NOTICE: This post on Google AdWords Performance was revised on April 30, 2017. The original post was July 21, 2015.

If you’re spending money on Google Adwords, are you confident in the performance of every Ad Group? What about every Ad? Over 10 years ago, I created a dead-simple spreadsheet to test Ads and improve AdWords performance with less money. If this is interesting to you, read on…

Google AdWords logo

It’s fairly simple. You need four inputs for each ad, and you have to have some conversions for each. The inputs are:

  1. Impressions
  2. Clicks
  3. Cost
  4. Conversions
Improve Google AdWords Performance
The spreadsheet then creates an apples-to-apples comparison of the challenger by applying its CTR (Click Through Rate) and Conversion Rate to the impressions of the incumbent. In the example above, the incumbent kicked the crap out of the challenger. If the impressions were exactly the same – the cost per conversion for the challenger would be $206.24 versus $63.16 for the incumbent. The spreadsheet will tell you when if the comparison has reached statistical significance (it uses a basic Chi Squared formula).
If you’ve read this far, there should be an opportunity on the right side of this page to download our AdWords Performance improvement template.
You’ve also probably figured out the biggest hurdle for AdWords performance is tracking conversions. None of this works if you haven’t connected your AdWords account to your Google Analytics account and setup a conversion goal for your campaign. Remember, Google is in business to make money. They provide a great service, but if you want to focus only on pay per click without the ability to understand return on your advertising dollar – they’re happy to let you do it. When you adopt a conversion optimization approach to AdWords performance, suddenly cost per click is less important. If your conversions are high and your contribution margin is healthy, you can withstand pricey clicks – as long as your cost per conversion is better than breakeven [Learn More About Our Online Advertising Services].
Then, you just follow the instructions – if the “Impact of Change” is Red – replace the challenger with a new ad. If Green, replace the incumbent with a new ad. If Black – it’s too close to call – flip a coin and replace either the challenger or the incumbent.
That’s it! Now, if you downloaded our template – you have a better way to optimize Google Adwords performance.

If you need help implementing the concepts discussed within this blog post – as always you can reach out to us at The SEO keyword for this post is: AdWords Performance.
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Creative Commons License
How to Improve Google AdWords Performance by John-Scott Dixon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


About the Author:

He has over 24 years of experience managing and leading the Ecommerce efforts of small, medium and large companies. He has held sales, sales management, marketing, operations, IS/IT, legal and executive management positions in start-up to multi-billion dollar organizations. He has also served as an adjunct professor of Ecommerce for the MBA program of the University of Missouri (where he received an MBA concentrated in Direct Marketing in 1989). He led the Ecommerce initiative for Sprint PCS (PCS) and Sprint (FON) as Vice President of Ecommerce. He led the integrated marketing efforts for Insight Enterprises (NSIT) as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Ecommerce. Today, he is the CEO and Founder of Aidan Taylor Marketing – a marketing agency for small businesses (between $1 million and $20 million in annual revenue).

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