Evaluate ad performance on the Display Network

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With the Ads & extensions and Placements pages, you can view detailed statistics to help you evaluate the performance of your display ads. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to:

  • Find out where your display ads are appearing
  • Analyse the audiences your campaigns reach using impressions, clicks and conversions
  • Work out which audiences and targeting choices are working

Tip

Try to spend an hour or more each week analysing the performance of your display ads.

Basic insights

Confirm that your ads are showing

Check whether your ads are running or paused on the Ads & extensions page:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click Display campaigns in the navigation panel.
  3. Click Ads & extensions in the page menu.
  4. The 'Status' column will show if your ad is showing. If your ad isn’t showing, you’ll see why not and what you can do to fix the issue.
Get a list of sites where your ads appeared

See which websites, videos and apps have displayed your ads using the 'Where ads showed' page:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. In the page menu, select Placements.
  3. Click Where ads showed.

You’ll see all placements, including automatic targeting methods such as keywords, topics, remarketing and audiences. You’ll also see any manual placements you chose.  

What to look for:

  • Placements that have performed well and where your ads could show more often with an increased bid.
  • Poor-performing placements to exclude, based on how they compare with your other placements. Sometimes it may not be immediately clear why your ads appeared on a certain placement, but comparative performance is a good gauge of whether or not a placement should be excluded.

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 to where your ad was shown.

Example

An outdoor company has a Blue Mountains Hikes campaign. They’ve been using managed placements and want to find additional sites to target by analysing impressions (Impr.) and conversions. By visiting the Placements page, they can analyse those metrics.

Placement Type Campaign Impr. Conversions
mount-victoria-hikes.com Site Blue Mountains Hikes 1,500 20
adventure-hikes.com.au Site Blue Mountains Hikes 1,500 25
blue-mountains-power-drinks.com Site Blue Mountains Hikes 3,000 2
hikes-for-kids.com.au Site Blue Mountains Hikes 2,000 0

In the Where ads showed page, the website mount-victoria-hikes.com is performing well, so the account manager adds it as a managed placement to the campaign. On the other hand, the blue-mountains-power-drinks.com and hikes-for-kids.com.au 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 if your ads have earned any impressions, clicks, and more from the Ads & extensions page:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click Display campaigns in the navigation panel. 
  3. Click Ads & extensions in the page menu.

What to look for:

  • How different ad creatives compare in their performance
  • Which ad formats (image, video, text) perform better

Example

This Blue Mountains Hikes campaign has two different ad creatives.

Ad Campaign Clicks Conversions
Half dome ad
Mount Victoria
Blue Mountains Hikes 150 20
Hiker ad
Hiker
Blue Mountains Hikes 150 5

The Mount Victoria ad gets more conversions than the Hiker ad, so the account manager decides to remove the latter from this campaign.

Identify the ad targeting that's getting results
  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click Display campaigns in the navigation panel.
  3. Select your campaign.
  4. Click any of the pages: KeywordsAudiences, Demographics, Topics or Placements.

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 broad topics such as Hiking & Camping to target ads for his Blue Mountains Hikes campaign. However, the placements where these ads appear based on his topic targeting aren’t as relevant as he’d like. So he decides to use the Audiences page to reach certain customers. From the Audiences page, he selects Targeting and uses an affinity audience for 'Outdoor enthusiasts' and 'Thrill seekers'.

Tip  

To see how your audience targeting is performing, click Audiences in the page menu and scroll to the bottom of the performance table. You’ll see metrics based on your audience targeting. Learn more about targeting your ads by audience interests and how to add audience targeting to an ad group

Find out which demographic groups are seeing your ads

Discover the groups you’re reaching from the Demographics page. You’ll see these stats even if you haven’t added demographic targeting.

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click Display campaigns in the navigation panel.
  3. Click Demographics in the page menu and select your campaign.
  4. Click the Age, Gender, Parental status, Household income, Combinations or Exclusions pages to see performance statistics.

What to look for:

  • Demographic groups with high conversions
  • Demographic groups with low cost-per-acquisition
  • Certain audiences that you want to reach with ad creative and targeting methods

Example

This Blue Mountains Hikes campaign advertises tours that are relevant to all age groups.

Age Campaign Click-through Rate
18-24 Blue Mountains Hikes .26%
25-34 Blue Mountains Hikes .20%
35-44 Blue Mountains Hikes .16%
45-54 Blue Mountains Hikes .16%
55-64 Blue Mountains Hikes .14%
Unknown Blue Mountains 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.

Learn more about how to reach people of specific age and gender

Custom performance data and charts 

The reporting icon at the top of your screen  helps you find new ways to see and analyse your ad performance data. 

There are three main reporting tools:

Reports allow you to create various charts or tables to see performance data. You can combine dozens of custom metrics, seeing granular detail about factors like impressions, targeting and conversions. These reports can be saved for future reference. 

Learn more about reporting tools

Predefined reports (formerly Dimensions) let you see basic performance data from a selected set of metrics, which you can further refine.

Learn more about predefined reports

Dashboards are designed to let you access your most useful data in one place. You can drag and drop saved charts and tables that you made using Reports into multiple panes on the dashboard, create new charts, create Scorecards to see quick performance data, and add notes.

Learn more about dashboards

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