When using Google Ads, you can see reporting data in the main interface at different levels, such as campaign, ad group, product group, keyword, audience, ad, location, and more. This data is shown in table form with customizable columns. It also has a row segmentation feature, so the data can be broken down by various segment options. Above the data tables, there’s a graphical time chart that shows when things happened over time, such as impressions, clicks, conversions, etc.
While these reporting options are helpful, sometimes there’s a need for a more full-featured and dedicated reporting tool. It might be for sharing precise data with clients, or it might be so that teams can work together and have access to the same results data. There is such a tool built into Google Ads. It can be accessed by clicking the Reports link at the top of the page (next to Tools & Settings).
There are a lot of features and options packed into this reporting tool, and it takes some practice to get the hang of using it.
Here are ten things to know about it to give you a head start:
- When you first click the Reports link, you’ll see three sub-options: Predefined reports (Dimensions), Reports, and Dashboards. Clicking on the Reports sub-option takes you to a main page, where you have access to all options, including the predefined reports and dashboards.
- There is a large selection of predefined/ prebuilt reports you can use, or at least adopt as a starting point. At the time of this writing, there are fifty-two options for predefined reports. They are grouped in a menu based on category themes, which include: Basic, Time, Conversions, Labels, Locations, Assets, Auction Insights, and Other.
- A dashboard is like a canvas that can be created to communicate the most important information in the clearest and most visually appropriate fashion. There are three element types that can be added to a dashboard: Notes, Reports, and Scorecards.
- Scorecards are for showing a single number, such as the number of conversions in the given time frame.
- Charts and tables let you insert data reports created in the reports editor.
- Notes are for adding information in the form of text, numbered and bulleted lists, or links (such as explanations for the data, a list of goals related to the data, or links to relevant landing pages).
- When working with reports or dashboards, every change you make must be manually saved or it will be lost. This includes naming the report or dashboard; customizing rows, columns, or the date range; and any other changes. You can also click “Save as” to save it as a new, separate item. It helps to think of each report or dashboard as a separate document.
- When creating a new report, the first thing you need to do is choose a layout option. There are seven report layout options. They are:
- Table — Uses normal rows and columns
- Tree Table — Like a normal table, but the rows are expandable by clicking (e.g. see metrics for ad groups, then expand to see metrics for each keyword in the ad group)
- Line Chart — Allows you to see how things happened over a time period in a line chart (e.g., how many clicks and conversions happened on specific days in the last week)
- Column Chart — Shows data counts in vertical column bars when you add an x-axis item (such as ad group) and y-item (such as number of clicks)
- Bar Chart — Like the column chart, but shows horizontal bars instead of vertical
- Pie Chart — A colorful round chart to show data percentages, such as what percentage of clicks each campaign is responsible for. If you add more than one level in the “segment” setting, it allows for drilling down by clicking part of the chart
- Scatter Chart — Shows numeric coordinates along a horizontal (X) and vertical (Y) axes. This helps you find out how much one variable is affected by another.
- In a new or predefined report – the customization panel is on the right. You can add the dimensions and metrics you want displayed in the report from a large selection of options. If you’re using a table format, the columns normally represent various metric numbers, such as clicks, impressions, conversion rate, etc.; The rows slice the numbers by dimension. For example, if there were 640 clicks total, the segmented rows can tell you how they were divided by campaign, ad group, keyword, audience, device type, location, date, time, etc.
- Data in reports and dashboards can be filtered. For example, you could set that campaigns only show in the report if they’ve had more than 100 clicks, or that keywords only show if they have the word “summer” in them. You can filter by just about anything you can think of.
- Reports can be downloaded at any time in a variety of formats, including .csv, Excel.csv, .tsv, .xml, .pdf, .png, and Google Sheets.
- Reports can be scheduled to be sent by email in a variety of formats — either once, or at regular intervals of time, such as daily, weekly, monthly, or just on weekdays – Monday – Friday. Reports can only be emailed to people who have access to the Google Ads account. Account access can be granted at an “email only” level so people can receive the reports.
- If Google Ads is linked to a Google Analytics property, reporting data from Google Analytics can be displayed in Google Ads reports. Currently, these three metrics are available from Google Analytics data: Percentage of engaged sessions, Number of events per session, and Average engagement duration per session (seconds)
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If you use Google Ads and you want to increase your proficiency, I recommend spending some time getting to know the ads reporting tool. It can help you focus on the most important numbers and trends in your account. It’s also excellent for sharing data with clients or associates.
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