Google have recently released the report “Better Together – Combine AdWords with Google Analytics for Better Insights, Bidding and Results”.

The report provides useful insights into some less well known reports that can help make better informed decisions when managing an AdWords account.

First thing’s first; you’ll need to have linked your AdWords and Google Analytics accounts. I’d also recommend that you upgrade to Universal Analytics, if you haven’t already done so.

You’ll also need to make changes to Google Analytics tracking code, and update your website’s privacy policy before accessing all of the reports; for example, you can only view demographic reports once your tracking code has been updated to include remarketing code.

Once all of these changes are implemented, you are ready take advantage of some of these fabby combo reports and features.

The full report can be downloaded here – but these are my highlights.

Create Smart Lists

What the flip is this?

A smart list is a Remarketing Audience that Google Analytics generates to maximize your conversions. This works by Google Analytics applying ‘machine learning’ to your historical conversion data to determine which users are most likely to convert in a subsequent session. The Remarketing Audience is then dynamically managed by Google Analytics to focus on those users. This allows you to reach engaged users that have not yet converted (but those that are likely to) with more targeted ads to entice them to spend some dollar dollar bills y’all.

What do I need?

  • An ecommerce site that generates at least 500 transactions per month and has at least 10,000 daily pageviews*
  • Advertiser features enabled in Google Analytics
  • Remarketing code added to your Google Analytics tracking code
  • An updated privacy policy that informs users that 3rd party data is being collected
  • Admin access at Property level with edit permissions

Anything else?

To create a Smart List, simply log into Google Analytics > Admin > Property > Remarketing > Audiences.

Then click ‘+ New Audience’ and select the Adwords account, then Smart List. Name it whatever you like (I’d suggest Smart List) and you are ready to create your first remarketing campaign to this audience.

* If your site does not generate at least 500 monthly ecommerce transactions and 10,000 daily pageviews you can still use this feature; however, your Smart List is generated based on conversion data from businesses similar to yours that have opted to share their anonymized conversion data with Google Analytics. That’s nice of them innit?

View Google Analytics Engagement Metrics in AdWords

What the flip is this?

By linking Google Analytics and AdWords, you can add extra columns into AdWords that can help you further understand how users interact with your ads; all within the AdWords interface.

What do I need?

  • AdWords and Analytics linked accounts

Anything else?

To get started, once the accounts are linked you’ll find the option to add Google Analytics engagement metrics under Columns > Customise Columns. Save the column and begin checking out which campaign, ad groups, ad copy or keywords perform best.

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This is a great way of understanding exactly where changes need to be made to a campaign at a granular level, without having to leave AdWords. You’ll be able to see at a glance whether you need to refine keyword targeting, test landing pages, or modify a call to action to improve engagement metrics.

Benchmarking Report

What the flip is this?

Ever wondered how you measure up against your competitors, not just in terms of impression share, but in terms of number of sessions and engagement? Now you (kind of) can.

I think this report is pretty cool, but needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. For one thing, if you are in a niche industry, the options under ‘Industry Vertical’ may be a bit too broad.

To give you an example, I personally don’t think there is a good match for cosmetic surgery under the industry verticals available, despite it being a huge industry with about 29,100,000 results for the term ‘cosmetic surgery’ alone!

What do I need?

  • To be opted in to “anonymously share data with Google and others” (found under the Account Settings in Analytics)

Anything else?

You need to work out how many visits you have on an average day, choose the closest industry vertical and location, and off you go. This benchmarks you across all channels, so you can identify gaps in your online marketing strategy while also seeing whether you could benefit from investing more (or less) on paid search to stay ahead of the game.

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You also have the option to benchmark by device, so you can see if your mobile experience is awesome, or rubbish compared to your competitors, and by location which may be helpful in identifying global markets that you are not yet taking advantage of.

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