AdWords: Where’s My Money?

How would you like to be able to quickly see where exactly your money has gone in AdWords without having to login to the complicated AdWords interface?  Well, assuming your Google AdWords and Google Analytics accounts are properly configured, you can!


This 4 minute video could save you thousands!


My name is Joel Eckman and I have been helping businesses get the most out of Google AdWords and organic search results for nearly 20 years. In that time I have learned a few tricks that have saved my clients hundreds of thousands of dollars in potentially wasted AdWords spend.

The Fastest Way to See Where Your Money Is Going

The fastest way to see where your AdWords money is going is through your Google Analytics account. To access your AdWords reports in Analytics first login to Analytics here. If you are unable to login or you don't have access to your Analytics Account, don't panic! Users can be added easily to Google Analytics. Figure out which Google Account you use most often and request "Administrative Access" to your analytics account from your web or SEO person. Administrative Access to the full account and not just the "property" is very important. Having full administrative access gives you ownership of your data and the ability to add and remove users in the future. So often when we take on a new client, they either don't know which Google Account is associated with their analytics or due to the way the web company configured the account, it is not easy to gain administrative access. If your SEO person cannot provide administrative access to your full analytics account, request "Read" privileges on the Analytics Property to get going. Can't gain access to your account? Contact us here. We can help.

Where's the Money?

Once logged into Google Analytics, find the "Acquisition" tab on the left hand side of the interface and then find the sub-item, AdWords. Under AdWords you will find the very important "Keyword" report. Let's start here. Your first step is to sort your keywords by "Cost". Sorting by cost will give you the keyword or key-phrase that cost you the most money for the selected date range found in the top-right corner of the screen. Choosing a date range is one of the coolest parts of AdWords. You can see an entire year, a specific month, or a quarter and compare to either the previous period or go back and compare to the previous year.


Note the different columns for the AdWords Keywords Report in Analytics:


Clicks = The number of clicks the keyword received in the selected date range

Cost = The totals cost for AdWords Keywords for the date range. Not the entire AdWords budget

CPC = Your average cost-per-click for both the entire account and per keyword. You may pay somewhat more or less for each keyword and it is good to compare your average CPC to previous date ranges.

Sessions = The total number of sessions, not people, for paid keyword visits. One person might incur several sessions over a given period of time.

Bounce Rate = Percentage of people who were not deemed to have engaged with the content. Google determined based on the time they spent on the page that they did not believe the content relevant to their search. A high bounce rate is a symptom of a poorly optimized account.

Pages Per Session = The average number of pages a visitor viewed in the site. Depending on your desired user experience, this is not necessarily a good measure of quality traffic.

Goal Conversion Rate = The percentage of sessions that "converted" to a configured Goal in analytics. Goals are setup by your webmaster or SEO person and can include things such as product purchases, registrations, or any number of desired actions a visitor might take in your site.

Goal Completions = Total number of configured goals which were completed. Goals are completely unique for each client depending on the desired result of a visit.

Goal Value = Any goal can be given a monetary value. For example, a realtor might value each phone call they receive at $10. This is helpful for measuring the ROI, or Return on Investment, for each keyword you are bidding on.

What Did People Actually Search For?

Seeing your top keywords by cost is helpful but there is another, often overlooked item every organization using AdWords should be aware of: The Search Query. Search Queries are the actual phrases a person typed into Google which resulted in a keyword triggering your ad. Reviewing Search Queries will often expose both opportunities and waste. Let's take a look at two common examples below.

Using Search Queries Report to Identify Waste

Let's imagine that you are a company that manufactures "gates" and fencing. Your SEO person has placed a bid on the keyword "Gates" and we can see that we are paying $2 per click on average for the term and have received over 2,000 clicks in the past 30 days. If we now review our Search Query report and set a filter to view only those queries which included the word "Gates" we might find that the query "Bill Gates" resulted in 20% of the clicks to our ads for that term. Quick math: 20% of $4,000, That's $800 out the window in just 30 days. This is a pretty broad example but you get the idea. Watch your search queries to identify searches that could confuse users and lead to few or wasted clicks. Google is all about creating a valuable experience for their users and they reward AdWords customers who work at maximizing click-through rates for the keywords they are bidding on with lower costs per click.

Using Search Queries to Identify Opportunities

Now let's imagine in that same review of your "gate" related search queries you notice that "Black Gates" resulted in quite a few clicks on your ads. Knowing that a specific phrase generates more traffic and interest allows us to optimize many aspects of your online marketing efforts, not only AdWords but also in landing page experience, ad copy, and organic search engine optimization. Again, the higher the click-through-rate, the less you pay per click and the higher your ad will rank in Google Search Results.

Benefits of a Sans Terra AdWords Audit

We have performed audits of AdWords accounts which have saved our clients well over $40,000 per year in wasted advertising spend alone. This is not even considering the sales that money may have resulted in if used more cautiously. Search Queries are an important step, but only a small part of the big picture when it comes to maximizing your AdWords dollars. Our audits go way beyond finding waste in search queries. Creating a return on investment ratio in AdWords that will allow your business to grow is crucial to the success of your company. Organic search traffic is great, but it could disappear tomorrow. You have to be able to create a dollar in - dollar out formula that is scaleable in order to grow. We can help you get there. Contact us to discuss an AdWords Audit here.

A Note About Google Resource Ownership

One of the things that makes Sans Terra unique is our passion for organizing Google Resources as the property of the organization we are working for. If your organization does not "own" or have administrative access to the following resources, it is possible that you will lose valuable information if you ever switch SEO or web companies.


Note! It is possible to migrate your Analytics Property to a different Analytics Account you own. (Read More Here)

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