B2C Marketing Analytics for Beginners

Adwords Overview

Adwords, Google’s advertising platform, supports all paid marketing across Google. This includes:

  • Google search – where you can advertise along with search results (paid search)
  • Google Display Network – which gives you access to millions of Google’s placements across internet properties (display advertising)
  • YouTube – where you can advertise through videos on their social network (social media marketing)

This lesson will give you an overview of the groupings used in Adwords and will show you the basics of the Adwords analytics tool. Later sections will go into the details of measuring your campaigns across each type of advertising.

Adwords Groupings

A campaign is made up of one or more ad groups, which in turn is made up of one or more individual ads.

Ad groups are collection of ads that share common targeting (keywords, demographics, topics they’re interesting in, etc…). The ads themselves can vary in physical appearance (image, video, text, etc…) and in the URL they take you to, but they share the same targeting as all ads in their ad group. Ad groups of the same type that share a budget, location targeting, and other settings make up a campaign. According to Adwords, “campaigns are often used to organize categories of products or services that you offer.”

It’s easiest to understand this set up through an example. Say we sell movie DVDs and want to advertise two genres: romantic comedies and horror films. We want to advertise on YouTube and on Google search. On YouTube, we have two different video ads for each genre. One way to organize our ads could be like so:

Adwords Grouping Example

A campaign can only be of one of these types:

Adwords Campaign Types

So to have ads on both Google search (“Search” type) and on YouTube (“Video” type), we’ll need to have them in different campaigns, hence the two blue campaigns in the example.

The audience we want to target for romantic comedies are pretty different than who we want to target for horror movies. For example, we’d want to target different keywords and topics for each. So we need to split them into different ad groups. This is why each campaign has two different ad groups in the example. Lastly, we have ads under each group with their own distinct attributes.

The types of attributes available at each level depends on the type of campaign. For example, in search advertising, there aren’t videos or images, only text, and targeting is limited to keywords, audiences and demographics. YouTube, on the other hand, requires videos and allows targeting on keywords, audiences, demographics, topics and placements.

There are many ways to organize ads. For example, if we wanted to target different locations for each genre or to have separate budgets for each, we would have to separate out the genres into their own campaigns.

Make sure you take time up front to think about how to best organize your campaigns and save yourself having to redo a lot of work later on.

Adwords Targeting

One of the advantages to advertising on Google is the sheer wealth of information that it has on its users. Whether user-provided through settings on Google or on partner sites or through sophisticated algorithms that parse out user search and browsing behaviors, Google has categorized users in a multitude of ways that allow advertisers to find the most relevant group of users for them.

Depending on your type of campaign, Adwords provides different types of targeting. The four types of targeting are keywords, demographics, audiences and topics.


The primary targeting on paid search is on keywords, where advertisers select keywords they want to show their ads on. When a user’s search terms matches the keyword terms, they are eligible to see ads.


Perhaps the most basic type of targeting in marketing is on customer demographics. On Adwords you can select to only target users in a certain age group, gender or income bracket. More on demographics targeting here.


Google allows you to reach a very targeted segment by allowing you to select your audience based on what they’re interested in, what they’re actively researching, life events coming up in the user’s life, etc… Through audiences you can also define remarketing campaigns since you can selected users who have already been to your site. You can read more on audience targeting here.


While all the previous targeting types have been on attributes about the users, topic targeting is specific to attributes about the content of the site that you’re advertising on. This type of targeting is only available on display advertising where Google can post your ads across millions of properties. To ensure your message is relevant to the user, you may only want your ad to show up on certain types of websites.

Tool Overview

While the tool is similar in look and feel to Google Analytics, there is one key difference. And that is that the menu on the left changes depending on what level of the campaign grouping you’re in.

If you’re at the campaign level, you’ll see a menu that is specific to the actions and targeting associated with the campaign level. If you’re within an ad group, you’ll see a different menu.

To know where you are in the groupings at all times, it’s useful to look at the path displayed on the top gray navigation bar.

The example video follows these steps:

  1. Navigate to the campaigns
  2. Select a search campaign – notice the menu on the left changes as does the path on the top
  3. Click into an ad group – again, notice the changes to the left menu and top path
  4. Return to all campaigns by clicking on “All Campaigns” in the top path
  5. Select a video campaign – notice the menu on the left changes from the campaign, but also differs from the menu you saw for a search campaign since you have different options for videos


As with any advertising platform, you have to spend time considering how to set up your campaigns. Because Adwords supports so many different types of campaigns across different types of channels, its set up is somewhat more complicated than most platforms. But you need to understand the set up to be able to analyze the performance of your advertising.