Understanding the top movers report

See which campaigns and ad groups have experienced the biggest changes in clicks, costs, and conversions, and view details about those changes. Knowing at a glance which campaigns and ad groups are your account’s "top movers" allows you to take action to ensure you’re getting the most out of your AdWords investment. In this article, we’ll explain how to find and configure your top movers report, and how to understand and use the the information it provides.

The top movers report can help you if....

  • You notice that your overall account metrics have moved in an unexpected way. Maybe your costs are up, or your clicks are down, and you want to know why.
  • You want to keep regular tabs on what’s changing in your account on a weekly or monthly basis, even if your overall performance metrics don’t appear to be changing much.

Viewing the top movers report

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
  2. Under Campaigns, navigate to the Dimensions tab.
  3. Click the “View” drop-down menu, and choose “Top movers.” View Drop Down Menu
  4. Select a comparison period from dropdown menu: 7-day, 14-day, or 28-day. The top movers report will compare recent performance against the previous period of the same length of time.
  5. Then select a comparison ending date (up to 90 days in the past). For example, the 14-day report with a comparison ending date of February 28th will use Feb 1-14th for the first period and Feb 15-28th for the second period. (It’s not possible to compare two non-adjacent periods, like the first week in January compared to the first week in February.)

Each day's report will be available by 6pm Pacific time on the following day. However, a report will not be produced if the account has seen fewer than 100 clicks (in total) over the previous seven days. Top movers reports will be available for up to 90 days.

Understanding your top movers data

The top movers report identifies which campaigns and ad groups have experienced the biggest changes (increases or decreases) in clicks, costs, and conversions, and shows you some possible causes for those changes.

Keep in mind

  1. Size of change: Top movers are the campaigns and ad groups (up to 10) that saw the largest change up or down as measured primarily by size of the change - not percentage change. For example, if you had one campaign that went from one click to two clicks, and a second campaign that went from 10 to 15 clicks, the second campaign would be considered to have had larger changes than the first campaign, even though the percent change is smaller.
  2. No double counting: Changes will only be attributed once. For example, if a campaign has only one ad group, and that ad group see a huge increase in clicks, the campaign will, too. However, only the ad group will show in the report as a top mover.

At the top of your top movers report is the summary table, which lists the total increases and decreases in costs, clicks, and conversions that resulted from your top movers. It also lists the total “Other changes,” which are the account changes from ad groups and campaigns not considered top movers as well as “Total change,” which is the top movers changes plus other changes. The totals for each time period are shown below the change metrics.  

Top movers report summary table

Here’s an example: Let's say you own a business selling flowers online. Above is the summary table for your top movers report. During this time period, your account saw an increase in 580 clicks from the campaigns and ad groups that increased the most, and saw a decrease in 300 clicks from campaigns and ad groups that decreased the most. There was also a 100-click increase from other areas of your account. The result is a total increase of 380 clicks.

This is good news, but you might want a closer look at this increase of 580 clicks, to see if you can take action to take advantage of something good, as well as a better understanding of the 300 click decrease, to see if this is a problem.

The details table, located just below the summary table, provides more information about your top movers and your account.

Top movers report details table

The details table (see above) has four modes, Cost, Clicks, and two for Conversions. You can select which you’d like to view by clicking the buttons above the summary table.

In the details table (see above), each row represents one top mover for the selected time period. If the Top Mover has a subscript, like “Desktop” or “Google Search,” it means the numbers reported are for that segment only. The Details column shows key statistics for the campaign or ad group during the time periods selected, such as impressions, clickthrough rate (CTR), Avg. position, and Avg. CPC. And if we think a change made in your account helps to explain the change in performance, this is given under “Possible causes."

Important note about possible causes

Changes in performance are the result of one or more of these three things:

  1. Changes your competitors made, such as bid increases or decreases.
  2. Changes in search traffic patterns, such as people searching more or less for your high or low cost keywords due to seasonality, brand perception, or other outside influences.
  3. Changes to your account such as a budget increase or decrease, or keyword additions or removals.

Possible causes only considers changes made within your account (#3 above) and doesn’t consider changes from competitors or traffic patterns. Therefore, a “possible cause” is indeed just that.

Because a minimum amount of data is needed to determine a possible cause, if the campaign or ad group hasn’t received several hundred clicks over the report period, you won’t see one.

Top movers math, an example


Suppose you have 20 campaigns, each contributing exactly 5% of your clicks.

Ten campaigns each see a 10% increase in clicks. This increases total clicks in the account by 5%.

The other 10 campaigns each see an increase of 2%. This increases total clicks another 1%.

Combined, total clicks in the account have increased by 6%.

The 10 campaigns that moved by 10% will be called your “top movers.” Since they were all increases, the summary table will report them under “Top increases” this way:

Top increases: 5%
Other changes: 1%
Total change: 6%

Suppose, however, that instead of increasing by 10%, one of those top mover campaigns decreased by 10%. Since the size of this move is still one of the 10 largest, this campaign remains a top mover, but it’s now put in the “Top decreases” category. This will show in the summary table this way:

Top increases: 4.5%
Top decreases: -0.5%
Other changes: 1%
Total change: 5%