The Dimensions Tab - AdWords' Hidden Treasure

There are dozens of places in your AdWords account from which you can pull meaningful, actionable insights. The options available for you to slice and dice your paid search data are numerous - so much so that it can be difficult to know where to look first.

One of the first places I look when I take over a new AdWords account, or I’m trying to optimize a campaign for an existing client, is the Dimensions tab. This section of your AdWords account can provide some crazy useful information about your PPC performance that you can’t really access in other parts of your account.

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Below I’ll walk you through some of the different types of data (aka “Views”) you can access in the Dimensions tab, why it’s awesome, and how you can use this information to increase your PPC performance and reach your marketing goals.

Time

The Time view is perfect if you’re trying to understand exactly when people are (and are not) engaging with your ads. The Time view actually consists of several “sub-views,” which show performance based on the date, day of the week, quarter, or even down to the hour of the day.

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My go-to view here is Day of the Week, as it gives me a starting point to understand user behavior based on time (which I can then explore deeper in the Hour of Day view.)

It also helps me pinpoint on which days I should increase/decrease bids and budgets and which I should pause altogether.

URLs

You’ll notice there are two URL-related view options under the Dimensions tab: Destination URL and Final URL. Both of these views give you the same information: which of your landing page URLs are is performing best in terms of clicks, impressions, CTR, conversions, etc.

It’s a good idea to cross-reference this data with on-page stats for these pages in your Google Analytics account, paying close attention to bounce rate, pages per session, average session duration, etc.

The reason there are two views providing basically the same data is that Google has been working to replace Destination URLs with Final URLs as part of an upgrade process intended to make ad creation and tracking updated much easier for AdWords users.

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Moving forward, you’ll start seeing less and less data in the Destination URL view as Google works to phase it out, so stick with the Final URL view for review and reporting.

Keywords

Keywords are at the center of search engine marketing and represent the driving force behind most AdWords campaigns. Unless you’re using Exact match keywords exclusively in your campaigns, or your negative keywords lists are more exhaustive than Bubba’s shrimp preparation list, periodically checking the Search terms view is a good idea.

Rather than viewing the aggregate performance data for the keywords you’re explicitly bidding on, the Search terms view shows you the specific search terms that users typed into Google which led to impressions and/or clicks for your ads. For example, if you’re bidding on the Phrase match keyword “blue socks,” the Search terms view will show individual data for all user search queries that triggered impressions/clicks for that keyword. So you might see performance data for search terms like “buy blue socks,” “blue socks for sale,” “shop blue socks online,” “blue socks sizes,” etc. This data can serve as a valuable resource when it comes to keyword expansion or building out your negative keyword lists.

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The other keyword-centric view in the Dimensions tab is the Paid & Organic view, which allows you to compare organic and paid performance for the same queries, as well as check out the impact on performance when your website shows in both the paid and organic listings for a given search query. Understanding this information is important for a few reasons: first, it helps you see exactly how your organic and paid search efforts are working together. Second, it can reveal new keyword targeting opportunities in AdWords, as well as optimization and content creation opportunities on the organic front. Finally, reviewing the data in the Paid & Organic view allows you to utilize your online marketing budget more efficiently across your organic and paid search efforts.

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In order to get data populating in the Paid & Organic view, you’ll need to have a Search Console account set up for your website, and have that account linked to your AdWords account. You can learn how to do that, and read more about the Paid & Organic view here.

Location Info

There are three different views in the Dimenions tab that focus on location information pertaining to your campaigns: Geographic, User Location, and Distance. I’ll break down each one below.

  • Geographic: According to Google, this view “shows your customers’ physical locations, or locations that they had shown interest in through searches or content they had viewed.” You’ll want to reference this view if your campaign’s location target settings are set to the default: People in, searching for, or who show interest in my targeted location.
  • User Location: The User Location view “shows only your customers’ physical locations, regardless of any locations they may have shown interest in.” If your campaign’s location target is set to People in my targeted location, this view will be especially useful for you.
  • Distance: Lastly, the Distance view shows performance data organized by distance from the address listed in your Location Extension. This information can be helpful in determine bid adjustments based on radius targeting.

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Call Details

Lastly, we have the Call Details view. In order to use this view, you’ll need to have Call Extensions enabled. The Call Details view provides some useful insights into phone calls generated by your AdWords ads via Call Extensions. Call start and end times, whether the call was received or missed, the duration of the call in seconds, the caller’s area code, the call type (“mobile click-to-call” or “manually dialed”), and call source (“ad” or “website”) is all captured in this view. Definitely a great resource if your organization considers phone calls a valuable KPI.

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The Dimensions tab sections outlined above are the ones that I find myself using most often. There are some additional sections in the tab (Labels, Top Movers, Free Clicks, Campaign / Ad Group details, etc.) that I don’t use very much, but still might have value depending on your marketing goals and AdWords account setup.

Spend some time exploring the Dimensions tab in your AdWords account. My guess is you’ll find some useful, actionable info in there that you otherwise would have missed.