Since early last year Google has been slowly rolling out a new reporting tool to a select few accounts in preparation for its full scale release, and I just so happened to stumble on an account that has it. After playing around with it for the last few days, I have some thoughts I’m ready to let you in on.
Right off the bat, I found this feature to be very intuitive. You can create a new report by choosing the type of chart or table you want and then simply clicking and dragging your desired metrics onto the window. You will instantly see your chart appear and change as you rearrange your axes or create filtering rules. I was able to figure out scheduling and how to export before even looking at the support page google provides.
(If you are looking for a more in depth explanation of the different graphs and charts that will be at your disposal, check out this sneak peek from Search Engine Land.)
I also found the graphs to be visually appealing in their simplicity. They are easy to read at first glance and you can hover over specific data points for more information. I could definitely see myself using these charts as a teaching tool for our clients who want more holistic understanding of how their account is performing. For example…
However, as a more advanced AdWords user I found myself lusting for more. Once I figured out the basics, there wasn’t much more I could do. Want to compare graphs side by side? Want a table underneath your graph? Well, that’s not possible without creating and exporting two separate reports and putting them together yourself.
For example, if I wanted to create a report for a client that showed the trends in ad-spend over time, alongside another graph that showed the changes in the number of conversions, with a table underneath with the exact numbers, I would have to download three separate reports, put them together in another document, label the axes (because they aren’t already), and repeat that month over month. In a perfect world, I would be able to do all of that in one place. (Hopefully one day, Google?)
You cannot customize axes either. I found this particularly annoying when creating double y-axis graphs. For example, in this graph below it would make sense for clicks and impressions to have axes at the same scale, so that you can visualize proportions and get an understanding of CTR. Instead, at first glance it looks one particular campaign has more clicks than impressions, when in reality it only has one tenth the number of clicks.
My advice is to keep things simple. Do not try to do or show too much in one chart or risk being more confusing than helpful in your reporting.
In summary, it’s a work in progress for Google. (There is a reason not everyone has it yet.) As it stands, Google’s reporting tab’s core value is in its simplicity and ease of use. It is great for visualizing and explaining very specific metrics or trends. However, when it comes to customization, there are very limited options. Anyone hoping to ditch their third party reporting tool will most likely be left tapping their feet, waiting for Google to build a more robust reporting feature out of this seedling.
Share your thoughts! Are you one of the lucky few to have been able to play with new reports tab? Is there anything you are hoping to get out of Google’s multidimensional reporting features?
Jess is a Customer Onboarding Associate at WordStream. She spends her free time binge-watching the Food Network and making her friends taste her culinary creations (usually to their delight). Occasionally, she can be spotted doing handstands in an unnoticed corner of the room.Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.