Google Ads does a great job of telling you which ads produce clicks and which of those clicks results in a conversion. But let’s face it, there’s a lot of information you cannot get from Google Ads alone.

Suppose you have an e-commerce website and two percent of your site visitors make a purchase. Your Google Ads reporting will show you what keywords your visitors searched on, which ads they clicked, which day or the week or time of day were they active, etc. In short, there’s quite a bit of good data to sift through.

But what about the 98 percent of site visitors who didn’t buy anything? Google Ads tells you nothing about them! For information on these folks, you need Google Analytics.

How much traffic do you get from organic search or from your last email campaign, and how do those sources convert? What pages do site visitors land on or exit from? What links did they click on? What videos did they watch?

There is a treasure-trove of information sitting deep inside Google Analytics (GA) that can bring tremendous clarity and understanding to your Google Ads planning. That’s why it’s so important to link your Google Ads account to your Google Analytics account. Diving deep into GA can absolutely improve the results you get from pay-per-click (PPC).

Macro and Micro Conversions
Before you start conversion tracking in GA, you need to understand macro and micro conversions. A macro conversion is the main step you want a visitor to take, such as making a purchase (if you’re an e-commerce site) or filling in a form with their contact information (if you’re all about lead generation).

Micro conversions are those little steps that lead to a macro conversion. These could be a wide variety of activities such as visiting a Contact Us page, downloading a free brochure, watching a video, reading a blog post and things like that. Tracking micro conversions gives you insight about engagement.

Once you identify macro and micro conversions, you can set them up as goals in your GA account and assign them a value. The value you establish doesn’t have to be a monetary value. It can be a relative value using a point system. The whole purpose of establishing a value is to help you determine which activities are most important in terms of leading to a macro conversion.

If you’re using digital ads on Facebook, or if you’re using a MailChimp email campaign to drive traffic to your website, you must tag your ads so that they can be measured in Google Analytics. Fortunately, Google has a free URL builder tool that’s easy to use and which allows for tracking clicks regardless of the source. You can also place notations in GA to explain sudden spikes in page views and other metrics. For example, if a direct mail campaign hits households in the third week of May, you should note this in Analytics. That way, eight months from now you’ll know why page views went up. Without this notation, you’ll spend too much time scratching your head wondering what the hell happened.

Google Analytics and Google Ads are both powerful tools for digital marketing. Linking them together makes them real dynamite. You’ll have access to detailed information that will help you make smarter decisions with Google Ads.

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