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Five Quick Checks for Transforming Your AdWords Account in Less Than an Hour

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In this article, you'll learn...

  • Quick checks to identify underperforming areas in your AdWords campaigns
  • Segmenting tips that'll help save you money

In this article, I share five quick diagnostic tests that will let you go past your default views in Google AdWords and gain some quick insights into your campaigns that could save even the savviest AdWords advertisers thousands of dollars a month... all in less than an hour!

Check 1: Device Segmentation

First, look at a relatively new and oft-underutilized reporting option: segmenting the traffic for each of your campaigns by device. Doing so can frequently lower your costs on the content network in particular, but it can affect search as well:

Your mobile visitors may be experiencing your site differently, and you may see poor performance from that traffic. If so, you can split the mobile traffic into its own campaign or create a better experience for your mobile visitors. Or, if your site doesn't work for mobile, then don't target mobile visitors at all.

Check 2: Day-of-Week/Hour-of-Day Segmentation

Once again, from the segment reporting drop-down menu, you can break out day-of-week or hour metrics to help you identify which day of the week or hour of the day is performing particularly poorly and costing you money. You can access that information in two spots:

  • Campaigns > Segments > View the data by campaign, by day of week (or hour of day)
  • Dimensions > Time > Day of Week (or hour) > Customize Columns to look at Campaigns > View the data by campaign, by day of week

Whichever way you get to the data, that check is a quick way to find an outlier that's underperforming. You can then use date-segmentation settings in your campaigns to not target the times you find are underperforming, such as the weekend, for example.

Check 3: Segment by Geography

Similar to time-of-day segmentation, segmenting your data by geography can help you spot underperformers. To get the geographic data, navigate to the dimensions tab, drill down to the geographic segmentation in the view drop-down menu, and analyze your data at the campaign level for a quick-and-dirty snapshot. Exclude underperforming cities, states, and countries from your campaigns.

Check 4: Segment by Destination URL

Segmenting by destination URL is another underutilized reporting feature. Looking at performance at the destination-URL level can help you uncover some issues with your campaign that you might not normally see.

In evaluating different campaigns, ad groups, and text ads, you'll get a multisided view of your campaign's performance. But looking at destination URLs in the dimensions tab will offer you yet another dimension to slice your data by.

Depending on your campaign, you may be sending multiple ad groups and text ads to the same landing page. So, this check will show you whether a specific destination URL is underperforming overall (even though it may be working well inside of a certain campaign or ad group). The destination URL data is also available under the dimensions tab as an option in the view drop-down.

Check 5: Run Your Account Through the Free AdWords Performance Grader

Checking out PPC auditing tools can be a great way to get some quick insights you might not otherwise obtain.

For example, the AdWords Grader from my company offers another quick check of your account that can open your eyes to some undiagnosed issues and help you gain insights into tweaks you can make to improve your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. This tool analyzes your account from various angles, including the following:

  • Quality Score
  • Usage of negative keywords
  • Impression share
  • Click-through rate
  • Long-tail keyword optimization
  • Account activity
  • Ad-text optimization
  • Landing-page optimization

And if you'd like to focus in more detail on specific conversion data, Certified Knowledge's Report Analyzer (a premium tool) might come in handy.

Don't Just Rely on Quick Checks

But you can't rely only on quick checks. A quick look at segmented data is really valuable only if you've already done the heavy lifting of creating a solid account. Otherwise, all of the segments will look unprofitable. And as great as a free auditing tool can be, it's no substitute for an in-depth audit by a PPC professional.

That said, if you have an hour to go poking around in your PPC account, taking these five steps may save you thousands in spend!

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Larry Kim is the founder/CTO of WordStream Inc., provider of the AdWords Grader and 20 Minute PPC Work Week.

Google+: Larry Kim

Twitter: @larrykim

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  • by Steve Lubahn Wed Dec 7, 2011 via web

    Excellent topic Larry, and by the way I really like your Adwords Grader! Finally a way to benchmark how you are doing on Adwords spent compared to other businesses.

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