Google AdWords Destination URL Report: How to Use the Destination URL Report in AdWords
This is the third installment in our series on AdWords reporting via the dimensions tab. Previously we’ve covered the dimensions tab time report (aka AdWords dayparting) and AdWords conversion reporting via the dimensions tab. In today’s post, our focus will be on Destination URL report within the dimensions tab.
What Is the Destination URL Report?
The destination URL report is pretty straightforward: it’s showing you a list of the various destination URLs (i.e., your actual landing pages where you’re sending traffic – not your display URLs) in your AdWords account. As with any report in the dimensions tab, you can customize the columns in this report to give you a variety of different data points:
In the screenshot above we’re focusing our column selection on two key components of the report:
- Cost and conversion data
- Campaign and ad group of associated destination URL
Adding in campaign and ad group columns makes your report a little more complex and difficult to manipulate, but it’s also the best way of getting actionable data out of the destination URL report.
How to Get Actionable Insights from Your Destination URL Report
So what are we actually looking for in this data? Like most reports and data sets, we want to find actionable opportunities to improve performance, of course, and in many cases a great way to spot these quickly is by looking for outliers. We want to find some instances of destination URLs in our campaign that either:
- Aren’t properly paired with an ad group or campaign
- Perform particularly well with a specific group or campaign
In the first instance, if we can find a destination URL that doesn’t work well with an ad group from a cost per acquisition and conversion volume standpoint, we can find or build a page that’s a better fit. Similarly, if you can find a page that’s performing particularly well when paired with an ad group or campaign, that page can serve as a good template for tweaks you might want to make to your underperforming destination URLs.
One way to do this effectively is using pivot tables (I won’t get into the mechanics of using pivot tables here, but you can check out Chad’s post on analyzing your AdWords Geographic Report, his posts on re-creating campaign performance charts in Excel, or just study up on pivot tables in general). Looking at this data in a pivot table, or just removing the ad group column and analyzing the data at the campaign level can be interesting, particularly if you have a semantically organized campaign structure. In other words, if your campaign structure is similar to this:
- Campaign – Shoes
- Ad Group 1 – Black Shoes
- Ad Group 2 – Basketball Shoes
- Ad Group 3 – Black Basketball Shoes
This lets you look at the performance of a destination URL not just at the account or ad group level, but at the campaign level. For instance in the example above, you might find that the black shoes page performs well in the black shoes group but poorly across the campaign when applied to groups like the black basketball shoes group, while another page fares better when “stretched.” This can push you to look at both page designs and the match between the targeting in the groups that do and don’t work well, and can help you better match landing pages to segmentations.
If you’d prefer to stay out of Excel but want to be able to gain some quick insights, you can use AdWords filters to have outliers bubble up:
By setting filters for data points such as:
- High cost per conversion
- Low cost per conversion
- High cost and zero conversions
You can pull a report of only outliers to get insights around.
Ultimately, as with many of the dimensions reports, the destination URL report is one that can be helpful in giving you a new point of view around a different angle of your campaign than a lot of the default AdWords views, so that you can dig a little deeper and gain additional insights into your account.