Linking Your Google AdWords & Analytics – The How & Why

Linking Your Google AdWords & Analytics – The How & Why

By David Bird

The Importance of Linking Your Google Adwords and Google Analytics

A friend of mine Dean owns a small company. Whenever Dean invites me over for food and drinks, I notice his Google Analytics account is conveniently open and he’s logged in. I know he wants to pick my brain.

During a recent, visit Dean told me he was frustrated by his poor Google Adwords performance; he said they weren’t getting him any leads, not even email newsletter signups, and he asked me to have a look.

It seemed odd to me considering he was spending a lot of money on Adwords.

When I looked closer, I saw that there wasn’t any Adwords data in his Google Analytics account.

When we opened his Google Adwords account, we saw much more encouraging data: more than a dozen sales leads and a few email signups. Adwords was performing!

What Dean wasn’t doing — a mistake many businesses make — was linking his Adwords account to his Google Analytics account, to leverage the power of both.

Linking your Google Adwords and Google Analytics accounts allows the two products to work in tandem and exchange valuable data. And that helps you make better business and marketing decisions:

The Good Things That Happen when You Link Your Accounts

Everything Works Towards the Same Goals

When you link your Google Adwords and Google Analytics accounts, you can automatically import your Google Analytics goals into Adwords. That means your ads are now required to meet the same conversion standards as other traffic sources like SEO, referral, and even other advertisers.

And you’ll be able to see how all your online lead generating activities are performing in one single report.

This screenshot from Google Analytics shows how you can compare Adwords and all other traffic sources in a single screen:

Traffic Source Comparison







This report helped me see that one of my customers was generating more revenue with Google Adwords advertising than all other advertising sources combined. They made thousands more in revenue by redirecting money from under performing advertisers to Adwords.

Distinguish Between Good and Bad Traffic

Google Analytics can send valuable engagement data to Adwords so you can more easily distinguish between good and bad traffic. You’ll see data like:

  • Bounce rates — are people clicking your advertisements only to leave right after hitting the landing page?
  • Pages per session — are people looking at multiple pages once they get to your website?
  • Time on site
  • Percentage of new sessions

Do a More Thorough Analysis of Your Adwords Campaign Performance

When your accounts are linked, Adwords sends important data to Google Analytics so you can do a thorough analysis of your ads’ performance without toggling back to Google Adwords to gather data like:

  • Cost of your Adwords by campaign, ad group, keyword, etc.
  • Clicks you’re getting on your ads, keywords, etc.
  • Keyword performance
  • Sitelinks performance (new)

See What Happens After Ad Readers Land on Your Website

When web surfers click on the links in your Adwords advertisements, you typically send them to a page on your website. What happens after these Adwords visitors land on your site (engagement, bounce rate, conversions, etc.) is a mystery, unless Adwords data is transferred to Analytics.

One of my customers was thrilled that their Adwords manager was getting them hundreds of clicks each week… That is until I linked their Google Analytics and Adwords accounts and showed them that their Adwords traffic had a bounce rate[1] of close to 100%.

On a positive note the Google Analytics data identified where the problem was and we were able to fix it quickly.

Target Your Ads to People Who Are Already Interested

Have you ever noticed that after you’ve visited certain websites you start seeing their ads on other websites you visit? The technique that makes that happen is called remarketing. Remarketing is a compelling way of getting people back to your website “for another look”.

When you link your Google Analytics and Adwords accounts you can pass target audience data from Google Analytics to Adwords, so Adwords delivers advertisements to those specific target audiences. To set up remarketing campaigns, you just have to define your target “audiences” in Google Analytics. Examples might include; “all visitors”, “visitors to specific groups of pages”, visitors who took a specific action (watched a video, downloaded a file), etc.

Identify Issues with Landing Pages, Ads and Bounce Rates

When I have Adwords campaigns with high clicks and low conversions, I often turn to Google Analytics data to identify issues with landing pages, missed ad expectations, and of course bounce rates. I can get better data and make decisions more accurately and quickly because I don’t have to toggle between Analytics and Adwords.

How to Link Your Adwords and Google Analytics Accounts

So now that you know “why” you should link your Google Adwords and Google Analytics accounts, you’re probably wondering “how” to do it. It’s really quick and simple:

  1. From your Google Analytics account, click Admin in the top navigation menu. Three columns will open.

GA linking to Adwords Admin

  1. In the middle column where it says “Product Linking”, Click AdWords Linking.
  2. Select the Google Analytics view you wish to link and then click Save.

Your accounts will be linked in no time and you’ll be on your way to making better business and marketing decisions.

[1] Bounce Rate: The percentage of people who leave your website after looking at only one page. A low bounce rate is good because it is an indication that people are engaging. A high bounce is a sign of disengagement.


This article was first published on Linked In Pulse.