Double Your PPC Power by Linking Google AdWords & Analytics

Some of the most enduring and powerful pairs of our collective conscience include Batman & Robin, Simon & Garfunkel, and Ben & Jerry’s (who doesn’t love Chunky Monkey?). But for PPC marketers, Google AdWords & Google Analytics represent a new pairing that should enter into our canon of powerful pairs.

The linking of Google AdWords and Google Analytics accounts represents a sea-change of new, powerful data availability from each interface. With data flowing freely both ways, marketers can now make more informed AdWords decisions based on actionable insights from either platform, drastically reducing the need to jump from one interface to the other. There are few things PPC marketers like more than a tip, tool, trick, or hack to help increase their optimization efficiency. PPC Marketing is a business where you need to work smarter, not harder.

Let’s take a look at the new wealth of data available via linking AdWords and Analytics accounts. NOTE: For steps on linking your accounts, please check out this easy Google tutorial. Once you’ve linked accounts by following the Google tutorial instructions, you may need to wait up to 24 hours for data to start populating.

The Power of AdWords Unleashed by Analytics

Within AdWords, you can now enable 4 key Analytics metrics by customizing your columns. When you modify your columns, you will now see a new category called Google Analytics. Just click on Google Analytics and add any of the new metrics to your AdWords columns.

Here is what you get:

●      Bounce Rate (percentage of sessions that saw only one page viewed before an exit)

○      Filter by high Click Through Rate and high Bounce Rate to quickly identify a mismatch between what the user clicked anticipating to receive, and the actual experience once on the landing page. Note: If you notice an exceedingly high bounce rate with specific landing pages in your account, it can be a sign of high page load time.

●      Session Duration (average time spent on site)

○      Quickly identify which keywords, ads, adgroups or campaigns drove the longest duration visits on your site. Generally this indicates highly qualified traffic, and one should consider bidding up on these if other associated metrics are favorable.

●      Pages per Session (average number of pages viewed each session)

○      Similar to session duration, just number of pages visited. Rinse and repeat for success.

●      New Sessions (percentage of first-time sessions)

○      This represents the number of new sessions (by default, visitors that visit a site, leave, then return after 30 minutes represent a new session – before 30 mins and they are considered the original session). If new sessions are low, it could mean the same people clicking on your ads are coming back within 30 mins and can indicate high intent traffic.

Another powerful feature available in AdWords are imported goals and e-commerce transactions from Analytics. This is particularly powerful in tracking micro-conversions (PDF downloads, videos played, etc.) to give a much richer picture as to how your AdWords traffic is engaging with your site beyond just click and conversion analysis. With these added insights, you can now make much more informed optimization decisions previously unavailable within AdWords. To enable this, a couple of quick steps are needed – Google can help you here.

Analytics Unlocks AdWords Full Potential

Here is where things get really interesting. The true gems for PPC marketers reside in Analytics. Here is what you get (have a bucket handy, you may drool):

●      Ability to dive into campaign/keyword performance by real revenue and cost in Google Analytics – This is enabled via e-commerce tracking and makes a world of difference in understanding the true value of AdWords ROAS. An example of this is seeing how much revenue you generated per keyword, by ad position. This is vital when evaluating the need of a number one ranking – sometimes position three brings in just as much (or more!) revenue at a fraction of the cost of that vaunted pole position.

●      Remarketing with Google Analytics to more effectively reach your customers – You can put together very targeted lists based on Analytics segmentations such as page views, time on site, or goal completions (such as video views, PDF downloads, etc.). This amounts to remarketing on steroids. Imagine remarketing to a visitor who viewed one of your videos with an ad that showcased another video that highlighted a new feature or value proposition. Or imagine remarketing to someone that downloaded a PDF by serving them a custom ad that led to a landing page tailored to, and expanded on, that specific PDF content.

●      Visualizing AdWords data in reports such as Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels – Gone are the days where the last click prior to a conversion told the whole story. Multi-Channel Funnels provide myriad conversion paths and a combination of sources on the customer journeys delivering conversions to your site. You can now see the amplification that your AdWords campaigns play in influencing other non-AdWords conversion points, and vice versa.

Create an AdWords dashboard in Analytics – Dashboards are as vital to the livelihood of marketers as they are to Formula 1 drivers. You can now create and customize the dashboard to suit your specific AdWords needs. The example below shows a simple dashboard that allows you to review Bounce Rate across campaigns, landing pages, and keywords. This allows you to quickly identify high Bounce Rate fires before they become infernos.

Data Discrepancies Between AdWords and Analytics

With linked accounts you’ll encounter two primary data discrepancies: Clicks vs Sessions and Conversion Rate. Let’s take a brief look at each.

●      Clicks vs Sessions – You’ll see a difference between Clicks and Sessions within the AdWords section of Acquisition within Analytics. This is because Google AdWords tracks clicks, while Google Analytics tracks sessions. Say a user clicks on your AdWords ad twice within thirty minutes and does not close their browser; Analytics registers this as one session while AdWords registers two clicks under the same scenario.

●      Conversion Rate – In Analytics, Conversion Rate indicates the percentage of users that convert on at least one of your defined Goals. This rate is different than the AdWords Conversion Rate, as AdWords refers to the percentage of clicks that convert into an AdWords conversion.

For full details to how Google AdWords and Google Analytics treat data a little bit differently, click here.


While the above represent what I consider to be the most powerful features, they’re just the tip of the iceberg of the PPC insights realized by linking your Google AdWords and Google Analytics accounts. Now it’s time to find out for yourself. Start linking your accounts today, and discover a whole new world of PPC possibilities.

About the Author

Since 2009, Robert Gavrilovic has worked in the advertising and marketing fields with a focus on both client and agency side PPC management. Robert is currently a Marketing Manager at RainFactory, a boutique agency that understands online business, consumer behavior, and the key elements required to help businesses scale.

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