Basics of Google Adwords

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Are you currently using Google Adwords? Do you feel overwhelmed every time you log in? That is OK! Adwords is a very powerful program that can generate tonnes of wonderful data for you – but only if you know how to use it. Many business owners spend the majority of their time focusing on the number of clicks and impressions their ads are receiving, however, these are not the best metrics to truly gauge success in a campaign. In this short guide I will show you the top 5 metrics to gauging your campaigns success and a strategy to combat a low statistic.

Note: These metrics are designed to provide further insight into a Search Network Campaign where the goal of the campaign is to get the user to take some action on the landing page (ex: fill out a contact form). Different campaign types require different metrics but this is the most common campaign type. In addition many of these metrics can also be used within your Google Analytics account to gauge the success of different web pages.


What Are The Key Adwords Metrics?

  • Click Through Rate – the % of users that click on your ad compared to the number that have seen it.
  • Bounce Rate – the % of users that click your ad, go to your webpage, and leave without doing anything.
  • Conversion Rate – the percentage of users who have clicked on an ad and then completed an action on your website ex: filling out a contact form
  • Average Position – the average position in the ad auction that your ad is being displayed in
  • Search Impression Share – the % of actual impressions compared to the number of eligible impressions


Click Through Rate – CTR

Click through rate (CTR) is a key metric to determining whether or not an ad is performing well. If an ad has a high CTR it means that users are very engaged and want to click on the ad. If an ad has a very low CTR it means that users are disengaged and do not want to click the ad.

Benchmark: 1%
Good CTR: 1%+
Poor CTR: <0.8%

If you have an advertisement with a low CTR you should try adjusting your ad text. Change up the language to make the ad more engaging. Change the destination URL to make it appear less spammy, change the title to something clear – make sure the user knows exactly what they will get if they click on your ad.

Bounce Rate – BR

Bounce Rate (BR) is also a very strong indicator of ad performance. When a user clicks on your advertisement, goes to your website, does not click on anything else or engage with any content on the page, and then leaves your website this is a bounce.

Benchmark: 50%
Good BR: 25%
Poor BR: 80%

If you have a high BR there are two likely problems. First, make sure the expectations of the user are met . If the expectations of a user clicking an ad do not meet what they are presented with when they end up on the page they are very likely to leave that webpage. Second, your ad text and your page text could not align. If your ad is talking about Search Engine Optimization and is linked to a web page talking about Social Media Marketing – this is a problem, not only does it have nothing (more or less) to do with SEO but it is also can frustrate the user causing them to bounce off your site.

Conversion Rate

The Conversion Rate is the percentage of users who have “converted” (filled out a form, watched a video, spent 120+ seconds on the website etc.) compared to the number of users who have clicked on your advertisement. The conversion rate lets a user know what percentage of their traffic is completing the task they had originally set out when they started advertising.

Benchmark: 1%
Good Conversion Rate: >2%
Poor Conversion Rate: <0.5%

A low conversion rate could be linked to numerous factors and there is no one single way to make people convert at a higher rate. That being said there are lots of little tweaks that put together can help your overall conversion rate. First make sure you are using a clear call to action (CTA). If you clearly define exactly what you want someone to do while on your page the likelihood of them actually doing it is increased. Next review the copy on your page. Make sure it is convincing. You want it to flow seamlessly into your CTA without being overly sales-y. Third make sure there is imagery – if applicable. Humans are visual creatures and pages with images convert at higher rates than those without.

Average Position

The Average Position Metric demonstrates the average position on the search engine results page (SERP) where your ad is displaying. This metric allows you to see how competitive your ad is. The lower the number the more competitive your ad is during ad auctions. Currently there are 7 positions on each SERP, 4 above organic results and 3 below.

Benchmark: 4
Good Avg. Position: <4
Poor Avg. Position: >7

A low average position could mean several things and there are several ways to go about trying to fix it. The easiest is to adjust your bids for specific keywords to increase the likelihood of your ads being displayed higher in the SERP. Next you want to make sure you have a good quality score – this is a little more complicated however, you can check the quality score of various keywords by going to the “Keywords” tab at the top of your Adwords data, and go to the column labeled Quality Score. If you scroll down this column you will see several numbers with a score out of 10, these show Google’s perceived relevance of the keyword you have targeted, your websites theme, and the copy on the ad’s landing page. Best practice is to pause or remove low quality keywords keeping only those with scores of 3 or higher. If you are continuing to have trouble with your quality score please make sure to contact us for further consultation.

Search Impression Share – SIS

Search Impression Share (SIS) is a metric that measures what percentage of eligible searches your ads are actually being displayed for. For example if your ad were to show up every single time a user (within your targeted specifications) typed in “Ladner Web Developer” your SIS would be 100%. If you show up every 3 times your SIS would be 33%.

Benchmark: 25%*
Good SIS: >25%*
Poor SIS: <10%*

A low SIS could be caused by several different aspects of the campaign, however, there are two main causes of a low SIS. First is a limited budget. If your budget is consistently being met Google will stop displaying your ads, and therefore your SIS % will go down as more searches for those keywords are conducted. Second is Rank or Competition. This is when your ads are not being shown because your competitors are out ranking you. To fix a budget constrained SIS you simply need to increase the budget of your campaign to allow your ads to be displayed more often. To increase a competition restricted campaign you must increase the quality score of your various keywords. An increase in quality score will make your ads more competitive and therefore they will perform better in the auctions.

*SIS benchmarks are relative to each individual clients campaign goals and budget.  

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NetClimber Web Design is a Certified Google Partner Agency and as such we always follow best practices and are up-to-date with any and all Adwords trends and features. If you would like further consultation about your Google Adwords campaign please call us today!

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