A client recently introduced me at a board meeting as their Google Geek. Based on the number of discussions that Adam and I have about search marketing and Google specifically, I'm afraid to say that the characterization might be true. They brought me in for an Adwords tutorial as many people find this topic confusing.

Are you ready for what has this Google Geek excited? Google now allows us to link Google Analytics conversions into Adwords. For past year or more, we've been using Google Analytics and Google Conversion Tracking to keep track on our client's conversions. Conversions are important events (new leads or sales) that allow us to calculate the effectiveness of keyword advertising spend.

In order to keep track of these events, we have to add tracking codes to our client's websites. Coordinating the implementation of these tracking codes with client IT departments has been a real hassle. Many SEM firms have stopped using the Adwords Conversion Tracking tools, but we need them for 3 reasons:

  • Our Semify SEM tool needs the conversion data for running rules against keyword data
  • Some of the Google advanced bidding methods require conversion data in Adwords (e.g., the cost per action bidding strategies)
  • It is convenient to have some conversion information in Adwords when setting bids or adjusting ad copy. Without that information, we'd be constantly toggling between Adwords and Google Analytics.

On the flip side, we also need Google Analytics tracking because it provides so much more than just conversion tracking. With Analytics you get overall visitor stats, other campaign tracking, funnel analysis and just about any other view of data on your website.

With this latest feature, we can now leverage existing tagging of client websites or have more flexibility to build goals more quickly without IT department involvement.

Here is a quick Adwords tutorial on integrating the two services (note: I assume that you have already setup Google Analytics and setup data sharing with Google products. If not, start here):

  • Goto the conversion tracking screen (Tools >> Conversion Tracking) and select the Link your Analytics goals and transactions Google AdWords: Conversion Tracking
  • Now name the goal in Analytics with a Adwords Action name. I've noticed that in some cases Google is good at populating the name of the Analytics action and other times it is blank. I'm assuming they are in order, so the first unnamed action is Goal 1 in Analytics. You must also select the tracking purpose. This is important for Semify because this value with determine the column that Google will populate on a daily keyword report. Google AdWords: Conversion Tracking
  • Save your links and wait for 24 hours to start seeing data

This is yet another great step by Google to provide more tracking capabilities for its customers. These type of features are really powerful but difficult to clearly communicate the value to the broad user base that Google has on Adwords. I'd rate this feature for medium to advanced users. I think the medium term benefit for a larger group of users is a push from Google to get more users to track conversions and have them move over to the cost per action bidding engine that now exists in Adwords.