The Dimensions Tab: The Best Reports You’re Not Using
One of the hallmarks of a sophisticated AdWords account, in my experience, is one in which the advertiser has made extensive use of the reports provided in the Dimensions Tab. These reports provide access to data that, more often than not, lead to the biggest (and easiest) ways to cut budget or increase conversions in the account. The data is often quite clear-cut, and the lever to pull* is usually laid out for you. Moreover, the Dimensions Tab is the first report I look to look at when I start sleuthing for causes to problems in accounts.
*Pull Levers: verb. To effect great account-wide action in an AdWords account via one click.
I’ll be taking a look at three of the more basic Dimension Tab reports, all of which can be found by clicking “View” and then selecting “Time” from the drop-down menu.
Save 14% of your budget in one click: Day of The Week report
What if I told you that I could save you 14% of your budget in one click? That’s the promise of the Day of the Week report. They’re among the most under-used report in the AdWords interface relative to their potential value. The report is an aggregate of your account, campaign or ad group data over a given date range, split out over (you guessed it) each day of the week.
Usually, there may only be small fluctuations between days (it’s not always the case that one day is a total loser). However, I’ve seen multiple clients save 25% or more of their weekly spend by turning weekends off entirely after realizing that they haven’t sold anything for years on those days.
The day of the week report in the above image shows an average basket size 42% larger than average on Monday, and about 25% below average on Wednesday and Thursday. The client above might not want to cut out both of those days entirely, but he can lower bids on that day with the full knowledge that he’s not missing out on a highly profitable opportunity. A moderate, account-wide bid decrease of 20% on two days of the week may not seem like a lot, but you can save a lot of money with one report and a couple of clicks. Bing, bang, boom.
Bid what they’re worth: Hour of day
The next-most valuable Dimension Tab report is the hour of day report. As you can see from the example above, the client’s average basket size is rising during the morning, hits its peak at about 11 am, and then falls afterwards. If you were to infer from the data that the same pattern exists before 8 am and after 4 pm, you’d be correct.
If a visitor’s average basket size is $1 at midnight and $30.30 at 11 am, why pay the same amount for a visitor regardless of time-of-day? Usually, this report won’t really carve out huge portions of budget as it’s a little more nuanced. Adjust bids up 20% at 11 am, lower bids after 2 pm by 10%, yada yada. However, if you’re only open 9-5, you might find that this report can save you 30% of your budget or more. As always, you can let the data be your guide.
The great thing about these first two reports is that, assuming your conversion tracking’s good and you have enough data, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to get it right. Not doing as well at 9 pm? Bid less. Not doing well on Sunday at all? Pause it. It’s like paint by numbers, but in AdWords!
I know what you did last summer: Month Reports
The first report that I run when I’m auditing an account is the month report in the Dimensions tab, and I usually run it over a date range of at least a year. It’s also our practice at Digital Reach to run Month Reports for each client bimonthly. It provides month-by-month snapshots that can give context and help piece together what’s happened in the account over the last year. As with looking at any old set of photos, you either get nostalgic for days when things were better, or proud to see how far you’ve come since things were worse.
It may sound odd, but the reason why this report is so important is that it’s able to translate feelings and intuitions into game plans. People often feel like they used to do better, and if they could just get back there… well how much better? Why did things change? This report cuts out the feelings, and can translate a frustrated lament (“I don’t know, something just happened last summer and now we’re doing worse!”) into actionable information.
For instance, if the clicks suddenly became pricier last July, and the position dropped, it’s a pretty good indicator that some competition joined the fray (or Quality Score took a hit). CTR tanked? Go a month before and a month after in the date range, and click the ads tab in the ad group. What changed? Did someone try out negative ad copy? Oftentimes the client will have a story (“we were working with a local guy!”) to back up what you’re seeing here.
The answers aren’t always obvious, but you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been. You may have to click around, play with some date ranges, and open some change histories, but the fact is that having a strategy is better than having none at all, and this is a good start.
So there you have it, my three favorite under-utilized Dimension Tab reports. The first two are big savings with little effort, which is right up my alley. The last might be the most valuable of all, even if it requires a little more knowledge and a little more effort.