Combining AdWords with Analytics

Google AdWords provides advertisers with various and plentiful statistics on how their campaigns, ad groups, ads and keywords are performing. These include metrics such as amount of clicks by time, date, location and user search terms as well as information on how users interacted with any ad extensions.

What all this information doesn’t tell us is what happened after the ads were clicked on. AdWords responsibility towards driving qualified users to a website ends abruptly once the click contract has been fulfilled and provides no functionality towards tracking users afterwards, with one exception.

Conversion tracking is an immensely useful tool to implement, despite some difficulty in setting it up initially. While most AdWords tools are either immediately available or need some minor work in setting up (such as the location ad extension) conversion tracking requires some coding knowledge and website access to get going. The returns however are immense and can not be overlooked. Conversion data can be combined with other metrics to identify the most lucrative advertising periods, keywords and audiences. AdWords’ Enhanced Cost Per Click bidding strategy uses information from known conversions to better target new users and has been shown to improve average CPA.

We won’t be covering conversion tracking in its entirety because I’d like to advocate the use of another far more powerful user tracking platform, Google Analytics.

Analytics can be used independently from whether AdWords is set up or not but can be linked with a PPC account for data to be shared between both. This means that setting up Goals in Analytics, the equivalent of conversions, will reflect in AdWords and allow conversion tracking functionality. Linking Analytics with an account that already has conversion tracking set up can however lead to some problems, such as conversions being double counted. Since the process of setting up Analytics on a website is almost identical to setting up conversion tracking it’s recommended to set up the former.

So what additional benefits does Analytics offer Pay Per Click accounts besides all the information already present and available in AdWords?

User behaviour once and after they have landed on a website that is tracked includes the following:


Bounce rate

The percentage of users left the website without viewing another page or completing a valuable action.

New users

The percentage and amount of users that have not visited the website before.

Pages / session

The amount of pages viewed within a session.

Average session duration

How long a user spent time on the website.

Page view behaviour

User page views are recorded and can be analysed to see which page views tend to lead to others.

The above figures can be combined with various date ranges as well as particular PPC campaigns and keywords to examine their respective performance.

The enriched after-click data that Analytics offers existing AdWords accounts can be very valuable and should not be overlooked.

Yuri Shatalov
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