Finding actionable insights through Google Ads reporting: Google Best Practices
Tell a story that translates Google Ads reports into action
You need to create actionable reports that are also compelling. If you have someone that signs off on your Google Ads strategy, make her decision easy by creating the right kinds of reports: those that tell a story.
Filter your analyses and reports to focus on high-value areas
Google Ads has an incredible amount of data, and a big part of good reporting is making sense of everything that’s available. There’s a fine line to walk between detailed insights and a data dump. Filter your reports to focus your reader’s attention.
Think about what you and your managers or clients care about, and filter out everything else. Elevate your main takeaways by resisting the urge to be exhaustive. Your main report should cater exactly to what matters.
At nearly every level within Google Ads you can apply thoughtful filters to shed new light on your performance. Filters based on volume remove clutter. Filters based on things like campaigns or networks can make your insights more meaningful. Whatever your needs are, there are filters that can help make your reports more straightforward.
As an example, let’s say you're running an ad group report. Depending on your structure you may have thousands of ad groups, which makes it hard to focus. If you take that report, filter out Search Partners and Display Network performance to really focus on your Google.com ads, and then further filter to show ad groups with 1,000 impressions, you’ll suddenly have a clearer sense of what actions you might want to take. It’ll also be easier for you to prove your main point to anyone else who sees the report.
Segment your analyses and reports to highlight differences at every level of your account
While you use filters to eliminate unnecessary data points, use segments to unpack differences in performance that may be hiding in larger, aggregated numbers. Through segments, you can identify efficiencies to exploit and inefficiencies to improve upon. Segments are a great way to avoid interpreting data incorrectly. Averages and totals can be instructive, but they can also obscure a true, actionable insight that is buried in a bigger set of data.
Highlight the differences that exist across different segments, and use those differences to craft a story about what steps to take next.
If you want specific, self-defined buckets within your account, create labels for keywords, ads or campaigns. Labels are a great way to slice your data into custom dimensions.
There are lots of available segments to add to your reports, and each of them can be uniquely insightful depending on which report you’ve added them to:
- Time (day, week, hour of day, day of week, etc.)
- Conversions (name or category)
- Top vs. Other
- And more
If you’re trying to understand people’s device usage based on their surroundings, you can take a look at a device report segmented by time - in this case we’ll use day of week. This report will show you how performance varies depending on what people are more likely to be doing at that moment. The differences you uncover can tell a specific, actionable story to your audience about how to update your strategy to get even more positive results. The middle of the week sees the best conversion rates on desktop, so you can be more aggressive at those times. You can also investigate different promotions to run to try and entice weekend users to convert more often.
Create line, bar and pie charts to better visualize your Google Ads data
While the numbers in the Google Ads interface or a spreadsheet may have a certain undeniable appeal to those who spend all day working in their accounts, different audiences are going to have different expectations about what looks nice.
Adding visualization can be a crucial step when it comes time to prove a point. Take what may be immediately apparent to you in a data table, and transform it into something with universal appeal.
Use the Report Editor to create line, bar and pie charts - all of which are going to be easier on the eyes than a spreadsheet. Make your report that much more compelling.
Not only are charts good for communicating insights you’ve discovered in a table, they can also be a great place to start the diagnosis process. Any differences or trends will be more likely to stand out. For example, if you make a table looking at clicks by device by month, it might be hard to see that mobile is on track to overtake desktop. If you put it in a line chart, though, you’re likely to see that type of insight instantly.