Google AdWords Search (or Pay Per Click in search engines or Search Engine Marketing) is very efficient way to generate #traction for a startup and widely used by sustainable companies from very small to the big corporates.

You can sell something, generate a lead or just gather users for your service or product. Google
AdWords Search doesn’t have serious competitors as Google is far the most used Search Engine worldwide and if your audience is using Google, you simply can reach them by advertising in Google.

AdWords you can make as difficult as you want. The easiest way is AdWords Express, which is almost made that it is going automatically, you only need to pay and wait for conversion. Unfortunately the results will be far not so good as done by experts. Although it probably depend how competitive product you have. The more competitive the lower the result.

Now what should you do as an expert?

You need to monitor, bid and over all learn from keywords, trends, external influences.
But it is very hard to keep the overview and take the right actions. After knowing when to take the right actions, you can atomize them but best is to review the actions often.

Below some design for the ideal dashboard which is actionable like Google’s guru for Analytics Avinash Kaushik, suggest to make dashboards.

According to Avinash a good dashboard should contain Insights, Recommendation for action and (Business) impact:

  1. Insights.
  2. Recommendations for Action.
  3. Business Impact.

As the dashboard is focused on AdWords experts, we assume detailed knowledge of AdWords is available.

To get a fast insight of the account (or more accounts), you can use a Treemap. The treemap should be setup the way that on one side (dependable of the structure of the campaign), you can see predefined segments (for example branded and non-branded), campaigns and eventually AdGroups (if there is place for it). Red means alert and “action required”. Green means ok and you can make colors between it (like orange) where the “action required” has a lower priority.


The big question is when is it good and when not. It depends of your target. Examples of targets are:

  • Optimize Live Time Value (LVT) so highest value for a conversion on the long term
  • Optimize Cost Per Acquisition or Conversion (CPA), so most profit at optimal number of conversions
  • Create traffic (branding) by optimizing Cost Per Click vs maximum number of clicks
  • Create impression (branding) for optimizing Cost per 1000 impressions or Cost per Mille (CPM)

CPM in AdWords Search is possible but doesn’t fit withing AdWords targets so we never tried it. Probably your AdRank will go down, as AdWords, you pay per click and without Clicks AdWords will give you a lower rank. The other targets you can use for AdWords.

Most common is still to optimize on CPA, as LVT is unfortunately hard to measure for most organisations. In case you optimize on CPA I suggest to define 2 CPA’s:

  1. MaxCPA to still earn on a conversion (this is traditionally used in AdWords)
  2. MaxTestCPA. In case you don’t reach the MaxTestCPA you will use part of your budget to setup new tests

Step 1: MaxCPA in the Treemap
If the CPA > Max CPA, the lowest level (for example Campaign or AdGroup) becomes red. By clicking you go one level deeper (for example keywords and search queries preferable in combination with ads). Here you see where it is going wrong (as it is read). Clicking on it you will get “Recommendations for Action” (point 2 from Avinash Dashboard). Here are possible actions defined with the impact for the business (point 3). For example:
Pause keyword: less costs so CPA will go down if you pause the not converting keywords
Look for negative keywords: less costs so CPA will go down when non relevant search queries don’t have to be paid anymore.
Other type of actions are defined in a list below in this post

Step 2: Below MaxTestCPA for test budget
You define a MaxTestCPA which you will use the “profit” to test. Eventually for different segments (as branded and non branded has usually very different CPA’s). In the Treemap the area becomes green. Now you are allowed to add some new idea by creating a new AdGroup or a complete new campain. The budget is defined based on the test budget. With the test budget you predict “Recommendations for Action” (point 2 from Avinash Dashboard) and the impact for the business (point 3) from your learnings.

To reduce costs (as in step 1) or to create tests you can (as in step 2) based on following “segmentation” in AdWords:

  • client segmentation: branded, non branded, search, display
  • Change budget of campaigns or pause the campaign
  • Change max bid within an AdGroups or pause the AdGroup
  • Change bids in Keywords or pause them
  • Optimize Keywords – ads/placements combinations by re-organizing AdGroups or using a destination URL
  • Use search queries in AdWords or organic search queries as keywords or make them a negative keyword
  • Implement Call buttons (Ad Extensions)
  • Use Geographical targeting
  • Use Daily hours bidding
  • Use bidding per Device or exclude devices
  • Optimize Conversion type
  • Optimize Click type: Headline – Sitelink
  • Optimize Top vs Other
  • Network: Google search, Search partners, Google Display
  • Optimize and test Delivery method: standard – accelerated
  • Use Ad Rotation: Optimise for clicks: Show ads expected to provide more clicks OR Optimise for conversions: Show ads expected to provide more conversions
  • Use  Ad Rotation: Rotate evenly: Show ads more evenly for at least 90 days, then optimise
  • Use  Ad Rotation: Rotate indefinitely: Show lower performing ads more evenly with higher performing ads and do not optimize

For display you can use following segmentation:

  • keywords
  • Placements
  • Topics
  • Interests
  • Remarketing


If you are interested in creating a dashboard for certain problems you face within the AdWords accounts you are running or you would like to make a business out of the problems to solve by AdWords dashboards, feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below in the page or in the contact form.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.