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How to Tailor The New AdWords Custom Formulas to Suit Your E-Commerce Strategy

Every e-commerce business is different; tactics that kill it for the competition might not work for you. And many metrics you use to define your Google Shopping strategy are probably unique to your business.

So you’re probably excited whenever you have a new opportunity to zero in on the metrics that matter most to you.

Sound familiar? You’re in luck.

Last week, Google released a nifty update to AdWords custom columns that should give your inner stats geek plenty of cause to smile: Custom columns now support custom formulas.

From Google’s announcement:

Now when you create custom columns, in addition to specifying custom segmentations for your metrics, you can apply formulas for those metrics. For example, to see the percentage of clicks you get from mobile devices, create a custom column that divides mobile clicks by total clicks.

This update can benefit e-commerce pros in several ways.

First, there’s the convenience of having more information right at your fingertips. Instead of exporting AdWords data, manipulating it in Excel, and then heading back to AdWords to adjust a campaign, you can do all this in one place with AdWords custom formulas. (A big win if you hate having data all over the place.)

Also, you can save columns. So you can customize your dashboard to match how you use AdWords — and keep it that way.

AdWords Custom Formulas: To Infinity and Beyond?

There are a ton of custom formulas you could create — but one of the biggest is cost of sale. Until now, everyone had to use some other means — like exporting AdWords data and creating a formula in Excel — to compute cost of sale. Now you can do that right in AdWords. Voila — cost of sale will appear right next to all your other columns.  

You could also create custom columns that display the same information as Google’s default columns and rename them to match internal terminology, such as return on ad spend (ROAS), which Google currently calls “Conv. Value / Cost.” This makes it simpler to get the details you need from a quick glance at the dashboard.

More Mobile Transparency

Or consider how you could now track Google Shopping performance on mobile — a channel that’s becoming increasingly important to many e-commerce pros’ strategies. (By the way, stay tuned to our blog for a boatload of new data we’re going to release on that topic.)

With custom formulas, you could create columns for return on mobile ad spend, or estimated mobile profit or revenue.

At the moment, Adwords custom formulas are available at the campaign level for Google Shopping PLAs, but it’s imaginable that Google one day rolls them out at the ad group or product group level.

This would give e-commerce pros a whole new level of PLA refinement through precision bidding — i.e. sorting your product groups by cost of sale or ROAS, and quickly spotting which products have the most potential and which ones don’t. This would make staying on top of bids a little less daunting.

We all know more data is not necessarily good — it needs to be valuable and accurate data. Adwords custom formulas look like they help achieve that, and it’s worth thinking about how you’d like to update your AdWords dashboard as a result.

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