I love the AdWords Dimensions Tab

I love the AdWords Dimensions Tab

4th September 2013

Google AdWords is full of useful reports situated in various locations throughout the platform, one which is the Dimensions tab. The tab includes 29 different easy-to-use categories and sub-categories that can help you make smarter decisions when it comes to; geo targeting, frequency capping, bid changes and more. This in turn helps you; reduce CPA’s, increase %Conv Rate’s and allocate your budget’s more wisely (to name a few).

Adwords Dimensions can be used to grow your account by finding new keyword opportunities, view data more easily and save time in your day-to-day management. In this article I’ll walk through the reports available and how some of them can help you gain better results in your account.

Before you start reading through the article I recommend that you login to your AdWords account and find the dimensions tab (see screenshot for the tab’s location), this way you’ll be able to play around with each report while reading.

1.     Time

This has to be one of the most useful reports you can find within the platform, period. These reports are extremely helpful when it comes to making bid decisions; lowering CPA’s, increasing %Conv Rate’s and when you’re trying to get a sense of your sales cycle. It’s also great for evaluating your campaign progress between certain time periods and to create quarterly or yearly reports for your client.

In here you’ll be able to see how your campaigns performed during days of the week, days of the month, weeks, months, quarters, years and hours of the day. You can then use this data in Ad schedule under the Settings tab.


There are 7 different reports you can use;

  • Time > Day of the week – Here you can see the aggregated data for each day of the week. It’s good for finding out when your users are searching for your product, likelier to engage, convert etc. Some businesses might perform better on weekdays than they do on weekends (and vice versa) which is why it’s important that you point your attention to this report.(3)-Day-of-the-week-in-AdWords
  • Time > Day – In this report you’ll see you’re campaigns or ad groups performance by day, you can customize the data you see in the grid so it matches your goals and then export it via excel which means it’s a big time saver in regards to e.g. analysing, reporting and further use of the data.
  • Time > Week – With this report you can easily visualise and analyse campaigns weekly performance trends.
  • Time > Month – Similar to the weekly report, the monthly report can help you get a quick look at monthly campaign performance and more importantly to see seasonal trends (if any) which, again, you can extract via excel and play around with.

  • Time > Quarter – Good overview of your accounts quarterly performance
  • Time > Year – Quick glance your accounts yearly performance
  • Time > Hour of day – Shows you your campaigns statistics between 00:00 and 23:59 so you can utilize this report to make bid modifications based on certain times of the day. We’ve covered this report before in another article here at State of Search which includes some great tips as to how to reduce your CPA (yes! click on the link).

2.     Reach and frequency

“…Reach is the number of unique customers exposed to a particular advertisement during a specified period of time. Frequency is the minimum number of times a unique user saw your ad over a given time period.” – Google AdWords support

The report helps you estimate how many users were exposed to your ad copy on the display network and how often, over a period of time. You can use this information to help set your frequency capping in the campaign settings.

For those of you who haven’t used the frequency capping setting in AdWords; it’s useful for when you want to limit the number of times a user is exposed to your ad, therefore decreasing the risk of it becoming just plain noise and also if you want to increase your ads exposure to more users, example; 6 impressions per 1000 users instead 600 impressions per 10 users which makes it a neat way to help increase your %CTR and %Conv Rates.

There are three different segmentations available in this report where you can either see; daily, weekly or monthly data which correlates with the different time settings available in the frequency capping settings. Below is a screenshot of data that one my display campaigns aggregated over the period of one week (note: I don’t recommend that you take action based on a week’s worth of data, especially if you’re running small campaigns. What time period you should choose depends highly on the level of data you’re campaigns are getting).


After having reviewed the statistics I felt comfortable to start testing an ad serving per week using my frequency capping settings. I pulled out the report from AdWords and created a table in excel where I could see averages for each frequency per week. Here’s the report I created;

(6)-Reach-and-Frequency-in-AdWordsBesides the drop in %CTR,  and %Conv Rate in the 4th frequency I immediately notice that there is a significant drop in %Conv Rate after the 6th ad exposure. For my test I’ll set the frequency capping to 6 impressions per week for this campaign in my campaign settings. Also, in the example I tried to visualise the impact of my changes which in return helped me set my benchmark – it’s basic but a good start.


3.     Geographic

The Geographic report helps you  understand where your customers are all the way from zip code to country but the level of data you get varies between countries like for example; I can dive all the way down to zip codes in the US while I’m hardly able to get more data other than for country in Iceland.

This is a great way to gain insights, especially for local campaigns, as to what areas are returning the best results for your campaigns which helps you to better allocate your budget based on performance and KPI’s.

Data aquired from this report is either your customers physical location or what locations they had shown interest in through search, which is either labled Physical location (where the user received the ad impression) or Location of interest (the location a user searched for on Google, a location related to content the user viewed and more).

Keep in mind that what data you’re able to get from the Geographic report depends on your campaign settings. If you’ve selected the “People in, searching for, or viewing pages about my target location” you’ll be able to see data from physical location and location of interest as opposed to e.g. selecting “People in my target location” where you’d not get “location of interest” data.


4.     User location

The User locations report is quite similar to the Geographic performance report except it shows you the exact location of the user who received an impression of your ad, example; I’m located in Iceland and searching for hotels in London, while the geographic report would record my data as located in London (location of interest) this report shows my actual location which is Iceland (physical location).

You can pull out a report and compare the data between the location of interest and the physical location reports. In the screenshot below I see that about 20% of my total Conversions comes from locations other than my targeted location which is where this report comes in handy because it allows me to identify possible locations that might improve my results.



5.     Search Terms

“But thy eternal summer shall not fade, nor lose possession of that fair thou owest” – Sonnet 18, William Shakespeare. The reason I quoted Shakespeare here is because I’m trying to find a way to describe my feelings towards this report; I love it. The Search Term report helps you identify new opportunities which might have previously gone past you and could have a positive impact on your business.

For those of you who don’t know the difference between keywords and search terms, there is a (big) difference. Keywords are the string of words you’ve implemented into your account and bid on while search terms (sometimes referred to as search queries) are the actual searches conducted by the users who received an ad impression.

This report is paramount for your accounts survival because it helps you grow your account by finding new opportunities and hopefully create more revenue. In addition it helps you build effective negative keywords lists which in return reduce your CPA, increases your %Conv Rate and %CTR – in other words; it’s probably your best friend in AdWords.


6.     Automatic placements

Similar to the Search Terms report but for the Display Network, and as important. The automatic placement report shows you what placements your ads were displayed on and how well they performed. Use this report to refine your targeting by excluding placements that are under-performing or to build a list of placements that are kicking ass and selling. Like with other reports in the Dimensions tab this is an easy-to-use segmentation which helps improve your accounts results.


7.     Paid & organic

The most recent addition to the Dimensions tab is the Paid & Organic report. To use it you’ll need access to the website’s Webmaster tools account and link the two together. Due to being new I haven’t had the chance to properly test it yet but needless to say the specs look awesome. With the report you’re able to see how your paid and/or organic results performed every time either receives an impression on the SERP’s.

“The new paid & organic report is the first to let you see and compare your performance for a query when you have either an ad, an organic listing, or both appearing on the search results page.” – AdWords support page.

Besides the brilliant fact that you’re be able to see how your paid and organic results perform together and the statistical difference between both showing up together or individually you’re also be able to use it for query mining as you’ll see search queries that might trigger your organic listing but not your ads.


8.     Top movers

This recently added report offers a fairly basic and quick overview of the campaigns and ad groups that have experienced the biggest changes, negative or possitive, for the past 7, 14 or 28 days. It features 6 metrics; Cost, %CTR, Avg. CPC, Avg. Pos., Impressions and Clicks and even highlights the possible causes of change which also features a link to your change history. Great for basic account setups.(12)-Top-Movers-in-AdWords

In my most humble opinion I think that Google could have included more metrics like Conversions, CPA and %Conv Rate to give these good looking reports more value to them as some (if not most) advertisers are highly dependent on those metrics.

Another thing that bothers me is that I’m not able to compare custom periods against each other which makes this report not as helpful for accounts where results vary due to seasonality and comparing month-on-month data is like comparing apples and unicorns (yes, unicorns!).

9.     Labels

Just like the Destination URL report in the Dimensions tab the Labels report offers a quick overview of the labels you’ve created in your account. You can view labels assigned for keywords, ad texts, ad groups and campaigns and easily pull out a excel report to further drill down into the statistics.


10.Destination URL

This report shows you how each indivitual destination URL within your account is performing, you can view this data on the account, campaign and ad group level. I like to use this segmentation to quickly evaluate my landing page A/B tests and to pull out the progress report.



In some of my AdWords accounts I use more than one Conversion code and I can use this report to view their statistics. The difference between looking at the number of Conversions here versus in Conversions found under the Tools & Analytics tab at the account level is that in the latter one you’re only able to view consolidated data for the whole account while you can look at data for each individual campaign and ad group using the Dimensions tab.

There are two different reports available; the Conversion tracking purpose report which breaks down your data by the category you defined when you created your Conversion code and the Conversion action name report which breaks down your data by the name you gave it.

Here’s the data available in these reports; Conv. (many-per-click), Cost/Conv. (many-per-click), Conv. Rate (many-per-click), Total conv. value, Conv. value / cost, Conv. value / click, Value / conv. (many-per-click) and at the campaign level; ad group. Additionally, depending on which part of the report you’re looking at, you’ll be able to see Conversion action name or Conversion tracking purpose.


12.Free clicks

Not necessarily a free click… confused? The segmentation reports a “free click” based on user action Google deems free, example: If you’re running a campaign on the Display Network and using an interactive ad where users can click on certain parts of it without  going to your landing page it’s considered a free click.  The report is useful to gain additional insights as to how users interact with your ad prior to going to your landing page (or not) and is definitely worth taking a look at when determining how effective it is for your campaign.

Here’s a good example of free click vs. paid click from the AdWords support page:

“A click on the headline of a standard text ad will take the customer to your ad’s landing page. This is a standard clickthrough for which you’ll be charged.  If a customer clicks your ad to initiate your AdWords for video ad content, you won’t be charged right away. However, you’ll be charged if the viewer continues to watch the video for a minimum amount of time.”

13.Call details

With the call details report you’re able to get more data from the calls generated by your AdWords campaigns. To be able to use this report you must use the call extension with Google forwarding phone numbers which is currently only available in the US, UK, France and Germany.

Among the metrics you’ll find here are caller area code, call duration, status (missed or received) etc. The call extension is a great way to get you phone number in front of users searching for your product or services especially when you handle business over the phone. If you’re a part of the lucky “few” in the aforementioned markets I highly recommend that you try Google forwarding phone numbers and see if you can give your account more value.



It’s evident that viewing the Dimensions tab regularly can greatly improve your accounts performance by; using the search term and paid & organic reports to grow your account with valuable keywords, utilizing the time and geographic/user location reports to help lower your CPA, increase your %Conv Rate and find new targeting opportunities or using the reach & frequency and automatic placements reports to improve your statistics on the Display Network and then some. In other words; If you make the Dimensions tab a part of your daily/weekly routine you’re bound to shine.

Hope this article helps you improve you’re accounts results. There are more ways to use these reports in order to kick some ass via AdWords and if you have any tip for us we’d love to hear it!


Written By
Haukur Jarl Kristjánsson, a.k.a “the Hawk” (@haukurjarl), is a well-rounded PPC strategist, SEM consultant and trainer based in Reykjavik, Iceland.
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