The 5 Most Overlooked Google Ads Metrics

Google provides you with dozens of metrics you can use to determine your Google Ads campaign performance. We all know some of the most important ones like conversions, cost-per-conversion, and conversion value. Those are final performance metrics that are not telling the full story. While it’s exciting to celebrate your arrival to a final destination, the journey often impacts how successful your trip is.

Common categories of metrics include:

  1. Performance Metrics: Clicks, Impressions, Cost, Click-Through Rate (CTR), Conversion Rate, etc.
  2. Conversion Metrics: Conversions, Conversion Value, Cost per Conversion, Conversion Rate, etc.
  3. Competitive Metrics: Impression Share, Overlap Rate, Position Above Rate, Top of Page Rate, etc.
  4. Audience Metrics: Demographic Information, Audience Segments, New vs. Returning Users, etc.
  5. Quality and Relevance Metrics: Quality Score, Ad Relevance, Landing Page Experience, Expected Click-Through Rate (CTR), etc.
  6. Video Campaign Metrics: Views, View Rate, Cost-per-View (CPV), Video Played To, etc.
  7. Shopping Campaign Metrics: Click Share, Benchmark CTR, Benchmark Max. CPC, Impression Share, etc.

No matter which business vertical or stage of the funnel you are in, here are some underrated metrics to consider when analyzing your PPC data to inform decisions that ultimately impact the bigger “final destination” metrics like Conversions.

1. Search Impression Share

Impression share is the number of impressions you showed for divided by the total number of available impressions. There are three different types of impression share: Search Impression Share, Search Top Impression Share, and Search Absolute Top Impression Share. The main difference between these three is where the ad shows up in the Google search results. Search impression share divides the number of available impressions by the estimated number of impressions that you were eligible for. Search top impression share is number of impressions received on the first page divided by the number you were eligible to receive on the first page of the Google search result. Absolute top impression share divided the number of ads that were shown in the top position on the first page divided by total possible impressions you were able to receive on the first page.

Knowing your overall impression share can provide you with a good indication of how many people your ad can reach. Increasing the budget, changing the bid strategy, improving quality score, and improving account architecture are some ways that can increase your impression share. You can also improve the quality of your ad by testing out new keywords, ad copy, creative, and creating new assets. Impression share can be measured down to the keyword level so if you want to have a high impression share on a specific keyword, then you should try to switch your bid strategy to Manual CPC so that you can bid on each keyword individually and maximize your impression share. Keep in mind that there is a bidding strategy available that solely focuses on getting the highest impression share if this is one of your KPIs. This can be useful for “Brand” campaigns and high value competitive campaigns.

2. Search Lost Rank

Search Lost Due to Rank is the percentage of available impressions that you lost due to a poor ad rank. There are also top and absolute lost rank metrics that work similarly to the impression share metrics where they are divided by the first page and top-of-search respectively. You can use these to determine whether you need to refresh or update your ad copy and creative. Focus on the ads that have the worst ad rank and lost impression share and work on updating the ad copy. Improving the ad rank will help improve your campaigns overall and should increase all of your other metrics since Google’s algorithm will prefer ads that have a Good or Excellent ad rank.

 Google also provides your lost impression share due to rank which allows you to determine how many impressions you were eligible to receive. The first is search impression share which is your overall impressions compared to your competitors. The other two are top impression share and absolute top impression share. These tell the advertiser how often your ad was shown on the first page and the top of the first page respectively. There is even a bidding strategy that is often overlooked that focuses on maximizing impression share. You would use this bidding strategy mostly for competitor campaigns or if you want to outbid on specific keywords.

3. Audience Metrics

If your audience is too narrow it could not get enough clicks to spend the full budget. If the audience is too wide, you could risk having a ton of wasted spend. Not only can you choose which specific audiences you want to target, but you also have the option to adjust the bids on any of them based on performance. If you see one of the audiences is performing better than the other then you can simply remove the one that’s not working or lower that bid. All ages, genders, and incomes are in your Google Ads account by default. Under the Audiences section, you can exclude any of these down to the ad group level. It’s an easy way to first observe performance by audience, and then get more granular with targeting to improve efficiency and focus. 

4. CPC

Aside from cost, this metric provides the most control, and surprisingly, many newer PPC folks seem to ignore this. Through a Manual CPC bidding strategy, you can adjust the individual bids for each keyword. Enhanced CPCs will allow Google to automatically optimize for conversions or conversion value. Setting a Maximize Clicks bidding strategy is a great option for mid-funnel campaigns and will allow you to set a max CPC that can be applied to all of your keywords. If you have a small budget, it might not be worth it to bid on highly competitive keywords for their industry. CPCs are so important because they can play a large role in your overall CPA and ROI of Google Ads for your business. 

Google has done an amazing job to continue boosting their bottom line and increase their stock price. Over the past 5 years they have executed a masterclass targeted at PPC marketing pros and businesses to ignore CPCs and focus more on downstream metrics. However, we know that CPCs impact everything downstream so it’s still something we pay close attention to.

5. Impressions

Impressions are one of the most basic metrics but also one of the most important. Afterall, when we are talking about impressions of your ad in Google Search – you want to show up when people search for your business. If impressions have dropped, then you need to analyze your account to find a solution.

The amount of impressions you receive impacts all of your metrics across the board. If impressions dropped, it could be a number of reasons. Overall search volume decreased (seasonality, demand is down, other macro issues), or the budget was lowered, or some other account issue needs attention. Your target CPA or target ROAS bidding strategy could be too high or too low depending on your set budget which impacts how often your ad is served. Having a Target CPA or Max CPC that is higher than your current daily budget will affect your overall spend numbers because Google will run out of the budget before it has a chance to hit the target CPA. That essentially causes Google to be cautious with serving your ad, because they know you can’t afford it if too many people click on the ad. This all impact impressions. 

Always be aware that the way that you use these metrics depends on your business goals and strategy. For example, It doesn’t always make sense to maximize impression share if your main KPI is to drive conversions at the lowest CPA. While the king KPIs remain to be metrics like Conversions, ROAS, and Cost per Conversion – the 5 Most Overlooked Google Ads Metrics discussed above are incredibly important to analyze for a more granular and successful Google Ads account. 

Keeping these metrics in mind will help keep your overall performance healthy and will help you stay ahead of the competition.  Let us know if there are any additional metrics that you think are underutilized on Google.


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