Using Custom Reports in Google Analytics to monitor your campaign performance

We all know that Google Analytics offers a large amount of data and reports as well as numerous possibilities of playing with the numbers in order to better understand how users interact with your site and what you should improve in order to achieve your goals.

Segmenting traffic, filtering data, adding secondary dimensions and switching between reports can become time-consuming. When you just want a quick overview of how your AdWords campaigns are performing, Google Analytics provides a solution: Custom Reports.

Like the name suggests, this feature allows users to create their own reports: add whichever dimensions and metrics they need to analyze results per campaign, device, ad distribution network, and many more.

Here’s an example of a Custom Report you could use to keep an eye on your AdWords campaigns running on the Google Search network and the queries which generate traffic to your site.

custom reports metric groups

This is the list of performance indicators which I think best helps you analyze results at a quick glance.

Sessions, of course, tells you how much traffic a campaign sends to your site; it helps you get a sense of how often keywords targeted within a certain campaign are used to perform searches on Google. Combined with Cost, it gives you a sense of how expensive or cheap those keywords are. Combined with Clicks, it can help you identify potential problems with your landing page or tracking codes.

Usually, the number of sessions should be equal or greater than the number of clicks your ads received, because a user who visited your site from a paid ad can return directly or through a bookmark and visit it again (the following direct sessions will be attributed to the last non-direct channel used to access the site).

CTR gives you a sense of how relevant your ads are for the keywords you’re targeting, while Bounce Rate tells you how relevant the Landing Page is for that same set of keywords.

Cost & Revenue tell you whether or not you’re investing your marketing budget wisely; a Cost much higher than Revenue could mean you should improve Quality Scores in order to pay less for clicks or that certain keywords might be much too expensive considering their return and it might be worth it to identify other, potentially cheaper, expressions to target.

Transactions & Ecommerce Conversion Rate help you understand how well your site is performing. If these indicators are much lower compared to Sessions, you might want to take a look at your conversion process to find any potential issues which block users from completing a conversion.

Cost per Transaction should give you a sense of how much budget you should invest; again, if the value of this performance indicator is much higher than the product revenue (or lead value), you should consider adjusting your budget and improving your campaign’s Quality Score in order to pay less for clicks.

custom reports dimensions drildowns

custom reports dimension drilldowns flat table

There are two options of viewing your dimensions: you can drill down into each campaign to see the search queries which triggered ads and sent traffic from a certain campaign or you can see the dimensions side by side.

You can choose how you want to see the data by setting the report tab as Explorer (for drilldowns) or Flat Table (for side by side dimensions).

custom reports table type

Finally, filter the data you want to see in the custom report. Including traffic where Ad Distribution Network matches Google Search will ensure you’ll only see your AdWords campaigns serving ads for searches on Google.

custom reports filters

The final results will look like the example below:

Need help analyzing and interpreting data in your Google Analytics account? Take a look at services tailored to your needs here

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