HOWTO: Use the Dimensions Tab to Improve Your PPC Campaigns

February 2, 2012 | By

Guest Blogger:  Laura Rodnitzky is the Director of Production for PPC Associates, a search engine marketing agency with offices in San Mateo and Chicago.

If you’re running paid search campaigns in Google AdWords, and you don’t already use the Dimensions tab, you’re missing out on a ton of useful data. Rolled out in mid-2010, the Dimensions tab is one of the most important components of the AdWords UI. It allows you to view data for an entire account or specific campaign(s) that can be used to better target your customers, decrease wasteful spend, and improve conversions. At PPC Associates, our Production team relies heavily on the Dimensions tab to pull detailed reports on campaign behavior across different time periods or geos, and to better understand how and where our ads are being shown on both the search and content networks.

The Dimensions tab is located on the right-hand side of the tabs list in the AdWords UI. If you can’t already see it, click on the drop-down arrow at the end of the row to bring up the menu of available tabs.

Once you’re in the Dimensions tab, go to the “View” drop-down menu to see the types of data available. The screenshot below shows the main menu; for Time, Conversions, and Reach and frequency you have additional options, such as Day of the week, Day (date in time), Week, Month, Quarter, Year, or Hour of day.

Dimensions Tab - PPC Tips

So now that you know where to find this, how are you going to use it? There’s a ton of good stuff here, and obviously not all of it will be relevant to every campaign. If you’re not using track-able phone numbers in your ads, for example, the “Call details” option is not going to have any data for you. If your campaigns are only running on the search network, you won’t have any automatic placements to review. But take advantage of what you can. Here are a couple of examples of how we use the Dimensions tab at PPC Associates:


1)      Day parting. We usually run two types of day parting reports: day of the week and hour of day. You can pull the data separately, or you can use the advanced segmentation feature in AdWords to break it down by hour of day for each day of the week. Once you have the data in Excel, use conditional formatting to easily spot trends in campaign performance. This can then be used to optimize the campaigns; for example, you may choose to increase bids during time periods with high conversion rate and low CPA, or decrease bids when the opposite is true. If there’s a clear drop in performance during specific days or hours of day, you may even want to turn campaigns off during these low-performing time periods. In the sample data below, it’s clear that the hours of 5 am – 8 am do not perform well, whereas the hours of 4 pm to 8 pm have high conversion rates and low CPAs.

Dimensions Tab - Hour of the Day - PPC Tips


2)      Search query review. Being able to see the actual queries that cause your ads to show is powerful, both for finding terms you don’t want to show up on and getting new ideas for keywords. We all know that running keywords on broad match – or even modified broad match or phrase match – opens up a campaign to a wide range of search queries, many of which might not be relevant to what we’re advertising. The “Search terms” option in the Dimensions tab will let you see the queries triggering your ads. Use this data to promote high-performing queries by turning them into keywords with targeted ads, and also to scrub out unwanted terms. This is especially important when your campaigns include a lot of general keywords. Just imagine how many irrelevant queries you can get matched to when bidding on “will” (as in last will and testament) keywords. The screenshot below shows just a few out of thousands.

Clearly this is a very broad overview of the Dimensions tab and the ways you can use it to optimize your campaigns. There are a lot of different ways to use the data, and the “Customize columns” and advanced segmentation options let you slice and dice the data in innumerable ways. No time like the present to get in, start some tests, and figure out how to improve your campaigns with the options on hand.

–  Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily of Schipul – The Web Marketing Company.

Filed in: Google AdWords, How Tos and FAQs, Marketing, Stats & Data

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