Google Ads Reports Metric Definitions

I’ve been lucky enough to travel to places where no one speaks English. As a result, I know what it’s like to experience the anxiety and discomfort that occurs when you can’t speak the language. I’ve also traveled to places where people speak Spanish, a language I know enough of to be “dangerous,” and how easy things can get lost in translation. For example, if you say you are “embarazada” about your Spanish skills, you might be surprised to find out that word means pregnant!

Learning marketing analytics has a lot in common with learning a foreign language. It has a vocabulary all its own, and it’s easy to stare at the page and have no idea what you are looking at. It’s also easy to miss out if you don’t know how to decode them.

This is the first in a series of posts meant to define and help you understand the terms you see when using analytics or advertising platforms or in digital marketing reports provided by your marketing vendors.

Today, we’ll covers terms you might see when looking at search marketing reports in Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, or a third-party reporting platform. While this is by no means an exhaustive vocabulary lesson, you’ll be introduced to the 8 most important and commonly used terms.

Cost: The cost is the total amount you spent during a particular period. You want to track this to make sure you are spending close to your budget. It’s easy to make mistakes when changing your budget or to underspend a budget, so the cost is one of the most important metrics.

Clicks: Clicks report the number of times your ad was clicked. Clicks let you know how many visits to your websites resulted from your ads.

Impressions: Impressions, abbreviated Impr. In the Google Ads dashboard, report how often your ad was served, or shown on a search results page. Impressions let you know how often your ads are seen. Impressions can give you a sense of how much volume of traffic is available for your campaign.

Clickthrough Rate (CTR): The clickthrough rate is the percentage of time your ad is seen and a user clicks on it. It is calculated by taking number of clicks that your ad received and dividing it by the number of times your ad is shown: Clicks ÷ Impressions = CTR. It can give you an idea how effective your ad is, but it is also manipulated by how much you are bidding. Raising your bids will raise your clickthrough rate because it will make your ad more likely to appear higher in the search results which it will be more likely to be clicked.

Average Cost-Per-Click (CPC): The average cost per click is how much, on average, you are paying for each of your clicks. To calculate the value, you take your total cost and divide it by the total number of clicks: Cost/Clicks For example, if your total cost is $2.70 and you got 3 clicks, the average CPC is $2.70/3 or $.90 per click.

Conversion: A conversion is the number of completions of a user activity you’ve set up to track. Conversions can be set up directly in your advertising platform or imported from Google Analytics. You can track many user activities, but the ones your probably care most about are conversions that refer to leads or sales which would include phone call, email click, form submission, chat sessions, or completed purchases.

Cost/Conv.: Cost per Conversion, abbreviated Cost/Conv. In the Google Ads platform, is how much, on average, you are paying for each of your conversions. To calculate the value, you take your total cost and divide it by the total number of conversions: Cost/Conversions For example, if your total cost is $20.20 and you got 2 conversions, the average Cost Per Conversion is $20.20/2 or $10.10 per conversion.

Search Impression Share: Your Search Impression Share, or SIS, is the percentage of impressions that your ads receive compared to the total number of impressions that your ads could receive. To calculate the value, you take your total impressions and divide it by the total number of available impressions you were eligible to receive: Impressions/Total Eligible Impressions x 100% For example, if you received 8,000 impressions and there were 10,000 total impressions you were eligible to appear for, your Search Impression Share is 8,000/10,000 x 100% or 80%. If your SIS is low, you may not have the budgets or bids necessary to maximize exposure to your ads.

What are the key metrics you review when looking at Microsoft or Google Ads results? Share them below.

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