Interpreting the terms, abbreviations and jargon on your Google AdWords report can be quite a daunting task for anyone who isn’t familiar with Google’s technologies.  That’s why this week’s blog post will be focusing on the different sections of the Hosting101 Google AdWords report that we send out to all our AdWords Management Service customers on a weekly basis.  We will discuss the following topics:

  • Understanding the terminology of the Google AdWords report
  • The different sections of the report
  • How to use your report effectively

Understanding the terminology of the Google AdWords report

The most important terms, phrases and abbreviations used in the Google AdWords report are:


The campaign one section or group of ads.  Usually one campaign focuses on one product or service, using one of Google’s networks.  For example, an electrician may want to advertise two services – a Residential Certificate of Compliance (COC), as well as general electrical maintenance.  This means that there will be two campaigns – a COC campaign and a Maintenance campaign.

It is also possible to use more than one network.  Google has many advertising platforms (or networks), including the Search network (showing text ads in Google’s search results), the Display network (showing image ads on other websites), and YouTube (showing video ads).  If a customer uses both the Search and Display networks, for example, those will be two separate campaigns.

Ad Group

Most campaigns will have more than one Ad Group.  This is to ensure that the ads being displayed are relevant to the keywords used.  For example, if a private school in Pretoria wanted to advertise on Google AdWords using the Search Network with the purpose of reaching people searching for a school in Pretoria East, they could use only one campaign.  But let’s say they have a set of keywords similar to “private school in Pretoria” and another set of keywords for “private school in Pretoria East”, they might want to separate those two sets of keywords into two Ad Groups.  They can then have an ad in the “Private School in Pretoria” Ad Group that only states they are in Pretoria, but a different ad in the other Ad Group that specifies exactly where in Pretoria they are.  This makes the ads relevant to exactly what it is that the visitors are searching for.


Impressions indicate the number of times users viewed your ads.  An impression is simply one time that someone saw your ad but did not necessarily interact with it in any way.


The number of clicks indicates the number of times a user saw your ad and interacted with it, usually clicking on it to go through to your website.  A good number of clicks is generally a good indication of a well-designed ad, enticing people to want to know more.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

On the Google AdWords report, the CTR is one of the main indicators of the health of a Google AdWords campaign.  The CTR is calculated using the number of Clicks divided by the number of Impressions, multiplied by 100 in order to get a percentage.  This indicates the percentage of people who saw your ad and interacted with it.  A higher CTR means you are attracting a satisfactory number of people to your website or landing page.

Cost per Click (CPC)

The CPC is the price you pay each time someone clicks on your ad.  This could be almost any amount, depending on the keywords used, the number of times the keyword appears on your website or landing page (in other words, the relevance of the keyword to your website’s content), and the amount of competition in the particular industry.

Average Position

Specifically in the case of Search Network ads, the Average Position indicates where your ads most often lie in Google’s search results.  For example, an Average Position of 2.5 shows that an ad is usually between position 2 and 3 in the search results.

The different sections of the Google AdWords report

Hosting101’s Google AdWords report has three main sections.  They are Campaign Performance, Keyword Performance and Ad Performance.

Campaign Performance

The Campaign Performance section shows a summary of the different campaigns you have, their names, Clicks, Impressions, CTR, Average CPC, total cost, and the average position of ads in that campaign.  It is then followed by a summary of the total Impressions, Clicks and CTR through all the campaigns, with a convenient green or red arrow next to each to indicate if it has gone up or down when compared with the previous report.

In the example you can see that the impressions have gone down with 28.3%, the clicks have gone down with 2.8%, but the CTR has gone up with 35.6%.  In this case it actually means that the campaign has improved since the ads were shown to fewer irrelevant searchers, leading to a higher percentage of responses (CTR).

Keyword Performance

The Keyword Performance section of the Google AdWords report indicates the 10 top performing keywords over the period of the report (usually 7 days).  These are usually not the only keywords in your campaign, only the top performing keywords receiving the most clicks.

You can see the keywords listed, with the Campaign and Ad Group that they form part of.  You can see the number of Clicks, Impressions, and CTR of each keyword, along with what each keyword costs you (CPC) and the average position that your ads appear in for each keyword.

Ad Performance

The Ad Performance section of the report shows a list of all your top performing ads.  You can see the ads as they would display on Google, along with the relevant Campaigns and Ad Groups.  The report also shows the Impressions, Clicks, CTR, average CPC and average position of each ad.

How to use your Google AdWords report effectively

Each section of the report is there for a specific reason.  Using the report you can give Hosting101 valuable feedback regarding the performance of your campaigns, the results you are seeing, and any changes that should be made, since you know your own business the best.

In the Campaign Performance section you can see if you are getting a noticeable reduction in number of Clicks or CTR.  A slight drop now and again is normal, since some searches are seasonal, or because of increasing competition in an industry, but a drastic drop could be cause for concern and should be studied further.  Hosting101 does this during our weekly maintenance sessions, but input from our customers are often very valuable.

You can also compare the statistics in the Campaign Performance section with the number of enquiries you received to get a better idea of the value of the campaign.  For example, if you’re getting 100 clicks per week but only one or two enquiries, there might be a problem with your website not being user friendly, or perhaps the phrasing of your ads are misinterpreted, leading visitors to expect something that they can’t find on your website.

You can use the Keyword Performance section to ensure that all the keywords are relevant to your business.  Hosting101 will always check for new keywords that people are searching for, and if they appear to be relevant to your business and within the boundaries of your budget, we will add those keywords.  However, it is possible that we could identify a keyword that we think is relevant while, in fact, it is not.  Hosting101 should then be informed so that we can disable that keyword.

You can also use the Keyword Performance section to get ideas for more keywords that could be relevant.  You can see which keywords are being searched for most often, so it could be a good idea to add similar keywords to the campaign.

In the Ad Performance section you can look at the exact phrasing of your search ads and see, firstly, if the phrasing is correct or should be changed.  You know your own business better than Hosting101 will ever know it, so you can ensure that your products and services are represented correctly in the ads.  Secondly, Hosting101 will use this section of the Google AdWords report to see which ads are performing the best.  We will then create other similar ads to improve campaign performance and entice more visitors to click on your ads.

In conclusion

Hosting101’s Google AdWords Management Service is a team effort.  We have a team of Google Certified AdWords specialists working to improve the performance of your ads, but we also need your involvement.  If you understand your Google AdWords report, you can send us feedback that can help us to better understand your business and optimize it more effectively, giving you better results for your marketing budget.