Create custom columns

Custom columns allow you to access and leverage a wide variety of metrics computed from Google Ads data to build your own columns. You can layer in references to other column formulas and spreadsheet functions to make your columns more nuanced. Just like standard Google Ads columns, most custom columns can be filtered, sorted, downloaded, and used to customize your performance summary chart above your statistics table.

How to create a custom column

An animated gif demonstrating the process of creating custom columns within the user interface.

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. In the left page menu, click Campaigns, Ad groups, Ads & Extensions, or Keywords.
    • Note: If you’re using a manager account, you can also create a custom column on the Performance page.
  3. In the upper right corner of the table, click the columns icon A picture of the Google Ads columns icon, then select Modify columns.
  4. Click + Custom column in the upper right.
  5. Provide the following information for your column (refer to these custom column examples):
    • Enter a name that will be used as the column header.
    • Enter a description of the column that you’ll see when you hover over the column header.
    • Click + Column, then select a metric such as “clicks” or “impressions”.
    • Adding filters: For some metrics, you can narrow down the metric data by adding filters. For example, to show only clicks from mobile devices, select Clicks as your metric. Then, in the “Filter” section that appears on the right, click Device and select Mobile phones.
    • Adding math operators: Use the math operators to create your column conditions, and choose the formatting of the column contents, such as “Number”, “Percent”, or “Currency”. For example, to calculate the percentage of mobile clicks in a campaign, select Clicks with the filters “Mobile phones” as your first metric. Then, click the ÷ operator, and select Clicks as your second metric. Finally, choose Percent as the “Data format” in the upper right.
  6. When you’ve finished entering column information, click Save. You’ll be taken back to the “Modify columns” page.
  7. Select your new custom column, then click Apply to view it in the statistics table.

Building a custom column formula

A custom column is composed of a formula, which is written just like a formula in a spreadsheet. You can add columns, operators, constants, other custom columns, filters, and functions to your formula.

Adding columns

To add a column to your formula, you can either click the + Column button and select the column, or start typing the naming of the column and select it from the dropdown that appears.

In visual mode, any column that is added will be converted into an oval. You can click the oval to add filters to that column.

In text mode, added columns remain as text, but will be highlighted in blue if the formula is valid. Although column names are case-insensitive, you must type a column’s name exactly as it’s listed in the column list.

Adding other custom columns

You can also add references to other custom columns to your formula. If you change the formula of the other custom column, the update will be automatically reflected in custom columns that refer to it. You can only add references to other custom columns that are owned by the same account.

In visual mode, add references to other custom columns in the same way as standard columns. These references will appear with a link icon beside the name of the custom column.

In text mode, references to other custom columns are prefixed with c: and surrounded by double quotes, unlike standard columns. For example, if you wanted to double the value of a custom column named Mobile Clicks, you would write c:"Mobile Clicks" * 2.

Similar to standard columns, note the Data Format of the custom column you reference to ensure it’s used appropriately to avoid errors. For example, you can’t multiply a text custom column.

There are limits to the use of custom column references.

Adding operators

Operators are common arithmetic symbols used to perform a function within a formula. You can use operators to customize functions and calculate results by creating the column conditions that will yield the output you want to find. You can add operators (such as the plus sign for addition) between two numeric values by typing it on your keyboard, or clicking the corresponding button on the formula toolbar, if available. If you want to control the order in which operators are used, use parentheses in your formula.

Sign Description Result type
+ Add (Plus) Number
- Subtract (Minus) Number
* Multiply Number
/ Divide Number
< Less than True/False
> Greater than True/False
<= Less than or equal to True/False
>= Greater than or equal to True/False
= Equal to True/False
!= Not equal to True/False

Note: Certain operators (such as greater than) are a combination of two characters.

Adding constants

A constant is a fixed value that doesn’t change. Because a constant doesn’t change, you can type numbers directly into the formula. Use a period as the decimal separator. For example, a quantity of five-and-a-half would be 5.5 instead of 5,5. A thousands separator is not used in formulas, so a quantity of three thousand twenty is written as 3020.

You can also add text values in formulas if it’s appropriate given the surrounding context. Text values are always wrapped in a pair of double quotes. If you want to include the double quote character in your text, learn how to include them. In addition, you can write the text true and false in the formula directly to represent a true or false constant, respectively.

For example, the following formula includes numeric and text constants: length("My text") * -3.45

Adding filters

Filters modify the behavior of columns in a formula. To add a filter (such as Device or Conversion Action filters), first add a column to the formula. View available filters.

In visual mode, click on the oval that represents the column you want to add a filter to. If there are available filters, you will see all available filter types in the filter panel beside the formula area. Expand a category to add one or more filters in that category. If nothing is selected within a filter category, then that category is not filtering the metric.

A representation of the user interface demonstrating how to filter custom columns.

In text mode, filters are added by typing a period immediately after a column name (with no space) and adding the filter name. Filter values are placed inside parentheses immediately following the filter name. For example, in text mode, to filter Clicks to only clicks from mobile devices and tablets, you could write the following formula: clicks.device(mobile, tablet).

Note: If you type a column name that has available filters in text mode, the list of available filters will automatically be suggested. Adding filters to columns is always optional. To close the list of suggested filters, you can keep typing (such as typing a space character) or click outside the prompt.

Adding functions

To add a function to a formula, either click the + Function button or start typing the name of a function and select one from the suggestions.

Functions produce an output called a return value (which could be a number, text, true/false value, or date type, depending on the function). Most functions require parameters. Parameters are the inputs into the function, and are specified in parentheses after the function name and separated by commas. The order of parameters and data format of each parameter is important. When you insert a function from a menu, placeholder text for each parameter will be inserted. You must replace the placeholder text for each parameter to complete the function.

Refer to the function list for a complete listing of all available functions and their parameters.

Selecting a Data Format

If the formula produces a numeric value, you can select between 3 values for “Data format”:

  • Number (default): The custom column will be displayed to 2 decimal places.
  • Percent: The custom column will be multiplied by 100 and displayed with a percent symbol (%) to 2 decimal places.
  • Currency: The custom column will be displayed with the currency symbol of the data in the row in which it’s displayed, regardless of if the formula actually represents a currency value.

If the formula produces text, a true/false value, or a date, you may only select the corresponding data format (“Text”, “True/False”, or “Date”, respectively).

Once you save the formula, you may not change the Data Format.

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