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How to Increase PPC Advertising ROAS In 5 Minutes with Google Analytics

Have you been using Google Analytics data to boost your AdWords campaign results? If not, you are missing out on one of the most helpful tools available on the internet! In fact, there are dozens of reports available for data mining, and you can use these reports to optimize your PPC Campaigns across the board.

Utilizing Google Analytics to improve your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) is all assuming, of course, you have your AdWords, and Google Analytics Accounts synced correctly and the “Goal” and “Ecommerce Conversion Tracking” are operational.

First Steps

Log into your Google Analytics Account. Click on Acquisition > AdWords > Campaigns. Click on Site Usage and you will see these metric results: Sessions, Page Views, Session Duration, New Sessions, Bounce Rate, Goal Completions and Revenue.


In only five minutes, you can see five things that will boost your PPC Campaign with only the default results:

  • google-analytics-sessionsSessions – The default mode will show you the Total Sessions to your site, but you can also view the visits PPC drove to your site. PPC, in this box, accounts for only 1.81% of all sessions, due to a small spending amount. The Session Percent will become your benchmark for how to gauge your total campaign performance.
  • google-analytics-session-durationSession Duration – The Average Duration of sessions to the site is 2:46 (for paid) vs. 3:18. It is not abnormal for PPC traffic to have a lower Average Session Duration, especially on landing pages dedicated to the site, but the goal is to get all of those visits up to at least a three minute per session duration. Improving this Session Duration can become a Goal.
  • google-analytics-bounce-rateBounce Rate – Bounce Rates are often high on Dedicated PPC Landing Pages, because they are single pages. We never choose to panic at these high numbers, unless we see them climb above 80%.Here, we can see that the campaign’s Bounce Rates range from 28% to 68%. You can choose to check the Device Tabs in the upper left corner, and note that on all types of devices (Desktop, Mobile, and Tablet), the numbers are well within the normal range.Now, we will take a look at the Ad Group option, and find no major problems.
  • google-analytics-goal-completionsGoal Completions – Even though our paid campaigns account for 1.81% of total Sessions, they are only generating 1.72% of Total Goal Completions (Leads + Transactions). Ideally, this ration will be similar to Percent of Sessions, which can be achieved by improving Goal Completions up to 10.2%. Improving the ration of Goal Completions to Sessions can easily be added as another Goal.
  • google-analytics-revenueRevenue – The good news of this campaign is that only 1.81% of Visits are generating 6.87% of the total Revenue. With these numbers, you cannot deny that PPC is getting the job done well for this site.The ability to analyze these numbers can show you where you can afford to increase your budget and not take a great risk of losing money on a PPC campaign.But before you increase that budget, take a minute to evaluate the performance of ROI and Margin. Looking at these numbers will give you a more firm answer of whether or not to increase…but we don’t have time to address all of that in one post!

The Takeaway

So, in only five minutes, we have acknowledged three Goals to improve upon:

  1. Increasing the Session Duration to over 3:00 per page.
  2. Improving the Ratio of Goal Completions to Sessions (the Ecommerce metrics are good, and results indicate that Conversion Optimization for the Lead Gen program would be a great place to start)
  3. Analyzing our ROI and Margin metrics to make a more educated and less risky decision on budget increases for PPC campaigns.

Please realize that your web presence is different than ours, and every experience will be unique. Your results may not be the same as ours, but these tools will help you analyze those results, no matter what the numbers are.

We would also like to offer you some assistance in improving upon the Goals you set during your five minute session. Here are a few simple ways you can turn those Goals into reality and help your PPC campaign get a greater ROI without increasing your budget above what you can afford.

Improve Session Duration

First, we’re going to return to Traffic Sources > Advertising >AdWords.

Next, we look at our performance by campaign. Of our five active campaigns, two have Average Session Durations in excess of 3:30. So, we’ll focus on the remaining three.

We have 40 Ad Groups, and 10 of these have Average Session Durations < 2:00.

Under AdWords > Keywords, we sort by Average Session Duration, and discover 36 Keywords with Average Sessions < 1:00.

Now before we start turning off Keywords, let’s look at performance by Keyword Positions.

  1. Select a Keyword and set Secondary Dimension to Average Session Duration.
  2. Analyze Results.

In this example, the Keyword we’ve selected performs fairly well across-the-board:

  1. Top 1 – 02:38 (Position 1)
  2. Top 2 – 07:43 (Position 2)
  3. Top 3 – 05:08 (Position 3)
  4. Side 1 – 03:58 (Position 4)

Our Average Ad Position for this Keyword – per AdWords – is 2.7, so we are already hitting our sweet spot for it. However, if our Average Ad Position was higher than 2.0 (1.0 to 1.9), we would consider lowering our Max CPC Bid to drop into the higher performing Ad Positions.

The performance of other Keywords might suggest an increase in Max CPC Bids if their performance is solid in more favorable Ad Positions.

Some Keywords will clearly be worthy of “retirement,” and we will pause or delete them in our AdWords Account.

Under the Daypart Tab, we discover the following:

  1. 4am – 00:39
  2. 5am – 00:43
  3. 6am – 00:20

Based on these results, we’re off to our AdWords Account to adjust Ad Scheduling to ensure that our ads are not running between 4am to 7am.

Before Pausing Ad Groups, we need to review our Landing Pages for quality content.The quality of content is critical to success.

  • Identify and revise or delete content that is confusing, inaccurate, incorrect, or out-of-date.
  • Question whether particular pieces of content are actually needed.
  • Test content to insure that Visitors can easily follow instructions and complete desired actions.
  • Improve content with poor performance metrics.
  • Develop minimum performance standards and revise or delete any content that under-performs.
  • Create new Landing Pages to better align Search Queries, Ad Content, and Landing Page Content.

Finally, our current Landing Pages do not feature Video, and we will insist that they be added (more below under Conversion Optimization).

Conversion Optimization

Based on our findings during the initial analysis, we have determined that the Lead Gen part of our program is under-performing. Our near-term Goal is to increase our Lead Gen Conversion Rate by just over 10%. Here is where we will start (on site and within our AdWords Account)

  1. An evaluation of our Landing Pages. Where are we sending people? Users will leave if they don’t immediately find what they want or need.
    • Have we clearly defined what our business is or does?
    • Are we emphasizing Product or Service solutions instead of features?
    • Do we have Unique Content for our Product or Service not found on Competitor Sites?
    • Are we asking for too much information?
    • Do we have Video on the Landing Pages? If not, we will want to add. In our experience, the presence of Video provides a lift of between 20%-25% in Conversion Rates, whether or not users actually View them!
  2. If we do not have dedicated PPC Landing Pages, are we sending users to relevant website pages that contain the most useful and accurate information about the Product or benefit(s) they are seeking?
  3. What is our Offer? How well is it really working? We recently tested offering a Demo or a Trial, and the Trial offer out-performed the Demo by more than 100%. Worse, Direct Sales fell 75% amongst users exposed to the Demo offer. Both Lead Volume and Revenue suffered.
  4. Do we have a strong Call to Action?
  5. Have we done everything we can to pre-qualify prospects or deter undesirable ones? For example, several of our clients have been overwhelmed with job application “Contacts.” This was corrected by using Negative Keywords in our campaigns to deduce such queries (and wasteful spending).
  6. Create or Edit Ad Texts to improve Ad performance.
  7. Review Conversion Rates for all Keywords. Retire those that are performing below minimum performance thresholds (TBD).
  8. Where and why are Visitors dropping out of our Goal Conversion Funnel(s)?

Budget Evaluation

During our 5-minute analysis, we discovered that PPC was out-performing all other Traffic Sources with respect to Percent of Total Sales vs. Percent of Total Traffic. Now, we return to Google Analytics to validate a PPC Budget increase.

For this analysis, we logged in to our Google Analytics Account and navigated to Conversions > Attribution and under Type, select AdWords. The Default Setting is Last Interaction and the primary Dimension is Campaign.

This View provides us with data on Campaign, Spend, Last Interaction Conversions, Last Interaction CPA, Last Interaction Value, and Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).

There are two main factors to keep in mind before we proceed. In this example, the company has slim margins and needs to have an ROAS of 1,000% (10 to 1 ROI) to be profitable, and has been operating on a small Budget, which provides opportunity for growth.

At a glance, we see one of five campaigns with a ROAS > 1,000%. Next, we move to a view of performance by Ad Group, and find three Ad Groups with ROAS between 2,160% and 8,445% respectively.

A second campaign and third Ad Group are currently operating with a ROAS > 800%.

We can hit the target 1,000% ROAS Goal in the second campaign by disabling one or more Ad Groups. The other campaign is already performing +38% vs. Goal. We can confidently recommend increasing our monthly Budget on two campaigns.

Three Ad Groups are no-brainers for Budget increases; the fourth can move onto our list after optimization (turn off poor-performing Keyword or Product Listings).

While success is not guaranteed, we assume that a 50% increase in spending will result in a corresponding Revenue jump, all things being considered. In this case, for each additional $700 of targeted spending, we would expect to see an increase of $11,935 in Revenue!

Why All This Matters

As an SEM Manager, your job does not end when you drive traffic to a site; it is just beginning.
Dive into your Google Analytics Account, start with a single report, and see just how much you can find in only five minutes. Imagine how much more you will discover when you look at the dozens of other reports you can analyze!

Chris Bross

Chris is a partner of EverEffect, specializing in Pay Per Click Account Management, SEO Consulting, and Web Analytics. Chris has over 16 years of Internet experience with Fortune 500 companies and expertise in directing and implementing online experiences to promote business, products and services.

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  1. Hi Chris, this is interesting information, but seems a bit outdated as Google changed their terminology from what you’re using back in 2013. For instance, they changed “Traffic Sources” to “Acquisition” and “Visits” are now “Sessions.”

    Also, your path: Traffic Sources > Advertising > AdWords > Campaigns
    Is now: Acquisition > AdWords > Campaigns

    And, the first screenshot you show is also now different… You don’t get Session Duration in that screen anymore. One way to get it now is to go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium and then filter for CPC.

    It’s really good info, but it would be nice to see this with up-to-date screenshots, process and data.

    Thanks for your insight!

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