How an AdWords expert uses Google Analytics data

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Back in October, we made it possible to import and view Google Analytics data in AdWords. We asked Jon Gritton, a Top Contributor in the AdWords Community, why he’s excited about this feature, and what it can offer advertisers.
Jon Gritton, Top Contributor,
AdWords Community
With AdWords as his primary business, as well as general Internet marketing consultancy, Jon describes his work as “a mouthful at the best of times!” He began using AdWords in 2002 while employed at a music distribution company, and has recently celebrated ten years using the program.

What were your first thoughts about this new ability to import Analytics data into AdWords?

To be honest my first thought was, “Why hasn’t this happened before?” It seems such an obvious thing to do now, but I guess that’s true of so many good ideas. The key thing that caught my eye was the Bounce Rate metric: when people on the Community say, “I get X clicks but no sales,” this figure can give them an instant insight into why their clicks aren’t turning into sales, much more quickly than mining through Analytics.

This launch brings some vital data right where you need it. It dramatically reduces the amount of cross-referencing and switching between products that you had to do in the past to analyze and apply the information presented by Analytics.

Can you talk more about the Analytics metrics that you now see inside AdWords?

All three of the metrics are telling you how your visitors engage with your website, and that’s a crucial part of the AdWords process. There’s no point sending people to a site that’s of no use.

Bounce Rate is a measure of how many of your visitors look at just one page of your site, then leave without going anywhere else. If you’re expecting your AdWords visitors to come to two or more pages for a visit, a high bounce rate is a sign of a problem. It’s like a customer opening the door to your store, walking in, then walking right back out again. You’ve got to look at why people are “bouncing.” There can be several reasons (sometimes more than one at the same time). Your site may be too slow to load and needs slimming down, or it may be that your site isn’t what the visitor expects, which might indicate you need to look at your ad copy or keywords to ensure you’re capturing the right audience.

Pages Per Visit and Average Visit Duration are other ways of looking at this visitor engagement, helping you gauge how effective your site is in supporting the AdWords campaign.  You can think of Pages Per Visit like our store visitor looking round lots of shelves and walking into several sections of the store, while the Visit Duration is obviously how long they spend in the shop.  

Anything advertisers should watch out for?

While it may seem clear that you want Pages Per Visit and Average Visit Duration to be as high as possible, bear in mind that they could also be high if the visitor can’t find what they’re looking for, or if the visitor finds your site hard to use.  Equally, a site that’s very quick and easy to use may have quite low figures here without indicating any kind of problem.  Like most things AdWords, you can’t really take one metric in isolation.

Tell us how you’re using these metrics.

For me the primary advantage is in identifying ads and keywords that aren’t “working” with my sites and the Bounce Rate is probably my favorite metric for this.  I hate high bounce rates - I hate the idea that people are coming to the site and just leaving, so I’m always trying to improve these figures.  Being able to see the rates right next to the AdWords components makes it a lot easier to start this process.

I’ve found the metrics can also act as a “defense” for keywords that might otherwise be slated for deletion.  I’ve found a number that I thought weren’t performing well because of poor clicks or conversions, but which I’ve now spotted actually do quite well for site penetration and time.  This data was always there in Analytics, of course, but it’s more “in your face” when you can see it as you work through an AdWords account.

Want to discuss the new Analytics import with other AdWords users? Take part in the discussion on the AdWords Community site. Or visit the AdWords Help Center to learn how to see Analytics data in your AdWords account.

Posted by Cindy Meyers and Virginia Roman, Editors, Online Help

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