About explanations (beta)

Explanations give you insights into large changes in your Google Ads account performance. When you see a significant fluctuation in performance for a Search campaign or ad group, explanations help you quickly find out why it happened.

Explanations are currently only available for Search campaigns using manual CPC or enhanced CPC bidding.


  • Save time: Discover why your account performance changed with just a few clicks.
  • All in one place: You no longer have to cross-reference reports, checklists, or other tools—simply compare two date ranges, and explanations for significant performance changes will be provided, if available.
  • Diagnose issues: Get a more accurate and comprehensive view to diagnose possible reasons for changes in your campaign or ad group's performance.

Types of explanations

Explanations can help you learn more about how the following factors might have affected your campaign or ad group performance.

  • Bid changes: How changes to your bids may have affected where and how often your ads showed. 
  • Bid Modifier changes: How changes to your device bid modifier, location bid modifier, demographic bid modifier, and audience bid modifier may have affected performance.
  • Budget changes: How changes to your budget may have affected how many clicks and impressions your ads received.
  • Budget allocation: How spreading your budget across multiple entities (for example, ad groups) may have affected the performance of other entities.
  • Budget exhaustion rate: How changing your average cost-per-click (CPC) may have caused your budget to run out more quickly or slowly than usual. 
  • Conversions: How changing your conversion actions status or settings may have affected the number of your conversions. Explanations also include data on conversion lag and tag firing frequency to help diagnose your performance changes.
  • Eligibility: How different factors may have affected how often your ads were eligible for traffic (for example, budget exhaustion or pausing an ad group or campaign, when all ads in an ad group were disapproved).  
  • Targeting changes: How changes to location targeting, keywords targeting, keyword status, and adding/removing an audience may affect performance.
  • Auction competitions and search interest: How changes in search volume on Search partners and opt-in/opt-out of Search partners may affect performance.
  • Change history: How changes to your account may have affected your account’s performance.  

How to view explanations in your account

About Explanations
  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account
  2. From the navigation menu on the left, click Search campaigns
  3. From the page menu on the left, click Campaigns or Ad groups.  
  4. In the upper right corner of your screen, click the down arrow next to the date range.
  5. Click the toggle next to "Compare" and select Previous period below.
    • Make sure the time periods are of equal length and contiguous, or explanations won’t show.
  6. Click Apply.
  7. You’ll see a % change added below the numbers in your performance metrics columns. They look like “+X%” or “-X%”. Significant changes will be highlighted in blue. Click a highlighted % change to open the explanations panel.
    • The explanations panel will appear on the right side of your screen. It’ll contain a list of entities (like ad groups, or keywords) that may explain the change you’re investigating.

Why you might not see explanations

  • Explanations are only available for Search campaigns using manual bidding or enhanced CPC. You won’t see explanations for Search+, Display, Video, Shopping, or Dynamic Search Ads campaigns, or campaigns with auto-bidding.
  • Currently explanations supports clicks, cost, impressions, and conversions only. 
  • Explanations will only be triggered if they meet the volume and change threshold.
  • Explanations are only available for data within the last 90 days.You can still view the % change for more than 90 days, but the explanations window won’t show.
  • Explanations work only for comparisons of equal length and contiguous time periods.

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