Find the Best KPIs for Your Campaign in the Alphabet Soup of Google Ads Metrics

December 11th, 2019 by Katie Burke

Google Ads offers marketers an abundance of data, with countless metrics to track for every campaign. Some might consider this to be a gold mine of information, but it can be pretty overwhelming.

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How do you decide which metrics are the most important to track in your Google Ads campaign?

Determine the Goals of Your Campaign

There is no one-size-fits-all formula for optimizing and tracking the success of digital advertising campaigns. The most important step in determining the right metrics is to define what you want to achieve with a particular campaign. Depending on what you consider to be a successful campaign, some of the data will be relevant while other KPIs won’t be very helpful.

No two ad campaigns are identical, but many fall under one of these broadly defined goals:

  • Driving traffic to your website
  • Increasing sales and conversions
  • Building brand awareness
  • Increasing your return on investment

Goal 1: Drive Traffic to Your Website

If the end result you are looking for is more website visitors, then the best course of action is focusing on metrics that involve clicks and keyword performance.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

While you may be thinking clicks are king when indicating website traffic, your click-through rate is a better indicator of the performance of the campaign. CTR shows you the ratio of people who have clicked on your ad to the total number of people who have seen your ad (impressions). As DashThis’s Mark Christensen writes, this is an important KPI to track since it can show if your ads appeal to your targeted audience.

A higher CTR can indicate better campaign performance and more site traffic. However, you want to keep in mind that if your ad copy weeds out unqualified clicks you might see a lower CTR. But don’t panic! Although the CTR may drop slightly, higher quality clicks result in more time spent on a landing page or website and can lead to another action taken by that user.

Quality Score (QS)

Improving your Quality Score is a great way to manage not only your keywords but also overall campaign performance. This KPI is a rating that ranges between 1-10; it measures the quality and relevance of your keywords and ads. Quality Score is one of various vital metrics and can affect where your ad ranks, as well as when or if it shows at all. Higher quality scores point to keywords and ads that are more compelling to your audience, increasing the number of clicks.

Cost Per Click (CPC) is also determined by QS; higher QS leads to lower CPC. The goal should always be a low CPC since this allows for more clicks within your budget.

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Goal 2: Increase Sales and Conversions

In a Google Ads campaign, a conversion could be one of several actions like a purchase, newsletter signup, app download, or a phone call. To measure the success of a campaign with a conversion goal, it’s crucial to first correctly set up conversion and lead tracking.

Now you’ll be able to properly track the Cost Per Conversion and Conversion Rate.

Cost Per Conversion/Acquisition (CPC/CPA)

Cost per conversion measures the amount you spend per completed conversion or another desired action taken by a user. It’s the total cost of generating traffic (ad spend) divided by the total number of conversions. This is the best metric for understanding the financial effectiveness of your campaign, especially when the conversion goal does not lead to direct or immediate revenue.

Conversion Rate

This ratio compares the number of clicks and conversions. It’s the rate at which users take the desired campaign action after they click the ad. Conversion rate can provide major insightsx for optimizing your campaign. It should tell you which keywords, ad copy, and landing pages are performing best for your campaign goal.

For a new campaign, don’t immediately jump the gun on a low conversion rate; give your ads time to acquire impressions and adjust keywords or bids as needed.

Both conversion rate & CPA can be good indications of how to reallocate your budget to get the most bang for your buck. If you put more of your budget toward campaigns with higher conversion rates and lower CPAs, you should see a better return on your investment.

Goal 3: Build Brand Awareness

Whether you are marketing a product, service, or even a cause, the goal of brand awareness is to increase visibility and reach a larger audience. Impressions should be the focus here.

Impression Share

Impression share is calculated by dividing the total number of impressions you got by the number of opportunities that your ad could have shown. Working to lower your CPC, CPA, and increase your QS can go a long way to benefit your campaign’s Impression share.

While the impression share is helpful, what might be even more helpful to know is why an ad isn’t showing to your audience. Lost impression share metrics can help you find that answer.

Lost Impression Share

This KPI is the percentage of time that your ad does not show because of budget restrictions or ad ranking. As Adam Proehl of Search Engine Journal writes, “The closer the number is to the difference between 100 and the “search impression share”, the more likely you are to find additional conversions simply by boosting the budget.”

Sometimes your resources may just be too limited to increase spend. Instead, optimize your campaigns to drive traffic to the most valuable conversions.

Goal 4: Increase Return on Investment

Return on Investment (ROI) is the ratio of benefits to costs. In Google Ads, Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) is the return you generate for every $1 spent on ads. For example, a total ad spend of $600 with revenue from ads of $4200 would equal a ROAS of 7.

ROI/ROAS is considered one of the most important metrics for advertisers because it’s based on your specific advertising goals and shows the financial impact of your advertising efforts. These ROI metrics are the ones you’ll want to highlight for the boss (or client) when the campaign performs well.

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If navigating Google Ads to scrounge up relevant KPIs makes your head spin, there’s no need to hit a wall. Search Influence can help you understand and track the metrics that matter so you can reach your digital advertising goals.


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