Today’s post is by Terry Whalen, Managing Director at Sum Digital, a San Francisco digital marketing agency. Terry has managed millions in PPC spend for consumer and B2B advertisers since 2006.
On October 2nd Google announced new AdWords functionality allowing users to view key Google Analytics (GA) data in the AdWords dashboard. The new metrics include Bounce Rate, Pages Per Visit, Average Visit Duration, and – added just last week – % New Visits. This data is available at the Campaign, Ad group, Keyword, and Ad levels. I haven’t seen much written about this feature addition, but it’s really cool so I thought I’d call it out!
How is this so cool, you ask? It’s cool because there is often a pattern between GA data and conversion data, and we can use this pattern to get early value signals on our keywords, ads, and campaigns.
In a perfect world, conversion data is always plentiful, and it gives us all the signals we could ask for. But sometimes conversion data is scarce. This could be the result of testing new campaigns or keywords, or it could be because average CPCs and cost/conversion are very high in a particular space. It could even be because conversion tracking breaks from time to time. In cases where conversion data is scarce, other engagement data – from Google Analytics – can very useful. The GA data has always been available, but now the data has been put right where you need it – in the same platform you use to manage your PPC program.
How To Import Google Analytics Data into AdWords
First, you’ll need to have admin rights for both accounts, using the same email address (MCC access is considered to be admin level, so your MCC email address will work fine). You should of course have already linked your GA account to your AdWords account, and you should be able to see AdWords cost data within your GA dashboard.
Now, navigate to the Google Analytics account, click the Admin tab at top right from any Analytics page, then click the appropriate account, then click the Account Settings tab and check the Data Sharing box next to “Share my Google Analytics data with other Google products only,” and click Apply. Then, navigate to AdWords, click My Account/Linked Accounts, then click View Details and choose the profile(s) for which you’d like to see GA data in your AdWords dashboard.
Once this is done, navigate back to campaign, ad group, keyword, and ad views and use the column dropdown to add GA columns to your dashboard.
Making Use of Google Analytics Data in AdWords
Now it’s time to compare GA data for campaigns, ad groups, keywords, and ads that show conversions with GA data for those that don’t show conversions. If you find that higher page views seem to be associated with converting keywords, then you can use the page view column to help inform your bids for keywords with no conversion data.
I just took another look at an ecommerce client of ours, and actually there was much less of a time-on-site difference between converting and non-converting keywords – on average, converting keywords showed a 14% higher time-on-site. But another client shows a much bigger difference, where converting keyword time-on-site is 2-3 x that of non-converting keywords. Since this particular client has CPCs in the $5-10 range, and average CPAs of $150+, this time-on-site metric can be very helpful for setting bids.
You can even filter on the new GA data – for instance, you could run high-bounce-rate filters to determine whether certain keywords should be paused, or whether ads are pointing to broken pages.
As with all data, you need to be certain that the data is telling you what you think it’s telling you – but you already knew that.