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Tracking and improving results

Assessing your performance

Find out which keywords are working for you

Keywords are the engine of your advertising campaign—choose the right ones, and they'll drive the right people to your ad. Be sure to regularly review your keywords' performance to see which ones are helping you meet your advertising goals.

How do you know which keywords are working for you? There are a couple good places to start.

1. Sort by conversion data to see your most productive keywords

One way to check your keyword performance at a glance is to sort by basic conversion statistics. For instance:

  • Sort by conversions to see which keywords bring in the most conversions.
  • Sort by conversion rate to see which keywords are most effective at generating conversions.
  • Sort by cost-per-conversion to see how much, on average, each of your conversions cost.

Conversion data gives you a better understanding of which keywords are more productive. Generally, if you have keywords with high conversion rates and low costs, you'll want to continue investing in them. On the other hand, you might want to refine with low conversion rates and high costs.

Let's say that you're advertising handmade chocolate candies. Review the conversion statistics for the keywords below. Based on their performance (and assuming all conversions have the same value), what would you do with each keyword?

 
Keyword Conversions Conversion rate Cost-per-conversion
fine chocolates 10 2% $10
chocolate shop 5 0.5% $20
chocolate gifts 5 5% $5

Keyword: Fine chocolates
You'll probably want to keep this keyword. It's producing conversions for you at a decent conversion rate.
Keyword: Chocolate shop

This keyword has a lower conversion rate and costs more than the other keywords. You might want to refine it for better results.

Keyword: Chocolate gifts

This keyword has a higher conversion rate and costs less than the other keywords. It seems pretty productive, so you'll probably want to continue using it. (If you're using manual bidding, you might want to increase your bid to help generate more exposure and traffic.)

You can view and download your keyword performance for any specific time period.

Do it now: Sort your keyword performance by conversions

Choose the AdWords experience you're using. Learn more

The previous AdWords experience
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab.
  3. Click the Keywords tab. Make sure you see the columns you'd like to include in your report. (You can add or remove columns from any statistics table by clicking the Columns button, then Modify columns.)
  4. Click any column name to sort by that topic. For example, click the Conversions column to sort by number of conversions.
  5. If you want to download your report, click the Download button .

Do this now in your account

The new AdWords experience
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click Keywords. Make sure you see the columns you'd like to include in your report. (You can add or remove columns from any statistics table by clicking the Columns Columns button, then Modify columns.)
  3. Click any column name to sort by that topic. For example, click the Conversions column to sort by number of conversions.
  4. Click the additional options within this larger column category to include in your filter.

Do this now in your account

2. Check your Quality Score to assess relevance

Every time someone does a search that triggers your ad, AdWords calculates the quality of your ad for that search. Quality Score is a useful summary of our calculations—an estimate of how relevant your ads, keywords, and landing page are. It's one way to tell whether your ads and keywords are delivering a good experience for customers.

Here are some the main factors that affect your Quality Score:

  • Expected clickthrough rate: The likelihood that your ads will get clicked when shown for that keyword, regardless of your ad's position.
  • Ad relevance: How closely related your keyword is to your ads.
  • Landing page experience: How relevant and useful your website's landing page will be to people who click on your ad.

All things being equal, the higher your keyword's Quality Score, the less you're likely to pay for clicks and the better your ad position. So by improving the quality of your ads, you can increase exposure and get more clicks for your advertising budget—in other words, a better return on your investment.

You can review your Quality Score for any of the keywords in your account.

Do it now: Check your Quality Score

Choose the AdWords experience you're using. Learn more

The previous AdWords experience
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab at the top.
  3. Select the Keywords tab.
  4. Click the white speech bubble Ad disapproval bubble next to any keyword's status to see details about that keyword's Quality Score. You'll be able to see ratings for expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience.

Do this now in your account

The new AdWords experience
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Keywords tab.
  3. Look in the “Status” column to see your keyword’s Quality score. Click on any keyword status to see more details. Here, you'll be able to see ratings for expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience.

Do this now in your account


Reveal searches that triggered your ad

Monitoring your keywords is just one way of evaluating your campaign, but it doesn't end there. You can go even further by looking at what your customers are searching for.

Discover the most popular words that your customers searched for when they clicked your ad with the search terms report. This report can give you a better sense of what people were looking for when they found your business.

Let's review the difference between search terms and keywords:

  • Keywords are the phrases that you list in your account to help determine when and where your ad can appear.
  • Search terms are the actual words or phrases someone searched for that triggered your ad. For example, if you have the keyword soccer shoes in your campaign, then your ad might show when a customer searches for youth soccer shoes. In this case, the search term is youth soccer shoes.

Here are some questions to keep in mind when you look at the search terms report:

1. Is your ad showing for the search terms you want?

Check to see if your keywords are triggering your ad on search terms that fit your business. If your ad is showing on searches that are relevant and producing conversions, then it's a good sign that you're spending money on the right keywords. If not, you might want to look for different keywords to invest in.

The "Added/Excluded" column indicates whether a search term in your report is also one of your keywords (Added) or negative keywords (Excluded).

2. Are the search terms relevant?

Your search terms report can reveal new keywords that you hadn't thought of before. These can be opportunities to reach more customers with different keyword variations.

If a search term isn't relevant or profitable enough for your business, add it as a negative keyword. This will help make your campaign more cost-effective by filtering out people who are looking for something you don't offer. For example, if you only sell youth soccer shoes, and you see that the search term adult soccer shoes is triggering your ads, you might want to add adult as a negative keyword.

3. Are you using the right keyword match types?

The "Match type" column in your search terms report tells you how closely the search terms that triggered your ads on Google are related to the actual keywords in your account. For example, if you see the search term soccer shoes listed as "Exact match," that means the search term matched your keyword soccer shoes exactly.

Let's say that you're advertising handmade chocolate candies. Review the sample search terms data below. What might you do with your keywords based on this information?

 
Search term Keyword Match type Added/Excluded
fine chocolate gifts chocolate gifts Broad match None
chocolate shop chocolate shop Exact match Added
chocolate ice cream chocolate Broad match None

Search term: Fine chocolate gifts

This search term looks like a pretty good fit for what you're advertising. It's a good sign that the keyword chocolate gifts is triggering a relevant search. If you want to manage it more closely, you might want to add it to your keyword list.

Search term: Chocolate shop

This search term is listed as "Added," which means that it's already in your keyword list. There's no need to add it again.

Search term: Chocolate ice cream

Unless you sell chocolate ice cream, this search term probably isn't relevant enough. To ensure that your ad shows on relevant searches, You might want to add ice cream as a negative keyword or replace the general keyword chocolate with something more specific.


Do it now: View your search terms report

Choose the AdWords experience you're using. Learn more

The previous AdWords experience
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab.
  3. Click the Keywords tab.
  4. Click the Search terms tab.See search terms
  5. You'll see data on which search terms triggered impressions and clicks. To download the data in a report, click the download button Download icon.

Keep in mind that you'll only see search terms that were used by people at least 24 hours ago and have either received clicks in the past 30 days or were searched for by a significant number of people. Any search terms that did not meet this criteria will be summed up in the 'Other search terms' row.

Do this now in your account

The new AdWords experience
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Keywords tab.
  3. Click Search terms. You'll see data on which search terms triggered impressions and clicks.

Keep in mind that you'll only see search terms that were used by people at least 24 hours ago and have either received clicks in the past 30 days or were searched for by a significant number of people. Any search terms that did not meet this criteria will be summed up in the 'Other search terms' row.

Do this now in your account

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