In this article, we’ll outline different reasons for campaign fluctuations and changes, why they may lead to changes in campaign performance over time, and how you can use the tools in your Google Ads account to understand what’s driving these changes.
Keep in mind: It’s normal for your campaign performance to vary.
Before you begin
Use Explanations to identify reasons for performance changes in a single click
Explanations are available for the following campaign types:
- Search campaigns using manual CPC, enhanced CPC, enhanced CPC for value, target CPA, maximize conversions, maximize clicks bidding, maximize conversion value, and target ROAS
- App campaigns using target CPA
- Performance Max campaigns
Explanations give you insights into large changes in your account’s performance and help you quickly find out why they happened. By default, you’ll see explanations that compare the date range you selected with the previous period of the same length.
- Go to your campaign or ad groups page.
- Hover over values in your data table that are colored in blue with a dotted line.
- You’ll see how this value has changed since the last period.
- Click View explanation to see what caused the change.
Assess your performance based on your bid strategy and optimization goal
Before making conclusions about your campaign performance, it’s important to first consider whether the settings you are using match the metrics your campaign is optimizing towards. Updating your campaign’s bid strategy or optimization goal settings to align with your business and advertising goals will help to ensure that you are focusing on the relevant metrics when analyzing campaign performance to understand what drove fluctuations.
For example, Target CPA helps you get as many conversions as possible at or below the target cost-per-action (CPA) you set. In campaigns using Target CPA, cost-per-conversion and other conversion-related metrics may be better indicators of performance than cost-per-click and impressions.
9 common reasons why your performance is fluctuating
1. Recent changes to account or campaign settings
Editing any account or campaign settings, such as bid strategy, bid adjustments, bids, budget, keywords, audiences, demographics, and ad scheduling can change your performance.
2. Conversion tracking setup and conversion delay
If there’s a sudden drop or increase in global pings or tag fires for a conversion action that your campaign is using for Autobidding, this can result in a drop in serving and spending as Google Ads optimizes towards your set conversion action.
3. Bids and bid targets
Your performance may fluctuate if your bids, bid limits, or bid targets are set without taking into consideration the historical data Google Ads will use to serve your ads.
4. Budget settings
Your campaign may be more likely to have performance fluctuations when its budget is limited.
5. Creative coverage and diversity
If you’re running an asset-based campaign (Responsive Search Ads, Responsive Display Ads, App Campaigns, Performance Max) in particular, it’s important to ensure you have a diverse set of creatives across ad formats.
6. Targeting settings and overlaps (Audiences, Keywords, Geo)
If your campaign is targeting a smaller group of users with very specific audience, keyword, location, or language settings, it may also be more likely to have performance fluctuations. You may have multiple campaigns or ad groups in your account that are eligible to enter overlapping auctions due to similar keywords or other targeting.
7. Policy and ad review status
Changes to the review status of your ads or keywords can impact your performance.
8. Other account issues
Issues with your payments, billing transfers or other account level issues can impact the performance of your account and the performance of your campaigns.
9. Auction dynamics
The choices that other advertisers, who are participating in the same auctions as you, make can affect your campaign’s performance.