By Laura Jones

In this blog, we give you an introduction to predefined reports (formerly dimensions) and take you through how you can use the many reports to make more informed optimisation decisions for effective account management. 

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What are they?

Ever wanted to know what hour of the day you get the most conversions for the best CPA? Or see the location of someone who clicked on your ad, down to postcode level, that you may not even be targeting in your campaign? You’ll find all of this and more in predefined reports.

Google's predefined reports are every data-loving account manager’s dream; here you’ll find an abundance of undiscovered optimisations to fine-tune your PPC account.  Account, campaign, ad group or even keyword data can be broken down into over 50 dimensions: hour of day, conversion type, metro area to name but a few. Data gathered from these reports will help you build a clearer picture of what really goes on in your account, and you can use these findings to optimise more effectively.

Where can I find them?

In the new AdWords interface, you can find these reporting dimensions in the Reporting section on the top right-hand-side of the page, highlighted below. Click on the small chart icon, select ‘Predefined reports (formerly Dimensions)’ and you’ll be shown a list of dimensions divided into eight categories that you can choose to slice and dice your data by. 

Dimensions Tab

How do I use them?

Select 'Predefined reports' and pick a dimension you’d like to analyse your account data for; as an example, I’m going to look at ‘hour of day’ which sits under the Time section. You’ll then be taken to a table that looks like this:

Hour of Day Report

First things first, select an appropriate date range. It’s recommended to use at least 30 days of data if you’re going to go on to apply bid adjustments using the information gathered from these reports. If you’re still seeing low volume, choose a longer look-back window.

If you want to change the level of detail from account to campaign level, add more performance metrics, or choose another compatible dimension to segment your data, select the icon to the far-right of the date range circled below:

Segmentation Icon

If you’re only interested in seeing data for a particular day of the week, a subset of campaigns or a certain device, use the filter tool to refine the report even further:

Filter Icon

There’s now an option to transform your table into a line, bar, pie or even scatter chart. Select the chart you’d like to convert your data into from the drop-down menu and choose the metrics you want to display in chart form.

Formatting Your Data

Once you’ve created a report you’re happy with, download it using this icon. Charts can be transformed into pdf or png files – perfect to include in presentations or reports. Tables can be downloaded into a variety of formats including Microsoft Excel, where you can convert your data into pivot tables or change the formatting.

Downloading a Report

Your report can even be shared with others using pre-defined schedules: one time, daily, weekly or the first day of the month. When sending a one-off report, live data populates the table when the link is opened by the recipient. If you choose to send a report daily/weekly/monthly, the report is populated with data through to the previous day/week/month.

Scheduling a Report

Examples

Now I’m going to run through two step-by-step examples of reports you can pull from these dimensions that I find most useful to analyse on a regular basis: time of day and user locations

Time reports

This report is great to pull up if you’re looking to make any changes to ad schedule bid adjustments, or even draw up a schedule from scratch. Just looking at an example of a client’s campaign data split out by day of the week, we can see that Sundays return a high CPA and the lowest conversion rate, so we may want to apply a negative bid adjustment for that campaign for Sundays. Similarly, we see that Wednesdays have an average CPA of £11.95 and a conversion rate of 1.77%, so it makes sense to apply a positive bid adjustment on this day.

Time of Day Report Example

To create a report similar to this one:

  1. Head to the graph icon on the top right-hand corner of the interface
  2. Select 'Predefined reports' > 'Time' > 'Day of week'
  3. Choose your date range
  4. You’ll automatically be shown account level data segmented by day of week. If you want to drill down even further to campaign level, click the segmentation icon            
  5. Click ‘Add’ when the row section expands, and from the drop-down menu select 'Campaign'
Selecting level of detail
  1. Along the column section, select your metrics
  2. If you’re only interested in seeing day of week data for a subset campaign, select the filter icon 
  3. Use the filters to find that campaign and voilà, you have a table filled with bid adjustment opportunities

You can take this one step further and segment your data by hour of day to what times of day yield the highest CPA, lowest click-through rates or even drive the most revenue. To do this, simply head to the segmentation icon again and select ‘Hour of day’ from the list.

User Locations Report

Here you’ll be able to see the physical locations of people who searched for a term that triggered your ad, even if you’re not necessarily targeting that specific location in campaign settings. This is a great report to pull if you’re targeting a whole county like the United Kingdom, but want to refine your targeting to apply more granular bid adjustments. It’s also a useful report to see you’re not triggering ads in locations you shouldn’t be targeting.

To view the report:

  1. Head to the predefined reports section and select Geographic > User locations
  2. Use the steps outlined in the previous example to segment your report to view data down to region, city or even postcode level 
  3. Select the level of detail you want to see in the report; campaign-level is recommended if you’re going to use the data to refine your campaign targeting settings
  4. Choose the metrics you want to see across the columns 
  5. You’ll then be shown a list of locations that triggered an ad; make sure to include any converting/high volume locations you aren’t currently targeting to the relevant campaigns

There are so many reports like these and more to be found in AdWords' predefined reports. Have a look around and you’ll find a whole host of optimisation opportunities to make your PPC accounts shine.

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