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Top 8 Google Analytics Reports for PPC

Published: August 27, 2014

Author: Caitlin Halpert

So you work in PPC. You’re most likely using Google Analytics. You’re also most likely completely overwhelmed by the volume of data and reports available to you. Let’s break it down to a manageable – and actionable! – number.
In this post, we’ll break down 8 essential GA reports for PPC professionals. For each, we’ll specify why it matters, how to use it, and where to find it. We’ll start with…

1.   Time Lag



Use this report to determine the appropriate AdWords cookie length. Since GA has a standard campaign cookie length of 6 months, you have more data to review than if you looked at the AdWords time lag report. If an account has a high percentage of conversions and revenue coming in 30+ days after the click, it could be a good idea to expand the AdWords cookie length for better attribution.

How to use it:

Pull this report for the past 6-12 months to review percentage of conversions and conversion value that are captured in the current AdWords cookie window. Calculate the value of the lost attribution and determine if adjustments need to be made to your conversion tracking settings. You can also use this report to determine the best time frame to use when making bid optimizations. If there’s high latency, you can either exclude recent history or calculate the expected conversions & revenue based on historical time lag data.

Where to find it:

Conversions -> Multi-Channel Funnels -> Time Lag

2.   Organic keyword report



Learn how some users find the site organically.

How to use it:

While most of the data is hidden in (not provided), you can start your keyword research here to find terms that already bring in converting traffic. Combine this data with historical AdWords data and the Keyword Planner.

Where to find it:

Acquisition -> Keywords -> Organic

3.   Landing Pages



See how current entry points to the site perform. In GA, you aren’t just limited to previous PPC landing pages. You have access to all entry points from all channels.

How to use it:

Review landing page conversion rates to decide which pages to use for paid search traffic. Narrow this report to the Organic Traffic segment to see which pages work best for searchers. This report can help you decide between two similar pages and find strong pages that were hidden deeper in the site than you were able to find previously.

Where to find it:

Behavior -> Site Content -> Landing Pages
Click “All Sessions” at the top to change the segment to “Organic Traffic.”

4.   Devices – Organic Segment



Determine expected results from mobile and tablet advertising before testing those devices.

How to use it:

Review the conversion rate for each device to calculate which bid modifier to use to hit your efficiency goals. For example, if conversion rate is 50% of desktops, start with a -50% bid. If you look specifically at the Organic Traffic segment, you’ll have data that’s most comparable to paid search.

Where to find it:

Audience -> Mobile -> Overview
Click “All Sessions” at the top to change the segment to “Organic Traffic.”

5.   Display Targeting



See bounce rate, pages per session, and session count next to click, cost, and CPC data. You can review keyword, placement, topic, audience, and demographic performance in this report.

How to use it:

See if you are getting accidental or fraudulent clicks if clicks far exceed sessions. High click/session ratio, high bounce rate and low pages/session are all signs that a targeting method is under-performing when you have insufficient conversion data and you aren’t ready to scrap the whole campaign.

Where to find it:

Acquisition -> AdWords -> Display Targeting

6.   Keyword Positions



Compare conversion rate, bounce rate, or other engagement metrics between different ad positions for specific keywords. This data is more accurate than comparing average positions for different time periods because the keyword position for each click is passed into GA and the report differentiates top vs. side along with position.

How to use it:

Review conversion rate or average order value for high-volume keywords to find the “sweet spot”. Check if position one generates worse quality traffic (high bounce rate) on certain keywords due to accidental clicks.

Where to find it:

Acquisition -> AdWords -> Keyword Positions

7.   Assisted Conversions



Conversion funnel data in GA includes non-AdWords channels so you get a better picture of the whole digital funnel. While AdWords conversion reporting won’t be impacted by cross-channel conversions, it’s important to understand how the channels impact each other, especially if the client uses Google Analytics to evaluate channels. You’ll also better understand differences between AdWords and GA reporting.

How to use it:

Find keywords with a high assist ratio and keep bids high on those important influencers. Determine how much paid search is assisting other channels, and add the assisted conversion values to the last click number to better compare GA to engine data for any given reporting period.

Where to find it:

Conversions -> Multi-Channel Funnels -> Assisted Conversions

8.   Product Performance



See what products are top sellers by volume, revenue, and AOV.

How to use it:

Review top-selling products and compare to keyword coverage. Make sure you target keywords for top products and that they have strong visibility.

Where to find it:

Conversions -> eCommerce -> Product Performance
These reports are just scratching the surface of what’s available, but I’ve found them to be far and away the most valuable within the GA interface.
What reports would you add to the list?

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