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Samantha Noble

Improve Your Paid Search Analytics And Reporting

12th Feb 2014 Paid Search 7 minutes to read

Sam SlidesToday I gave a presentation on Paid Search Reporting and Analytics. This post covers everything that I spoke about including links to Custom Reports, Analytics Dashboards and Whitepapers.

The aim of this talk was to highlight the reporting synergies between Google AdWords and Google Analytics and how users should be utilising both platforms to get the best results from their paid search campaigns.

So let’s get started with the slides:

Tagging and Linking

At Koozai, we manage a lot of paid search campaigns and it still surprises me how many accounts come to us that don’t have the fundamental platforms linked together.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics should be linked to every AdWords Account at the time of setting up your first campaign. It will allow you to view AdWords click data from within the Analytics platform and Site Engagement data within the AdWords platform which enables you to optimise your campaigns more efficiently. Linking these two platforms also opens up the remarketing list functionality where you can build lists easily using various metrics and dimensions from within Analytics and import them back into AdWords.

When you are linking Google Analytics, make sure you tick the box for Data Sharing otherwise you will have limited functionality.

Google Webmaster Tools

Linking the Webmaster Tools platform is a new option which has recently been released and is one that every advertiser should be taking advantage of. It is easy to link and the data you get in return is extremely valuable. The report can be found within the Dimensions tab under Paid & Organic. A little later in this post you will find some examples for using the data in this report.

Three things to note when you do implement this are:

  1. Make sure you link the www. and non .www versions of your site
  2. The number of impressions organic keywords receive will almost always be higher than your paid keywords as they are not limited by budget or ad serving
  3. Organic data will not be available for historic searches, data is only from the time you link your accounts


This is the most simple element to set up but is often forgotten. Without enabling auto-tagging, you will only be able to see very top level PPC data within Google Analytics. In order to implement this, check your preference settings within Google AdWords. AdWords will automatically tag the destination URLs in your ads to tell Analytics important information about where the visit to the site came from.

Once you have done this, you will also be able to import goals and transaction data from Analytics into AdWords.

Other Campaigns

Google Analytics only recognises paid search traffic from its own AdWords platform so if you are running PPC campaigns on Bing or Yahoo! it is important to use the URL Tool Builder to tag the destination URLs so you can analyse the data.

The URL Tool Builder can be found here.

There are four key fields that you need to complete in order to get the data to appear accurately within Google Analytics:

  • Website URL
  • Campaign Source
  • Campaign Medium
  • Campaign Name

Once this has been added, a tracking URL will be populated and will look something like the below. In this example the Source is Bing, the Medium is CPC and the Campaign Name is campaign name1.


This tracking URL should then be appended to your other PPC campaign destination URLs. You can create as many of these as you like but make sure your labelling is consistent or you will get confused when analysing the data in the future.

Conversion Tracking

This is another feature that I often see not set up for campaigns which amazes me all the time. How can you run a PPC campaign and not know whether or not it is converting for you? Unless you are running a brand awareness campaign, conversion tracking should be top of your priority list when creating a campaign.

There are four types of conversion tracking:

  • Web Page
  • Call On-Site
  • Mobile or Tablet App
  • Offline Conversion

Make sure you review each of these in detail to work out what best suits your campaign objectives. You can have more than one type of conversion tracking per campaign. It is worth noting that web page conversion tracking comes with the most functionality.

Importing Goals from Google Analytics

If you are unable to get conversion tracking implemented on your website but do have goals set up within Google Analytics, you will have the option of importing the goals into AdWords. Although this is a useful feature, there are limitations so it is always best to set up conversions directly within the AdWords platform.

Conversion Window

A recent addition to AdWords is the option to adjust your conversion window. The AdWords cookie typically lasts for 30 days so if your customers take longer to convert then the conversion may not have been attributed to AdWords in the past.

The conversion window setting allows you to adjust the cookie length anywhere up to 90 days. If you are unsure of how long your customers tend to wait before converting, I recommend setting the window at 90 days and then reviewing the Time Lag report to see how long they actually take.

Conversion Attribution

Yehoshua Coren from Analytics Ninja was the other speaker in the session at SES London. He went into great detail about how AdWords and Analytics attribute conversion data to the different mediums. You can find a link to his slides here:


Google AdWords works on a first click attribution basis for conversions. It does not matter what other mediums are used, the conversion will be attributed to the first click. If a user visits a site via two ads then the conversion will be attributed to the last ad clicked. You can uncover what keywords visitors use before converting by using the Search Funnels report.

Google Analytics works on a last click attribution basis for conversions. If multiple mediums are used, the final medium will be attributed the conversion. Direct visits do not overwrite the ‘utmz’ cookie so the penultimate medium will be credited. You can uncover what mediums visitors use before converting by using the Multi-Channel Funnels and Attribution reports in Google Analytics.

To find out more about first and last click attribution, check out this blog post.

Useful Reports

There are a number of reports within both the AdWords and Analytics platform that I would recommend every advertiser should take a look at and use on a regular basis. You can find out more detail about these reports in slides 31 – 41 in my presentation at the top of this post.

Some of my recommended reports include (but are not limited to):

  • Paid and Organic (AdWords)
  • Day of the Week (Analytics)
  • Hour of the Day (AdWords)
  • Query Match Types (Analytics)

Custom Reporting

A custom report has been created that allows three types of roles to view and analyse the paid search campaign data. From within this one custom report, PPC Execs can see the nitty gritty detailed data, PPC Managers can see top level data and Directors or CEOs can see the very top level data, Revenue and Cost.

To use this custom report simply follow this link and import it directly into your most relevant Google Analytics profile:



Since the Dashboards feature was released in Google Analytics, there have been so many great templates created. They are ideal for visually data at a top level before drilling down into the detailed data. I must give credit to Dashboard Junkie for the creation of two of my recommended dashboards for analysing PPC data.

There are three dashboards that I have shared in this presentation:

General Overview – This dashboard shows top level campaign data including clicks, impressions and goals. To import, follow this link: http://kooz.ai/ppc-overview

Brand vs. Non Brand – Use this dashboard to understand how your branded and non-branded keywords work within your paid search campaigns. Make sure you edit the dashboard and add your brand name before you use the report otherwise you won’t see any data. Click here to import: http://kooz.ai/brand-vs-nonbrand

Revenue Performance – A dashboard created to purely show you revenue and sales data generated off the back of your paid search campaigns. Import this dashboard here: http://kooz.ai/revenue-performance

Free Whitepapers

Finally, if you want to find out any more about PPC or Analytics, be sure to check out one of our free whitepapers which include:


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Samantha Noble

Sam is a talented multi-tasker, a dedicated mother to the gorgeous Theo and a big fan of cooking – word on the street is that she’s pretty good in the kitchen but we’re yet to know if this is true or not. Hint hint, we like cake, Sam.

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