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Understanding AdWords Dimensions Reporting

One of my favourite places to hang out when I am working on optimising a PPC campaign is the Dimensions tab. Going back a few years this tab was not in existence and the level of reporting available to advertisers was pretty limited.

Throughout this post, we will spend some time looking at each of the reports and how and why you should be using them in your optimisation strategies.

The reports in the Dimensions tab can be used with at account level or campaign level. Within the tab, you will find the following reports:

  • Conversions
  • Labels
  • Shopping
  • Destination URL
  • Top Movers
  • Geographic
  • User Locations
  • Distance
  • Search Terms
  • Paid and Organic
  • Automatic Placements
  • Free Clicks
  • Call Details
  • Campaign Details
  • Ad Group Details

Let’s take a little look at each of them in turn.


Within this section, you have the option of seeing two reports. The first report is Conversion Category which is really helpful if you have various groups of conversion data. For example, you can see from the below screenshot that this particular account has three conversion categories. The report breaks the data down so that I can see how each group is performing.

Conversion Category


Alongside this and personally I feel the more useful of the two is the Conversion Name report. A lot of websites will have more than one type of conversion or goal that they want to track and this report breaks down the conversion performance by name. The below example shows a website that has eight different goals linked up to AdWords and tracking back the performance allows you to calculate your actual ROI. Some conversion types will be worth more to you than others and it is important to understand this when managing a PPC campaign.

Conversion Name



There are four sections to this report where you can review data for the account or campaigns based on the labels you have assigned to any of the following:

  • Keywords
  • Ads
  • Ad Groups
  • Campaigns

If you are managing large scale PPC campaigns, labels really do become your best friend. You can label your keywords, ads, ad groups or campaigns with anything you want allowing you to segment and report on different data sets.

As you can see from the example below, this account has various keyword level labels set up putting keywords into eight different groups. Not everything has to have a label; all keywords without a label get grouped into the ‘everything else’ row.


What does AdWords have to say about this report?



If you are running a PPC campaign and you have not spent a lot of time in this report then you really are missing a huge opportunity to not only increase conversions but also to limit wasted budget.

The Time reports are broken down into seven sub reports which allow you to really get to grips with campaign performance on different days of the week at different times. Off the back of understanding when your campaigns performs and when they don’t, you can make use of ad scheduling and bid adjustments. Boosting CPCs for your high converting times and lowering for poor converting times makes your account much more profitable.

It is absolutely vital not to make any rash decisions with these reports though. You need to have enough data to justify that the change you are making is based on a constant trend rather than a fluke. Personally, I like to look at Time reports for a minimum of three months data in order to help me make my decisions.

The following reports are available to you:

  • Day of the week
  • Day
  • Week
  • Month
  • Quarter
  • Year
  • Hour of Day

Here is an example of the data you can see for the Day of the Week report. The only thing I think is missing from this set of reports is being able to break the data down by day and then by hour in that particular day. This can be done in Google Analytics but the conversion data you see in there will not match up (first click attribution in AdWords vs last click in Analytics) so I would not rely on the data in Google Analytics.

Day of Week

This is an example of a report coming the different quarters of the years you have been running a campaign. It is handy to use this report when you are looking to compare any seasonal trends in larger date ranges across the year and likewise compare with previous years.


What does AdWords have to say about this report?


Destination URL

This report is very handy if you are sending traffic to multiple landing pages and you want to see what ones convert best for you. It could be that you have multiple products or services in which case landing pages will almost always be different but you could also be testing different landing pages for the same product or service and want to review the performance for each.

Rather than having to analyse the data at ad group/ad level, using the Destination URL report you can aggregate all the data together in the one report making it much easier to see the image at landing page level rather than having the other attributing factors getting in the way of the results.

Destination URL

What does AdWords have to say about this report?


Top Movers

When you are running PPC campaigns and you are making multiple changes, it is hard to know what has had a positive or negative impact on the campaigns, ad groups or keywords. This is where the Top Movers report can come in very handy.

It allows you to look at data over a period of 7, 14 or 28 days compared with the previous period over the same period of time.

In the below screenshot, you can see (ad group names blurred out) what the top movers were (up or down) for Cost, Clicks, Converted Clicks and Conversions.

Top Movers 1

By clicking into the section, this then gets broken down (next screenshot down) to show you how the top movers have been made up. For example, there are two ad groups below, one that has moved up and one that has moved down. You can look through the details and understand why this change may have been caused.

Top Movers 2

What has AdWords got to say about this report?



Let’s say your campaigns are targeting the whole of the UK. There will be certain areas of the country that are converting better for you and before we had Geographic reporting, we were limited to just seeing data for the entire country.

What this report tells you is just how well your campaigns are performing across the locations you are targeting for customers physical locations or locations that they have shown an interest in through their searches or content they have viewed.

You may need to play around with the columns in the report when you use it for the first time and customise it to suit your requirements but once you have it set up, it is a great place to go to work out ways to improve the overall account performance.

Having the location type column enabled, you can tell whether the click/conversion was a result of the user being in the physical location or whether it was a location of interest. Two very different searches.


What has AdWords got to say about this report?


User Locations

The difference from the Geographic report is that this report shows you data for your customers physical locations, regardless of any locations they may have shown an interest in from their search query.

In the below example we can see that customers in Oxford delivered the highest Conversion Rate with the lowest Cost per Conversion but customers from Blackpool had the lowest Conversion Rate and highest Cost per Conversion.

Using this information, I can make suitable bid adjustments for those locations and increase bids for Oxford and lower bids (or even pause if it was too bad) for Blackpool.User Locations


What has AdWords got to say about this report?



For campaigns that have Location Extensions added, you will be able to take advantage of the Distance report which shows performance data organised by the distance that your customer was from your business location address when they conducted their search. As this is a relatively new report (November 2013), you are not able to go back to far with the data so bear this in mind when you are reviewing the stats.

Understanding this information can be really helpful when it comes to ad scheduling and bid adjustments to improve ROI on the account.


What has AdWords got to say about this report?


Search Terms

This report returns the same data that you would find if you were to view search term data from within the keyword tab.

If you are only bidding on exact match keywords this report won’t give you any insight that you didn’t already know. The power of it comes in for those of you bidding on broad or phrase match keywords. In many cases, it will not be the keyword you are bidding on that drives impressions and clicks with phrase and broad match. You should use the Search Terms report to understand what the actual keywords were that drove those all-important clicks and conversions.

Using this data you can do a number of things including:

  1. Add all irrelevant search queries as negatives to avoid wasted spend
  2. Create ad groups and corresponding ads for keywords that drive conversions but are not listed in your main keyword list
  3. Review the match types driving conversions and add them to your main campaigns

Search Terms

What has AdWords got to say about this report?


Paid and Organic

Back in the day organic keyword data was readily available in Google Analytics until it was stripped out completely (well, the majority of it). It has been very hard to work out what keywords are driving you traffic when it comes to an organic search perspective.

Some of the data is now available in Search Console (AKA Google Webmaster Tools) and if you link up your AdWords Account with Search Console, you can see the Paid and Organic Report in AdWords.

So what does this report tell you? It is great for highlighting potential keyword opportunities. In the example screenshot below, you can see that the keyword (blurred out) at the bottom gets a lot of organic impressions and clicks but very few AdWords impressions and clicks. It shows that there is a potential opportunity to give the PPC keyword a boost and drive some more traffic through to the site. Obviously traffic isn’t everything so if you do this, it is important to also monitor the keyword to ensure it is driving conversions too.

Paid and Organic

What has AdWords got to say about this report?


Automatic Placements

For those of you who are running campaigns on the Display Network, you should be spending a lot of time in this report checking out where your ads are being displayed. There will be certain sites that convert better than others for you; a display campaign should never just be left to run, continuously check which sites suit your brand best and optimise for them further.

Automatic Placements are great for identifying the best converting sites. For sites that do well for you, I would suggest moving them into a Managed Placement campaign so you have more control over the bidding strategies surrounding that campaign.

Likewise, if there are sites that do not perform well at all for you, these should be excluded at campaign level.

In the example below, the two rows highlighted in yellow are not performing well for this account so should be excluded. The pink row however is performing extremely well and should be moved into a Managed Placement campaign.

Automatic Placements

What has AdWords got to say about this report?


Free Clicks

Some campaigns are eligible for free clicks due to the format of the adverts in the campaign. The following constitutes as a free click:

  • Get Directions
  • Display Ad Mouse Over for at Least 1 Second
  • Video Play x% –
  • Product Plusbox Expansion

Some of the above are actually clicks but the clicks do not end up on your site landing page. The Product Box Expansion and Get Directions are probably the most valuable free clicks as the user is actually interacting fully with the advert.

In the screenshot below, you can see which ad interactions have taken place when an ad is not actually clicked.

Free Clicks

What does AdWords have to say about this report?


Campaign Details

With all the additional features available for campaigns, it can be hard to keep track of what campaigns you have applied features to and which ones you haven’t.

In the Campaign Details report, you can see all your campaigns listed alongside the different features and it tells you how many you have enabled.

For example, in the below screenshot you can see how many negatives are in each campaign, how many sitelinks are active, what the mobile bid adjustment is etc etc.

Campaign Details

It is a really helpful way of being able to look down a list to uncover any missing opportunities in your account.

What does AdWords have to say about this report?


Ad Group Report

This report offers the same features as the Campaign Name Report I have discussed above but the stats are there for the individual ad groups rather than the entire campaign.

Ad group details

What does AdWords have to say about this report?




Samantha Noble is the Client Strategy Director at Koozai and also heads up the State of Digital team as the Co-Chief Editor working alongside Bas and the rest of the Editorial Team. Samantha setup the Digital Females group back in 2011 and has since run over 15 events for the group.
  • amymiddleton

    Thanks for your thorough explanation of how to use the Time dimension! It seems like everyone is advocating dayparting based on very little data and random performance (bid 5am down 20%. 6am up 15%. 7am down 25%)… it makes no sense, and your post is a breath of fresh air 🙂