How to Forecast Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with Google Ads

Whether you’re a business owner interested in expanding your business through digital marketing, or an agency preparing a market research and proposal for a potential client, Google Ads has a surprisingly robust tool that will surely become your go-to ally.

Inconspicuously hidden away under the old Keyword Planner, the “Search Volume and Forecasts” tool offers you a rich history of real metrics, which can be used to forecast results for any keyword+location combinations you select.

All you need to access this tool is an active Google Ads account. First, select and access the account and then click on the “Tools & Settings” icon on the upper right corner:

From the drop down, select Keyword Planner:

Once inside the Keyword Planner, make sure your account appears selected on the upper left corner (otherwise select it) and then click on the rightmost window “Get search volume and forecasts.”

Note that the account selected will in no way affect the forecast you’re planning to do regardless of what keywords or locations you want to use. Similarly, this forecast will in no way change or affect the account you’re using.

After you click on “Get search volume and forecasts,” a window will open where you need to paste your targeted keywords. You can use as many or as few keywords as you’d like. I recommend you select at least 10 of the core keywords for the particular business niche you’d like to forecast.

For this Forecast, I’ve chosen to go with Plumbing Services within the Miami-Dade County area.

These are the keywords I used:

plumber

plumbing

plumbing service

plumber service

plumber near me

plumber close to me

emergency plumber

emergency plumbing

plumber miami

plumbing miami

Once you submit the keywords, you’ll be brought to the Forecasts tab. The first thing to do here is to finish setting up your plan.

In the upper Menu bar (Plan Settings), there are 3 important options:

The first step is to name your plan, in order to save it and be able to access it for later reference or to update it. You can save it with any name you’d like.

Second option is the Locations. As mentioned before, I’ve selected Miami-Dade County, but you can get forecasted data from any state, county, city or town normally available for Google Ads.

As always, Google will show you a map of the location(s) you’ve selected along with an estimate of the population for each targeted area:

Be sure to save your location once selected.

Third and last important option is the Forecast Date. You can choose to forecast results starting one week ahead, all the way to up to a year.

I normally forecast for one month at a time, so let’s select “Next Month.”

Note that you can also select preferred language and which Search Networks to target (Google or Google + Search Partners). I normally leave these two as default (All languages & Google only).

After setting up all the required conditions, you’ll see the Forecast window in the middle of the screen refresh it’s results.

Google will automatically calculate the amount of conversions you’re expected to get, along with CPA, Conversion Value, ROAS, Clicks, Impressions, Cost (Recommended Budget), CTR, Avg. CPCs and Avg. Ad positions.

These calculations are done using Google’s Historical Metrics for the keywords you selected within the targeted locations. The metrics are by default an average of the results & behaviors observed for the past year of traffic. 

Note that there are 3 important factors here that you can modify in order to get more precise results. Based on the Avg. CPC that Google calculates for your keywords, you can select what your Max CPC offer will be. After doing this, Google will recalculate the results on the fly. 

Many times (depending on how familiar the niche is and how much data Google has for it) Google will automatically calculate what the conversion rates for the business are (again based on their historical metrics). If there’s no information available, you can manually Add the Conversion rate of that industry (this can be easily found with a little research).

If you’re familiar with the niche, you can also add a Value per Conversion, which will allow Google to Calculate your ROAS too.

In this particular plan, based on the forecasted average CPC of $10.00, Google has recommended a monthly budget of $5,600 for this plumber.

You can easily calculate this budget by simply multiplying the amount of expected clicks times the average CPC.

If you know beforehand that the client cannot afford the recommended budget, you can change (lower) the Max CPCs and Google will automatically re-adjust the results. Conversion volumes and avg. Ad positions will naturally decrease when decreasing the Max CPC offer. 

You can also click on the Historical Metrics Tab in order to get additional insights on keyword performance and KPI’s based on a selected historical period of time. In this case I selected to get the averages for the last 12 months:

This serves as a great insight of what to expect when it comes to each keywords individual Monthly Search Volume, CPCs (Low Range and High Range) and competitiveness level of the keywords in the selected area.

Lastly, there’s the option to view traffic segmentation by device.

Right Under the Forecasts Tab, click on “Search volume trends” to get a drop down menu:

From the Menu, select “Breakdown by platforms.”

This will bring up a pie chart where you can see the segmentation in traffic percentage between Mobile devices, Desktops and Tablets:

This will help you identify what strategic approach you should take with your planned account.

Should it be regular Search Ad focused? Should it be Call Only? Maybe a Hybrid?

Depending on the niche, you’ll definitely see a very marked difference in traffic by device.

You can also select Breakdown by Location, in the case that you selected more than one location to target.

If used correctly, the Search Volume and Forecasts tool can be an excellent way to prepare and strategize for your new Google Ads account or campaign. It will also help you to Present a Strategic and Thorough Market Research that will surely impress any potential client.

Sandro Rodriguez
Partner Consultant

Responsible for partner relationships and growth, coordinating with the engineering, SEO and web team to make sure all client requests and goals are met. Over 4 years’ experience in digital marketing.

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