Having Google Analytics access is absolutely critical to running paid search campaigns to their full potential. Read-only access is okay, but it falls far short of helping us truly optimize a client’s campaigns (I’ll explain, using several of the examples below, why Edit access is necessary).
Here’s a selection of key use-cases for GA access for paid search managers:

-Ensure proper GA/AdWords linking so that data between the two platforms flows properly in both directions (GA data into AdWords and AdWords data into GA)

-Cross-check AdWords & Bing Ads conversions with GA data for QA purposes on a regular basis

-Import GA goals into AdWords for consistent tracking across platforms

-Review unique paid search reporting available in the Acquisition -> AdWords reports

-Use cross-channel analysis & attribution modeling – how does paid search fit in with overall marketing efforts – allows us to evaluate if paid search is under- or over-valued

-Examine multi-channel funnels, path length, and touch-points to understand pre-conversion user behavior

-Find high-quality site pages that have potential as paid search landing pages

-Use engagement metrics (time on site, bounce rate) to make bid decisions when conversion data is limited

-Evaluate potential page speed issue impact on Quality Score

-Measure and track micro-conversions without muddying AdWords/BingAds data with additional pixel placement

-Establish baseline data comparison – paid search vs. other channels

-Evaluate site performance by device for initial device bid-adjustment settings

-Establish a geo performance baseline

-Verify and recommend event tracking setup to track on-page actions like map mouseovers and shopping cart usage

-Investigate internal site search data for keyword research

-Determine potential bottlenecks in the conversion flow to recommend check-out flow improvements

-Use audience evaluation to seed Google Display Network campaigns

-Create remarketing lists (through unique features only available in GA)

-Review current tagging practices to ensure consistent tracking through restructures

-Determine if site redirects are dropping tagging — and, therefore, tracking

-Use annotations to track major campaign changes, tracking issues, or site changes that could impact performance

On the flip side, if you’ve given your agency or digital rep access, and they’re NOT doing most of the things on this list, chances are you’ve got a lot of room for further optimization. For a good starting point, check out a previous post I put together that identifies 8 critical GA reports that can unlock a lot of value in your AdWords campaigns.

Leave a Comment

Caitlin Halpert
Caitlin Halpert is an Account Director at 3Q Digital. She has worked in digital marketing since 2011 and held positions at Dealer.com and iSearchMedia before joining the 3Q team in March 2014. Caitlin graduated from Dartmouth College and is a native of Vermont.