If you’re new to Google Ads and want to understand what the different metrics mean here’s the guide for you! In this guide we’ve looked at all the different metrics available within the Google Ads interface and looked at how each can be used to benefit your campaigns.
Performance metrics give you an overview of how well your campaigns are running. When used with conversion metrics (see below), you start to get an even better understanding of the performance.
Clicks is one of the basic metrics you’ll see on reports and tells you how many people are clicking on your ads. Whilst this may not be the most useful metric on it’s own it can be a good indicator of whether enough data has been gathered to be making decisions from.
The following metrics are similar to clicks, but may have slight variations:
- Interactions – Google decided to start using interactions instead of clicks in order to keep up to date with the many ways that an ad can be interacted with other than clicks.
- Engagements – Like interactions this shows different ways an ad can be interacted with other than clicks. It’s especially useful when doing YouTube campaigns which can lead to more social media like engagements such as follows and likes which don’t result in a click through to your website.
- Free Interactions – Some interactions don’t result in a cost to the advertiser. These are classed as free interactions and include things such as get directions, hover the mouse over for one second, % video play and product expansion.
- Gmail Clicks To Website – This is the number of clicks within a gmail campaign which go through to your website. Other click types are available from gmail campaigns.
- Phone Calls – This is the number of phone calls generated by your ads. You will need to have either call extensions or call only ads in order for your ads to result in phone calls.
Impressions tell you the amount of times your ad has been seen. Again this is more useful with other metrics and should also be used more as a way to see if enough data has been collected. A 0.1% CTR from 100 impressions may indicate you need more data whereas 0.1% from 10,000 may indicate that there’s something wrong with your ad copy.
The following metrics are similar to impressions, but may have slight variations:
- Views – Views is a metric which is usually associated with video ads opposed to other ad types and will indicate that the video ad has started to play.
- Viewable Impr. – Viewable Impressions gives further qualifications to your ads impressions. For display ads it means that the advert has taken up at 50% of the viewable screen space for at least one second. For video ads it means your video has played for at least 2 seconds continuously. Viewable impressions are not relevant for search and shopping ads.
- Measurable Impr. – Measurable impressions only measures impressions which have appeared on websites or apps that can be measured by Active View technology. Only measurable impressions can be used to determine a viewable impression.
- Phone Impressions – This is the number of times your phone number has been viewed on ads. This will be either through call extensions or call only ads. This does not count if you have the phone number as part of the ad copy.
The cost is the total amount it’s cost to display the ads depending on the dimension you’re looking at. This is another metric which should be used to see whether you have enough data to make decisions. The amount of spend required will depend on the average value of your conversions.
The following metrics are similar to cost, but may have slight variations:
- Billed Cost – The billed cost is what you actually end up spending. This takes into account things such as overdelivery and invalid clicks which you shouldn’t be charged for.
- Measurable Cost – This is the cost of the ads that have been measured with Active View technology, which can give you further insights.
- Served Cost – This is the total cost regardless of any refunds due to things such as overdelivery and invalid clicks.
Click Through Rate (CTR) determines how many people click through to your website after seeing your ad. It can be worked out using the following formula:
CTR = Clicks / Impressions
CTR can be used to show the effectiveness of the ads’ creative. A low CTR can indicate that the ad is ineffective and isn’t compelling enough for the user to click, whereas a high CTR indicates the ad is meeting the viewers expectations and intriguing them enough to click.
When considering how good a CTR is you should also consider where the ad is placed. This can be done by looking at impression % metrics. The higher these metrics the higher the expected CTR and vice versa.
The following metrics are similar to CTR, but may have slight variations:
- Interaction Rate – This is the same as CTR but uses interactions rather than clicks, which may be slightly different. See interactions for more information.
- Engagement rate – This is the same as CTR but uses engagement instead of clicks. These also may be slightly different. See engagements for more information.
- Mobile-friendly Click Rate – This is the percentage of clicks on mobile devices which go through to a mobile friendly device. If this percentage is low you need to assess how mobile friendly your website is in order to improve the experience for your websites visitors.
- Valid AMP Click Rate – This is the percentage of clicks which go through to valid AMP pages. AMP pages are designed to be super fast on mobile sites in order to give a better user experience.
- Free Interaction Rate – This is the percentage of free interactions compared to impressions. See Free Interactions to find out more about what’s included with this.
- PTR – Phone Through Rate (PTR) indicates the amount of phone calls you receive from phone impressions.
- View Rate – This is the percentage of people that play your video after seeing the ad.
Impression percentage metrics can be used in order to determine where abouts on the page search ads are being displayed. There are two impression percentage metrics:
- Impr. (Abs. Top) % – This shows the percentage of impressions which are displaying in the number one position. A high percentage for this metric can indicate that you’re unlikely to increase ad rank for that dimension, so increasing bids is likely to have minimum effect.
- Impr. (Top) % – This shows the percentage of ads which show in the top 4 ad spaces. A low percentage will indicate that the majority of ads are being shown in the bottom pack of ads (underneath the organic results). To test the effectiveness of different dimensions you’ll want to ensure that the ads are showing in the top pack and therefore want a high Impression Top Percentage.
The Average Cost Per Click (CPC) is on average how much you pay each time your ad is clicked. This can be worked out by dividing the cost by the number of clicks.
We often find that people can get fixated on CPCs and determine that Google Ads is too expensive due to high CPCs. It’s important to consider that keywords with higher CPCs usually have higher commercial value (this is why people are bidding more on them) and are likely to have a higher return. You’re better off looking at conversion metrics to determine whether different dimensions are working.
The following metrics are similar to Average CPC, but may have slight variations:
- Avg. Cost – Average Cost takes all interactions with your ad into consideration.
- Avg. CPE – Cost Per Engagement (CPE) takes all engagements into consideration.
Not all ad types in Google Ads use pay per click. Some, such as display ads, charge based on the number of impressions your ads gain. CPM stands for Cost Per Thousand (M is the roman numeral for a thousand).
CPM is used opposed to cost per impression as if it was based on single impressions it would be fractions of a penny which wouldn’t likely mean much to you.
The following metrics are similar to Average CPM, but may have slight variations:
- Avg. CPV – Average Cost Per View (CPV) is used for video based adverts. As video views are typically more expensive than impressions this is displayed for each individual view.
Google Ads considers whether a click may be malicious or unintended and these clicks will show as invalid clicks. You shouldn’t be charged for these types of clicks and for instances where you are should receive a credit back from Google.
Google gives the following examples of what may be classed as an invalid click:
- Clicks which have been determined to try and increase your advertising costs (such as competitors clicking your ads) or if using display ads where the website owner clicks on your ads to increase their own revenue.
- Clicks which have come from automated tools.
- Extraneous click such as if the person double clicks.
Invalid Click Rate
The invalid click rate determines what percentage of the clicks on your account are invalid. A high invalid click rate may indicate that your ads are being specifically targeted.
YouTube Earned Metrics
If advertising on YouTube there are a number of metrics specific to this. These metrics mainly look at how it affects your YouTube channel and video and includes:
- YouTube Earned Views – Earned Views indicated the number of different videos a person watches after seeing one of your YouTube ads. This can also include the same video multiple times as well as watching the video ad again too.
- YouTube Earned Subscribers – Earned subscribers is the number of subscribers you gain on your YouTube channel after someone has viewed your ad. This shows as a range if under 100 due to privacy issues.
- YouTube Earned Playlist Additions – Earned playlist additions occur when someone adds the video to a playlist.
- YouTube Earned Likes – Earned Likes are the number of likes your video gets after being advertised.
- YouTube Earned Shares – Earned Shares are the number of times your video gets shared due to an ad.
Video Played To
If using video there are a number of metrics to show you the percentage of the video that is being watched. This can help you to gain an understanding of the quality of your video. This is given in 25% increments:
- Video Played To 25% – If people aren’t watching up to 25% of your video it could indicate that the quality of the video is poor. This may be down to things such as poor production which will be realised early in the video or that the video doesn’t match what the person was expecting.
- Video Played To 50% – If people are watching more than 25% but less than 50% it could indicate that there’s issues with the quality of the content within the video and people aren’t finding it engaging. For example if it keeps going off topic or the presenter doesn’t appear to be an industry expert.
- Video Played To 75% – Once people are hitting 75% you would expect them to have an understanding of what the video is about and have liked the video and it’s content.
- Video Played To 100% – At 100% the person has watched the entire video which is an excellent sign of the quality of the video.
Top vs Side
Top vs Side is an old metric which indicates whether your ads show on the within the top pack of ads or the side pack. This is now irrelevant for search ads as the side pack no longer exists.
The measurable rate is the percentage of total impressions which were measured with active view.
The following metrics are similar to Measurable Rate, but may have slight variations:
- Viewable Rate – The viewable rate also takes into consideration the viewable impressions which need to be displayed on screen for at least 1 second. The viewable rate is the percentage of impressions that were viewable.
If using Google Ads to advertise on Gmail there are two additional metrics available to help determine the performance:
- Gmail Saves – The person has saved the ad to their inbox, likely to indicate that they’re going to look at it again at a later date and shows that the ad was highly relevant to them.
- Gmail Forwards – The person has forwarded the ad to someone else. This indicates that the ad is of high quality and the initial person believes someone they know will benefit from it. This is good as your company now comes as a referral whereas it may have been a cold introduction to your company directly from the ad.
In order to see the true benefit of your Google Ads campaigns you will need to be aware of the different conversion metrics available. In order to see these metrics you will need to ensure that conversion tracking is set up correctly.
Conversions are the number of conversion actions which have been set up via conversion tracking have been triggered after someone has clicked on your ad. These are most commonly going to be an enquiry from your website or a sale through your website. It could also include things such as sign ups.
The following metrics are similar to Conversions, but may have slight variations:
- Conversions (By Conv. Time) – This shows the data as to when the conversion happened opposed to when the click happened. This can make it easier to match up Google Ads data with your own sales data.
- All Conv. – When setting up conversion tracking you can specify whether you want a conversion to be included within conversions or not. This metric negates this and includes all conversions regardless of this. This can be useful if there’s conversions which you don’t want to optimise against but provide some value to your business.
- All Conv. (By Conv. Time) – This takes into consideration all conversions but displays the data based on when the conversion happened opposed to the click.
- Conversions (Current Model) – If you change your attribution models the value won’t be updated in the main conversion metric. This metric can be used to see the historical value of conversions with the current attribution model applied to all the conversions.
- Orders – If you have ecommerce tracking setup in Google Ads the number of sales through the website can be viewed through the orders metric.
Cost / Conv.
Cost Per Conversion is a metric which is highly useful when deciding whether a campaign is performing or not and is one of the main metrics we use when optimising lead generation campaigns. This determines how much it costs for each conversion your ads generate.
The lower the cost per conversion the better with each conversion costing you less. It is however important to consider the quality of conversions as you may find that lower cost per conversion leads to lower quality conversions.
The following metrics are similar to Cost Per Conversion, but may have slight variations:
- Cost / All Conv. – This takes into consideration all conversions, including those which have been selected to not be included within conversions.
- Cost / Conv. (Current Model) – This gives historical data for the current attribution model whereas it will usually just show according to the model being used at the time.
The conversion rate is the percentage of clicks which lead to a conversion. This is a great metric to use in order to gauge the quality of traffic being produced by Google Ads. The higher the conversion rate the better the quality and the more you get for your money.
The following metrics are similar to conversion rate, but may have slight variations:
- All Conv. Rate – This takes into consideration all conversions, including those which have been selected to not be included within conversions.
- Conv. Rate (Current Model) – This gives historical data for the current attribution model whereas it will usually just show according to the model being used at the time.
View through conversions are conversions where someone sees an ad but does interact with it. They then later visit your website and then complete a conversion action.
This is useful to see the brand awareness of your ads, especially useful for display campaigns. High view-through conversions indicate that people are remembering your brand after seeing an ad and then doing further research at a later date.
When setting up conversion tracking you can assign a value to each conversion. This can be pulled dynamically from your website or a set value can be added for each conversion action.
As different conversions will have different value to your business this helps to indicate an actual monetary value to the conversions coming from Google Ads.
The following metrics are similar to conversion value, but may have slight variations:
- Revenue – If using ecommerce tracking you can see revenue opposed to conversion value. This is the revenue of sales generated on your website from Google Ads.
- Conv. Value (By Conv. Time) – This is the conversion value, but takes into consideration when the conversion occurred instead of the click.
- Conv. Value (Current Model) – This gives historical data for the current attribution model whereas it will usually just show according to the model being used at the time.
- All Conv. Value – This takes into consideration all conversions, including those which have been selected to not be included within conversions.
- All Conv. Value (By Conv. Time) – This takes into consideration all conversions, but also does this by conversion time instead of click time.
Conv. Value / Cost
Conversion Value divided by cost tells you your return on ad spend. In order for this to show you will need to ensure that conversion values are being used. If this is not the case you should look at using cost/conversion instead.
When looking at conversion value/cost you also need to take into consideration other costs in delivering your product or service. Cost of sales, the percentage of revenue it takes to make a sale is often around 20%. This is the same as a conversion value/cost of 5. The higher conversion value/cost the better.
The following metrics are similar to conversion value / cost, but may have slight variations:
- All Conv. Value / Cost – This takes into consideration all conversions, including those which have been selected to not be included within conversions.
- Conv. Value / Cost (Current Model) – This gives historical data for the current attribution model whereas it will usually just show according to the model being used at the time.
Value / Conv.
Value divided by conversions gives you the average value of each conversion. This can help you determine the worth of each conversion on average and determine which areas of your account are bringing in the higher value conversion actions.
The following metrics are similar to value / conversions, but may have slight variations:
- Value / All Conv. – This takes into consideration all conversions, including those which have been selected to not be included within conversions.
- Value / All Conv. (By Conv. Time) – This takes into consideration all conversions, but also does this by conversion time instead of click time.
- Value / Conv. (By Conv. Time) – This takes into consideration when the conversion occurred instead of the click.
- Value / Conv. (Current Model) – This gives historical data for the current attribution model whereas it will usually just show according to the model being used at the time.
- Avg. Order Value – If tracking ecommerce sales it will show the average order value which is revenue divided by orders.
- Avg. Cart Size – Average cart size is slightly different as it gives you the average quantity of items within each sale.
Conv. Value / Click
This tells you the average worth of someone clicking on your ads to your business. This can help determine your maximum bids, although your businesses margins should also be considered. This is one of the easiest metrics to use for this as it helps you to visualise what the return from an individual click will be.
For example if the Conv. Value/Click is £5 and I’m aiming for a 20% cost of sale, the maximum bid will be 20% of £5 and I would set the bid to £1.
The following metrics are similar to conversion value / clicks, but may have slight variations:
- All Conv. Value / Click – This takes into consideration all conversions, including those which have been selected to not be included within conversions.
- Conv. Value / Click (Current Model) – This gives historical data for the current attribution model whereas it will usually just show according to the model being used at the time.
Cross device conversions are where somebody first sees your ad on one device and then completes a conversion on another. Understanding these can help determine how to set your bids on different devices.
Phone Call Conv.
This is a conversion which results in a phone call. This can be done in a number of ways including call only ads, call extensions as well as using a forwarding number from Google which can be displayed on your website.
Product revenue is the total revenue generated by an individual product. This can be highly useful when looking at performance at an offer level. For instance if you’re running a shopping campaign and want to see how much revenue is generated from the actual product being sold. This may be different to the total revenue as there may be add ons or they may browse your website and buy something else.
The following metrics are similar to product revenue, but may have slight variations:
- Product Gross Profit – This is the product revenue minus the cost of goods sold. It is only shown if you provide the cost of goods to Google Ads. This gives you an overall better idea of the profitability of your campaigns as it takes costs into account.
Cost Of Goods Sold
The Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) is the amount of business expenses attributed to different products. The cost of goods sold must be provided by yourself. It also allows for a number of different metrics such as Gross profit to be shown.
This is the overall gross profit which is being generated by your ads. In order for this to be shown you must provide your Cost Of Goods Sold. It is worked out by taking the Cost Of Goods Sold from the Revenue.
This metric allows you to get a better understanding of how profitable your ads are and to see areas in which you can push your ads more. It can also make it easier than doing calculations on the fly in order to see overall performance.
This is the number of units of a certain product that have been sold. This can be useful for understanding the popularity of different products you are selling.
Competitive metrics can help you to identify some areas in which your account can be improved as well allows you to get some comparison to your competitors.
Search Impr. Share
Search impression share is the percentage of eligible impressions your ad shows for. A low search impression share means that your ads aren’t getting shown when expected. This is down to two areas, not enough budget or low ad rank. The other competitive metrics will help you to determine which.
Search Abs. Top IS
Search Absolute Top Impression Share tells you the percentage of eligible impressions in which your ad is showing in the number one spot. If you’re seeing this at 100% that means you’re showing in the top position every time and increasing bids won’t make any difference. If lower you can think about increasing your bids depending on other performance factors.
Search Top IS
Search Top Impression Share is the percentage of eligible impressions in which your ad is showing in the top pack of ads. This can help you understand where in the results your ads are normally showing. A low Search Top IS but high Search Impression Share would indicate most of your ads are in the bottom pack.
Search Lost metrics can help you to determine where the loss in your impression share is happening. There are two reasons for this rank and budget. Each of the individual metrics can be seen below.
- Search Lost IS (Rank) – This is the percentage of impressions being missed due to not having high enough ad rank. This indicates that you need to either increase your bids or improve your quality score.
- Search Lost IS (Budget) – This is the percentage of impressions being missed due to not having enough budget. If this is the case you need to look at either increasing your budget or look at how you can cut worse performing areas of your account.
- Search Lost Abs. Top IS (Rank) – This is the percentage of impressions which have missed out of the top spot due to the ads rank.
- Search Lost Abs. Top IS (Budget) – This is the percentage of impressions which have missed out of the top spot due to budget limitations.
- Search Lost Top IS (Rank) – This is the percentage of impressions which have missed out of the top pack due to the ads rank.
- Search Lost Top IS (Budget) – This is the percentage of impressions which have missed out of the top pack due to budget limitations.
If you connect your Google Ads account to Google Analytics you can get further information about your performance in the Google Ads interface. This can give you more insights as to how to improve the performance of your ads, especially considering the experience people are getting once they are on your website.
Bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave your website without taking any actions. This is determined by how many times your website sends tracking information to Google Analytics. By default an action will be clicking to another page on your website, but you should keep in mind that this may not always be the desired results for your ads. If you have event tracking including in Google Analytics this also affects bounce rate.
As your tracking set up affects the bounce rate you should always use it as a historic data as a benchmark. You may see some articles give examples of good bounce rates but these don’t take the tracking setup into consideration.
Pages / Session
Pages / Session measured the average amount of pages a person views in a single visit to your website. Higher pages/session usually indicates that the people looking at your website are more interested in what your business does and therefore are more likely to convert.
Like with Bounce Rate your goals should also be considered when looking at pages/session, if most people are converting within a page view you might not want to look at how you can increase this.
Avg. Session Duration (Seconds)
Average Session Duration is the average amount of time, measured in seconds, that a person spends on your website. It’s important to understand how this is measured however. This is actually the difference in time between the first and last tracking information that a visit sends to Google Analytics. It’s possible for someone to spend 10 minutes looking at a single page, but if they don’t go onto other pages the session duration will be 0.
As a general rule of thumb the longer a person spends on your website the better and the more interested they are in your business. However long average session duration could also indicate that it’s hard for people to find what they’re looking for on your website.
% New Sessions
% New Session is the percentage of sessions to your website which have come from people who haven’t been to your website before. This can be very useful if the aim of your campaign is to get new people to your website and you may want to adjust your targeting depending on this.
Quality Score is a metric used by Google Ads in order to work out your Ad Rank. This means that you can end up paying less to be displayed in the same position. Google uses these as they want the ads displayed on their search engine to be relevant to the search. It’s therefore highly important to understand the different elements of Quality Score and how you can use the three different metrics to understand how you can improve your quality score and get more for your money.
Each Quality Score metric gives a qualitative value of either: below average, average and above average.
Ad relevance compares your target keywords to the copy used within your ads. Below average ad relevance would indicate that the two don’t match up. This could mean that you need to split down ad groups further to have more specific ads for different keywords or it could indicate an issue with your campaign set up overall.