When I first learned how to use Google AdWords back in early 2006, their reporting tools were fairly simple.  There was a separate area in AdWords dedicated to reporting and only basic metrics like impressions, clicks, cost, and conversions were available.

Boy have things changed over the years! Now, there’s no separate reporting section.  Instead, just about every screen in AdWords has sophisticated reporting capabilities.  If you want to see reporting at the Campaign level, then you can do that on the Campaign tab.  If you want to see how keywords are performing over time across your entire account, then just click over to the Keywords tab.

If you’re not careful with your time, you could spend an entire day poking around and running different types of reports in your account.  I know because I’ve lost hours doing just that.

In addition to the new reporting layout, Google also added more metrics and the ability to segment your reports.  Segmenting is a huge feature that everyone needs to be using.  Especially since Google migrated all accounts to Enhanced Campaigns a few months ago.  Here’s what I recommend you look for immediately.


The 2 Potential Performance Problems

There are two potential performance problems in every campaign that are easy to check using the segment reporting feature:

  1. Poor performance on Google’s Search Partners network
  2. Poor performance on Tablets and/or Mobile devices


Google Search Partner Network

Let’s start with Google’s Search Partner network.  Chances are pretty good you’ve never even heard of it.  Google sneaks this one in by default in every Search campaign and it could be dragging down your overall performance.

The Google Search Partner network includes other search websites like AOL, EarthLink, Amazon, and 100’s more.  If you’re not aware of the Search Partner network, then you may be shocked to hear that your ads are showing on sites other than Google.com.  Obviously, combining Google.com stats with Search partner stats can have a huge impact on your overall ad performance.  It’s possible to be profitable on one, but not the other.


Device Targeting

The second potential problem is the difference in device performance.  Remember, when I started advertising there was no such thing as a Tablet, and internet usage on mobile phones was limited to checking emails.  So this is new territory for everyone.

What I see in most of my clients’ accounts is poor performance on Tablets and Mobile devices compared to Desktops.  This is especially true for the eCommerce campaigns I’ve worked on.  In my experience, the sales conversion rates are much lower, which intuitively makes sense.  I certainly don’t make a lot of purchases on my mobile phone.

But don’t take that to be a rule.  That’s simply my experience and your campaigns may be different.  That’s why it’s so important to use the segment reporting tool.


Segment Your Reports

Now that you know what to look for, let’s dive into your account.  Go to the Campaigns tab and click on the “Segment” button above the graph.  You’ll see a lot of options and the first one to select is “Network (search partners).”  This will segment all of your metrics so you can see Google.com vs. Search partner performance.  You’ll also see the Display network performance, but you should never have one campaign targeting both Search and Display.

If you see the Search Partner network is not where it needs to be, then I recommend you turn OFF this network.  Go to Settings, then click on Edit next to “Networks Search” and uncheck the box that says “Include search partners.”

OK, next let’s look at device performance.  Again, go to the Campaigns tab, click on the “Segment” button, and then select “Device.”  Now you’ll see a breakdown of your performance for each device: Desktops, Tablets, and Mobile.  If mobile traffic is not working, then I recommend you set a bid adjustment of negative 100%.

Unfortunately, if Tablets are not performing, then you have no choice but to work on improving your Tablet landing page.   Google does not allow you to turn off Tablet advertising (or even adjust the bids) so you need to create a landing page specifically for Tablets to try to improve performance.

If you haven’t already, I recommend you play around with the other reporting tools like Filters and Columns.  There’s a ton of helpful data in your account that’s just a few clicks away.