The Scoop on Google Ad Targeting and Reporting

Google ads can certainly help spread awareness of your organization but this new medium involves some trial and error as you craft your campaign. That’s why you need working knowledge of the terms associated with Google ads and a solid understanding of how to reach the right audience.

So, let’s go over the basics.

Audience Targeting

One great advantage for Google ads is targeting various audiences, either geographically or strategically. With geographical targeting, you can focus on different locations. Let’s say you’re a radio station that only broadcasts in the Los Angeles area and you want to promote a support drive. There’s no need to target all of the United States – just focus on the LA area. You can also hyper-target in specific zip codes, which is called “geo-targeting.”

You can target strategically, using different keywords, placements, interests, and behaviors. For example, if you want to promote a devotional about marriage, target marriage specific keywords or people who might have interests related to marriage. On YouTube, you can even choose which channels will promote your ads!


When you “bid” on a keyword, you decide what you’re willing to pay per click, impression, or conversion when users search for that keyword. Google gives you several ways to bid on ads, and your strategy depends on what matters the most to you.

• Cost Per Click (CPC): Pay each time someone clicks on your ad.

• Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM): Pay every time your ad reaches 1,000 impressions.

• Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): Pay only when someone actually completes your desired conversion action.

• Cost Per View (CPV): Pay for video views or interactions (such as click). A view is counted when someone watches 30 seconds of your video ad (or the duration if it’s shorter than 30 seconds) or interacts with the ad, whichever comes first.

There are also two kinds of bidding to consider – auto versus manual.

1. Automatic bidding takes into account the Google algorithm and either automatically increases or decreases your bid based on a variety of factors including the likelihood that users will click, quality score, landing page relevancy, and number of competitors. The great thing about automatic bidding is that you don’t have to control it all day.

2. When manual bidding, you personally decide how much you want to spend for a desired action. This type of bidding provides a lot of control, but the downside is that you will lose any click that you might have acquired with even a slightly higher budget.

We recommend that you start every single campaign on an automatic bidding system. This doesn’t tighten or constrain your advertising, and it really helps you understand your average costs, ad performance, and audience reaction. It even offers insight into the various metrics associated with your ad.


The Google Ads Interface offers vast amounts of information for the different metrics associated with your advertisements. Let’s talk about three that prompt a lot of questions.

1. Click-Through Rate (CTR): This represents the number of people who saw your ad and then clicked on it. This metric helps you determine whether or not your ad actually resonates with people. If it’s getting a lot of impressions (or general views) but no one is clicking on it, then maybe your message isn’t getting through.

2. Quality Score: This represents the holistic quality of your keywords, ads, and landing page. It’s a very important metric for all Google campaigns because you want to make sure that your ad is relevant and cohesive from start to finish. To increase your score, make sure your keywords match your copy and your copy matches your landing page. In fact, the better your quality score, the more Google will favor your ad and decrease your costs.

3. Conversions: This represents user interactions once they reach your landing page, which can include signing up for a devotional, donating to your cause, or RSVP’ing for an event. This metric helps you determine your top ads so you can pause poor performers and direct your resources toward your most successful advertisements.

My best advice: test, measure, and repeat. Make sure that you’re trying new things, evaluating the results, and then repeat. Keep your clicks, impressions, click-through rate, and overall goals in mind throughout every campaign to ensure the best results for your dollars- and don’t be afraid to fail!

Want more information about creating successful Google ad campaigns? Take a look at my Dunham Institute course, How To: Google Ads.

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