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How to Link your Google AdWords and Analytics Accounts

Anna Lewis

by Anna Lewis on 7th June 2012

Google Adword LogoHaving AdWords data in Google Analytics is very valuable, but how do you get it? This post is going to show you how to link your AdWords and Analytics accounts so that you see the data in each. I’ll also answer some common questions, such as: why are my AdWords keywords not showing in Google Analytics? What is (not set) in Analytics? What is automatic campaign tagging? And more!

Let’s get started, the first thing you need to do is make sure you have admin access to both accounts. To check this in Google Analytics navigate to the account and click the Admin link at the top right. If there are lots of tabs of information, including one for Users, then you have admin access.

To check in AdWords, navigate to the My Account tab when you’re viewing the account and click Account Access. This then shows you who has access. It is also possible to link AdWords and Analytics accounts when you have MCC access.

Historically, the person who created the AdWords account needed to be the one with Admin access to both, but I don’t think that’s the case anymore.

So now that you have the right level of access the following instructions should work, the steps will be slightly different depending on whether you are an admin or accessing through an MCC but they are similar enough:

  • Open the account in AdWords
  • Click Tools and Analysis
  • Select Google Analytics (see screenshot 1 below)
  • Click Admin (near the top on the right)
  • Select account you want to link from the list
  • Click the Data Sources tab (see screenshot 2 below)
  • Make sure the details of the accounts that can be linked are correct
  • Click Link Accounts and a pop up appears (see screenshot 3 below)
  • Select whether you would like your links Auto tagged or not (explained below)
  • Choose which Analytics profiles you want the data to go in
  • Click Continue and you’re done!

Screenshot 1: Google Analytics from Google AdWords interface

link adwords and analytics - navigation

Screenshot 2: Link Accounts

link adwords and analytics - data sources

Screenshot 3 – Auto tagging and profile options:

link adwords and analytics - pop up

It should now look like this:

link adwords and analytics  - finish

If the right data is not being pulled in to Google Analytics there are some fundamental settings that need to be checked.

Linking with multiple accounts

It is best practice to have one website targeted per AdWords account and one Analytics account per website, this way it’s easy to keep your websites well managed and not have data or settings overlap.

This said, you can now link an analytics account with multiple AdWords accounts and then select which profiles each AdWords account data should feed in to.

Furthermore, you can now unlink AdWords accounts nice and easily where in the past it was almost impossible to change what was linked!

Check if AdWords data is in Google Analytics

When the accounts are linked, how and where do you see the data in Google Analytics? You can either navigate (from the standard reports) to the Advertising tab and click through there to check that all your campaigns and keywords are reported on.

You can also check the Traffic Sources tab by selecting Sources, Search, Paid and checking for your keywords in there. If you see (not set) in here, that means the data is not able to be passed on to Analytics as it should be and you will need to check the following steps.

How to check that AdWords tagging is set up correctly to pass the data to Analytics

AdWords ads (or keywords if you want to be really specific) need to be tagged with information about the campaign, keyword, ad variation and the fact that it’s CPC, so that they can be reported properly in your analytics programme. If any of the common variables are not tagged correctly but some data is still being passed, then you will most likely see (not set).

Auto tagging is the best way to manage this in most cases as it means you only have to tick one box and you get all the right data passed on.

Manual tagging is used when you have a different reporting system to Google Analytics and/or the data needs to be constructed differently.

Standard tags that work perfectly with Google Analytics and correlate with the standard reports and dimensions are:

  • Campaign Medium:        What type of traffic it is (default is cpc)
  • Campaign Source:         What website the traffic is from (google)
  • Campaign Name:           The campaign name
  • Campaign Keyword:       The keyword you have in your account that is triggered/clicked
  • Campaign Content:         The ad text shown

If you want to build your own tagging system, I recommend starting with Google’s URL Builder tool. If you need to tag more than one or two URLs then you will need to break down the structure of the URL built in this tool and use a spreadsheet and the concatenate function to build lists of specific URLs with the data pulled from AdWords, which you can then import to AdWords using AdWords Editor.

Check AdWords account settings to make sure AdWords data can be passed on to Analytics

If the tagging is set up correctly and the accounts linked but you’re still not getting the data, there is one more setting that you need to check – data sharing settings at account level.

Find this page within the main Admin area for the account in Google Analytics (that is, by going to Admin and clicking All Accounts then finding your account), then select the Account Settings tab.

The first box here needs to be ticked in order for the analytics and AdWords data to be shared:

link adwords and analytics - sharing settings


So there you have it, all your lovely data should now be coming in to Analytics so you can measure the success and improve AdWords performance.

Anna Lewis

Anna Lewis

Our resident analytics specialist is Anna Lewis. Anna is unbelievably attuned to anything analytical and can fill you in on all the latest news, tips and advice to get ahead in this evolving market.

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  • Patrick Hathaway 7th June 2012

    Great post Anna – very useful checklist. I had an issue with one of my goals not being imported properly from Analytics so running through all these steps made me check I’d done everything correctly in the first place!

    A further note (what I ended up doing), if you are really stuck with technical issues you can always ring up Google directly during working hours – remember you are a paying customer! (the red box on this page: https://support.google.com/adwords/?hl=en-GB)

    Reply to this comment

  • Anna Lewis

    Anna Lewis 7th June 2012

    Thanks for the comment and tip Patrick, I forget about the phone line when I’m in analytics mode but it is very useful for AdWords issues.

    Importing goals… that’s a post for another day I think! I hope you managed to resolve your issue, these steps have been basically been crafted out of fixing things when they’re not working, hopefully it’s useful to people just setting up and those fixing issues.

    Reply to this comment

    • Patrick Hathaway 7th June 2012

      To be fair I think you’ve covered most of the steps to make importing goals pretty straightforward. The lovely Irish lady at Google helped me out (I’d renamed a goal that was set up on the old old analytics, which is why I couldn’t find it!).

      This is definitely a very useful post for getting set up and fixing issues.

      Reply to this comment

  • Russell McAthy 27th June 2012

    Awesome post Anna, as discussed before i’m glad they have made this process a lot less painful.

    Thanks for a great how-do guide!

    Reply to this comment

  • Anna Lewis

    Anna Lewis 27th June 2012

    Thanks for the feedback Russell, glad you found the guide useful.

    It is good how they’ve made improvements, still a long process but the fact that we can now link multiple accounts is very useful!

    Reply to this comment

  • smoking pot 25th September 2012

    You really make it appear so easy with your presentation but I in finding this matter to be actually
    something which I believe I’d by no means understand. It seems too complicated and extremely extensive for me. I am taking a look ahead for your subsequent submit, I will try to get the hold of it!

    Reply to this comment

  • Damien Smyth 28th September 2012

    Hi Anna,

    The topic is one I’m familiar with but I must say you’ve explained it well, good instructions and nice step-by-step approach plus extra points to check.

    One trickier, housekeeping question for you though…

    I work on behalf of a large, multinational company and provide Admin. level access to a large number of Adwords accounts for local Digital Marketing teams & local Media agencies across numerous countries, so that they can do exactly as you describe – i.e. link Adwords account with relevant Google Analytics account so we have this PPC & Paid Display data in Google Analytics.

    However, I would like to ‘reduce’ the Admin. level access they end up with to the Google Analytics data after the ‘linking’ has been completed – is it actually possible to reduce the access back to user-level access after they have linked data and they are still able to view the Google Analytics data within Adwords (as is per their needs)?

    I hope the question makes sense. As you can imagine, we are keen to limit the number of users who have full administrative access to our Analytics data and could change important configuration settings, either purposely or in error.

    Thanks for your help with this, regards, Damien.

    Reply to this comment

  • Matt 5th February 2013

    Thank you Anna. Your directions worked perfectly. I really appreciate that you put this resource on the Web.

    Reply to this comment

  • Darren Roberts 11th October 2013

    Thanks Anna –

    Always useful to be able to see Adwords Conversions Vs. Analytics Goals


    Reply to this comment

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