Although Google AdWords offers conversion tracking to analyze customer activity, you also have the option of accessing your Google Analytics goals. At first glance, the two choices may seem very similar, but there are some distinct advantages to opting for GA goals. This guide explains the differences between the two options and will teach you how to set up GA goals.
Differences Between AdWords Conversion Tracking and GA Goals
AdWords conversion tracking only provides you with information from conversions through AdWords sources. If you want to track all the customers who visit your site (rather than just those who convert) or you want to see conversions from sources other than AdWords, you will need GA goals. By importing GA goals into your AdWords reports, you provide the Conversion Optimizer with the data it needs to optimize bids.
There is also another reason to consider GA goals: AdWords conversion tracking often suffers a delay and data is sometimes more than a day out of date. In contrast, GA goals data is usually no older than three hours ago, enabling you to make smarter decisions.
Bear in mind, it is possible to use just one tool or both at the same time — although there are no real benefits to continuing with conversion tracking once you are using GA goals.
How to Start Using Google Analytics Goals
1. Link your GA account to your AdWords account
To link your accounts, you will need a Google Account with Google Analytics property permissions. To configure permissions, click “Admin”, select the property you want, and select “User Management.” If no such option appears, you’ll need to talk to your account administrator about gaining edit permissions.
In addition, you need administrative access in AdWords. To find out if you already have this access, choose “Account” under the gear menu and check under “Account access” onthe lefthand side.
Once you’ve gained permissions and access, stay in your AdWords accounts and choose “Linked accounts” under the gear icon. Navigate to “Google Analytics” and choose “Set up link” under “View details” to connect the property to AdWords. Finally, choose “Import site metrics” and save.
2. Turn on Auto-tagging
The Auto-tagging feature automatically creates custom URLs, allowing you to track offline conversions as well as ad performance. By default, this feature is off. Unless you’ve switched it on in the past, you’ll need to head over to the “Billing, Account settings, and Help menu,” choose “Account settings,” and turn on “Tracking” in the preferences.
3. Import GA goals to AdWords
If you’ve only just linked your accounts, you’ll need to wait 30 minutes before you can complete this next step.
Once enough time has elapsed, navigate back to your AdWords account and choose “Conversions” under the “Tools” tab. On the left, you’ll see the option “Google Analytics” in the menu. Select all the goals and transactions you want to import and hit “Continue.” Next, you’ll be presented with settings for each goal and transaction. After you’ve made your selections, choose “Import goals.”
At this point, you’ll start receiving current data — GA goals is unable to include historical data. The process may take up to nine hours to complete, after which point your imported conversions data will be visible next to your existing conversion data on the “Conversions” page.
4. Edit settings
You can edit the settings for your imported goals whenever you like, just as you edit those of the conversion actions in AdWords. You’ll even find it in the same place: under “Conversions.”
If you want to receive information about all your conversions, rather than just those from AdWords, and gain a better picture of how users are interacting with your site, it is worthwhile to set up GA goals in AdWords. The fast and simple process will enable you to improve campaigns in small ways to have a big impact on conversions.