It can be challenging to coordinate code changes with your web development team in order to implement Google AdWords conversion tracking. In some cases, it’s a process that requires a lot of back and forth, working through technical limitations and code errors. This extra bit of work can be circumvented by utilizing the existing integration between Google AdWords and Google Analytics for conversion tracking.
Linking AdWords and Analytics
Log into your Google Analytics account and click the Admin tab at the top of the page. In the Property column, select the Analytics property you want to link, then click AdWords Linking. Select the checkbox next to any AdWords accounts you want to link with your Analytics property and click continue.
Next, in the Link configuration section, enter a link group title to identify your group of linked AdWords accounts. Select the Analytics views in which you want the AdWords data to be available. Finally, click the Link accounts button to complete the process.
Importing Google Analytics Goals
After you have linked your AdWords and Analytics accounts, you can import goals into AdWords. First, go to the Tools, then Conversion section in AdWords. Select Google Analytics in the left hand navigation. This will bring you to the Google Analytics page where you will see a list of goals you’ve set up in your Google Analytics account. From here, choose the goal(s) that you want to import. On the next screen, you can edit the conversion settings and then import the goals.
Google recently announced a shorter delay for conversions appearing in AdWords (historically, there could be a delay of up to 48 hours). With this change, more up-to-date conversion data in AdWords will help advertisers optimize more effectively.
Advantages of Importing Google Analytics Goals into AdWords
The main advantage of using this method is that the majority of websites already have Google Analytics tracking code installed, therefore not requiring additional development work. It also provides an additional layer of tracking, such as user actions and engagement, which cannot be tracked using the traditional AdWords conversion tracking.
Types of Conversion Goals
Here are just a few examples of the different types of conversion actions available via goal tracking.
- Destination – A specific destination page that a user accesses upon completing a desired action.
Ex: Site searches: When a user utilizes the site search box on your site and is presented with search results.
- Duration – Sessions that last a specific amount of time or longer.
Ex: Time on page: A good use of this is for blogs, or other pages, where the goal is for the user to spend a higher time on the page consuming content.
- Pages or Screens Per Session – A user views a specific number of pages or screens.
Ex: User engagement: In order to identify engaged users who may be more interested in your product or service.
- Events – An action defined as an event is triggered.
- Smart Goals – A new feature recently launched by Google that “uses machine learning to examine dozens of signals about your website visits to determine which of those are most likely to result in a conversion. Each visit is assigned a score, with the best visits being translated into Smart Goals.” You can learn more about Smart Goals from the Google Analytics blog.
Extending the Power with Event Goals
In addition, the following types of event goals can be imported and tracked as a conversion action. In order to utilize these you will need to have event tracking implemented on your site. These events will be important to track as conversions if one of your business goals is customer engagement.
- Email link click – if someone clicks on an email address on your site to contact your company.
- Social shares – if you have a social sharing tool like ShareThis installed on your site, you can set up an event that will track when a user shares a link or post.
- Downloads – when a user clicks to download an asset like a PDF or white paper on your site it will track as an event.
We recently utilized Google Analytics goals as conversions in AdWords for a large consumer packaged goods client and the results were phenomenal. Conversions increased by 300%+ and the cost per acquisition (CPA) decreased by 77%, month-over-month. With the additional conversion tracking in place, it provided clearer insights into the impact of PPC on meeting business goals and strengthened the value of the paid channel.
It is extremely important to track any user action or engagement metrics that are important to your business goals. It provides valuable insights into user behavior and improved ROI analysis from your Google AdWords campaigns.