Google Analytics

Quality Control with Google Analytics Reports

Article #6 in the Series

Previous Articles:

Google Analytics Reports

This is the 6th, and the last article in this series. We have taken you some of the basic set up practices of getting Google Analytics onto your website to linking in external sources of data (Google Search Console and Google Ads) so that you have a central location to view your website performance data. In our third, fourth and fifth articles in the series we also told you about the most important report in Google Analytics. We will tell you again about that below.

Here is one thing to remember about Google Analytics, if it is happening on your website, Google Analytics probably has a way to track it. Sometimes that requires the addition of enhanced tracking methods such as using Google Tag Manager and recording events.

Our Favorite Google Analytics Report

Click Acquisition – All Traffic – Source / Medium.  This report shows you the Source / Medium of your various traffic sources, such as “google / organic”, “google / ppc”, “facebook.com / referral”, and more. 

Columns in Acquisition and Behavior will provide very valuable information.  The data such as bounce rate, pages per session, and time per session will help you understand how engaged you site visitors are, or another way of stating this, is how well are you providing meaningful content to your visitors.

We are very partial to the Goals columns as it answers the important question of what marketing activities (the Source / Medium) are driving the results (Conversion) that bring value to your business.  Based on this data, you can make informed decisions about where to invest your future marketing budget dollars and also you can make some predictable estimates about what results you can expect if you make these investments.

Geo Location Report

Select Audience – Geo – Location. How local is your brand? How global is your brand? If you consider yourself a local business operating in a small geographic area, but you find 50% or more of your traffic comes from outside your service area, then your content is not well targeted. If you are intending to be a global brand, or a North America-wide brand, but all your traffic is local, then you will not get the market response you want. This report includes the behavioral measures of Bounce Rate, Pages per Session and Avg Session Duration. These are excellent measures of how much visitors, from different geographies, value your content.

Need more granular detail than at the first glance country level reporting? You can click a country in the map or in the results list and see data from a state or provincial level. Another click and it will break down by nearest city.

By Device

Click Audience – Mobile – Overview. This report is falling down our list in importance. There was a time when most websites were experiencing about 30% of their traffic coming from a mobile device and that was a rapidly climbing proportion of the traffic. Now, because of factors well beyond individual markets, it’s nearly impossible to find a website with less than 60% of it’s visitors on a mobile device.

Web designers are almost exclusively designing sites to be mobile friendly, most often with a responsive website design that adapts the display to the device. (If not, find another developer.) But the important data in this report tell us how users on different devices interact with your website. If you find the Bounce Rate, Pages per Session and Avg Session Duration is drastically different, and declining with screen size, then you have a mobile user experience problem. Given the trends mentioned above, if you have a problem, it’s only going to get worse.

Landing Pages Report

Click Behavior – Site Content – Landing Pages. What we love about this report is that it gives you a hit list of pages that are ripe for content improvements. Assuming you want to appeal to your site visitors. You have put money and effort into getting visitors to your site. Now work on engaging them. Higher engagement makes a visitor more likely to interact with your site, more likely to contact you in regard to what products or services you offer.

The Landing pages report shows which pages on your site visitors most often see first. Then those wonderful measures of Bounce Rate, Pages per Session and Avg Session Duration make it obvious if they like what they see, or if they are bouncing back to the search engine results to find a competitors page.

Google Analytics Tracking Google Ads Conversions with Tag Manager

Article #5 in the Series

Previous Articles:

If you have been following through this series of articles
on getting enhanced tracking in place, linking your Google Analytics account
with other valuable data sources, such as Google Search Console and Google Ads,
then you know that having Conversion Goals set in Google Analytics is invaluable
in helping make key digital  marketing decision.  Conversion Goals lead to a much stronger understanding
of your marketing return on investment.

This article assumes that you already have conversions set
up in your Google Ads account.  We will
use these conversion actions to also provide the data to Google Analytics (via
Google Tag Manager).  You will need to be
logged into the Google Account which has admin access to Google Analytics,
Google Tag Manager, and Google Ads.

Your first step is to decide what you want to track as a “Conversion”.  In our experience, Conversions represent the most valuable activities performed by visitors to your website.  This includes activities they take to interact with your company via phone, email, or form submissions.  These would typically be referred to as Lead Conversions as by contacting your company, they will be exchanging their personal contact information for product or services information from your company.  This also provides you with the opportunity to sell these contacts your products or services, or continue to contact them, through various methods, to promote your products and services.  At the highest level of Conversion activities would be an ecommerce enabled website where the visitor makes an online purchase.  For this to be a Conversion that we can track and attribute to Google Ads, the website visitor must have arrived on your site via a Google Ad link, then perform the conversion action.

Source: https://www.picos.com.au/

Google Tag
Manager to Track Google Ads Conversions

At a minimum we would suggest that you would want to track clicks on phone links, clicks on email links, and form submissions, whether that is a contact form, a product enquiry form, or a quote request form.  In a previous article we described how to use Google Tag Manager to set up Triggers and Tags to send event data to Google analytics when these types of activities occur.  We will now build up this to be able to identify the event also as a Google Ads conversion.  To get started, log into your Google account and open up separate windows in your browser for Google Ads, Google Analytics, and Google Tag Manager.  Next, in Google Tag Manager, go to the workspace and click on Tags.  Then click New and select Conversion Linker. Click Triggering and select All Pages.  Save the Tag. This utility simply improves the data sharing between Google properties. 

Set up the Google Ads Conversion
tracker general Tag?

When we set up the event tracking, we used pairs of Triggers and Tags to “push” event data from your website to Google Analytics via Google Tag Manager.  We will now add a set of Tags to do the same, but to attribute the event to the Google Ads traffic source.  We will not need to set up any new Triggers as we can re-use what we already have in place.  Building on the example in the previous article where we set up a Google Analytics event for an Email Link Click, we will make use of the same Email Link Trigger.  We will use a new Tag so that it will send the data as a Google Ads conversion.  In Tags, click new.  Rename the Tag from Untitled Tag to G Ads Email Link Conversion.  For Tag type, select Google Ads Conversion Tracking.  Click on your browser tab for Google Ads and click the Admin Link, go to Conversions, and select the conversion action that matches with the click of an email link.  For installation, click Google Tag Manager.  Copy the Conversion ID.  Click back to the Google Tag Manager browser tab and paste it in the Conversion ID data field.  If you have multiple conversions set up in Google Ads you will also want to copy and paste the Conversion Label.  For the Trigger, choose the same Trigger as you used along with the GA Event Email Link.  Save the Tag.  Repeat this set up process for Phone Link and for Form Submissions, using the Triggers to match with the similar GA Event Tag.

Note: If you have set up different conversion actions in your
Google Ads account, you will want to make sure you use the same conversion
label when you set up the G Ads Conversion Tag.

When you have set up all the G Ads Conversions to mirror the
GA Event Conversions, Publish the GTM container.  What will now happen is when a visitor comes
to your website by clicking on a Google Ad, your website will know the traffic
source as Google Ads.  If they complete a
conversion action on your website, Google Tag Manager will fire the Trigger for
that conversion action.  The Trigger will
activate the GA Event Tag and the G Ads Conversion Tag, sending an event to
Google Analytics and also recording a conversion with Google Ads.  Because we have previously set a Goal in
Google Analytics which is matched with the GA Event, it will record that as an occurrence
of the Goal and attribute the Goal to the traffic source of Google Analytics.

Google Analytics for Reporting linking Google Ads to Analytics

Google Analytics for Reporting linking Google Ads to Analytics

#4 in the series

Previous Articles

Google Ads Reporting

Google Ads had a wide assortment of reports available to
help you assess the value and performance of your marketing investment.  This includes reports to help you determine
which ad groups, which keywords, which ads, and more, are performing best.  You can even get a geographic breakdown of
which countries, or provinces, or states are driving the results you seek.  This is all very valuable information and
helps you to make decisions on how to allocate your Google Ads budget spending.

Not all of your digital marketing activities can be captured
within your Google Ads reporting which where the data available begins to fall
short.

Digital Marketing
Program Level Reporting

In order to make a truly informed marketing decision, a
marketing manager should be able to view their data within the context of your
digital marketing plan, not just your Google Ads spend.  This includes many other potential digital
platforms including social media activities, referral traffic, organic traffic
especially as a result of your content marketing or SEO efforts, email
marketing campaigns, video marketing, and more. 
Much of this can be tracked and attributed back to the traffic source if
properly set up in Google Analytics. 
This then means we can use Google Analytics to provide us with
performance data across our digital marketing plans, not just the data we are
limited to within Google Ads reporting.

Linking
Google Ads to Google Analytics

So we must link our Google Ads account to our Google
Analytics account. An important note is that when linking these accounts, you
will need to be logged into a Google account that had administrative level access
to both accounts.

To link your accounts:

  1. Log into your Google Analytics account. 
  2. Click the Admin gear icon in the lower corner.
  3. In the Property column, click Google Ads Linking
  4. When you click the link above, you will be displayed a list of Google Ads account that you have Admin access to with your Google account. 
  5. Choose the correct account.

Google Ads
Data in Google Analytics

The process above allows Google Ads and Google Analytics to share data.  This places the Google Analytics source data along side your other source data such google organic traffic, Facebook social traffic, direct traffic, referral traffic, etc.  When viewing the #1 most important report in Google Analytics, you will be able to directly compare these traffic sources and quality of the traffic they are bringing to your site.  In addition to viewing important data such as number of visitors, the most important report in all of Google Analytics also includes behavioural data on each traffic source such as the average session duration, time on site, and average number of pages viewed.  The report can be found in Google Analytics by clicking Acquisition – All Traffic – Source/Medium.  As an even more valuable comparison is possible if you have set up Conversion Goals in Google Analytics.  If so then you can now attribute your most valuable activities on your website to the sources of traffic.

Our next article in this series will outline how you can send
Google Ads conversion tracking data to Google Analytics and have it track to a
Conversion Goal.

Google Analytics for Reporting Tracking in Tag Manager

Using Google Analytics for Reporting and Quality Control

#3 in series

Previous Articles:

Google Analytics tracking in Tag Manager opens up a whole new opportunity for marketing mangers to better understand the user behavior on their websites.  If you have Google Analytics, you will already understand the value of the user behaviour data it contains such as page views, pages per session, average time on site and much much more.  From an audience view, Google Analytics also shows the sources of your website traffic.  But we can go much further.

Enhanced Tracking with Google Events

One of the most important questions a marketing manager can answer is “what marketing investments are leading to desired results?”.  Another way to state this question is “where will I choose to invest next in marketing activities?”.  Using the tools in Google Tag Manager to track “Events” and additional tools in Google Analytics to track “Goals” we can gather the data to help answer this all important question.

We define an “events” as an activity that occurs on your website that you are interested in tracking and/or analyzing.  Google Analytics already tracks all your page views.  what would interest a marketing manager would be activities such downloads of a PDF document, views of a YouTube video embedded on the site, how far someone scrolls down the image gallery, clicks on telephone numbers, clicks on email address links, and submissions of contact forms.

Some of these are considered low leverage events.  They are interesting, and provide us a picture of the content types our web users are consuming.  This data helps guide us for future content development.  The last 3 are what we consider to be high leverage events, they are customers or potential customers (leads) interacting with us through the website.  We refer to these high leverage events as Conversion Events.

With these Conversion Events we will also go one step further.  We will set them up to be tracked as events in Tag Manager and then we will also set up matching “Goals” in Google Analytics.  By creating Goals in Google Analytics, we can automatically see these high leverage Conversion Events in some of the most useful reports in Google Analytics, the reports that help to attribute results to marketing investments.

Tags and Triggers in Google Tag Manager

You will be using a combination of Tags and Triggers to send event tracking data to Google Analytics.  Here is how we view them.

Triggers: this defines the conditions of the event, what must occur on the website for the event to happen.  For example, to track an event for the download of a PDF file, the user must click on the link for the PDF file.  To track an event for a contact form submission, the user must successfully submit the form.

Tags: this is the data that we are going to send from the website to Google Analytics.  A tag can send multiple fields of data, including Category, Action, Label and Value.  Usually we will only use the first 2 or three of these.

Setting Up Events in Google Tag Manager

Your first run through setting up events using Google Tag Manager may seem like an exercise in overwork, but as you learn and understand more about Tag Manager, it will make more and more sense the power of Tag Manager will be more and more apparent.  Make sure you are logged into your Google Account, then log into Google Analytics and in a separate window open Google Tag Manager.  If you need a refresher on getting Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager in place see Setting Up Google Analytics Using Google Tag Manager.

Step 1 is to click on Triggers (down the left hand menu in Workspace) in Tag Manager.  We are going to use a simple click on an email address as the example we want to track.  Click the New button.  Rename “Untitled Trigger” to “Email Link Trigger”.  Click the Trigger Configuration area.  Choose Just Links.  Click the radio button for Some Link Clicks.  Set the first drop down to “Click Url”, the second drop down to “contains” and in the box type in “mailto” (without the quotations).  Click the Save button.

What we have done is tell Tag Manager that when a user click an email link on the website (email links use the link protocol mailto:) that we want to fire the Email Link Trigger.

Step 2 is to tell Tag Manager what data to send to Google Analytics when this trigger is fired.  Click on Tags in the left menu.  Click on New.  Rename “Untitled Tag” to “GA Event Email”.  Click the Tag Configuration area.  Choose Google Analytics Universal Analytics.   Change Track Type to Event.  In the Category box enter “Conversion”.  In the Action Box enter “Link Click”.  In the Label box enter “{{Click URL}}”.  (leave off the quotations on all three of the above).  Click the box for Enable overriding settings in this tag and enter “{{Google Analytics ID}}” which you should have set up if you followed our previous articles in this series.

Now click the Triggering area.  Click the Email Link Trigger you set up in Step 1.  Click Save.

What you now have in place are the components needed to store event data into Google Analytics.  When an email link on your website is clicked, Tag Manager will fire the Email Link Trigger.  This will activate the GA Event Email Tag and send (or push) the event data to Google Analytics.

Category:  Conversion

Action: Email Link Click

Label: {{the actual email address of the link}}

This Trigger / Tag combination will work with any link on your website that begins with “mailto:” and will save the email address of that link as the label.

Click the Submit button above the Workspace.  For a descriptive name simply enter your name or initials and the date.  Add any description you want to describe what changes or additions you have made and then Click the Publish button.  Your Triggers and Tags will now be live on your website.

Creating Goals in Google Analytics

Keep in mind the data we just passed to Google Analytics in the for of Event data.  This included Category, Action, and Label.  As we mentioned previously for those high leverage events that we call Conversion Events, we also want to set up Goals in Google Analytics.  So leave Google Tag Manager behind for now and go to the Google Analytics window you should have left open in your browser.

In the lower left corner, click the gear icon to open the Admin dashboard.  In the column under View, click Goals.  Assuming you do not already have Goals set up, click the button for +New Goal to begin setting up.  Click the radio button for Custom.  Click Continue.  Name the Goal “Email Link”.  Click the radio button for Event.  Click Continue.  Now fill in the Category and Action using the data we set up above (Conversion / Email Link Click).  Pay close attention to ensure you match upper/lower case letters.  Click Save.

We now all the pieces in place that when a user clicks an email link on your website, a Trigger will fire, activating a Tag, sending event data to be stored in Google Analytics which will also be recorded as a Goal.

The Most Important Report in Google Analytics

Now that we have the data tracking, being sent from  our website to Google Analytics via Google Tag Manager, we can start to answer our most important marketing question, “what marketing investments are leading to desired results?”

In Google Analytics, far left hand side, click Acquisition, All Traffic, Source / Medium.  You can set the date range as desired in the top right hand area.  (note: if you have just set up enhanced tracking including Goals, you will not yet see Goals data as it is not retroactive.)  This report shows you the Source / Medium of your various traffic sources, such as “google / organic”, “google / ppc”, “facebook.com / referral”, and more.  Columns in Acquisition and Behavior will provide very valuable information.  But it is the Goals columns that answer our most important question.  If you set the Conversions drop down to All Goals you will be able to see what marketing activity (the Source / Medium) that is driving the results (Conversion) that bring value to your business.  Wondering if your social media efforts are driving traffic to your website that contacts you?  The data will tell you.  Wondering if the money you are investing in Google Ads is producing more leads than your organic traffic?  Yep, check the data, it’s there.

Adding Google Search Console to Google Analytics

#2 in the Series

Previous Article: Setting up Google Analytics Using Google Tag Manager

Google Search Console

As part of a comprehensive digital marketing measurement package, Google Search Console provides invaluable information on actual user searches that resulted in traffic to your website. This information comes straight from Google and can be found in the Google Search Console dashboard in the Search Query report. (Note: Google Search Console was formerly known as Google Webmaster). In addition to viewing the search terms, the data also includes the impressions for your website for these search terms and the resulting click through rate (CTR).

To view this data, first you must have Search Console set up, then log in, then select the report. There is a more convenient way to access this data. But we are getting slightly ahead of things. First, you need a free Google Search Console property set up.

Set Up Google Search Console

We are assuming you already have a Google account and a Google Analytics account. You will need to be logged into your Google account. Then go to:

https://search.google.com/search-console/welcome

Create your Google Search Console account. Make sure you use the same protocol (http:// or https://) and include or exclude the www from the settings depending on how your website is set to display. For example, if the URL of your website is normally displayed as https://example.com then be sure to use https:// and be sure to exclude www.

The most difficult part of setting up a Google Search Console property is performing the verification step. We suggest you read the Google documentation on this.

Link Google Search Console to Google Analytics

Once your Google Search Console property is properly set up and verified, it can be added to your Google Analytics account. Sign in to your Google Analytics account and click the Admin gear icon in the lower left to bring up the dashboard.

On the following page, click the menu link for Adjust Search Console

On the following page click the Add link. Because you are logged into your Google account which was used to set up both the Google Analytics account and the Search Console Property, a list of website properties will appear. If you are only working with one website, then only that property will appear. Select the website property and click Save then OK to Add association. this will resolve to that property in Google Search Console, leaving Google Analytics open in a previous tab. Click back to Google Analytics and click the Done button. To confirm that the association has been set up properly, from the Google Analytics dashboard, refresh the page. Then click the Adjust Search Console button again and you should see your Google Search Console property.

Search Console Data in Google Analytics

It may take up to 24 hours for Google Search Console data to be available in Google Analytics. To check for the data, in Google Analytics, click Acquisition – Search Console – Queries. This will provide you a view to the same data that is reported in Search Console, but much more conveniently in the same reporting tool as the rest of your analytics data.

Setting Up Google Analytics Using Google Tag Manager

Using Google Analytics for Reporting and Quality Control

#1 in series

We have said this numerous times, Google Analytics is by far the best free source of website user statistics you could possibly hope to use.  Google Analytics will provide you data on how website visitors arrived on your website (source), important classification on who they are (audience), and what they are doing on your site (behaviours).  This is not information that can be used to individually identify a user, that’s typically not even valuable information for marketing, but data you can spin and analyze to learn what digital marketing activities are actually working.  But let’s not get too far ahead.  Let’s begin by getting the tools in place.  The tools we strongly recomend putting in place for any website, new or existing are Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google Tag Manager.

Creating your Google Analytics Account

Before you can set up a free Google Analytics account, you first need a free Google account.  Simply go to Google.com, or Google.ca in Canada, Click the Sign In button in the top right and then click Create a Google Account.  If you already have a Google Account, just Sign In with your account.  For new accounts there is typically a verification process, such as an email sent to the email account you provide or to the mobile phone you specify.

Once you have your Google Account, you will use the same account to set up all the tools we have listed above and described below.  It is always best that the email / Google Account used to set up the tools belongs to the business owner, or the website owner.  These are your account properties, you should own them.

Once you are logged into the Google Account you own, it’s time to get your Google Analytics account.  Click the following link to get started:

https://analytics.google.com/

You will need to name the account.  This does not need to be the name of the website.  Most often it will be your business name, but you can name the account anything you want.  Leave the Account Data Sharing Settings as they are, checked.  Click Next.  Click on Web for what you want to measure.  Click Next.  For Property details, provide the name of your website and then your website URL.  Make sure you properly indicate if your website is https:// or http://.  The industry category is only for Google’s own classification so choose something as close as possible to your industry.  Setting the time zone is important as this will determine the start/end times of each day for the data being recorded.  In most cases, choose the time zone of your head office.

When you click next, Google will generate a Google Analytics account id that will look something like UA-12345678-1.  Copy this ID or keep the browser window open.  You may also see some instructions on how to install the analytics code on your website.  Ignore this for now as we recommend that you use Google Tag Manager for this which we describe below.

Setting up Google Analytics via Google Tag Manager

Once you have your Google Analytics account ID, now we need to get it so that it begins to record data from your website.  Google Analytics receives a variety of data from the data layer (produced by your website server) and can store this for future analysis.  Each time a webpage on your site loads, new data is produced.  We recommend using Google Tag Manager as the means of placing the Google Analytics code on your website. 

So first we need to get Tag Manager.  While still logged into the same Google Account as above, go to:

https://tagmanager.google.com

Follow the steps to crate a Tag Manager account and a Container Setup.  For the container name we recommend using your website domain to make it easy to identify if you should end up with multiple containers.  Click Web for the Target platform and click Create.  You will receive confirmation that a Tag Manager container has been set up and instructions on placing the Tag Manager snippet code on your website.  The Tag Manager container will have an ID such as: GTM-AB1CD2E. 

We will need to do some basic set up to tell the Tag Manager container how to send tracking data to your Google Analytics account.  Click on Workspace.  Then Click Variables.  Scroll down to User-Defined Variables and Click New.  Rename your new variable (top left) from Untitled Variable to Google Analytics ID.  Click in the Variable Configuration box, scroll down and select Constant as the Variable Type.  Enter the Google Analytics ID from above in the format UA-12345678-1 and then Click Save.  In the left hand navigation menu, click Tags, click New, rename the Tag from Untitled Tag to GA Page Views.  Click Tag Configuration then select Google Analytics Universal Analytics.  Click the box for Enable overriding settings in this tag, enter {{Google Analytics ID}} in the box.  Scroll down and click the Triggering box.  Click on All Pages.  Click Save.

Up near the top right corner, click the Submit button.  Give it a Version name such as your initials and the date and for Version description enter Initial Google Analytics set up.  Then click Publish.  You now have a Google Tag Manager container that is ready to send page view data to your Google Analytics Account.  Now we just need to have the Google Tag Manager snippet added to your website.

Add Tag Manager Snippet to Your Website

If you have a custom html website, you will need to have your webmaster or web programmer add the Tag Manager snippet code.  The details for how/where to add the snippets (there are actually 2 snippets) can be found within Tag Manager by clicking the Admin link and then the Install Google Tag Manager link.  This will provide the two code snippets.

For a WordPress site, we recommend installing a Tag Manager plug-in.  The plug-in we have found to be reliable is Google Tag Manager for WordPress.  Once the plug-in has been installed, all that is required is to provide the Google Tag Manager container ID in the format GTM-AB1CD2E.

For other Content Management Systems, such as Squarespace or Wix, we recommend you check their user documentation as they have been updated several times in recent months.  The functionality to simply  insert the Google Tag Manager container ID may already be in place.

Linking Google Ads to Google Analytics

There are very powerful reports available in Google Analytics when you link in your Google Ads account.  These will lead to better marketing decision making based on better data, you just need to make sure to fully protect your data with recommend relying on a company like Venyu for disaster recovery services.

Google is Search

Google has managed to lead the search industry for several decades now.  In the early days of the Internet, there were plenty of arguments over what was the best search tool.  Alta Vista lead the way for a while.  Others preferred Yahoo. Some got into Ask Jeeves.  MSN Search had a good foothold for a while (later becoming Bing).  But, for as hard as many of these tried, none of them became a verb.  Now if you want to look up something on the internet, you “Google it”.  With somewhere around 90% market share, Google is simply the way we find information.  Largely that is due to two factors.  The have the largest database of information, and their ability to produce the most relevant results.  In practice, Google is search.

Why Linking Matters

For marketers, Google has been a resource for unbelievable amounts of performance data for our websites.  While Google was constructing the best search algorithm, they were also providing marketers with powerful ways to track performance.  In Google Analytics they have given us a free website statistics package.  Yes, free.  Just sign up for a free account, add the tracking code, and you have access to statistics on your website visitors.

Now consider why you use Google Ads.  To drive traffic from Google searches to your website.  Google Ads has it’s own performance date reports you can view on your campaign performance.

But these are two separate sets of data (Google Analytics and Google Ads), making it difficult to determine what your best marketing efforts actually are.  Well, actually not.  Just link your Google Ads account to your Google Analytics account and your data-driven decision making will get more obvious.

How To Link

Linking to your Google Ads account from your Google Analytics account should take you less than 10 minutes.  We are assuming that your Google account (the account you sign into) has administrator rights for both your Google Analytics account your Google Ad account.

  1. Sign in to Google Analytics and select the website account you want to link
  2. Click the Admin link, it’s that gear symbol in the lower left corner
  3. Using the middle column of choices, choose the property you want to link, normally this will be the default property already displayed.
  4. In that middle column, under PRODUCT LINKING, click Google Ads Linking.
  5. Click + NEW LINK GROUP (the red button)
  6. Select the Google Ads accounts you want to link, Google will display the Google Ads accounts you have permissions to access.  Click Continue.
  7. You can name the link group, easiest to remember if you just use the website name.

How to Use the Data

With Google Ads linked to your Google Analytics account, you have the data to help determine which sources of traffic are producing the results you want and the data is in one place, Google Analytics.  One of our favorite reports is the Source/Medium report.  To see this report, click Acquisition – All Traffic – Source/Medium.   This report will show you where your traffic is coming from and some key traffic behaviour stats for each Source/Medium combination of traffic.

Where this gets really powerful is if you have set up Goals in your Analytics account.  Goal tracking in Analytics is a way to report on the occurrence of the most important outcomes on your website, such a customers making a purchase, or filling out a form, consuming certain types of content, or other important performance criteria.  If you haven’t yet set up Goal tracking, don’t worry, we are going to cover that in an article in the not too far off future.

With Goals set up, you can quickly look at these report to see what traffic sources are leading to Goal completions.  Your Source/Medium combinations are likely to include referral traffic, social media referral traffic, direct traffic, organic search traffic and your Google Ads traffic.  It is these last two that will really tell you how your efforts invested and your dollars invested are producing the results you want.  If your organic traffic sources are driving half the traffic of your Google Ads traffic but are leading to more Goal conversions, then you need to address the Google Ads campaign performance.  You are likely wasting marketing dollars on ads that are not bringing the right traffic.  Conversely, if your Google Ads are far out performing your organic traffic sources then increasing your investment in Google Ads should result in more of the outcomes you are after.

Another very useful report is the Keywords report.  You can find it in Acquisition – Google Ads – Keywords.  Here you will see the traffic quality stats of your Google Ads keywords.  It is one of the best places to determine if your Google Ads campaign keywords are bringing you solid targeted traffic, or if you are just paying for traffic.  Low bounce rates and high pages per session are good indicators that the click through traffic is finding valuable information on your site.  Of course, if the keyword traffic is leading to Goal completions then this particular keyword is definitely bringing the type of traffic you want.

In conclusion, linking your Google Ads account to your Google Analytics account requires less than 10 minutes of effort and the data that will be available in Google Analytics will be extremely valuable.  You will be able to compare the value of all your traffic sources, leading to your Goals, as well as more detailed comparisons to help identify the top quality keywords in your Google Ad campaigns.

Spend the 10 minutes today.  You will be glad you did.