With Google’s constant updates and improvements to the features of AdWords & Analytics, PPC stands at the forefront of online marketing technology.  These changes may have advanced technology behind them but they’re also designed to make the interfaces easier to use.  As a result, this should make account management easier for us all.

One recent change worth noting means that it’s now possible to see selected data (previously only available in Analytics) from the very heart of your AdWords account. This essentially means that there will be no need to open up Analytics in a separate window to see these statistics, making analysing data more convenient. So whether you feel slightly intimidated by the statistical jungle of Analytics, or you consider yourself to be an Analytics pro, this change will enable all PPC’ers to be more efficient data analysts.

What is the new data in AdWords?

The new data available to view in AdWords (visible in the customise columns tab in AdWords) includes ‘engagement metrics’ such as bounce rate, average visit duration and pages/visit. These three statistics are valuable as they give an insight into how users are interacting with your site after they click on your advert. A high bounce rate (>70%), for example, may indicate that site entrance pages are not relevant to users. A low bounce rate (<30%) coupled with a high number of pages per visit, could indicate that landing pages are engaging and contain the information that users are looking for.

What are the benefits of the new data?

Engagement metrics are measures that can help you assess how effective your online campaign is. Conveniently, bounce rate, average visit duration and pages/visits are all available within AdWords at both campaign and ad group level. The metrics can therefore be used to help you make more informed decisions about bids, landing pages and advert text.  For example, if you’re split testing landing pages, you could use all three metrics at the ad group level to help determine the relevance of different landing pages. Most importantly, using this data to identify how and where you can make positive changes to your account can result in real campaign benefits, such as more conversions and better ROI.

How can I access the new data in AdWords?

To import engagement metrics into AdWords, you need to link your AdWords account with Google Analytics and enable the auto-tagging function. If you’re not sure how to do this, then take a look at Google’s step-by-step guide to linking the two.

Engagement metrics in Google Analytics

Engagement metrics as they appear in Google Analytics

Engagement metrics in AdWordsEngagement metrics as they appear in AdWords

When you have successfully linked the two, you will notice 3 additional data columns in the campaigns and ad groups tabs in your AdWords account.

What are the limitations of the new data?

As with all statistical measures, there are of course some limitations with the data itself. There are times when a high bounce rate may actually equate to a positive user experience. Contact us pages, for example, often have a high bounce rate when the required details are easy to locate. In these cases, the user quickly finds the information that they were looking for and then exits the site, hence the high bounce rate. When you interpret engagement metrics, it’s therefore important to take into account user intent and other influential factors such as industry, type of site, type of page and more.

Final thoughts

Although engagement metrics can’t fully unravel the mystery behind site visitor behaviour, the data can certainly provide some insight. If you decide to make use of engagement metrics, there are several reasons why it’s a good idea to add these directly into AdWords:

  • Viewing the new data is simple
  • Using the data at different levels can take account optimization to a deeper level
  • Importing the data is really quite straightforward

I personally think that making this simple modification to your account is nothing lost and some potentially valuable data gained.

Are you using engagement metrics in your AdWords account?  Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments below, or drop me a tweet.