MacAdam Lea
By MacAdam Lea | Analytics, SEM | May 19, 2016

Analytics Tracking vs. AdWords Tracking

If you’re looking to run advertisements on Google AdWords, the first thing you’ll want to do is set up accurate conversion tracking. A conversion is what happens when someone clicks on your ad and then takes an action that you’ve defined as valuable to your business, such as an online purchase or call to your business. If you don’t set up conversion tracking, then there would be no way of knowing what kind of ROI your AdWords investment is generating.  Google gives you two main avenues for setting up conversion tracking: AdWords itself or through Google Analytics. Both work, but if you’re looking to set your company up for future success then I highly recommend that you monitor conversions with Google Analytics tracking.

Analytics Vs AdWords

 Why Is Analytics Tracking Better?

1) View All Traffic Sources In One Place

Setting up goal tracking through Analytics gives you insight into EVERY website traffic source, not just Google AdWords.  The AdWords conversion tracking code will only put data into your AdWords Account.  However, setting up Google Analytics goal tracking will give you data on all your traffic sources, be it Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Google Organic, Email Marketing, Direct, or anything else.  This will let you evaluate the effect of our paid traffic in context, and will also give your marketing team more information to make decisions for your other website related marketing channels. By linking your Google Analytics account to your Google AdWords account, we can import all of the goals we set up in GA into AdWords & get the data into AdWords easily.  Thus, Google Analytics tracking also enables Google AdWords tracking.


2) Analytics Is A More Powerful Tool –  

There are many reports that you can pull easily in Google Analytics, such as conversion rate by geographic location, multi-channel attribution reports, & social traffic sources impact that you’ll be able to see conversion data for that would not be available with Google AdWords. Additionally, Google Analytics gives you the ability to track more conversion options than Google AdWords.  For example, we can track self-referring forms or simple hyperlink clicks as goals using Google Analytics’ “Event Tracking”.  There is no equivalent option for this that I am aware of in AdWords.  Our Call Tracking solution is also set up in Google Analytics and is imported into AdWords.  Google Analytics allows us to close the loop on all conversions better than AdWords.


3) Easier to Set Up

Installation of Google Analytics Goal Tracking is cleaner & requires less code to be put on your website. Since you already have Google Analytics code on your website, all that needs to be done is manipulation of that code to track whatever it is we’re interested in tracking, be it revenue from a shopping cart, a form submission, a PDF download, or whatever else. AdWords conversion tracking is much more clunky.  Each conversion type has to have its own unique code installed on the conversion page that you want to track.  This means that if you’re tracking 20 different conversion points & you want to easily differentiate them, you need to install, and then manipulate your website code for every one of those conversion points.

In the end there really isn’t any reason to set up conversion tracking in AdWords over Google Analytics. Even if you’re currently only running ads on AdWords setting up your tracking through Analytics give you more data and sets you up for any other online advertising you may want to do in the future. It’s easier to set up, easier to keep running, and provides a lot of additional useful data. Set up your conversion tracking through Google Analytics, it’s the way to go.

If you’re struggling to build out campaigns or set up conversion tracking, check out some of our other blogs for a more detailed run-down of how to set everything up in AdWords, or contact us and we’ll get your campaigns whipped into shape right away.

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