28 Genius Google Ads Filters For Better Performance [By Experts]

Evan Oliver
Evan Oliver
Director of Marketing
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Raise your hand if you like wasting time on mundane tasks when there’s a smarter, more efficient way to get things done. 

*crickets*

No one?

DUH.

You’re here because 👏 time 👏 is 👏 money 👏 

So let’s get into it. Let’s save you precious minutes/hours/days, crank up that money meter, and get jiggy efficient with it.

Google Ads filters are one of the best ways to quickly identify optimization opportunities in your Google Ads account–in other words, ways to stop wasting money faster.

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about Google Ads filters, including what they are, how to use them, and plenty of examples of our favorite Google Ads filters you can use for your own account. 

  

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What are Google Ads filters?

Google Ads filters allow you to set specific criteria for Campaigns, Ad Groups, and/or Keywords to help you monitor performance at each account level.

With Google Ads filters, you don’t have to manually comb through rows upon rows of data to find what you need to look at to assess performance. With a few quick keystrokes, you’ll get to the most important information in the blink of an (unstrained) eye.

They’re super easy to learn and apply—and the time and headaches they’ll save you are worth their weight in gold.

There’s really no reason why you shouldn’t be using Google Ads filters. They allow you to group data in such a way that you’ll immediately know how to optimize your campaigns upon logging into your account. Having filters in place enables you to improve efficiency while optimizing for more conversions in one fell swoop. 

How to use Google Ads filters

If you’re convinced that Google Ads filters are worth trying out, let’s move on to how to use them. Click on the Campaigns link in the left-hand menu to open the statistics table. The filter icon shows what filters you’re currently using; you can add a new one using the “Add Filter” link.

Google Ads filters at campaign level
The location of filters at the campaign level

The location of filters at the campaign level

Easy to find, right? You can also find the same filter menu at the ad group level, keyword level, ad level, and more.

Once you click on the “Add Filter” button, a drop-down window will pop up. This is where you’ll see built-in filter options, including any you’ve created yourself.

Here’s what this looks like on the screen:

Google Ads new filter
 Adding a new filter

Useful tips for getting started with Google Ads filters

Now that you know where to find them, there are just a handful of things you should know that will help you out when creating Google Ads filters. These are things that may seem obvious once you’re accustomed to using Google Ads filters, but might not be immediately apparent to first-time filter users. 

Most filters use mathematical symbols or text input

Here’s a quick refresher:

  • > Greater than: All data with a value higher than a number you choose
  • > = Greater than or equal to: All data with a value that’s either higher than a number you choose or equal to it 
  • < Less than: All data with a value lower than a number you choose
  • < = Less than or equal to: All data with a value lower than a number you choose or equal to it

Pretty simple stuff, but those carrots can be confusing if you don’t use them a lot.

Many filters require you to input a number and specify one of the above conditions–for example if you want to look at keywords with clicks greater than or equal to 5. 

Other filters will have you input text. For example, say you wanted to review all campaigns for a certain product. In this case, you’d input the campaign name into the campaign name filter: 

Google Ads filter dialog box
Input your text in the filter dialog box

Many text filters allow you to look for multiple strings of text at once, and you would do this by entering one unique value per line. For example, one campaign name per line, or one word per line.

Filters are grouped into filter categories

Google Ads filter options vary depending on the account view you’re looking at (e.g., Campaign, Ad Group, Keyword, etc.). For example, some filters on the Campaign level are different from those on the Ad Group level and vice versa. However, some filter categories, like Performance, Conversions, and Attributes, are available to use with most views.  

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Google Ads filter categories
You can find these filters on every level

The filters you use most will depend on your goals

Just because a filter exists doesn’t mean you have to use it. If your goals for boosting ad group performance include a particular cost-per-acquisition (CPA), average cost,  or cost-per-click (CPC), don’t waste your time configuring filters that focus on impressions. Remember that filters are only effective when you use them to hone in on data that will help you optimize for a better outcome—which should be tied to a business objective.

How to layer multiple Google Ads filters

Maybe you want to drill down into very specific data (for example, a holiday campaign that has garnered more than five conversions in a given time period with a CPA under $50). Just follow these steps to add multiple restrictions within a single filter in any view:

  1. To start, click the “Add Filter” button (in the row with the filter icon at the top of the statistics table), then choose your filter from the drop-down
  2. Enter the parameters you want to use in the box that pops up
  3. Click Apply
  4. To add additional filters, click “Add Filter” and repeat the above steps to add the new restriction

To remove a particular filter you’ve set, click the “x” on the right side of the filter. Campaign status is the only filter that can’t currently be removed, but you’re likely to be using this filter constantly anyway, whether to see enabled items only, paused items only, or both.

layering Google Ads filters
Ta da—you’ve mastered layering Google Ads filters 

The data you’re looking for will appear in the table below the filter, proving that filtering can definitely be a smart way to find information fast.

How to save a Google Ads filter

Saving filters is key to maximizing your efficiency–after all, who wants to set up complicated filters from scratch every time you log into your account? If you want to save a filter, click the “Save” icon located on the right-hand side of the filter bar above the statistics table. 

Google Ads save
Remember floppy disks? That’s the icon you’ll use to save your filters

Name it and your saved filter will appear in the dropdown menu the next time you go to apply a new filter.

Google Ads saved filters
 All your saved filters

Must-have Google Ads keyword filters

Of course, the ability to dive into the weeds makes knowing which filters to choose a little more complicated.

That’s why it’s best to make a list of the metrics that are most important to track your goals before you dive in. Is it seeing ad groups that have a low cost per conversion but high spend? Keywords that have high impressions but few clicks?

A good rule of thumb to follow: look for high cost and low performance.

To help you get started, we’ve listed a few of our favorite filters below.

Google Ads filters to help eliminate wasted spend

Without proper management, you could waste a lot of money on Google Ads. Even with tight single keyword ad groups and precise targeting (among other tactics), errant clicks and low-converting ads can still hit your wallet hard and decrease your return on investment (ROI). Use filters to help you identify these leaky buckets and you’ll run a tighter ship than ever. Are you ready for the secret sauce? 

Filter 1: Cost >= 2 or 3 times your CPA goal or average CPA + Conversions < 1

This should be the number one filter you review every time you log into Google Ads. It’s the most effective filter to look at to figure out where you’re wasting money. You can also switch it up a bit so it aligns with your business goals, like this: 

Filter 2: Cost >= 2 or 3 times your average CPA + Conv. Value / Cost (ROAS) < your ROAS goal

Alternatively, you can dig deeper and identify wasted spend based on other factors, like your keyword match type, which can give you some interesting insights on how match types affect your performance. For instance, broad keywords may be racking up spend, but giving little back–maybe that’s cause enough to run on phrase and exact match types only.

Filter 3: Cost >= 2 or 3 times your average CPA + Conversions < 1 + Match Type = Broad, Phrase or Exact

Quality Score Google Ads filters

Recognizing keywords with low Quality Scores is the first step towards improving your overall CTR.  

Breaking the Quality Score rankings into groups of three (1-3 for low, 4-6 for medium, 7-10 for high) is usually enough to do the trick. And remember, the Quality Score filter is only available at the keyword level.

Filter 4: For Low Quality Score ranking (1-3)

Filter 5: For Medium Quality Score ranking (4-6)

Filter 6: For High Quality Score ranking (7-10)

Let’s look at how to filter for Quality Score:

Google Ads quality score
Again, not too complicated

Let’s say we’re running several different campaigns, each with a different bid strategy. For our CPA-driven campaigns, we want to make sure that we’re optimizing for only the best-performing keywords that are below our $10.00 conversion cost.

This filter will show us the keywords that we want to get rid of: those that have low Quality Scores and conversion costs that are higher than our max:

Filter 7: Specified bid strategy type + Quality Score less than or equal to 6 + Conversion value per cost greater than $10

Google Ads filter
And here’s how this one looks

Click-through rate Google Ads filters

The idea here is to filter for those keywords with low CTRs but high impressions to see what’s performing worst. Or, you can look at keywords with high CTRs, to see what’s doing best.

Filter 8: For keywords with CTR < 10% + Impressions >= 100

Filter 9: For keywords with CTR > 15%

These filters will identify your worst and top-performing keywords across all ad groups and campaigns.

Search impression share Google Ads filters

We’ve been waiting a while for this one. Who knew seeing how you measure up against competitors could be so easy?

Filter 10: For specified keyword + Search Impression Share

The search impression share filter helps you understand how your keywords and ad groups are faring against the competition. It can indicate if you’re ‘owning’ the keyword or if you need to bid more.

Filter 11: For specific keyword + Search Top IS (Impression Share) 

Filter 12: For specific keyword + Search Absolute Top IS 

You also can filter for impression share specifically lost to rank, which enables you to see what percentage of your eligible impressions you're missing out on because of where your ad falls on search results. From there, you can drill down into attributes that might cause rank issues, like bids or Quality Score.

Keyword bid position Google Ads filter

While this position is based on averages, it’s helpful to see whether a keyword makes the cut-off for a first-page bid.

Filter 13: Status Reason > Below First Page Bid

Google Ads bid position
A handy filter to add to your arsenal

Handy Google Ads search terms filters

If you don’t know what search terms trigger your ad to show, optimizing your account is pretty challenging. Filters enable you to easily identify opportunities for excluding irrelevant terms or adding additional keywords that do make sense for your business.

Search term text & keyword text Google Ads filters

The search term text filter focuses on search terms, helping you analyze your data to see what terms you are and aren’t ranking on. Say the keyword for your eCommerce page is “brown boot”.

Filter 14: Added/Excluded = None + Search Term contains “bear”

Filter 15: Added/Excluded = None + Search Term contains “slipper”

Selecting “None” for Added/Excluded means it will only show keywords that aren’t already added or excluded. Based on the search terms that show up, you’ll get clued to whether it’s worth adding negative keywords to avoid wasted clicks, adding new keywords, or setting up new ads to boost performance.

Here’s another thing to filter for in search terms:

Filter 16: For Keyword Text

Google Ads keyword text filter
Adding a keyword text filter to search terms

In search terms, the keywords column shows what keyword triggered each search term. Once you have the "keyword" column added to search terms, this filter will show all search terms that were brought in by keywords containing certain words or phrases. 

Google Ads keyword column
Adding the keywords column is simple

Match type Google Ads filter

Did you know that Google allows close variants of exact match keywords to trigger your ads? Because of this, you may notice a disparity in CPA or conversions between search terms that exactly match your exact match keyword versus search terms that only closely match. If your CPA is much higher for exact match close variants, you may want to consider engaging in Keyword Tapering.

Filter 17: Match Type > Exact Match (close variant)

Filter 18: Match type > Broad / Phrase / Exact / Phrase (close variant)

Our favorite Google Ads ad group filters

While the devil is certainly in the keyword details, ad group filters are also powerful, especially when you’re testing many different scenarios.

Some great ad group filter ideas to improve the health of your campaigns:

Impressions and Clicks. An oldie but still a goodie. Just create a filter for groups where you have a certain level of impressions but no clicks, and consider revising ad copy or pausing the ads.

Filter 19: For Impressions less than 100 + Clicks less than 1

Clicks but No Conversions. Look for these underperforming ad groups and flag them for further investigation, such as message cohesion between landing page and ad text.

Filter 20: For CTR greater than 10% + Conversions less than 1

Good Engagement. Ad groups where visitors stay on the page longer and with higher click-throughs equal good engagement.

Filter 21: Avg. session duration (seconds) > 120 + CTR >= 15%

Note that you’ll need to connect your Google Analytics account to your Google Ads Account to use this filter.

Top Google Ads campaign filters

Campaign filters are best implemented when you’re managing multiple campaigns.

In those instances, we recommend using filters that revolve around low conversions and high spend. This helps you look for wasted spend (i.e., no conversions) as discussed earlier in the keywords section of this article.

Other campaign-level filters that are helpful:

End Date and Conversions. Identify those campaigns that are over or underperforming before they end.

Filter 22: (Under-performing campaigns): For Campaign end date + CPA >= 2-3 times your goal 

Filter 23: (Over-performing campaigns): For Campaign end date + CPA < your goal 

Invalid Clicks. Campaigns that are generating too many invalid clicks should raise a flag as these can raise your overall cost. While Google monitors for and automatically filters out any invalid clicks they identify, if a certain campaign is generating too many invalid clicks, it could be cause for investigation on your end.

Filter 24: For specified number of invalid clicks

High Bounce Rates. Campaigns with high bounce rates, plus those with high bounce rates and high clicks, likely need adjustments to ad copy or images, or even the CTA itself. (Keep in mind that you’ll need a Google Analytics account that’s connected to your Google Ads account to use this filter.) 

Filter 25: Bounce rate > 55%

Filter 26: Bounce rate > 55% + Clicks >= 150

And there are more. Again, choosing what filters you need and at what level will depend on your end goals.

Google Ads filters to manage activity

When used right, Google Ads filters are like the perfect hard-working intern who tracks all activity happening within your account. They are especially helpful when working with an external agency because they enable you to see what changes and updates the agency is making to your account, giving you a clear view of their productivity and effectiveness. (If you’re not impressed with your current agency, try Klientboost—we’ll deliver on our promises and then some.)

There are several other filters that help you stay on top of your Google Ads account when it’s managed by an outside team or agency. One of our go-to’s is Change History, which will show you different breakdowns of the activity on your account based on your specified parameters. For example, you could create a custom filter that searches for any changes made by a specified user in your account or in a specific campaign or ad group.

Filter 27: For specified campaign + Specified user

Filter 28:  For specified ad group + Specified user

This filter is also a great way to understand the optimization process when you’re not the one doing the optimization, so you can see how much work is (or isn’t) being done. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to navigate to the change history tab to use the filters listed above. 

Google Ads change history
Now you can snoop like a pro

Key takeaways

Google Ads filters enable you to quickly zero in on the data that will help you make smart decisions for any ads—PPC, Google Display Network, YouTube, and more. By using filters that make sense for your business goals, you’ll save time, boost your Google Ads ROI, assess whether your agency deserves your business and more. There’s almost no limit to what you can have at your fingertips as soon as you log into your account. 

Now that you have a better idea of what filters can do to improve your Google Ad campaigns, you can supercharge them with Google Ads extensions. Take a look at our next article for some killer extensions that will take your Google Ads account to the next level.

Chapter 8:
Google Ads Optimization

What You’ll Learn: Learn the optimization routines we use to take poor-performing Google Ads accounts to turn into the envy of your competitors.

Chapter 9:
Google Ads Tips

What You’ll Learn: Discover the unknown strategies we use to take your Google Ads performance to a whole new level.

Chapter 10:
Google Ads Statistics

What You’ll Learn: Dive deep into the industry averages and see how you compare to the different industries that advertise through Google Ads.