keywords, ad words & campaign wise. Click means the count of clicks made on that particular keywords, ad words & campaign wise.

Click metric is available for both ad copy & keywords. For keywords clicks refers how many times user clicked in the ad triggered by the keyword.

For ad copy it is the total numbers of clicks made on the ad copy irrespective of which keyword triggered the ad.

Who controls which ad copy can be shown for which keyword? If your ad group have only one ad copy, then it’s you. If your ad copy has more than one copy then it’s google algorithm.


Impressions is the number of times the ad copy appeared for the particular keywords / ad group / campaign. Impression is inherently ad copy data. Impressions data can be seen for both ad copy & keywords.

For an ad copy, impressions means number of times the ad copy total appeared. For a keyword, impressions means number of times the ad copy appeared for this particular keyword.

Click through rate (CTR) :

Click through rate is ratio of number of clicks to no of impressions multiplied by 100. Since CTR is a performance metric based on the clicks and impression, this can be applied for both ad copies and keywords.


This is most simple and powerful metric. This will be available at keyword, ad group and campaign level.

Avg cost per click ( Avg CPC) :

This is the average cost per click spend on keyword/ad groups/campaign levels.

Average positions:

Average positions are the positions, your ads/keywords are in. If your average positions is in between (1-3) then your ad/keyword is in the top position of first page. It is between (4-7) then it’s in the first page.

This can be applied to ads and keyword.  


This category contains metrics that are related to conversions. If your campaign has objective, you evaluate results based on the conversions. Hence for the optimize search campaigns with objectives this is important.

Key metrics to watch in conversions :

  • Conversions
  • Const /conversion
  • Conversion rate

Note : Conversion varies with business to business. For some business it’s user signing up for the services, download of white paper, buying something. One thing common in conversion is something which is an important step on the business sales or revenue.

Conversions :

Conversion metrics is the count of conversions for keyword/ad copy at ad group & campaign levels. This metrics is a count.More the count , better the result.

Cost / conversion:

Cost per conversion is the cost incurred for producing a conversion. This metrics is actually average cost per conversion. This is available for keywords and ad copy on ad group, campaign and account level scope. Lesser the cost/conversion, better the result.

Conversion rate :

Conversion rate is the ratio of number of people ‘convert’ to number of visitors to the site, multiplied by 100. Similar to conversion more is the better.

Competitive Metrics :

This category contains metrics which helps you identify how your ads are performing against competitors in the auctions. Metrics you need to aware of :

  • Search impression share
  • Search Exact Match Is
  • Search lost (rank)
  • Search Lost (budget)

Search Impression share :

It’s a ratio of impressions received by the ad to the total impression available for ad, multiplied by 100.

Impression received = actual impressions won by the ads. This is influenced by the targeting ( keywords) and bidding ( cpc).

Total impression = total number of queries available for the keyword.

If your keyword has the search impression share of 80 % , means your keyword got 80% of available impression. This metrics could help you decide the scaling opportunity.

Search exact match impression share :

This very similar to the above metric with one difference. When calculating impressions won by keywords and the total available impression, this metrics considers only exact match impressions.

For example,

If you’re keyword is  “buy apple iPhone”

When calculating search impression share, all the possible variations will be accounted. For imaginary purposes, consider the variations for above keywords

Keyword = “buy apple iphone”

Variations :

Available impression for the keyword :

Buy apple iPhone on amazon volume = 1500/month

Buy apple iPhone on best buy , volume = 500/month

Buy apple iPhone , volume = 2000/month.

Actual volume won by keyword :

Buy apple iPhone on amazon volume = 750 /month

Buy apple iPhone on best buy , volume = 750 /month

Buy apple iPhone , volume = 2000/month.

Now for all the variations, total monthly volume is = 1500+2000+500 =4000/month

If your keywords receives , 3500 impressions overall, then (3500/4000) *100 = 87.5 %.

Search impression share = 87.5 %

For exact match variation ( which matches with given keyword) , the volume won by the keyword is 2000.

Search exact match impression share = (2000/2000)*100= 100%.

This is available for both keywords/ad copy in ad group, campaign and account levels.

Search Impression share Lost ( budget ) :

This percentage of impression lost by the keyword/ad due to the budget. These are the low hanging fruits. You can get few more impression with a increase in budget without doing any harm to account.

Search impression share lost ( Rank)

This is the percentage of impression lost due to ad-rank. Ad rank is the combination of budget and quality score. If this percentage is higher, then this is a red alert and you should pay attention.

You can start with avg position, click through rate and conversion rate to optimize the ad rank and hence bringing down the impression lost %.

I have left other categories and metrics because to optimize search campaigns. I think these are the core metrics and this would suffice.

Having seen what are core metrics and what it really means let’s see how we optimize the core components of search campaigns :

  • Keywords
  • Ad copy

Keywords are used for targeting. To analyze how keyword performs you can do following:


CTR is relevant for keywords and ac copy.

However, if CTR is low there are two possibilities:

  • Keyword targeted is wrong and ad copy is good
  • Keyword targeted is good and ad copy is wrong
How to analysis wrong keyword is being targeted :

CTR is a good metric. If the wrong users are targeted for whom the product/service is not relevant, those users don’t click on the ad copies. Hence the CTR will be low. The conversion rate will also be low.

How to analysis if ad copy is not good :

If keyword targeted is correct and the users are very relevant to users. However, if the ad copy is not proper, it doesn’t convey proper information about the product/service. Since it doesn’t communicate well with the users, they tend not to click.

If how this situation differ from the above situation. In both cases the CTR is low. To separate good users with low ctr and irrelevant user with low ctr, you can use conversion rate to decide.

In this case, the conversion rate will be higher than previous scenario conversion rate. Though the ad copy doesn’t convey the message about product, the landing page might give relevant information and many people tend to convert.

Device segment :

Sometimes, device segmenting could lead to groundbreaking analysis. By segmenting by device (mobile,desktop & mobile).

Reasons why should you segment by device:

Landing page experience:

Landing viewing experience will be different for mobile and desktop users. Page speed might vary from device to device. These things will affect the conversions and hence the conversion rate will be differ from device to device.

By segmenting device, if you see a plunge or spike of conversion rate or CTR ( click through rate) you optimize the landing page to fix the issue.

This can be done for ad copies too. For different devices, ad copy will be differently shown. Due to this, ctr will be different for devices. You can identify the same by segmenting device. If you spot anomalies in the ctr’s for different devices you can optimize for the device and re-run the ads.

There’s are “n” number of ways you can segment and analysis the search campaigns. Analysis is a creative process and you can analysis by any metrics or segment.

This analysis can be done for both google search and google display campaigns. For google display campaigns you have to choose the display campaign related metrics.

By yathav

I'm very passionate about technology, marketing & analytics. Using WordPress and working on blogging & search engine optimization for almost 8+ years, I'd like to share my thoughts, hacks and best practices about what i do professionally & what I experience.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *