Tracking Keyword Performance in Adwords PPC Campaigns

Filed under category: Pay Per Click Marketing

tracking keyword performance ppc

Google Adwords provides ppc (pay per click) campaigns provide you with all of the tools necessary to track your campaigns after they have been (hopefully) successfully built. The tools are simple enough to use, but you must know how they apply to your campaign. The 6 main aspects of an Adwords campaign that you want to track would be the CTR (click through rate), average position, quality score, number of impressions, number of clicks and average CPC (cost per click).


An impression is when everytime your ad is shown via a google search. For example, if someone uses the term "SEO Company" and an ad for Potenture pops up, that counts as one impression and that data is recorded within the Google Adwords account. Each keyword within your account will record the amount of impressions it has for each day. The more impressions you have, the more chances you have for your ad to be clicked on.


A click is everytime a user clicks on your ad. This is recorded in the clicks section for each keyword. The more clicks you have, the more chances you have to convert them into a solid lead.

CTR (Click Through Rate)

The click through rate is the percentage of times a user click on your ad based on the number of ad impressions. In order to calculate the click through rate of a keyword, the system divides the number of clicks by the number of impressions and comes up with a percentage. The higher the click through rate, the more effective your ad is. High click through rates will be rewarded with lower bids needed to reach the top ad spot of the page.

Average Position

The average position section is the average position where your ad winds up. There are a maximum of 11 ad spots available for a paid rank spot. (3 possible on the top of the page and 8 possible on the right hand side of the page). The system will calculate your average position so you can see where you ad is winding up the majority of the time. It is always better to target the top 3 spots (ideally), although the 4th and 5th spot generally can be good too. Anything lower than that will generate a lot of impressions and not a lot of clicks, because lower positioned ads will typically be overlooked. This can actually work against you, as it will lower your click through rate, thus lowering your keyword quality score.

Quality Score

Keyword quality score is simply a number that is used by Google and it influences both the rank and cost per click (CPC) of your ads. Quality score is determined by a number of factors, such as your keyword bids and your click through rate. If you have a high click through rate, this shows the Adwords system that you have a relevant ad to your users. Your quality score will increase and your position will jump. This will also lower your cost per click. Quality score is also determined by how relevant and optimized your landing page is. If the page your user lands on is very relevant to your ad, this can also increase your keyword quality score.

Cost per click (CPC)

The cost per click is the average cost you pay for each click. The cost per click varies for each keyword and for each click and all the factors mentioned above (CTR, quality score, impressions, clicks, etc) have an effect on the average cost per click. The goal here is to lower the cost per click as much as possible while still achieving a high rank. This is a challenge and can be accomplished with diligent work.