The reporting function of Google Ads is one of the easiest ways to optimize your PPC campaigns and spot trends and patterns in your ad data.

Google offers a set of ready-made reports, and you can also create and save your own reports, and schedule them to be automatically emailed to you on a regular basis.

These four reports offer a lot of useful information that you can use to optimise your campaigns, research your competitors, and get the most out of your paid search budget so you can leave the office early on Friday and go to the beach, or pub, or whatever you fancy.

1. Paid & Organic Report

You’ll find the Paid & Organic report under Predefined reports > Basic when you click the Reports tab on your Google Ads dashboard.


For this report to work properly you’ll need to be set up in and – this will enable the collection of organic search data that can be used in your Google Ads reports. The syncing of data is not retroactive however, so if you haven’t already linked your accounts, you’ll need to wait a few weeks until you have enough data to analyse. 

The paid & organic report is really helpful if you’re running concurrent paid search and SEO campaigns so you can see the keywords that are achieving the best CTR when only your ads are shown and when your ads and organic listings are shown at the same time.

What can you do with this information?

Once you’ve identified your best-performing keywords you can improve your bid strategies, as you’ll know which long-tail queries are actually bringing traffic to your site.

If your website is already ranking in one of the top spots for a keyword, you probably think it’s a waste of money to bid on this keyword too. However, in many cases appearing in both the paid and organic results will.


2. Auction Insights Report

The auction insights report enables you to compare your performance against your competitors. You can run this report by clicking on Campaigns, Ad groups, or Keywords (depending on what data you want to look at), selecting the campaign, ad group, or keyword you want to view and clicking Auction Insights.

This report gives you lots of valuable information including:


Average position
So you can see how your ranking compares with your competitors 

Impression share
The actual number of impressions received divided by the estimated total potential number of impressions. 

Overlap rate
How often your competitor’s ad received an impression at the same time as yours.

Position above rate
How often your competitor’s ad was shown above yours

Top of page rate
How often your or your competitor’s ad was shown at the top of the page

Outranking share
A percentage of the times you outranked your competitor either by your ad appearing in a higher position or by their ad not appear at all.

There’s a lot of data here so it can be a little overwhelming to break down. At the top level, this report basically identifies all your competitors. While you probably have a good idea of your main competitors anyway, the auction insights report shows you exactly who you’re competing against for each ad group, campaign, and keyword. 

On a more granular level, you can see how you’re performing on individual campaigns and keyword groups and identify where you may need to allocate more budget.

You can also segment data by day of the week or over longer periods to identify fluctuations by season. This can help you to figure out how your competitors are allocating their budget and identify certain days or time periods when you may be able to take advantage of weaker competition.

3. Keywords - Search Terms Report

One of our favourites, but one often ignored. You can access the search terms report by clicking on Predefined reports > Basic > Search Terms in the reports menu. This will give you a rundown of all the keywords used that displayed your ad and resulted in a click.


You already have access to keyword research via Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, as well as third-party keyword research software, so how is this report helpful?

If you find that irrelevant keywords are triggering your ads or there are search terms with a very poor click-through rate for other reasons, you can add these terms to a negative keyword list so that you’re not bidding on them in future.

You can also identify keywords that are converting well but that you may not have optimised for yet – creating a targeted campaign or landing page for these keywords can help to increase your conversion rate.


4. Top Vs. Other Report

Most marketers assume that if their ads are appearing at the top of the listings they’ll be converting better than ads in other positions. However this is not necessarily the case.

Your ad position depends on a number of factors including your bid amount, , and the competition you’re up against. 

The total number of ads shown and the position of ads depends on the search term and the device used (mobile searchers tend to show fewer ads due to reduced space).

The Top vs. Other report shows you how your ads performed and whether they appeared at the top of the organic search listings or in another position (generally at the bottom of the page).

To access this report you need to go to the “Campaigns” page in your Google Ads dashboard, click the “Segment” button, and select Top vs. Other at the bottom of the menu.


You can then see how each of your ads perform when they’re at the top of the page compared to elsewhere, segmented by campaign, ad group, or keyword.

In general, as you might expect, your CTR, impressions, and conversion rate will be much lower for ads that are not at the top of the page. Once you’ve confirmed this for the set of data you’re working with, you might want to consider increasing bids so that your ad doesn’t drop off the top of the page.

However, if there isn’t a dramatic difference in CTR, or you’re seeing a decent conversion rate and lower cost per conversion, you can probably get away with a lower bid, as the top ad positions are not as essential.

Mark Travers