If you are paying for Google ads, then it is vital that you are tracking how well your ads are performing. Some would say that ads are the cave art of the 21st century – but it’s much much more than that. After all, we live in a word where the digital space is congested with ads fighting for attention, and you don’t want your business to be the one standing alone in an empty cave.
Do I need AdWords?
AdWords can be one of the most rewarding marketing investments a business can make - some businesses spend thousands per hour, or millions per day in this field. However, it important you are totally confident with the design, content and functionality of your website first because there’s no point advertising at all if your site isn’t able to convert a visitor into a customer, or at the very least a new sales lead.
Some things to assess therefore, before you embark on an AdWords campaign: what’s your time on site, bounce rate and average website conversion rate on Google Analytics?
What does linking AdWords and Analytics do?
Whilst your AdWords campaign dashboard is awesome at giving you an insight into the efficiency of your ads, you need to link AdWords with Google Analytics to really understand how effective they are. Fundamentally, this enables you to see the full customer cycle - from how a visitor interacts with your marketing efforts (e.g. seeing ad impressions, or ad clicks), to converting on your site. This conversion is, essentially, the percentage of users who undertake a desired action on your site - they complete a goal. For instance, making a purchase, signing up for your newsletter or downloading content.
For more info on the benefits of linking AdWords and Analytics, we’d recommend seeing GA’s youtube video here.
Link AdWords and Analytics (7 Steps)
NOTE. Linking AdWords and Analytics should be pretty straightforward BUT you do need to make sure you have admin access to both platforms first. So, if any of the following steps don’t work, then go back and check your level of access.
- Sign in to your AdWords account. There should be a Customer ID number (xxx-xxx-xxxx) at the top right of your main AdWords screen.
- Sign into your Google Analytics account. Head over to the admin section of your website’s Google Analytics – find it using the cog icon at the bottom left of the screen.
- Go to Property Settings, then head to AdWords linking
If this is your first time linking, you may now be seeing a nice spiel about how linking your AdWords and Analytics accounts will “facilitate a reciprocal sharing of data”. How lovely.
- Click + NEW LINK GROUP (big red button)
- You should now see which AdWords accounts you have admin access to
- Select the AdWords accounts you want to link (the correct customer ID number) with Analytics - click continue
- You should now be seeing your link group title under the link configuration
- Turn linking ON for each view (filtered or unfiltered) in the property in which you want AdWords data
Note: Under ‘Creating this link enables auto-tagging for all linked AdWords accounts’ there is Advanced Settings. There are two options to choose from:
- Enable auto-tagging on all linked AdWords accounts (the recommended option)
- Leave my auto-tagging settings as they are - this allows you to manually tag your AdWords links (this is really only for advanced users - use the option above unless you’re badass at shizzle like thizzle).
- Click Link accounts!
Congratulations! Your AdWords and Analytics accounts are now linked. If you opted to use auto-tagging, then Analytics will now start automatically associating your AdWords data with customer clicks. Awesome.
If you want to know more about editing links/autotagging though, we’d recommend visiting Google’s Analytics help page.
What do I do now?
Unfortunately, the information will only populate from the day you link the accounts up, so you can’t see old data, but you will have super data info from now on - so s’all good.
Wait a few days and then login to Analytics, go to Acquisition > AdWords to see all that lovely new stuff :)
From now, it’s all about data interpretation - defining what you want to analyse, what this information means, and how this is useful to you as a business.
As a primary step, we’d recommend starting to think about your AdWords data with consideration of your buyer personas - those awesome, semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on existing customer profiles and market research. Which you find out all about here “What Are Buyer Personas? And Do I Really Need Them?” (if you didn’t know already).
This enables you to look at your data through the eyes of your audience, encouraging questions such as “Who do my ads need to be targeted at?” and “What do you want them to achieve?”
From here, you can progress to the broad-scale questions, always considering the what and the why:
- Which Ad groups are performing the best?
- Which Ad groups generate the most revenue or leads? Is this what you expected?
- Do any of your ad groups or keywords have significantly higher bounce rates or very low time on site? Why might that be?
- What can you improve in your ad copy that might lead to better engagement?
Fundamentally, every conversion path from AdWords to Analytics needs to be assessed as an individual process; they are a collective of goals that contribute to your overall marketing strategy - so make sure you are considering this when devising your own AdWords/Analytics questions.
What to know more?
Well, lucky for you, there is SO much you can do and learn in Analytics once you are pulling in your AdWords data . Here a few areas/resources that we’d recommend you get stuck into:
- Using Assisted Conversions to understand the total contribution of AdWords to your conversions
- Using the Top Conversion Paths to understand your buyers’ journey - the route buyers go through in becoming aware of, evaluating, then purchasing a new product or service.
- NB: Visitors can find your website through a variety of organic and direct channels, but when it comes to actually converting AdWords can be fantastic at building top of the funnel brand awareness
- Using the Paid Traffic Custom Segment to see how paid visitors interact with your site differently to other types of visitors.
- For example look at the Audience > Mobile > Overview to see if your paid visitors have different behaviour on a mobile phone compared to a desktop.
FINALLY: Remember to test and optimise your AdWords campaign around your findings.
Still haven’t had enough yet? Then I’d really recommend seeing the following post from Google about how to link AdWords and Analytics:
Otherwise, why not find out some more nifty methods for measuring ROI by downloading our free eBook? You won’t regret it - promise.