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Using Google Analytics with Google AdWords

If you missed the first and second part of the Google webinar series, here is Google AdWords for Nonprofits 101 and Google AdWords for Nonprofits: Tips On How to Succeed.

So far in our 3-part webinar series, by Simon Choy from ConnectAd, we’ve covered how to set up your Google Adwords account and making sure your campaign(s) are as successful as possible. In this final part, we will be summarizing how to use Google Analytics in conjunction with Google Adwords and will be covering:

  • Why Google Analytics Helps
  • How to Setup Google Analytics
  • Understanding Conversion Tracking
  • Linking Google Analytics to AdWords

Why Google Analytics Helps

Google Analytics and Google AdWords operate as two separate systems and provide two separate types of data. Google Analytics will tell you what’s going on in your website and Google AdWords gives you information on how well your ad campaigns are doing. Once you connect your accounts, you can pass information from one system to another easily as they are both Google products and therefore integrate well. By being able to access data together, it gives you a more complete picture of how your Google Ad is performing.

A quick poll of nonprofits in attendance of whether they use Google Analytics showed:

  • 64% said yes
  • 28% said no
  • 8% not sure

Google Analytics is a free tool that gathers and reports data about your website visitors (e.g. number of people visiting your website and what they do once there).

Four common Google Analytic metrics that we will be covering in this session are:

Average Session Duration (0:00): average length of time a visitor is on the website (when they leave that ends the session)

Bounce rate (%): percentage of sessions where the visitor only views 1 page and then leaves (or “bounces”). The industry standard is about 60% - the aim would be to stay around this number or lower

Pages/Sessions (#): average number of pages viewed per session

Conversions (#): number of completed actions that were defined inside Google Analytics as a conversion goal. A conversion is someone completing an action that you deem as valuable.

Google AdWords is Google’s advertising platform that lets you manage your Google AdGrants campaigns. The types of “campaigns” that you might run would be fundraising, recruiting volunteers, or building awareness about the organization. Within Google AdWords, you have access to data that tells you how your campaigns are structured, how many people clicked on your ads, and how much (free) advertising money you have in your account. Four pieces of data to identify as particularly useful are:

Campaigns, Ad Groups, Keywords, Ad Text: defines the structure of your AdWords account and campaigns

Clicks (#): number of people that clicked on your ads

Impressions (#): similar to clicks, but is the number of people that viewed a page that contained your ad (but did not click on the ad)

CTR (Click-Through Rate) %:
measures the number of clicks/number of impressions. Generally speaking this is a measure of ad effectiveness, and therefore, the higher CTR you have, the more effective your ad is

Again using the data from both systems in combination allows you to have a much fuller picture of what’s happening. As you can see below, you can understand conversions in the context of campaigns, ad groups, keywords, or ad text.

If you look at just the number of clicks below, you see that Campaign #1 has 1,000 clicks and Campaign #2 has 10,000 clicks, making it look like Campaign #2 is doing better because it has more clicks.

However, if you pull in information from Google Analytics, then you see that Campaign #1 also has 50 conversions and Campaign #2 only has 5 conversions. By getting a complete picture, you are able to further conclude that Campaign #1 is better for conversions while Campaign #2 is better for awareness. You can optimize your account based on real performance instead of just ad performance. 

How to Set Up Google Analytics

First, you will have to create a Google Analytics account with your Gmail account. Once you create your account, you will get a unique ID code (tracking code) that needs to be inserted into your website - on every page of your website that you want to track. It’s a relatively simple process of putting it into your website code, but for those not familiar with coding, any webmaster or staff member with IT experience should be able to do it with ease.

Note: CMS (content-management systems) like Wordpress or Drupal usually have quick-add options/plugins to install Google Analytics code across several pages.

Understanding Conversion Tracking

In Google Analytics, under the admin panel you will be able to click on an option under View where you can create goals. You would name your goal, pick what kind of goal it is (duration, pages/screens per session, etc., and then choose what you want to track.

Conversions: action completions on your website that you define as valuable. For example, completed donation, registration for an event or email, or you make a sale).

Conversions also must be defined inside GA using one of the following scenarios:

Duration goal: when your goal completion is when “user spends X amount of time on site” (ie. if someone spends more than 5 mins on my website, it’s a conversion). Embedded videos on your site or blogs are good examples of when this would be handy.

Video View
Conversion = user views a 3 min video
Goal definition = duration goal over 3 min

Blog Read
Conversion = user reads a blog post that takes 5 min. on average to read
Goal definition = duration goal over 5 min.

Pages/Screens per session goal: when User visits X amount of pages in a session. For example, you might want someone to read multiple blog posts and that would be your conversion. The goal that you would choose to count that would be if someone visits 3 pages in a session.

Event goal: Is when someone clicks on a website element that you’ve specifically tagged. This tracking is a bit trickier and requires special website coding.

Video play as a goal
Conversions = user views video
Goal definition = clicking on the video play button

Document download
Conversions = user downloads a PDF
Goal definition = clicking on the download button

Form submissions
Conversions = user submits a volunteer form
Goal definition = clicking on the form submit button

Outbound Link
GA cannot track what happens when the user leaves your site - so you’re not sure if someone clicked on a link that exists on your website to a third party or they just leave the website

Conversion = user clicks on a link to another website
Goal definition = clicking on the link you want to track

Destination goal: When a user visits a specific page on your website.

Step 1: Visitor visits your homepage
Step 2: Visit visits page with goal on it
Step 3: If they complete that action, then they are taken to a goal confirmation page

You would thus define the last page as the destination goal. Donations are a good example of when this would be an ideal way to track. When someone donates, they are taken to the “Thank You” page, which is only accessible when they make a donation. The “Thank You” page will be the destination goal. You can accurately track how many people are completing the action that you want them to follow through on.

Note: When you set your destination goals, make sure you don’t put in your domain name in the destination field.

Linking GA and AdWords

The full demonstration is online and is easier to follow than the written version below. It’s a bit tricky because you need to move between GA and AdWords.

You have to be signed in to your Google Account that has access to both GA and AdWords and you need administrative access in GA.

Starting with GA’s Admin panel

  • AdWords linking > It will preload your AdWord account
  • Linked view = All website data = link accounts
  • Go back to Account settings = make sure you have selected “With other Google products only” - you must allow your products to share data with each other

Now go to your AdWords account to link your GA account

  • Go to the gear (account settings)
  • Linked accounts > Google Analytics option
  • You should see your GA account so select it
  • Click to Preferences, Tracking > select Autotagging

We’re done! Now you’ll get information on both systems. There will be an area that you can import data from your Google Analytics/AdWords that you can access on either side. Take the time to experiment with the different tracking options, stay on top of making tweaks as needed, and get the most of using two integrated Google systems.  Good luck and we hope this Google AdWords series was helpful!