The Analyst's Guide to Google Ads & Successful Ad Spends

Google Ads is Google's platform for digital business advertisement. If you're new to Google Ads analysis, you'll need to understand the kind of data on the platform.

With better knowledge of how to analyze a Google Ads report, you'll understand how to build more effective marketing dashboards and learn the best way to represent insights.

When you're skilled at using Google Ads, you'll help increase online traffic to your organization's website and app and create impactful ads. You'll be able to use advertising dollars more wisely, among other benefits.

You'll learn all these secrets in this post! But to begin with, let's review what Google Ads is.

What is Google Ads?

Google Ads provides businesses with a platform to advertise in the digital space. It integrates nicely with Google Analytics and was formerly known as Google AdWords and Google AdWords Express.

How can you get started optimizing Google Ads?

The first step in setting up an ad for your organization is to create a new campaign.

There are different types of campaigns, and the platform offers various goals for you to select. Some of these goals are: 

  • Sales
  • Website Traffic
  • App Promotion
  • Brand Awareness

You can also create your campaign without selecting a goal.

Next, after selecting the campaign goal you prefer, you need to choose the campaign type from the different options related to your campaign goal.

For instance, if the goal of your campaign is to create website traffic, the campaign types available to you would be:

  • Shopping,
  • Search,
  • Display,
  • Video,
  • and Discovery.

The "Shopping campaign" type targets leads that are likely to purchase on your website. In contrast, the "Search campaign" type targets leads that are likely interested in your products or services through text ads.

The campaign goal and type you select will determine other aspects of the campaign creation process.

For instance, if you select "Website Traffic" as your campaign goal and "Search" as your campaign type, you need to enter your organization's website address.

Now that you have an idea of what Google Ads is: let's look at the kind of data Google Ads offers.

What kind of data can you find on Google Ads?

As I've pointed out earlier, it's important to know the types of data available on Google Ads.

Knowing the type of data will help you make better decisions about how to build the marketing dashboards required in your organization and how to represent insights.

With that said, here's an overview of the kinds of data you can find on Google Ads:

Campaign Overview

As the name implies, this gives you an overview of the insights from the campaign you created. You can find the following data under this menu: 

  • Clicks: This means the total number of times leads clicked your ad. Even if your website isn't reached when a customer clicks the campaign ad—for example, maybe your site is down temporarily—the click event still counts. Clicks are very important because they help you understand if your ad is targeting the right audience. 
  • Impressions: The term refers to how many times leads see your ad.
  • Cost: There's not much to this one—this is how much your campaign costs.
  • Average Cost-per-click (Avg. CPC): It's the average click per cost, as the name implies.
  • Click-through rate (CTR): This is a division of the number of clicks by the number of impressions. The data will help you understand if your ad is appealing enough to the targeted audience.

Campaign Data

In addition to the data available under "Campaign Overview" described above, the following data is also available under "Campaign Data":

  • Optimization score: Want to know how well your ad might perform? This data will tell you.
  • Status: It tells you if your campaign can run or not.
  • Conversion: This is an action an individual performs when they interact with your ad. It could be an online purchase, an email sent, and so on.
  • Cost per conversion: It's a calculation of cost divided by the conversions. It tells you how much the action of the individual costs you.
  • Bid strategy type: This is how you've chosen to set bids for your ads. Depending on your performance goal, your bid strategy can be manual or automated.


Do you need to know which specific words are bringing users to your website?

The data available here are "Status" (same as Status in Campaign Data above), everything under Campaign Overview, and the following: 

  • Campaign: This is the name of your campaign ad.
  • Ad Group: It's the group your campaign ad belongs to.
  • Match Type: This shows you how close your keyword is to the keyword users are using in their search query. The Match Type could be "Broad Match, Phrase Match, or Exact Match."
    • If your data shows "Broad Match," it means your search term may be related to visitors’ search query. 
    • "Phrase Match" means your search term may be related to the meaning of the visitors’ search query.
    • And "Exact Match" means your search term is the same as your visitors’ search query.
  • Final URL: This is the URL that people reach after clicking your campaign ad.
  • Conversion rate: It shows, on average, how an ad leads to a conversion. It's calculated by dividing Conversions with Interactions on your ad.

In this section, you can also get data on negative keywords; check out our guide on negative keywords for more information on this useful tactic.


The data available under "Audience" covers everything available under "Campaign Overview, Status, Ad Group, and Cost per Conversion" (which are also available in Campaign Data), as well as the following: 

  • Audience Type: This allows you to target people based on their interests. Google Ads has different types of audiences suited to meet the needs of your campaign types. If your campaign type is "Search", for instance, "Remarketing, In-Market, and Affinity" will be used in your campaign ad. 
    • "Remarketing" targets users who have related to your organization in the past.
    • "In-Market" targets users based on their recent intent to purchase.
    • "Affinity" targets users based on their habits and interests.
    • Some of these audience types are available in most of the campaign types. For instance, Remarketing is available in the "Search, Video, and Display campaign" types.
  • Level: Each account is organized into levels (account, campaign, and ad group). And each level can include specific settings or items.
  • Bid adjustments: Google Ads lets you increase or decrease your bids based on your needs.

Ad Groups

Another type of data available on Google Ads is the "Ad Group data."

The Ad Group contains a collection of ads that share a common theme or target. Under this, you'll find the same data available in "Campaign Overview and Campaign Data," except for "Bid Strategy Type."

In addition, you'll find "Ad Group Type," which determines which ad formats can be in an ad group.

Under Ad Groups, you also have "Auction Insights," which provides you with information on other advertisers participating in an auction similar to the one in which your website takes part.

Other data you can find on Google Ads

In addition to the data described above, other data you can find on Google Ads includes: 

  • Ads & Extension: Here's an option that lets you include additional information in your ad campaign.
  • Landing Pages: This lets you know which pages website visitors navigate to when they click your ad. It also provides further information on how mobile-friendly your website is.
  • Demographics: As you might have guessed, this provides information on the age, gender, and household income of your website visitors.
  • Placement: This tells you where your ad has been, such as YouTube and other display points.

Based on your created campaign, Google Ads creates recommendations for you, which will help you make decisions to improve your ad. This information is available under the "Recommendations" menu.

Another useful data you can find is under "Insights." Google Ads conducts search trends for your business on Google and updates this under "Insights" daily.

Building marketing dashboards in Google Ads

Now that you've seen the kind of data you can find in Google Ads: let's look at how to build a marketing dashboard and what Google Ads metrics are available.

You create a dashboard from the "Reports -> Dashboard" menu.

The dashboard interface is a drag-and-drop editor that allows you to add a "Note, Table, Chart, or Scorecard" to your dashboard as a visual. After adding your visual, you then drag and drop the metrics you'd like to measure.

For example, if your organization is a store offering online shopping, you'll want to know the number of times leads click your ad. You'll also want to know if your ads for Shopping target the right audience.

In this case, you select your preferred visual—for instance, a chart.

Next, you add the metrics and dimensions you want to measure—"Clicks" to the value axis (y-axis), and "Audience" to the x-axis. The dashboard then displays a breakdown of your selected audience (for example, gender) per click.

To present the same dashboard as a "Table," you'll need to add your "Performance Metrics" to the column and the "Audience" to either the row or column, depending on how you want your table to look.

A "Scorecard" is quite different.

Under this, there are some metrics available on Google Ads, such as "Measurable Rate, Invalid Clicks," and so on, that you can select.

If you want to create a note, select the "Notes" option and add it.

How to represent insights in Google Ads

You've seen how to start a campaign, what kind of data you can find on Google Ads, and how to get started with building marketing dashboards. Now let's briefly look at how to represent insights.

Generally, how you represent your insights depends on the kind of campaign ad your organization is running.

Using the previous example of a shopping campaign ad, if you'd like to know the kind of devices visitors use when they click your ad, include "devices" in your chart dashboard. This kind of insight would be useful for web developers to optimize the website to be device-friendly for the device most audience members use.

Furthermore, as seen above, recommendations and daily insights are also provided for you. These can go a long way in helping you build a dashboard for the marketing team.


All that I've discussed above might be a lot to take in if you're new to using Google Ads!

You'll need to understand the different menu items available in Google Ads and what kind of data they have. You also need to know how to build a dashboard specific to the marketing needs of your organization at any given time. 

Panoply can help you with Google Ads!


Panoply can help you get started with this by allowing you to integrate Google Ads with just a few simple clicks, after which you can start monitoring your Google Ads.

Request a demo here to get started. There's also a useful blog.

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