Evaluate ad performance on the Display Network

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The Display Network and Ads tabs provide the statistics to help you evaluate your ad performance, whether you’re new to display advertising and just want the basics or have been doing display advertising for a while and want to delve into your performance and audience stats to get even more out of your campaigns.

Tip

It’s up to you how often you evaluate your ad performance. If you’re new to display advertising, try to spend an hour or more each week.

Find out where your ads appear on the Display Network

The Placements tab shows all of the web pages, apps and videos where your display ads appeared, regardless of targeting method. You’ll see both managed placements that you selected to show your ads, and automatic placements where your ads were matched automatically based on one or more of your other targeting methods, such as keywords or topics.

Basic insights

Confirm that your ads are showing

Check whether your ads are running or paused on your Ads tab.

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.co.uk.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab and select your campaign.
  3. Click on the Ads tab.
  4. Under the "Status" column, point to the speech bubble icon next to the status of any of your ads. You should see a confirmation of whether your ad either is or isn’t running, along with the reason for this status.

What to look for:

  • Pinpoint which ads aren’t running.
  • Understand why your ads aren’t running and what you can do to fix them.
Get a list of sites where your ads appeared

See which websites, videos and apps have displayed your ads from your Placements tab.

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.co.uk.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab and select your campaign.
  3. Click on the Display Network tab.
  4. Click the Placements tab.
    • You can see how your ads performed on websites that you've targeted specifically – they’ll appear as “Managed” placements.
    • To see where your ad appeared based on your other targeting methods, including keywords, topics, interest categories, remarketing and demographics, look at your automatic placements.
    • Click the "See details" drop-down menu to see a list of site URLs where your ads have shown.

Note

Some of the URLs that you see may be incomplete. It could be that the URL is too long, or that it contains private information about the person viewing the placement – such as a username or password. When this happens the URL is shortened with an ellipsis and may be partly stripped, potentially taking you to a page that’s different from where your ad was shown.

What to look for:

  • Placements that have performed well and where your ads could show more often with an increased bid.
  • Poor-performing placements to exclude, based on how they compare with your other placements. Sometimes it may not be immediately clear why your ads appeared on a certain placement, but comparative performance is a good gauge of whether or not a placement should be excluded.

Example

An outdoor company has a Lake District Hikes campaign. They have been using managed placements and want to find additional sites to target.

Placement Status Campaign Impressions Conversions
scafell-pike-hikes.co.uk Managed Lake District Hikes 1,500 20
adventure-hikes.co.uk Automatic Lake District Hikes 1,500 25
lakes-energy-drinks.co.uk Automatic Lake District Hikes 3,000 2
hikes-for-kids.co.uk Automatic Lake District Hikes 2,000 0

In the Placements tab, the automatic placement scafell-pike-hikes.com is performing well, so the account manager adds it as a managed placement to the campaign. On the other hand, the lakes-energy-drinks.co.uk and hikes-for-kids.co.uk automatic placements are performing poorly. These placements are also geared towards people outside their target audience, so the account manager excludes them.

See if your ads are getting impressions and clicks

Find out whether your ads have earned any impressions, clicks and more from your Ads tab.

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.co.uk.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab and select your campaign.
  3. Click the Ads tab to see performance statistics for your campaign’s ads.

What to look for:

  • How different ad creatives compare in their performance
  • Which ad formats (image, video, text) perform better

Example

This Lake District Hikes campaign has two different ad creatives.

Ad Campaign Clicks Conversions
Half dome ad
Scafell Pike
Lake District Hikes 150 20
Hiker ad
Hiker
Lake District Hikes 150 5

The Scafell Pike ad gets more conversions than the Hiker ad, so the account manager decides to remove the latter from this campaign.

Introducing the Report Editor

There’s a new way to visually slice and dice your performance data: the Report Editor. The Report Editor is an analytical tool that allows you to engage with your data through multi-dimensional tables and charts. A few benefits of the Report Editor:

  • A simple drag-and-drop interface lets you quickly build and manipulate multi-dimensional tables and charts, reducing the need to download your data for deeper analysis. 
  • Multi-segment analysis lets you slice and dice your data with finer granularity in your tables and charts.
  • Custom charts let you quickly visualise the patterns and trends in your data.
  • Advanced filtering and sorting allow you to filter on segmented metrics (e.g., mobile clicks) and sort by multiple columns.

Find out how to explore your data with the Report Editor.

Performance and demographic stats

Identify the ad targeting that's getting results

Scan the tabs under your Display Network tab to see how your ad targeting methods perform.

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.co.uk.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab and select your campaign.
  3. Click the Display Network tab.
  4. Click any of the sub-tabs: Display Keywords, Placements, Topics, Interests & Remarketing, Age, Gender and Parental status.

What to look for:

  • Remove targeting methods that don't perform well or that restrict your audience too much.
  • Identify the targeting methods that get your ads on the most appropriate placements and in front of your intended audience.

Example

An account manager has been using topics like Hiking & Camping to target ads for his Lake District Hikes campaign. However, the automatic placements where these ads appear based on his topic targeting aren’t as relevant as they’d like. So, he decides to use display keywords like scafell pike hikes and hike Lake District to target his ads as well.

Get insights into why your ads were matched to a specific placement
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.co.uk.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab and select your campaign.
  3. Click on the Display Network tab.
  4. Click the Placements tab.
  5. Click the "Segment" drop-down menu and select "Targeting mode". You’ll see your placements split into the following categories:
    • Auto-targeted: the placement was matched due to automatic targeting found by either Conservative or Aggressive (Display Campaign Optimiser) targeting options.
    • Other display targeting match: the placement matched your managed placements, interests and remarketing, topics, gender, age or parental status targeting.
    • Keyword contextual match: the placement was contextually relevant to the keywords that you chose.
    • Extended keyword match: the placement was relevant to the keywords that you chose and other factors, including pages a person seeing your ad has recently browsed.
Find out which demographic groups are seeing your ads

Discover the demographic groups you’re reaching from your Age, Gender and Parental status tabs. You’ll see these stats even if you haven’t added demographic targeting.

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.co.uk.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab and select your campaign.
  3. Click on the Display Network tab.
  4. Click the Age, Gender or Parental status tabs to see performance statistics.

What to look for

  • Demographic groups with high conversions
  • Demographic groups with low cost per acquisition.
  • Age groups or a gender outside your target audience that you can exclude
  • Certain groups that you want to target with ad creative and targeting methods that are a better audience fit

Example

This Lake District Hikes campaign advertises tours that are relevant to all age groups.

Age Campaign Click-through Rate
18-24 Lake District Hikes .26%
25-34 Lake District Hikes .20%
35-44 Lake District Hikes .16%
45-54 Lake District Hikes .16%
55-64 Lake District Hikes .14%
Unknown Lake District Hikes .15%

The account manager notices a higher click-through rate amongst people in the 18-24 age group. Since people in this age group tend to click ads in this campaign more often than other age groups, the account manager decides to revisit the ad creative and targeting to make it appealing to other age groups.

Note

If you exclude people in the "unknown" category you may be excluding some of your target audience.

More about how to reach people of specific age and gender.

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