Obviously, you want a great Google Ads campaign. However, it has a somewhat steep learning curve, and you need to learn on the go. At all times, you will have to rely on data to identify bottlenecks and adjust your campaign.
This basically works in two levels. First, you need data on your campaign parameters, such as keywords, clicks, and so on. Next, you need to evaluate your website/ landing page.
You can access data right from your Google Ads dashboard. You can also view Google Ads reports from your Google Analytics dashboard.
This second set of report data is visible only after linking Ads with Analytics. Is it imperative that you make this link? Let’s explore!
Google Analytics is not defaulted for Google Ads
Google Ads is highly versatile. For instance, you can run campaigns without keywords, or even use Google Ads without a Gmail account.
You can also use Google Ads without Google Analytics.
Google Ads, by default, has a Reports tab. This tab offers access to basic insights about your ad (like clicks, Impressions, conversions etc.). Moreover, you can even access the Reports Editor. It is a useful tool with a host of features.
- Drag-and-drop interface
- Custom charts
- Multi-segment analysis
- Advanced filtering
It is optional to link your Ads account with Analytics. This linking lets you use a new set of reports on Google Ads via the Analytics dashboard.
Accessing Google Ads reports from Analytics dashboard
Of course, Google encourages Ads and Analytics linking. Without a doubt, GA is a highly versatile tool. Besides, it has a free standard version, which is usually more than enough!
Linking Ads with Analytics is easy.
But, Google also allows the flexibility to unlink. This freedom to disconnect raises a few important questions.
Why would people look for Analytics alternatives? Is it a good decision? What are the benefits of connecting Analytics and Ads together? What are the issues of using them together?
Gaining access to the big picture
Customer journeys in the digital domain continue to evolve. A typical customer journey involves a visit to multiple websites. Also, one may use both mobile and desktop for researching a product. So, it is quite a challenge to figure out a predictable user pattern.
Here comes the great dominance of the Google search engine! Google employs a robust data collection system, keeping track of user behavior in all details.
Linking Ads with Analytics allows you access to this big picture.
Key benefits of linking Google Ads with Analytics
Here are a few ways how linking Ads with Analytics can help.
- View cross-device conversions in your Google Ads account
- Import Analytics metrics on site performance to Google Ads
- You can run better remarketing campaigns armed with insights from Analytics
- You gain access to multi-channel funnel reports
In conclusion, you can develop a better ad copy and fine-tune the campaign for best results. You can also improve the landing page based on the insights.
The two platforms can sometimes get confusing
You would expect the data from Ads and Analytics to match up. After all, it’s all Google! However, it can get confusing due to data mismatch.
There can be several reasons for data mismatch.
- Google Ads and Analytics use different systems for measuring data
- Configuration issues between Ads and Analytics
- Issues in tracking codes and URL tagging
The most visible example of data discrepancy is in the difference between clicks (Google Ads) and sessions (Analytics).
Why clicks and sessions may show different data?
Clicks show the number of clicks on the ad. Whereas, ‘sessions’ show actual site activity in a given time frame. Users may click on an ad multiple times within a period. For example, someone may click twice on an ad in a 30-minute session. Google Ads will show two clicks, while Analytics will show one session. Again, a user may click on an ad but immediately hit the back button. This also results in data mismatch.
Furthermore, Google Ads filters invalid clicks and conversions. Google Analytics does not use these filters. Besides, the attribution models are different. GA covers sessions both through the ad and organic search. Google Ads will only register the traffic coming from the ad, and exclude organic searches.
Further issues with using Google Analytics
Google Analytics needs the Global Site Tag on every page. It also requires the Google Analytics tag. Together, these two tags can add more than 45 KB to the site! This would affect the loading speed.
Naturally, many marketers seek lightweight solutions. A slow site is one of the main reasons behind high bounce rates.
Besides, GA presents a great diversity of data. It will also take some time to be familiar. You may not even need all those detailed insights. Naturally, you will look for other options with an easier user interface.
Notable alternatives to Google Analytics
Many top websites use other options instead of GA. Matomo is a good example. It is a popular open-source option. Its clients include NASA, the UN, European Commission, and Amnesty International.
GitHub uses Fathom. It is cookie-less and checks all the aspects of data compliance. It sports a clean dashboard along with real-time data. The list of GA alternatives further extends to sites like FoxMetrics and Woopra.
Finally, it depends on your choice. To make it simple, you should link Google Ads and Analytics if the benefits seem appealing. Of course, it makes it easy to manage campaigns with great insights.
However, this linking is not entirely free of issues. Using Analytics on your site will require a cookie prompt for first-time visitors. The data from Analytics and Ads may not match, making it confusing.
So, you may want to have a third-party view of your site’s performance. As it is, several other options are also available. You may want to compare these options and pick a good site analysis tool.
As always, if you need help with managing your Google ads account, you can reach me out any time and I am always happy to help you 🙂