Google AdWords is a veritable sea of data, and to the fledgling PPC professional, sometimes it can seem like you’re treading water. The surface level metrics— clicks, impressions, CPC, CPA— are the lifesavers.

All that other stuff can be daunting.

But once you begin to know your way around the AdWords interface, there are a lot of very simple, very informative reports you can pull to help better understand your account, and make those top-line numbers look better down the road.

I’m here to share some of my favorites with you.

First, if you’re not using the dimensions tab, allow me to introduce you.

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This tab allows you to view your account’s performance under several different sets of specific criteria.

For instance:

Day of the Week Report

If you’re not paying attention to how your account is performing on different days on the week, you could be missing out on some very easy, high-level optimizations with the potential to make a big impact on your bottom line.

It’s exceedingly common to see big spikes in conversion volume during the middle of the week, have it tail off as it heads towards the weekend, and then fall of a cliff on Saturday and Sunday.

Here’s a snapshot into one of my accounts.

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Check out Thursday! Great conversion rates and resultantly lower CPAs. I’m definitely going to want to push spend here, which I can achieve by raising budgets or using bid modifiers.

It’s plenty evident how a quick glance at the day of week dimension can inform high-impact insights, without having to comb through tons of data. Only 7 days in a week, after all.

We’re actually going to click away from the dimensions tab for this next way. Instead, navigate back to the ad group level, and from the “Segment” drop down menu, select “Top vs Other”.

Top vs Other Report

This well hidden and rarely-talked-about report is quite the ace in the hole. It quantifies the performance of your ads when they are in top position— defined as positions 1 through 3, as compared to all other instances that they are served elsewhere on the search engine results page.

You can see this data on an ad group by ad group basis, which is great, or you can use it to see account-wide performance.

That’s what I’m going to show you below, because the insights are immense.

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The difference in click-through rate by ad position in this account is through the roof— ads at the top of the page are 1904% more successful at generating a click than ads on the bottom of the sidebar. And it’s not like the data sample is insignificant. We’re talking about 70,000 impressions and 1,500 clicks over nine days.

This tells me a lot about the behavioral tendencies of the potential customers who are searching on my terms and, even better, gives me an immediate and results-oriented bidding strategy.

The differences between top and other won’t always be as stark as it was from me, and therefore the takeaways won’t necessarily be cut and dry— but learning about the tendencies of your ads is only a click away. Why wouldn’t you take it?

Top Movers Report

Navigate back to the dimensions tab for me, and select the “top movers” view.

You should see something like this.

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Numbers! Arrows! Visual aids for intuitively understanding data shifts! Hooray!

Using this nifty little date range selector (very similar to the compare function found all over the AdWords interface) in the top right corner, to select two date ranges, and then understand where the biggest changes in your account have come from over that span.

This information is presented at both the campaign and ad group level, and then a quick click on the details arrow will provide you with a drop down performance summary of all the individual metrics inside.

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This entire report is available to be organized both by percent change, and by raw statistical change. Just use this selection icon:

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Now you can take an easy high level look at your account, and understand where your drilling down efforts might yield some sweeter fruit.

Final Thoughts

There ya have it. Just because the Google AdWords interface is a cornucopia of data (a blessing and a curse, really) doesn’t mean you need to stick to the top level to feel like you are on solid ground.

Wade in a little bit. There’s a tremendous amount of useful (and sometimes just plainly interesting) information to be found. Use the three reports above to help guide your initial forays into the AdWords depths.

Then, maybe when you’re ready to get a little more adventurous, why don’t you check out my John Stockton report?