Step-By-Step: Your First Keyword Report

To really dive into the nitty gritty of your account performance, you’re going to have to generate some custom reports. That’s because while the engine dashboards provide some top level data on your reports, they’re too general and non-specific most of the time to be really useful. Today I’ll take you step-by-step through your first keyword report in Google AdWords. It’s not difficult, but I know that technology can sometimes be a little intimidating—and good reporting is crucial to your success as a search engine marketer, so it’s worth taking the time now and making sure that you get this right. The good news is that once you’ve completed your first custom report, you should have no problem creating a variety of reports to suit your individual needs, as they all follow a similar format.

First, go to the reporting tab in your AdWords account and click the Create a new report link.

Step 1: Select report type. From here, you can choose from the different types of reports available. We will be going through these different types and their uses next week. For now, choose the Placement / Keyword Performancereport which is explained nearby as “View performance data for keywords or placements you’ve specifically targeted.” If you choose an ad group or campaign level report, you won’t get keyword information—and since we do want to see all of the data at the keyword level, this report will do for now.

Step 2: Settings. In the View (unit of time) setting, your options are summary, daily, day of week, weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly. If you have 100 keywords and choose March 1 to March 31 on a summary report, each keyword will occupy a single row of data with all of the days added together and you will have 100 rows of data. However, if you choose daily, your report will be larger. Each keyword will be listed by day, so you would have 3100 rows of data (100 keywords X 31 days). So, if you have a rather large keyword list and a big date range that you’re pulling, you may want to think about choosing the weekly or monthly option so that you don’t have a huge report on your hands.

The day of week report can be interesting if certain days of the week trend higher or lower for you. For example, if you have weekend sales you may want to see how your Saturdays and Sundays perform. Maybe you send an email blast promoting sales every Tuesday—it might be interesting to see how Wednesdays compare to Fridays as a result.

Finally, you can manually choose campaigns and ad groups the system will pull your keyword data. This can be helpful if you want to look at just a few specific groupings which will keep your report from being too large and cluttered with unimportant data. If you don’t want all of your campaigns and ad groups in the report, choose Manually select from a list and add campaigns via the Add buttons. By clicking the small arrows next to each campaign, you can open up the list of its ad groups and then you can choose individual ones from the group.

Step 3: Advanced settings (optional). The first advanced setting you have to choose from is to Add/Remove Columns. What that is referring to are the columns in your report. If you click it open, you’ll see the following table:

  • Level of detail: These columns reflect this report’s coverage and level of detail.
  • Attributes: These columns report on your current ad settings and status
  • Performance statistics: These columns feature data about how your ads are performing
  • Conversion type columns: These columns enable you to view conversion statistics broken down by type
  • Conversion columns: These columns provide statistics on ad conversions and conversion rates
  • Local business ad interaction columns: Information about user interactions with your local business ads on Google Maps.

There are tons of options here and some of the more common ones are already chosen for you. Try clicking all of the options so you can familiarize yourself with what’s available and check out a bunch of the data. Notice that when you check or uncheck a box, the columns change above the options. Those column indicators show which columns will appear in the final report (and in that order). You can find out more about these options in this Google AdWords Help Center article. Don’t bother choosing any of the conversion options if you’re not tracking conversions with Google AdWords.

The second advanced option you have is Filter your results. This will help you narrow your report down even further to reduce size and clutter. When you choose the type of filter in the drop down menu, you will be given a list of options to chose from. For example, you can choose Keyword matching and you will be able to pick broad, exact or phrase. Another example would be to select any keyword with an average cost per click (CPC) over or below a certain cost threshold by selecting Average CPC and then greater than or less than any value you decide. The cool thing here is that you can continue to Add another restriction so you can combine rules and come up with some interesting filter combinations to really focus on the data you want to analyze.

Step 4:Templates, scheduling and email. Finally, you can put the finishing touches on your report by giving it a name which, believe me, is handy once you start making dozens of reports. Make sure you are specific to what kind of report it is—especially if you’re using any funky filters or have chosen specific campaigns or ad groups. You can also save the report as a template so you can go in at anytime and pull the report now that you’ve set it up exactly how you want it. A great feature is to have the report run on a recurring basis so that it’s already built any time you need it. You can even schedule it to be emailed to you or others.

If you have everything set up the way you want, go ahead and click Generate Report. Depending on the size of the data set you’ve asked for, it actually may take some time for the report to complete. You will be redirected to the main reports tab and you report will show as “pending” until it is done; then you will see it has “completed.” Click the report name and the report will be displayed on the screen. At this point you might want to export the report and save it to your computer as either a .csv, .tsv. or .xml report. Click one of your options and your report will be downloaded. From there you can open it with Excel or other spreadsheet program and start looking through the data.

We’ll be going through some of the ways to analyze your data in future columns, but for now, you have your first keyword performance report! Congrats!

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