How to use Analytics with Google Ads

Google Ads is Google’s advertising system that allows businesses to generate text and display ads. Text ads show up next to Google search results by matching keywords you can bid on with users’ search queries. Display ads are advertisements consisting of text, images, animation, or video that show up on a vast collection of websites called the Google Display Network.

Since the Google Store wants to sell t-shirts, they could bid on keywords such as “Google t-shirt” and “Google clothing.” When people search Google for a particular product like “a really cool Google t-shirt,” Google Ads will show a relevant text ad for the Google Store if the ad meets Google Ad's quality guidelines. This type of advertising can help attract customers from the millions that use Google Search and the Display Network every day.

When you link your Google Analytics account to your Google Ads account, you can:

  • view Google Ads click and cost data alongside your site engagement data in Google Analytics;
  • create remarketing lists in Analytics to use in Google Ads campaigns;
  • import Analytics goals and transactions into Google Ads as conversions;
  • and view Analytics site engagement data in Google Ads.

To set up a Google Ads account, navigate to the link at the end of this lesson and follow the instructions to create an account. It should take less than twenty minutes.

To link Google Analytics with Google Ads, first make sure you are logged into Analytics using the same email as your Google Ads account. You can find the email you’re signed in with in the upper right-hand corner. Note that you must be an administrator on both accounts.

Next, click the Admin tab. Then make sure you’ve selected the account and the property you wish to link to your Google Ads account. Under the Property section, select “Google Ads linking.” Click the button “New link group.” Any Google Ads accounts you have linked to your Google account will automatically appear. Check which account you wish to link and click “continue.” Next, type in a “Link Group Title.” This could be your Google Ads account ID.

Now select the view in which you want the Google Ads data to appear and select “Link accounts.” The linked account will show in your Link group list with the title you entered.

Auto-tagging

When you link your Google Analytics and Google Ads accounts, campaign data is shared between the two systems, but it still requires campaign tracking. Although you can manually add campaign tracking tags to Google Ads URLs using the URL Builder as we did earlier, there is a better option. Google Ads can automatically add a special campaign tag to your Google Ads URLs through a feature called auto-tagging. Auto tagging is required to get specific Google Ads dimensions into Google Analytics. These are some of the Google Ads dimensions available:

  • Query match type shows how a Google Ads keyword is matched to a user search query.
  • Ad Group shows the ad group associated with the keyword/creative and click.
  • Destination URL shows the Google Ads destination URL configured in your Google Ads ads.
  • Ad Format describes whether the ad is a text ad, display ad, or video.
  • Ad Distribution Network shows the network used to deliver your ad.
  • Placement Domain is the domain on the content network where your ad was displayed.
  • And Google Ads Customer ID is the unique ID assigned to your Google Ads account.

All of this data can help you better analyze the performance of your Google Ads campaigns. For example, you can quickly compare the performance of different ad formats using the Ad Format dimension. You can also fine-tune your keyword matching strategy by analyzing the performance of your keywords based on their match type. Note that these additional dimensions and reporting features are only available when you link your Google Analytics and Google Ads accounts.

Once we have linked Google Ads with Analytics, we can find Google Ads reports under “Acquisition” in the left-hand navigation.

Campaigns

If we click on the “Campaigns” report, we can see how well our various Google Ads campaigns are performing. Notice that this report organizes Google Ads campaigns using the names assigned in Google Ads. This is one of the benefits of linking Google Ads with Analytics.

Note at the top of the report you can switch between desktop, mobile, and tablet metrics to view the performance of campaigns across different devices. In the data table below, you can use the Acquisition metrics to see how the clicks for each campaign and the total amount paid for those clicks. CPC shows the average cost for each click. Under Behavior, you can see user engagement for each campaign. And under Conversions, you can see the conversion rate, the number of actual goal completions, and how much these conversions were ultimately worth to your business for each Google Ads campaign using the pulldown menu.

Keywords

Now let’s look at the “Keywords” report. This can help you understand how well keywords and individual ads are performing. For example, if a keyword is bringing in a lot of traffic but has a high bounce rate, it might indicate a disconnect between the ad and landing page content. If you have a keyword with a high conversion rate but low number of impressions (or number of times an ad was shown), you may want to raise your bid for that keyword, so the ad is shown more often and reaches a larger audience. You could also add “Device Category” as a secondary dimension to break out these keywords by the kinds of devices that users were on when they clicked your ad and visited your site.

Bid adjustments

Finally, let’s look at the “Bid adjustments” report. Bid adjustments are a Google Ads feature used to automatically adjust keyword bids based on a user’s device, location, or time of day. For example, if the Google Store opens a temporary location during the holidays to sell merchandise, they might want to add a bid adjustment to increase ad visibility on mobile devices within three miles of the store during the hours of operation.

The Bid Adjustment report in Analytics lets you analyze Google Ads performance for the bid adjustments you've set for your campaigns. You can use the selector at the top of the table to evaluate campaign performance by the device, location, time of day, and remarketing list bid adjustments. We’ll cover remarketing in an advanced course. To see all of your bid adjustments and metrics for a specific campaign, you can click on that campaign name in the list.

You can see how powerful Google Ads can be for you business when paired with Google Analytics. It allows you to really understand the value of your marketing and make adjustments to improve your return on investment.

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