Custom Report for AdWords


Custom reports can be a great way to get just the metrics you want in a report. But the out-of-the-box reports Google Analytics offers are pretty extensive, so sometimes people ask me, “What could I possibly want in a custom report? Are they really that useful?”

Here’s an example of a custom report I’ve found very useful for looking at AdWords performance. You can get all the same data in the AdWords reports in the Traffic Sources section of GA, but it’s separated in tabs so you can’t see it all side by side. There are a few things I want to know about an ad, from start to finish when someone interacts with it: how many people saw it (impressions), how many of them clicked through (CTR), how many of them have never been to the site before (% new visits), how many of them stuck with the site past the landing page (bounce rate), and how many of them actually achieved the site’s goals (conversion rate). And to make comparisons overall among ads, I want to know how much I spent (Cost and CPC), and especially how much I spent per goal conversion (that’s basically my cost of acquiring a customer).

Here’s a look at the report:


And here’s how it’s set up in the Custom Reporting interface.


Since custom reports don’t allow you to filter out just the data that you want, you’ll notice that all the visits to the site are here, not just AdWords. So you’ll see there’s a campaign “(not set)” that’s all the non-campaign traffic, and you’ll see any other kinds of campaigns you have running listed here as well (such as email campaigns). However, only AdWords campaigns will have the cost data we’re really interested in for this report. So you may want to either add “Source / Medium” as the very first dimension (so that you can click through on “google / cpc”), or use this report on a profile that has a filter to include just your AdWords traffic, or an Advanced Segment for just your AdWords traffic.

Jonathan Weber is our Data Evangelist, focusing on bringing the strategic value of data analysis to our customers. He spreads the principles of analytics through our training seminars and even wrote a book on Google Analytics & Tag Manager. Before he caught the analytics bug, he worked in information architecture. Away from the computer, you can find him as a flower farmer and plant geek.

  • Sweet!

    It is going to sound like I am a GA expert (which if you read my blog you know I clearly am not!) but… I recommend going just one step further.

    From the top right (gray bar) click on the All Visits (next to the words Advanced Segmentation) and choose Paid Traffic and Bam (!) you have just SEM data. Nice clean report.

    [Though just between you and me Jonathan: Google should allow me to apply a Segment right when I am creating the custom report. Booo!]

    : )


  • Ben

    Advanced segmentation + custom reports = goose bumps 😉

  • Excellent looking report – and I agree completely that whilst custom reporting is very cool, and a great feature – at first glance it’s hard to think up what you want to combine!

    @Avinash – Did you try this method out? I’m finding that I lose my cost data when applying the Paid Segment.


  • Like DangerMouse, I find that I get zeros for cost data when using the “Paid Traffic” Advanced Segment.

    And yes, Avinash: applying a segment as part of the report would be great! Part of the really nice thing about Custom Reports is setting them up for someone who may not be very familiar with GA to get exactly the data they need without it being complicated for them, and saving a pre-chosen segment as part of the report would be really helpful with that.

  • Jonathan, DangerMouse:

    I take back my suggestion. 🙁

    Both of you are right, I get cost zeros. As you can imagine I am surprised. But I’ll take this up with the team at Google, I don’t think this is how it should work. But of course as noted about, I am not a GA “expert”. 🙂


  • thanx for the usefull report settings. By the way, is it possible to uncover the keyword options? In GA all the AdWord-keywords showing as broad match.
    regards, Thomas

  • Manifest

    Excellent looking report – and I agree completely that whilst custom reporting is very cool, and a great feature – at first glance it’s hard to think up what you want to combine!

  • Matt

    Using this reporting method I found discrepancies from my AdWords data and the data in the report. It appears just about every metric was off by a small amount, but ended up showing a nearly $1000 change in the cost. Has this problem occurred for others? and is there a solution?

    I really liked the cleanliness of this report, but if I’m getting incorrect data, the cleanliness isn’t much of a comfort.

    • Jonathan

      Matt — Do you see a notice at the top of your report that the data are being sampled, with confidence intervals next to the reported numbers?

      If you’re looking at a time period with more than 200,000 visits, Google Analytics uses sampled data for reports that aren’t precompiled in the reports database. It estimates the actual numbers and provides a confidence interval. There’s more information here:

      This is primarily a performance limitation and we can expect the 200,000 limit to go up eventually. In the meantime, the only recourse is to stick to data with less than 200,000 visits at a time, or accept the uncertainty (which is pretty safe in general, but probably not acceptable in the specific case of cost metrics).

  • how to setup custom report
    delivery with automatic delivery email
    every week

  • evpPei i dont know if that is fully true

  • Hey Great Post. It really helped me when creating a Custom Report in Adwords for a client. I like how you segmented by campaign, then ad group, and keywords.

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