6 Keys to Understanding Google Ads Analytics

Know what Google Analytics can and can't do to help you optimize your advertising campaigns.

Data Standardization Worksheet

This worksheet begins with the standardization of your performance data. We’ll walk you through how to combine these mismatched data sets in a step-by-step process so that every metric is speaking the same, common language. With all of your data standardized, it’s easier to locate the strengths of each platform and hone in on ways to optimize campaign performance.

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Google Ads Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most powerful digital marketing platforms out there — and it’s completely free. But one of the major limiting factors to Google Analytics is that it only tracks information regarding your website. In Google Analytics, you can see where your traffic is coming from, your major traffic demographics, and the behavior of that traffic.

But what if you’re also running an advertising campaign? Then you might need to know how to track Google Ads in Google Analytics.

It’s possible. Usually, you track Google Ads through the Google Ads platform; you can see how your paid advertising campaign is doing in an easy, intuitive dashboard. You can even split-test campaigns. But you can also use Google Analytics to track Google Ads. Google Ads has built-in Google Ads Analytics that you access by linking your Google Ads and Analytics accounts.

Linking your accounts in this fashion will give you a broader idea of how your Google Ads campaign is impacting your Google Analytics account. The downside, of course, is that this still only connects two platforms. Today, marketers are likely working with multiple social media accounts, websites, paid campaigns, and more.

The Google Ads or Ads Data Hub will show you how well your campaigns are performing: which pages are getting the most traffic, which keywords are most effective, your cost-per-click, which demographics are interested in the site, and which users are actually staying on your page. This is extremely important data for companies that have a strong emphasis on their Google Ads strategies.

If you want to collect even more information, you may need to invest in an advertising platform that does more — but if you just need Google stats, this could be enough.

1. Google Analytics

It’s easy to link Google Analytics with Google Ads. When you link Google Ads with Google Analytics, you’re then able to view some important data in the platform: campaigns, keywords, search queries, display targeting, shopping data, and more. You’ll also be able to pull up new reports. You’ll see where your traffic is coming from and, perhaps more importantly, you’ll be able to take advantage of the multi-channel funnel report.

The multi-channel funnel report will show you how customers are interacting with your brand. They may be brought in through an advertising campaign but then go through a social network and then another paid search. They may go through a paid search and then through a CPC ad. This will tell you exactly how these campaigns are interacting with each other.

You’ll even see other information, such as people coming in through Facebook and Instagram. But you won’t have detailed information over these conversions; you’ll just be able to see they came from there. Overall, connecting Google Ads to Google Analytics makes both platforms more robust, because you’ll be able to make changes to your Google Ads campaign based on the information that you get from Google Analytics.

2. Google Tag Manager

The Google Analytics Academy has some great tutorials on the Google Tag Manager. Before you jump into a Google Tag Manager tutorial, you might want to know the basics. For those who haven’t done any programming or significant marketing and analytics, the Google Tag Manager might be a little complicated.

Google Tag Manager makes it possible for marketers to build their analytics and track their advertising, without having to rebuild applications. You can add Google Tag Manager through Facebook pixels and through WordPress sites, to help with your advertising tracking. With Google Tags, programmers don’t need to rebuild their applications to change their analytics; they can perform everything through the Google Tag Manager API.

Many analytics suites will also interface with the Google Tag Manager as a method of collecting further analytic information. Google Tag Manager can be incredibly robust, because of the way that it collects user information — it can even be used to see things such as what the weather is like in the area of people who are visiting. Perhaps people are most likely to make purchases on your site when it rains — this is the type of in-depth data collection that combined analytics solutions can provide.

3. Google Search Console

The Google Search Console is a free utility provided by Google that makes it possible for you to take a look at how Google sees your site. Google is by far the most common utility that people use to search the web. If you can’t be found by Google, you’re not going to be found at all. On the Google Search Console home, you enter your domain. From there, you get analytics.

You’ll be able to see your performance over time, what people are searching for in terms of keywords, and more — all this can be used to optimize your site.

Today, Google optimization is about more than just putting keywords on a page; it’s about delivering complex, interesting, and unique content. Most sites are going to steadily perform better over time, because Google does rank its pages based on age. The older your page is, the more authority it’s perceived to have.

You can use Google Search Console along with Google Analytics for a fuller picture of your site. Google Analytics will give you information such as who is linking to your site and what anchor text they’re using, whereas the Google Search Console focuses mostly on optimizing it for SEO. You may also want to take a look at meta tags, such as meta titles and meta descriptions, to ensure that you’re being seen correctly on Google. You can also use Google’s utility to request that Google crawl and index your site again or upload site maps to make it more accessible.

4. Google Analytics API

Google Analytics is a service that tracks the analytics for your site. Google Ads is a service that lets you put ads up for your site on Google’s ad network (third-party sites) and Google itself (the search engine results page). Many use Google Analytics as a free traffic analytics service, while using Google Ads as an analytics service for paid advertising.

But what is the Google Analytics API and Google Ads API?

These APIs are methods of interfacing with the Google Analytics and Google Ads services. An API is a way that a third-party program can pull information from and add information to another program. So, a third-party analytics solution can draw data from Google Analytics and Google Ads from their respective APIs.

Once the data has been appropriately pulled, it can then be analyzed through a third-party solution. It’s critical to consolidate data to analyze it all together.

Google Analytics can also be connected to Google Ads for an all-in-one Google analytics service, but that won’t collect information from other services, such as Facebook or other social media platforms. Because of this, many companies work with a centralized, consolidated information system.

5. Google Analytics Dashboard

Wondering how to use Google Analytics to its fullest? It starts with getting to know your Google Analytics dashboard. The Google Analytics dashboard is going to present you with all the information you need to know right now about your performance. That includes how your traffic is performing recently, how it’s performed in the past, what search results are leading to your page, and what links are leading to your site.

On the Google Analytics dashboard, you can click on practically anything to pare down to more specific information. You can change the dates, run comparisons, and look at the demographics of the people clicking on your links and searching for your site. You can see how certain keywords are performing on your site and you can see what high-authority sites have linked to you.

The Google Analytics dashboard is intended to be a consolidated dashboard that reports everything you need to know about your website’s performance, including things like bounce rates (how quickly people leave your site). It also includes information about how long people stay on your site and where they ultimately go on your site. You can see which pages are performing the best now — and which have performed the best over all time.

The Google Analytics dashboard is one of the most useful free tools available. But as a free tool, it still does have some limitations.

6. Facebook Insights

We’ve talked a lot about Google Ads and Google Analytics. But many people aren’t just using websites, they’re also using social media accounts. What about Facebook insights? Can you track your Facebook ads analytics in Google?

Facebook provides its own Facebook ads analytics and Facebook insights on its own pages. But you can also use a tracking code to ensure that your Google Analytics account recognizes when traffic came from your Facebook ads. At the same time, you’ll have to check Facebook insights to determine whether your ads are performing well internally.

Linking Facebook Insights and Google Analytics is a great idea if you’re using the Google Analytics service, because it will give you more information about how your Facebook account is working with your traffic and your buyer’s journeys. But it’s usually better to have an all-in-one ad solution. An all-in-one solution would also be able to bring in information from Facebook regarding how the campaigns are working internally, as well as connecting to other solutions such as Twitter and LinkedIn.

Even with Google Analytics tracking traffic sources to your site, you still have a ton of advertising metrics that need to be accounted for. And unfortunately, metrics from different ad platforms are defined differently and often biased to make the ad platform look better. Lumenad is an Advertising Intelligence platform that connects all of your data sources, transforms all of your metrics to speak the same language, provides organizational tools so you can slice and dice data any way you like, and includes powerful reporting functionality so you can optimize campaigns and have confidence in the accuracy of your data.