Connecting Ads and Analytics

Does your digital marketing agency join the dots?

Many marketers and digital marketing agencies are missing out because they are not joining the dots between Google Ads and Google Analytics.

In this article we look at why you should do it.

How to link Google Ads and Google Analytics

First of all, back to basics. What do each of the above do, in one easy sentence?

  • Google Ads: enables your ad to appear on Google when someone searches for products or services like yours.
  • Google Analytics: enables you to track and monitor traffic to your website.

If you have accounts for both Google Ads and Google Analytics it seems logical to link them together. Not only that, but Google’s platform enables tight integration and data sharing between Ads and Analytics, but this only works if account users choose to enable the links.

Despite this, recent research by Littledata found that around 25% of larger companies are not linking their Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts. One of the reasons for this appears to be a perception that the logistics will be a nightmare. But the process is quite simple to do and is well worth it.

Full instructions on how to link Ads and Analytics are provided by Google here.

Five benefits of linking Google Ads and Google Analytics

So what exactly are the benefits of linking Ads and Analytics? Here are five benefits that we think are important.

1. Improved Ads reporting
Put simply, you will get much better data if you link Ads and Analytics together. Google Analytics has a section of Acquisition reports dedicated solely to Ads performance which you can only access if you have linked Ads and Analytics and have enabled auto-tagging in Ads. These reports enable you to combine Ads and Analytics data to find more meaningful into a different key behaviours or goals, and optimise accordingly.

2. Visibility of Analytics Data in the Ads Interface
Similarly, once your accounts are linked you can see some Analytics data in Ads. This means that in your Campaigns, Ad Groups, Ads, and Keywords you will be able to include Analytics metrics such as Bounce Rate, Pages / Session, Average Session Duration, and % New Sessions. This data can be invaluable for testing or reviewing the performance of a certain keyword or ad group, and can also provide insight into the reason behind low conversion rates.

3. Using Analytics Goals in Ads
If you link Analytics and Ads you can also import Analytics goals and ecommerce transactions into Ads to improve your conversion tracking. Google Analytics goals provide various benefits that Ads Conversion Tracking does not, including the ability to create goals within its interface without making any changes to the site. It also enables ecommerce marketers to see multi-channel attribution and Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS).

Analytics relies on a universal pixel, similar to Facebook and various other platforms. This enables a single pixel to be applied across all the pages of your site. So, for example, you need to base goals on a new conversion action it can be done quickly and easily.

The Google Analytics pixel also works seamlessly with Apple platforms – including new Safari updates for High Sierra OS – whereas the Ads conversion pixel is only viable for 24 hours on some Apple platforms.

4. Using Analytics Audience data in Ads
Linking Analytics and Ads also enables you to retarget audiences more effectively. You are able to link any of the following user data from Analytics with visitor page engagement data from Ads.

  • All default Analytics data
  • Data imported from linked Ads accounts
  • Data imported from DoubleClick accounts
  • Data imported via Data Import

This means that you can create much more accurate lists for retargeting than you would be able to by using Ads data alone.

5. More valuable Multi Channel Funnel reports
By linking Ads and Analytics, you will also obtain richer and more granular data in Analytics Multi-Channel Funnel reports. In particular, the Assisted Conversions and Top Conversion Paths reports have the functionality to segmenting Ads traffic from other channels.

For more information on the benefits of linking Ads and Analytics, watch this video:

Now is the time to link Google Ads and Google Analytics

To conclude, whether you’re a marketer, website manager or digital marketing agency linking your Google Ads and Google Analytics will enable you to achieve more accurate reporting and marketing attribution. This in turn will lead to more informed decisions and increased ROI from your marketing campaigns.

So if you are one of the businesses that is currently missing out on the benefits that we have looked at today, now is the time to get it sorted!