When setting up a new AdWords account or taking over an existing account we always insist that clients allow us to link the account (if it isn’t already) to the website’s Google Analytics profile and here are the very important reasons why:

All that great AdWords data is visible within Analytics

Once the two Google accounts are linked, as long as URLs have been manually tagged or auto-tagging is enabled, the AdWords data can be found within Analytics. This means that it is easy to see which campaigns and keywords are driving traffic and directly compare the quality of that traffic with other traffic sources.

All that great Analytics data is visible within AdWords

Advertisers may think that if they have conversion tracking set up, using AdWords conversion code, then they have visibility of what keywords and ads are working and which ones aren’t, but this doesn’t always show the entire picture. If Google AdWords and Analytics are linked then you can see data such as bounce rate and average time on site, so if ads are not converting you can dig a little deeper and see a bit more about what users are doing when they get to the site. Are they engaging with the site, even if they are not converting, or are they bouncing straight away? You’ll only know this if the two accounts are linked to one another.

Easily import goals and/or eCommerce data into AdWords from Analytics to track conversions

Sometimes it can be difficult to add conversion tracking code to a site, for various reasons, but with Google Analytics linked this is not a necessity. Using Google Analytics goals or eCommerce data means that you do not have to trouble the dev team with adding more code to the site. You can simply set up destination URL goals (if the form you are tracking has a thank you page) or for eCommerce sites, you can pull in the Analytics sales data and easily see which keywords and ads are generating sales/leads.

It makes remarketing dead easy

Again, if adding code to the site is a problem, remarketing audiences can be created using Google Analytics if the two accounts are linked. Simply visit the admin section of Analytics, click on the Audience Definitions drop down and select Audiences and +New Audience and then the audience list will be available in AdWords to add to remarketing display campaigns or for RLSA.

Audiences Admin Section - GA

See which of your sitelinks are actually being clicked

Within the AdWords section of Google Analytics there is a sitelinks report which shows which of your sitelinks are being clicked on and driving people to your site.

AdWords sitelink report
This information isn’t available in AdWords, you can see clicks for sitelinks, but these are clicks when that sitelink was present, not necessarily on that specific sitelink. This is, therefore, a handy report to be able to access.

Explore trends visually with AdWords Treemaps

In Google Analytics, there is a feature in the AdWords section, called Treemaps. This allows you to visually explore trends in your AdWords campaigns, keywords etc and factor in both AdWords and Analytics metrics – clicks and CPCs from AdWords, and bounce rate, and average time of site data from Google Analytics.

The data is presented in coloured rectangles.The size of the rectangles represent the primary metric (ie. sessions or cost etc) and the colour represents the secondary metric (ie. CPC or Bounce Rate etc). For more information on treemaps see: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/6101804?hl=en

Easy tracking for goals/conversions

If you are tracking several conversions in AdWords, it can be easier to see which keywords etc are generating individual conversions in Analytics. It can be done in AdWords, using reports or segments, but in Analytics with just a couple of clicks you can easily filter by goal and order keywords / campaigns etc by that goal to see which ones are delivering those goals:

Analytics Goals Table

Hopefully, this has made it clear that linking AdWords and Analytics is an important step in campaign setup, that shouldn’t be forgotten. Any comments? Let us know below…

Also published on Medium.