Using Segments to Fully Understand Ad Test Performance

Segments are a wonderful feature in Google Adwords. Although they are not new, segments are easily overlooked in value. Using the Segments drop down on the Ads tab can show you valuable data for analyzing your ad tests by time, networks, and more.


Why Use Segments to Analyze Ad Performance?

When looking at ad performance, it’s so easy to review the number of conversions, CPA, and conversion rate and determine which ad is the winner. However, if we start breaking the test down using the Segments drop down, we may start to see a different story of that ad test. For example, segment to click type and you might see that all the clicks and conversions are coming from sitelink clicks. Now the winner isn’t looking too good after all. Additionally, the keyword/placement segment can tell you if your ad is only doing well for one specific keyword or throughout the ad group. Therefore, if the ad only truly does well for one keyword, you might be killing performance for all other keywords in the ad group if you keep only the original “winner” active. Segments can also help evaluate your call to action in an ad. Say you test an ad with a call to action being a form versus a phone call. If you use segments, you can narrow down what types of conversions that ad is receiving.

Optimizing Your Bidding Strategy Using Ad Performance

Segments such as top vs. other, devices, and time not only help analyze ad performance but also keyword bidding and day parting. When segmenting time, you can use day, month, or weekly to make a timeline of performance for your ads. Also, day of week segmentation is very helpful to see across a campaign because one ad may be causing an outlier.

You can also use the Segment functionality in the new Reports Editor in AdWords. By creating a table in reports, I can see the best way to optimize my bidding strategy. Start with an ad report, then layer in devices and the top vs other segments. If you then analyze conversion performance, you can see, by network and device, how your ads are performing. In the example below, all of the desktop conversions are coming from the Top positions in Google Search and Search Partner networks. Based on this data, it might make sense for you to adjust your bid strategies to always be at the top of the page for the search networks.  The same is easily done with mobile data as well.


Looking at the Details

The magic is in the details. Sometimes it’s so easy to take data for face value, but managing a PPC account you have to dig deeper to make sure the changes have a purpose. Segments are a great way to dive into your data and see what is really going on to make informed decision about changes to a campaign.

How do you use segments in your accounts to improve performance? Share with us in the comments! Happy segmenting!