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, then try to spend an hour or more each week.

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 http://adwords.google.co.uk.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab and select your campaign.
  3. Click the Ads tab.
  4. Under the "Status" column, point to the speech bubble icon next to the status of any of your targeting methods. 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 http://adwords.google.co.uk.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab and select your campaign.
  3. Click the Display Network tab.
  4. Click the Placements tab.
    1. Look at your managed placements to see where your ads appeared based on specific websites that you've added.
    2. Look at your automatic placements to see where your ad appeared, based on targeting methods such as display keywords and topics.
    3. Click the "See details" drop-down menu to see a list of site URLs where your ads have shown. (For a complete list of your automatic placements across your entire account or specific campaigns, go to the Dimensions tab, click the "View" drop-down menu, and select "Automatic placements".)

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, like 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 but could do better with an increased bid.
  • Irrelevant or poor-performing placements to exclude.

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-peak-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-peak-hikes.co.uk 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 http://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 creatives perform better on certain placements
  • 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.

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 http://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 and Gender.

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 he’d like. So, he decides to use display keywords such as scafell peak 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 http://adwords.google.co.uk.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab and select your campaign.
  3. Click 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 the Display Campaign Optimiser.
    • Other display targeting match: the placement matched your managed placements, interests and remarketing, topics, gender or age 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 that you’re reaching from your Age and Gender tabs. You’ll see these stats even if you haven’t added demographic targeting.

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at http://adwords.google.co.uk.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab and select your campaign.
  3. Click the Display Network tab.
  4. Click the Age or Gender 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, he 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.

Here's more about how to reach people of a specific age or gender.