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Google Launches “Explanations” To Unlock Campaign Performance

New Google Ads Beta Explains Performance Changes

Following on from Google’s recent expansion of “Optimization Score” for Display, Google has announced the launch of another must-use insight tool, this time for Search.

Google Ads has launched a new beta feature, "Explanations", which provides insights as to why campaign performance is being affected.

Identifying peaks or troughs in campaigns is one thing, but understanding WHY it has actually occurred is another thing all together. The process of playing Columbo is both time consuming and challenging to get right, meaning marketers are prone to erroneous optimisations, shackling performance.

With explanations, you can view the most likely reasons for impression, click, and cost changes with the click of a button. Making it easy for you to spend more time focusing on optimisation, and less time investigating performance issues.

Like Columbo, But Online Media

For example, let’s say you notice a big week-over-week drop in impressions for one of your campaigns.

Rather than diving into multiple reports to find out what happened, you can just click on the “See Explanations” button on your campaign and ad group tables while in time comparison mode.

Before you get started with explanations, keep the following in mind:

  • Explanations can compare two time periods of equal length within the last 90 days
  • Explanations may only show for campaigns with significant performance changes

Explanations are only available for Search campaigns using manual bidding or enhanced CPC at the moment.

You won’t see explanations for Search+, Display, Video, Shopping, or Dynamic Search Ads campaigns, or campaigns with auto-bidding.

Everything From Copywriting To Competition

Google is going all-out with explanations and, in doing so, will bring a degree of transparency to campaign performance unparalleled within media.

For clients and agencies alike, the new feature will save vast amounts of time on optimisation and will bring an air of unmatched accountability. i.e. Those on the front line of planning and implementation will find it very difficult to bury weak performance under Google ad jargon and smoke and mirrors.

The explanations will lie in plain sight.

Explanations can help you learn more about how the following factors might have affected your campaign or ad group performance:

  • Bid changes: How changes to your bids may have affected where and how often your ads showed.
  • Bid Modifier changes: How changes to your device bid modifier, location bid modifier, demographic bid modifier, and audience bid modifier may have affected performance.
  • Budget changes: How changes to your budget may have affected how many clicks and impressions your ads received.
  • Budget allocation: How spreading your budget across multiple entities (for example, ad groups) may have affected the performance of other entities.
  • Budget exhaustion rate: How changing your average cost-per-click (CPC) may have caused your budget to run out more quickly or slowly than usual.
  • Eligibility: How different factors may have affected how often your ads were eligible for traffic (for example, budget exhaustion or pausing an ad group or campaign, when all ads in an ad group were disapproved).
  • Change history: How changes to your account may have affected your account’s performance.
  • Targeting changes: How changes to location targeting, keywords targeting, keyword status, and adding/removing an audience may affect performance.
  • Auction competitions and search interest: How changes in search volume on Search partners and opt-in/opt-out of Search partners may affect performance.

Explanations is currently in beta, and will continue to expand on its functionality in the coming months, so keep your eyes peeled within Ads Manager.

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