How to Link Google Analytics With Ads to Fix Flaws in Your Campaigns

Together, they are better


Victoria Kurichenko

3 years ago | 6 min read

Every PPC manager has a personal approach to ad campaign optimization. The right ads settings are already halfway to optimal budget allocation and ad performance.

I’ve been using Google Ads for one year. I’ve discovered multiple hidden ways how it works, experienced dramatical failures, and budget losses. There is no ultimate guideline on how to properly work with Google Ads, knowledge comes through experience, successful and unsuccessful trials.

In this article, I am sharing essential steps to be done before launching ad campaigns. Moreover, I will show five reports that you can apply to optimize your ad campaign performance.

Why Link Google Analytics and Google Ads

Your Google Ads account can work perfectly without being linked to Google Analytics. However, you risk missing essential information Analytics can provide you with regarding your ad campaign performance. Here are several reasons to connect your Google Analytics account to Google Ads:

Import goals and transactions to Google Ads

Conversion tracking is essential for any business to measure the ROI of ad campaigns and craft the optimization strategy. You can set up a conversion tracking in the Google Ads by adding a tracking code to all website pages. However, if you already have goals in Google Analytics, you can easily import them to your Google Ads account without the need to add extra lines of code to your website.

Open Tools and Settings -> Conversions -> Add new conversion -> Import data from Google Analytics

Once you link Google Analytics to your Google Ads account, you will be getting more accurate data regarding the source of the conversion. Besides, the GA will start showing you CPC traffic metrics along with other channels in the reports.

Better insights about your user journey

Navigate to the Multi-Channel Funnel report to see assisted conversions and the top conversion paths. If you’ve linked Google Ads with GA you will be able to see a more accurate user journey and understand which channels play a crucial role in the conversion.

2 attribution models compared: Last interaction and first interaction

The report above shows that the display and search ads play a crucial role in the user's first touchpoint with the website. These users might convert later on through direct or organic search, but the first channel of user acquisition was CPC. This information is available only if you have Google Analytics and Google Ads accounts linked.

Create audiences for advertisement and remarketing

Create audiences based on user segments, behavior, demographics, search intent, geolocation, and target these users with the help of Google display, search, discovery ads, or remarketing.

Create a target audience segment and upload it to Google Ads

Google Analytics allows you to define your audience characteristics more accurately than “visitor of a page” or “visitor of a page who also visited another page,” which is the case for Google Ads.

Compare paid traffic performance with other channels

Understand how successful your ad campaigns perform by comparing paid traffic to other traffic acquisition channels of your website.

Useful metrics to compare include the bounce rate, conversion rate, the number of visits, the number of returned users, etc.

Create segments for paid and organic traffic to compare the performance of 2 channels

It is assumed that paid traffic performs better since users come through transactional keywords with a higher intention to buy. However, this is a hypothesis only, without empirical evidence and analytical data you will not be able to figure out which channel converts better and why.

I hope I managed to convince you that linked Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts create a powerful environment for businesses to track their online performance. However, Google Analytics can do even more. Use these reports to optimize your ad campaign performance and spend ad budget wisely.

5 Essential Reports for Ads Campaigns Optimization

1. Find Google Ads keywords with the poorest performance

Check how well your keywords perform monthly to be able to boost transactional keywords and turn off the ones that waste your budget. Here is a report example from the Google Merchandise store Analytics Account.

Navigate to the Acquisition → Google Ads → Keywords and filter out all sessions lower than 100. What can you see here? The first eight keywords have a nearly 0% conversion rate while bringing 100+ users to the site.

It is important to investigate the reasons behind the low conversion rate. It might be that the Google Merch store does not sell YouTuber shirts or the landing page does not correspond to the keyword, or the landing page shows a 404 error. Utilize this report regularly to detect poorly performing keywords and increase your ad conversion rates.

2. Check if your ads target the right audience

Navigate to the Demographics → Overview and choose to compare two segments: Paid Traffic and Converters. The report will show you the demographic data of users acquired through the paid search vs the ones who became customers of Google Merch store.

The blue graph shows that ad campaigns target audiences of all ages, where the youngest and the oldest segments get equal fractions. Now, look at the orange graph to the right. What can you see there? 40% of all converters age 25–34. This is the best-converting segment that could get a bid adjustment in Google Ads to bring even more conversions.

Check demographic targeting to detect such discrepancies. Targeting wrong audiences is costly and less effective. Make sure you select the right audience to show your ads.

Compare demographics data for 2 segments: Paid traffic vs Site converters

The same logic can be applied to check the geo-targeting and compare converters' location to the location of all PPC traffic users.

Compare geo-targeting data for 2 segments: Paid traffic vs Site converters

The blue graph shows the map of the United States and the regions that bring paid traffic to the website. Meanwhile, the orange map shows that California has the highest conversion rate among all states, 28. 09%.

Such a report helps to adjust geo-targeting to the regions with the highest purchase intention. Local businesses must narrow down geo-targeting. Someone living in Texas will not travel to California to purchase a product in your store, nevertheless, they might see your ads online.

3. Target audience with the right interests

Navigate to the Interests report → Overview and select the segment Paid Traffic. The report shows you the interests of the audience Google Merch store acquires via the paid traffic. The biggest audience covered by ads includes media, TV, and movie lovers.

What if Google Merch store would target technology lovers who purchase products online? More accurate targeting can lead to a lower CPC and higher conversion rate.

Make sure your audience interests match with the products you sell online

4. Check the landing page corresponding to the keyword

It is essential to lead PPC traffic to the corresponding landing page that should answer the user’s search intent. For instance, Google sells stickers online but leads users to the home page of their store, which does not say a word about stickers. Someone could still find and buy stickers, but the page bounce rate for this keyword is 71.86%. Pretty high, right?

High bounce rate

As a rule, lead users to the appropriate landing page, where they can instantly find what they are looking for.

Moreover, the right landing page would ensure a higher Quality Score for your ads, which helps to decrease CPC bids and save your budget.

5. Device category targeting

Do you check how your website looks in different browsers or devices? To be honest, I rarely check it. However, this is a huge mistake. If you plan to start advertising your website, double-check the website view in different browsers and screen resolutions.

The bounce rate for mobile traffic might be higher than for the desktop one. Google Merch store example below shows 66.45% mobile bounce versus 45.70% desktop considering that both device types receive almost equal traffic value. Something prevents users from making a purchase using their phones, the issue has to be further investigated to define the reasons.

Mobile vs Desktop bounce rates

If your case is similar to the above one, it is wise to decrease an ad bid for mobile users and push desktop ads harder.

Final Thoughts

Do not be afraid of experimenting with different approaches and strategies to reach better results with your Google Ads. However, always rely on the true data to make decisions.

I have shown you my top five reports to interpret PPC data with the help of Google Analytics. Use them wisely to optimize your paid campaign performance.


Created by

Victoria Kurichenko







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