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Google Analytics and Google AdWords – The Ideal Partnership

24 October 2012 BY

Nowadays, simply running an AdWords campaign via the AdWords Interface isn’t enough. We all have so many tools at our disposal but nine times out of ten, people forget the one tool that they should be using when it comes to managing a PPC campaign…. Google Analytics.

In this post, I am going to look at some of the features available to PPC advertisers in the Google Analytics interface and explain how you should be using them when it comes to managing your paid search campaign.

First things first you need to make sure you have linked your AdWords Account with your Google Analytics. If you don’t do this, you are going to be missing out on a wealth of data that is essential to running a successful paid search campaign. If you are unsure of how to link the two accounts together, check out the AdWords Help Desk which will give you step by step instructions.

Separate Profile or Advanced Segment

For ease of analysing the data, the best thing you can do is to split your PPC traffic out either in a separate profile or by using an Advanced Segment. Once you have this set up, navigating through Google Analytics becomes a whole lot more interesting as the data you are looking at is purely from your paid search campaigns.

Both options have their advantages and disadvantages:

I have included screenshots below to show you how to do both.

Advanced Segment

Separate Profile

NOTE – To use the rest of this post, you will need to either be using your separate profile or make sure your advanced segment is switched on.

Dashboard

One of the recent features in Google Analytics is Dashboards. Using these in the right way, you can see a very good overview of your PPC campaigns. I have created one that you can use by simply clicking on the following link and adding the dashboard to your Google Analytics profile. https://www.google.com/analytics/web/permalink?uid=VI2H_JdPSH2d-k_pkSix1g

The dashboard will allow you to see the following for all your campaigns:

  • Goal Completions
  • Clicks
  • Click through Rate (CTR)
  • Impressions by Campaign
  • Clicks by Campaign
  • Cost by Campaign
  • Clicks and Impressions by Keyword
  • Goal Completions and Cost by Keyword
  • CPC and Cost by Campaign
  • Visits and Bounce Rate by Keyword

Once you have added the dashboard to your account, you will be able to locate it from within the Home section of your Google Analytics Account.

New vs. Returning

With paid search traffic costing more each year, one of the goals of a PPC campaign is often to drive new visitors to a website. Using the New vs. Returning report in Google Analytics, you can see whether you are achieving that goal.

In the below example you can see that only 38% of visitors from the PPC campaign are from new customers so on this particular account, you may wish to improve this by tailoring your ad copy.

To get to this report follow these steps:

  1. Open Analytics
  2. Go to Standard Reporting
  3. Click on Audience
  4. Click on Behaviour
  5. Click New vs. Returning

Mobile Devices

Having your PPC campaigns broken down to target mobile specific devices can lead to an increase in Click through Rate (CTR) and a lower cost. A lot of advertisers don’t do this and tend to have one campaign targeting all devices.

Using the Mobile Devices report in Google Analytics you can drill down to see the types of mobiles that have driven traffic to the site from the campaigns. Once you have this data, in Google AdWords you can then split your campaigns down even further to optimise for specific devices. For example, if you see that you get a lot of traffic and/or conversions from Apple iPhones, you may want to do a targeted campaign offering iPhone users a discount off your product or service and you can tailor the ad text accordingly.

To get to this report follow these steps:

  1. Open Analytics
  2. Go to Standard Reporting
  3. Click on Audience
  4. Click on Mobile
  5. Click Devices

Advertising

The Advertising tab in Google Analytics is something that Google added a while back now but so many people I speak to don’t use the data when they are managing a paid search campaign. The report was added to Google Analytics purely for the benefit of Google AdWords users and the amount of data you can pull from the report is very valuable.

NOTE – ADVANCED SEGMENTS DO NOT WORK WITH THESE REPORTS

You can still use the reports if you have gone down the route of using an Advanced Segment but you will need to switch it off before using these reports to get the most out of them.

I am going to talk through my favourite parts of this feature and the data that you can pull is not available from within the main AdWords interface.

Campaigns, Ad Groups and Keywords

In these reports you can see extra data for your AdWords account broken down by campaign, ad group and keyword. The main areas of the report that I would recommend you use are:

1.       Bounce Rate

Having an AdWords campaign with ad groups and keywords driving a great Click through Rate (CTR) is great but if the traffic is landing on the site and leaving straight away, you are spending money on traffic which isn’t converting for you.

Use these reports to uncover you high traffic and high spending ad groups and keywords that are driving a high bounce rate and look to improve the landing page to lower the bounce rate.

To get to this report follow these steps:

  1. Open Analytics
  2. Go to Standard Reporting
  3. Click on Advertising
  4. Click on Campaigns or Keywords
  5. If you want to look at Ad Groups, you need to select Campaigns and then Ad Group from the Primary Dimension
  6. Make sure that Site Usage is selected at the top of the report

 2.       Visit Duration

Once you have paid for a PPC visit, you want to make sure you are getting the most out of them visiting your site.

By looking at the average visit duration you will be able to see which campaigns, ad groups and keywords are driving people to stay on the site. If there are any keywords or ad groups that don’t generate a good length of stay on your site you may wish to look at removing them from your campaigns and focus on those that work better for you.

To get to this report follow these steps:

  1. Open Analytics
  2. Go to Standard Reporting
  3. Click on Advertising
  4. Click on Campaigns or Keywords
  5. If you want to look at Ad Groups, you need to select Campaigns and then Ad Group from the Primary Dimension
  6. Make sure that Site Usage is selected at the top of the report

3.       Ecommerce Data

If you have a website that drives revenue straight from the site, you can set your actual AdWords Account up to report on revenue data from within the AdWords Interface but it is also very important to set up Ecommerce tracking with Google Analytics.

Once you have this set up, you can use Google Analytics to really understand how your PPC campaigns are performing when it comes to driving revenue for your business.

Using this report you can see Ecommerce data for your campaigns, ad groups and keyword data and in particular, I would recommend really getting to grips with the five highlighted columns.

If a campaigns, keyword or ad group looks like it is driving good traffic, with a low bounce rate and good average visit duration but it doesn’t drive you enough revenue, then you should be looking to understand what you can do to improve this.

To get to this report follow these steps:

  1. Open Analytics
  2. Go to Standard Reporting
  3. Click on Advertising
  4. Click on Campaigns or Keywords
  5. If you want to look at Ad Groups, you need to select Campaigns and then Ad Group from the Primary Dimension
  6. Make sure that Ecommerce is selected at the top of the report

 4.       ROI

The final feature in this part of the report allows you to look at the ROI generated from a campaign, ad group or keyword. In order to use this report, you will either need to have Ecommerce Tracking set up for your site or attribute a value to each of your goals.

This report is great to be able to understand just how profitable your paid search campaigns are. It only takes into account your spend and revenue generated so it is just a top level ROI calculation but you will quickly be able to see whether your campaigns are working well for you or not.

ROI = (Revenue – Cost) / Cost

If keywords and ad groups are costing you more than you are making in revenue, I would say that you would be inclined to stop bidding on the phrase and allow your campaigns to run on more profitable keywords.

To get to this report follow these steps:

  1. Open Analytics
  2. Go to Standard Reporting
  3. Click on Advertising
  4. Click on Campaigns or Keywords
  5. If you want to look at Ad Groups, you need to select Campaigns and then Ad Group from the Primary Dimension
  6. Make sure that Clicks is selected at the top of the report

Day Parts

The next report to look at from within the Advertising tab is Day Parts. From here you can see how your account is performing by Hour of the Day and Day of the Week.

There are two parts to this report, Site Usage and Ecommerce (if you have Ecommerce Tracking) and you can look at various metrics to determine when it is best for your paid search campaigns to run.

Once you have analysed this data, you may wish to go back into AdWords and use Ad Scheduling to specify times of the day or days of the week you want your account running.

If you just use the report as it is, the data will be for the entire PPC account but you can update the Secondary Dimension to choose to look at data by Campaign, Ad Group or Keyword.

In the below example, you can see the data for five campaigns running at midnight. The forth campaign has a very high bounce rate during that hour so I would look at potentially stopping or lowering the bid prices for that campaign during that hour to reduce any wasted budget.

You can also use the same report to look at the Ecommerce Data generated during that hour of the day by simply changing the report at the top and clicking on Ecommerce.

Once you have analysed the data for the hour of the day, it is always worth looking at the same data but for each day of the week. The report is in the same but you simply need to change the report to look at day of the week as shown in the below example.

In the day of the week report, the numbers represent the following days:

0 = Sunday

1 = Monday

2 = Tuesday

3 = Wednesday

4 = Thursday

5 = Friday

6 = Saturday

In the example below, you can see that Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays drive the most revenue from the entire paid search account. Saturdays and Sundays drive the lowest so it may be that you look to reduce your daily budget on these days and increase on the more valuable days.

To get to this report follow these steps:

  1. Open Analytics
  2. Go to Standard Reporting
  3. Click on Advertising
  4. Click on Day Parts
  5. Select Hour or Day of Week depending on what you are wanting to look at

Summary

Hopefully you have been able to take a few things away from this post. The reports I have suggested are just a few of the main ones I would use when it comes to managing a PPC campaign but all the reports in Google Analytics should be used to really understand what works for you.

Depending on the goal of your paid search campaign, you will want to use different reports but you should always be using Google Analytics if you want your campaign to be a success.

AUTHORED BY:
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Samantha Noble is the Digital Marketing Director at Koozai, a Digital Marketing Agency based in Southampton and London and event and brand manager on State of Digital and part of the editorial team.
  • http://www.sellwithppc.com/ Frank

    Great post. It is really indeed great information shared. Was not knowing many things.

    • http://twitter.com/Koozai_Sam Samantha Noble

      Thanks Frank, glad you found it useful. The features are pretty hidden unless you know they are there but they are so useful once you find them!

  • http://www.ppcni.com Jordan McClements

    Thankfully, pretty much all this data is available from the main AdWords interface now (bounce rate, visit duration, conversions value, conversion value/cost, dimensions-time- hour of day or day of week), though admittedly, Analytics is a bit better for comparing date ranges etc..
    Also, I like your idea about having ad text targeting specific devices, but in practice it is really not easy to get ads with Apple trademarks in them approved (or even ads with the word ‘tablet’ in them).

    • http://www.softgainz.com Deepa

      very helpful post, thanks for sharing……….