We all know by now that big data is a big deal. When you combine large pools of data, you can find previously hidden patterns that can lead to smarter business decisions and improved buy-in for new, innovative ideas.

While it’s easy to talk about data on an abstract level, it can be challenging for businesses and investors to determine exactly what type of data matters for their specific company. Take for example, a company’s online marketing budget. Online marketing is full of data points that are easy to pull and compile into a report. But which data points actually matter? Which stats actually translate into improving your bottom line?

Online marketing budgets are typically divided into separate paid search and organic search budgets, and many people completely separate the two when generating and analyzing reports. This is a huge mistake, as paid search ads can significantly affect your organic results when both show up in a search query (we’ll describe this in more detail at the end of the post). By ignoring how paid and organic search interact, you miss out on valuable insights that could significantly impact both strategies and stretch your dollar further.

The Solution: Paid & Organic Reporting

Thankfully, there’s an easy, Google-native solution that few account managers seem to utilize. Google offers the option to use AdWords as the hub of all your data to create a paid & organic report, pulling in useful insights from Google Webmaster Tools. From this report, you can view clicks, impressions, CTR, average CPC, average position for paid keyword data, as well as comparing how paid and organic positioning impact one another. This report also shows you a combined view of number of clicks, number of queries, and cost per queries when both organic and paid listings appear in a search query.

Google describes this report by saying, “With the paid & organic report, you can also see how often pages from your website are showing in Google’s free organic search results, and which search terms triggered those results to show on the search results page.”

There are many ways you can benefit from using this report, including discovering additional keywords to bid on, optimizing presence on high-value queries, and measuring changes holistically. Overall, the report will give you the data you need to make ad spending decisions that lead to higher conversions, more effective organic listings, and a lower cost per query (CPQ).

Setting Up the Paid & Organic Report

Here’s a quick look at how to set up this report in Google AdWords.

First, select “Account settings” from your account dropdown menu (the gear symbol in the top right):


Next, under the linked accounts section, select “View details” under the Webmaster Tools section:


Then, within the Webmaster Tools section, enter the URL for your website:


It’s important to note that you will need to have Google Webmaster Tools access on the same account you’re using for Google AdWords in order to generate the report.

After entering the account, select “Request access”:


From here, you will need to login to Webmaster Tools and grant access to the account, after which you’ll be ready to go.

Here’s a great example of what the report will look like once complete:


Via “How to Use Google AdWords Paid & Organic Report” by LunaMetrics

Real World Examples

Still not sure if this type of report would be useful to your company? Here’s a look at a real-world question the data from this report can answer.

Many advertisers ask, “Do I need to bid on my own brand terms if I rank #1 organically?” The answer in most cases is yes, but by viewing this combined report, you can see the influence that paid listings have on your organic listings when shown together. If you so choose, you can pause your branded keywords and see how your organic traffic does on that same keyword set. I wouldn’t recommend doing this for long, but it would serve as a good test on whether or not bidding on your own brand terms is financially viable. This type of report is especially useful for presenting ad spend budgets to other people within your organization.

How do you combine paid and organic search campaigns to get the best results? If you are just getting started with SEO and are waiting for your rankings to take shape, paid search can be a great way to get some immediate search traffic to your site. PPC can be a great way to test targeted keywords and ad copy to better discover which language resonates with your potential customers. If you discover high performing ad copy, there is a good chance that incorporating the same keyword strategy will work for your SEO content campaigns.

One of the few drawbacks of running even the best SEO campaign is that the search engines limit the amount of provided keyword data. Combining the available PPC and organic data into one platform can be a very insightful way of determining the effectiveness of your paid and organic search campaigns, and how they correlate with one another.

If you are interested in learning more about how paid and organic search campaigns work in harmony, we’d love to talk.

Chad Pearman