Table of contents:
- Why Link Google Ads to Google Analytics?
- Linking Google Analytics with Google Ads
- Setup Google Analytics Goals
- Link and Import Metrics from Google Analytics to Google Ads
- Showing Google Analytics Metrics in Google Ads Columns
- Google Analytics Goals vs. Google Ads Conversions
1. Why Link Google Ads to Google Analytics?
Without conversion goals you will have no idea if your campaigns perform good or bad.
There are a few different levels we can set up conversion tracking, from very basic to more advanced. I will go through the most basic setups here and point you in the right direction for more advanced solutions.
Also, by linking your Google Analytics account to Google Ads you get access to metrics in your view – such as Bounce Rate, Pages per Session, Avg. Session Duration and % of New Sessions for each click on your ad that leads to your website.
Let's dive in.
2. Linking Google Analytics with Google Ads
Admin -> Property -> Google Ads Linking -> New Link Group
3. Setup Google Analytics Goals
If you have a contact form, or any kind of lead generation form, you should set up a Goal for that in Analytics (which you can import to Google Ads later to track campaign performance in relation to that Goal).
When it comes to tracking form submits we basically only have two options – Destination or Event.
Destination – works well if your visitors are guided to a thank-you-page after a successful form submit, then you just enter the page path for that goal and you are done.
Event – if your contact form submits without guiding the user to a new page you need to look for an event and this is when it gets a bit technical. My recommendation in this case is to use Google Tag Manager (GTM) to make sure we can control as much as possible without a developer. You will in most cases need a developer to attach a small script to the successful submission event to let GTM know there has been a submission.
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Read more about the technical implementation here: Easy Form Conversion Tracking with Google Tag Manager
4. Link and Import Metrics from Google Analytics to Google Ads
Tools -> Setup -> Linked Accounts -> Google Analytics (Details) -> 1 view -> Link & Import Site Metrics (enable both these)
Google Ads Import Site Metrics from Google Analytics.
5. Showing Google Analytics Metrics in Google Ads Columns
Click on "Columns" -> "Modify Columns".
Then in the list you select all for UX signal metrics from Google Analytics.
6. Google Analytics Goals vs. Google Ads Conversions
In Google Analytics, a goal completion is counted only once per user session. While in Google Ads, a conversion can be counted once or several times per ad click, this is called flexible conversion counting.
In B2B and lead generation we almost never need to count several conversion events on the same goal within a session, so here Google Analytics works just fine. A lead usually only submits a contact form or downloads a lead magnet once within the same session.
6.1 Which one should I use?
I always go for the Google Analytics method. That keeps the data consistent between Google Ads and Google Analytics in most scenarios, and for B2B lead generation it is often enough.
Keeping the data consistent between Google Ads and Analytics makes communication with clients and reporting easier.
Google Ads own conversion tracking comes with its own event script that needs to be added to a click or page load event. It will be more accurate, since Google Analytics doesn’t discount invalid clicks and invalid conversions, but then again that doesn’t happen too often within lead generation.
6.2 Setting up the Conversion Event in Google Ads
Click on “Import” -> “Google Analytics (UA)” and you are done.
You also want to edit your conversion event to look like this. I will explain below why we do this.
6.3 Google Ads and Google Analytics use different attribution models, what does it mean?
Google Analytics uses something called Last click attribution model for their multi-channel funnel reports. This report is usually what you want to look at when you compare how your marketing campaigns perform on different channels.
For example, if a user clicks on your Google ad and then later returns to your website through an organic search and completes a goal, then Google Ads will give credit to the last Google Ads click, whereas Google Analytics will give credit for the conversion to organic search.
There are two problems with this.
1. It can create a lot of trouble if you only look at Google Analytics reports when setting your marketing budgets, maybe removing budgets from Paid Search to SEO.
2. Last click attribution gives credit to the last ad clicked, usually not what you want for B2B lead generation.
6.4 Why you should use First Click Attribution for B2B
In Google Ads you can decide what attribution model you want for your conversion events (both for the imported GA goals or Google Ads own conversions).
This means that you can set an attribution model in Google Ads that is different from in Google Analytics.
I usually use first click attribution on my lead generation goals in Google Ads, because I want to get the full picture of how my campaigns interact and work together.
Why should you do this?
A typical user journey looks like this for B2B:
- User searches for a problem or solution
- They see a non-branded product ad from your company and clicks it
- Later they remember your brand name and searches for that
- Then they click a branded ad
That means, if we use last click attribution all credit would go to the branded campaigns in your account and not to the actual product campaigns that initially engaged your lead.
You also want to set the conversion window to 90 days (which is maximum) to fully give credit to those campaigns that initially found new prospects.