Walking around our office, I often hear the words “AdWords is hard.” This is something that we in Product and Engineering really take to heart as we strive to simplify PPC marketing for our users.
As users, I imagine that you have similar feelings about the challenges of Google AdWords and often wonder if your hard work is paying off. Sometimes validating your efforts can be harder than you think, especially if you want to understand your performance not just in isolation but against other businesses like yours.
This is one of the fundamental reasons we created the AdWords Performance Grader back in 2011. In the past 4 years, our AdWords Performance Grader has audited over 500,000 AdWords accounts with a cumulative PPC spend of almost $2.3 billion.
Over the years we’ve received lots of excellent feedback from our users on how we could improve our free PPC audit tool. With this feedback in mind, we launched an initiative early this year to redesign the tool. We spent about 6 months designing, building and testing our new tool, and I am excited to share the news that this work is now complete. I am equally excited to highlight the ways that the new AdWords Performance Grader does a better job helping you understand how you’re doing with your AdWords PPC marketing.
Before we get started, here’s a little bit more about me: I’m a Product Manager here at WordStream. I’ve been with WordStream for 7 months now and come from a background of mobile applications and data/analytics. Here at WordStream I oversee our suite of free tools, including the AdWords Performance Grader, Bing Performance Grader, AdWords Landing Page Grader and our keyword tools.
How the AdWords Performance Grader Works
The AdWords Performance Grader uses WordStream’s proprietary algorithms to analyze and audit your AdWords account across 10 key areas. It compares your performance to industry benchmarks derived from WordStream’s years of experience and intimate knowledge of AdWords. You are then assigned a grade based on your performance vs. these benchmarks and provided with a detailed report outlining how to improve your account.
Inside the Redesign Process
When we analyzed our user feedback on the old AdWords Performance Grader we found a few common pain points. To address these concerns we focused our new design on:
- Fresh look & feel
- A “Top 3” summary section
- Interactive navigation menu
- Integrated Performance Tracker
- Mobile responsive
These key features paired with improvements to our on-boarding pages were the main focus of our redesign efforts, and I’ll go into all the improvements in more detail below.
Fresh Look & Feel
We all know it’s true; image is everything, whether we’re talking about your ads, your landing pages or the report that’s doing a fantastic job helping you understand your AdWords Performance (and explain it to your manager). If it looks good, it performs better. We know this tool may be one of your first impressions of us as a company, and we want to ensure that we are delivering the same high level of quality we employ in all our products. We also know that many of you share the report with clients or co-workers, and whenever you share something it is an extension of you, so you want it to be as professional as you are.
Some of the main missions of the new AdWords Performance Grader were to reduce the amount of text and clutter while making the report easier to digest. In the new report we have restructured the way that we deliver information, keeping the most important pieces of information in the spotlight and employing tooltips to house additional details and explanations. We also restructured the layout of the audit report to increase readability and make more efficient use of space.
“Top 3” Section
Many users asked us for an overview section to help summarize the report, so we created the “Top 3” section. With 10 detailed sections it can take some time to analyze them all. If you are looking to quickly understand which parts of your account require immediate attention then the Top 3 is for you.
When we generate your report, we find the 3 sections that require the most immediate attention and display them right at the top of your report. If you would like more details about one of the sections displayed in the Top 3, you can simply click on the hyperlinked text and we will bring you to the more detailed section of the report.
Interactive Navigation Menu
We know that for many of you, PPC marketing is not your full-time job, just one of the many hats you wear throughout the day. You want the ability to glean information with a quick glance and need hard data to delve into when time allows.
We designed our new interactive navigation menu with you in mind. The days of scrolling through page after page to view your data are over. The new menu features clickable tiles that display color-coded section scores so you can easily see which sections need immediate attention and which sections you are knocking out of the park.
Integrated Performance Tracker
The Performance Tracker feature of the AdWords Performance Grader focuses on providing trend data on your account’s performance over time. When you first audit your account with our AdWords Performance Grader, we turn on this free feature and will send you an updated performance report each month. Does it get any easier than that? Just kick back and let us do the work. All you need to do is keep an eye on your inbox for your new report. Of course you can turn this feature off, but who wouldn’t want free monthly account insights?
The way that we display your Performance Tracker data to you has changed in the new report. Performance Tracker data is now integrated onto the report as its own section. You can also find Performance Tracker information embedded right into each of the other report sections to make identifying trends even easier.
Mobile Responsive Pages
In a market dominated by mobile we have introduced the new AdWords Performance Grader in a responsive format. You can now check on your account performance anytime from your tablet or smartphone.
Easy to Share
With all these great improvements and valuable insight packed into the new AdWords Performance Grader report, you’ll probably find yourself wanting to share it with colleagues, clients or friends. The new report is now easier to share than ever. You can share the PPC audit tool (not your score, that is private and we would never share that with anyone) on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+ with just the click of a button. Or, if you would like to share the report itself, you are just a click away from printing or emailing the report.
Try the NEW & Improved AdWords Performance Grader!
Whether you have used our AdWords Performance Grader before or this is the first you’ve heard of it, give it a try. It is packed with valuable account insights and is better than ever!
Once you’ve used the tool, please share your thoughts and feedback as either a comment below or in an email to me. I love hearing from customers!