Our story begins with an in-depth analysis of Amy, our in-house social & outreach specialist, who ordered birthday flowers from 1-800-Flowers for Michele, one of our senior sales reps here at Zero Company. 

Her journey was a perfect illustration of how you can use the integration between Google Analytics and Google Ads (formerly AdWords) to improve sales by dissecting every step of the customer journey. 

In this article, we compiled some powerful Google Analytics ads tips and tricks that will give you some actionable insight into your current marketing campaigns by dissecting Amy’s customer journey through a Google Analytics lens.

So, how could 1-800-Flowers have won every conversion moment with Amy?

What a customer’s journey looks like

Like many, Amy started her journey at Google by searching for “flowers” and browsing through the search results. 

She checked out some local sellers, then the chains and clicked on the 1-800-Flowers ad: 

Google Ads (formerly AdWords)

Clicking on the ad, she arrived at their site and her analytics data kicked to life. Instantly, the Google Ads data was stored (the keyword, the ad version, the cost per click). Google Analytics would also begin tracking the number of pages she visited and a variety of other information.

Google Ads Data In Analytics

Amy then browsed the flower selection, chose one she liked and started the purchase process. 

1-800-Flowers now has more information, in particular: 

  • Which flowers she clicked on and put into her cart.
  • The path she took to navigate through the sales funnel.

But now there was a problem in the sales funnel. 

When she got down to one of the final steps in her customer journey, Amy noticed there was a $20 service charge. 

That’s the moment she dropped off and left the site without making a purchase.

Here at Zero Company, we call this losing the moment of truth. 

Moment of Truth is the intent-rich moments where decisions are being made and the prospect’s perspective begin to shape.

Within Google Analytics, 1-800-Flowers probably noticed that this is a frequent issue (we hope!) — people abandoning the cart before finishing the purchase. 

Let’s say, 1-800-Flowers was ready for such a scenario. Amy’s site visit was put into a bucket of users who went through the same purchase process but didn’t finish checking out. 

There are countless ways a savvy company could optimize and retarget users at this stage, sometimes called the “shopping cart abandonment” stage. 

They could have retargeted her by having their cart automatically send a follow-up email to Amy since she filled out that information. They could have also retargeted her with ads on Google, in display ads on different sites, or on social media networks with Twitter and Facebook retargeting for abandoned carts

For Amy, an email came to her in-box shortly after she left the site. 

It offered a “Free Shipping” coupon. 

This solved Amy’s problem.

Clicking on the email (here, she now registers an Analytics click for their abandoned cart “Free Shipping” email), she then made the purchase. (Instantly, Analytics was able to record the exact dollar amount, the product purchased and a host of other details.)

From all these actions, 1-800-Flowers would have been able to look back in Analytics at her first touchpoint (a paid search ad) and give that traffic source credit for the original visit. 

Conversion Path in Google Analytics

They could’ve also credited to the abandoned cart email they sent for finishing the sale.

But what about the purchase she made for Michele? How did they win that moment?

The company first delivered the product successfully. 

In fact, they exceeded her expectations by delivering flowers the same day she ordered them instead of 1-2 days later. 

When it was time to purchase for Michele’s birthday, Amy already had that good experience.

1-800-Flowers didn’t let her forget about them. 

She had been retargeted several more times as 1-800-Flowers kept their brand in front of her. They followed her with display ads, they put her in their email system, they made her aware of coupons as those were an important part of her decision-making.

So when Michele’s birthday arrived, Amy knew that 1-800-Flowers had a coupon for her to use. 

She went to the email, clicked on the promotion and 1-800-Flowers won the moment again (and the process in Analytics started once again).

For companies and business owners, learning the story of your prospect’s journey is critical to success. And piecing together that story is what Google Analytics can do for you. 

It takes you inside the mind of your site visitor.

To help you analyze your Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts more in-depth, we’ve put together a variety of actionable Google Analytics ads tips that can help you win every moment, no matter how insignificant or easily overlooked. 

Let’s get to it! 

Tip 1: Track As Much Data As You Can From Your Ad Campaigns

In the above story, 1-800-Flowers would only succeed if they made sure to track every step of their customer’s journey with proper analytics tracking for their current marketing campaign efforts. They want to know whether Facebook, Google, Bing, email, organic traffic, banner ads, etc. played any kind of role in the sale. 

They need to know their return on investment.

Make sure your ads are delivering that data to Google Analytics. Here’s how: 

Start with linking your Google Ads (AdWords) account to your Analytics account.

It’s easiest if both your Analytics account email address and your Google Ads account email address are the same, but if not, you just need to select “Edit permission” for the Analytics property and “Administrative access” for the Google Ads account you have to link. (Permissions can be removed after you create this link.)

Follow the below navigation path in Google Analytics until you see this:

Navigation: Admin > Property > Google Ads Linking

Linking Google Ads and Analytics

Once you navigate and click on the above Google Ads Linking, you will be brought to a page to add your account data. 

Click on “+NEW LINK GROUP”

Google Ads Linking

For more information on this, here are Google’s analytics support instructions:

With this integration, a whole world of data sharing has just opened up for you. From Google Ads cost and click through data to amazing audience targeting opportunities based on your site visitors. 

We’ll touch on more of these details later on, but first let’s make sure you also have your other marketing channels tracked and covered with Google Analytics, too. With the above integration, your Google Ads are autotagged to track with Analytics.

For your other non-Google marketing channels, you need to add specific code to your ads using  Google Analytics UTM parameters. 

To do so, you can use the Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder for your Ad Campaigns

This is kind of a must-do. You don’t have to use the tool, but you do need to make sure you properly add tracking to your advertising campaigns to track results within Google Analytics, which uses UTM’s. 

A UTM code is a simple code that you can attach to a custom URL in order to track a source, medium, and campaign name within the Google Analytics platform. 

If you don’t, you might see a Bing paid search campaign shown as “Bing organic”, or your programmatic banner ad traffic lumped in with the “direct/none” traffic source, for example. This is a common mistake companies and business owners make when setting up their Google Analytics account.  

Once you build out your UTM parameters, these go at the end of the URL you are posting in your ad platform. If this looks a little intimidating, don’t worry. Over time, you will easily get familiar with these elements.

Tip 2: Setup Google Analytics Ecommerce or Conversion Tracking

This one is a must-do if you have ecommerce sales. (If you are not an ecommerce business, feel free to skip to the Conversion tracking for non-ecommerce companies section.) 

We won’t go into detail on how to do this because it’s different for every shopping cart and website. Some ecommerce websites will have ready-to-go setups that make Google Analytics ecommerce integration happen within a few seconds. For other websites, this requires some detailed coding.

This is mission-critical. 

This is extremely valuable sales data that you need to have in Google Analytics to maximize your Google Ads campaign. 

We have personally grown businesses ten-fold just based on the ecommerce sales data we’ve implemented from Google Analytics. 

Here’s a section from Google to see how to implement this.

Once integrated, here’s the kind of data you want to get into Google Analytics, which can then be pulled into Google Ads when your accounts are linked:

Ecommerce Tracking in Google Analytics

It is precisely that sales data, the exact revenue generated from the different marketing channels, that can be optimized a hundred different ways once you get this setup. 

Conversion tracking for non-ecommerce companies

Goal Conversion Tracking…The Next Best Thing

Navigation: Admin > View > Goals

If you aren’t an ecommerce site where you can get exact revenue from an online transaction on your site, then conversion tracking using Analytics Goals is the next best thing.

Knowing when a user submits a lead and hits your confirmation or “thank you” page is kind of the gold standard used to optimize your marketing. 

You will need to figure out what your confirmation page is after someone submits a lead (do a form test or look in your Analytics site content data…we’ll discuss that in a section below). 

If you submit a lead and get a new page confirming your form submission, that’s what you will need to build the most basic type of conversion goal.

For example, here’s one of our confirmation pages:

Thank You Page for Conversion Tracking

To set up your goal, go to your Admin area and the View section where you can click on goals. There’s a lot of different types of goals you can create. Google has a pretty lengthy page on it.

Click on +NEW GOAL. The type of goal you want for the above example is a Destination goal:

Setting Up A Thank You Page Goal

From here you can paste your confirmation URL and then Verify the Goal to see if that’s correct. 

There’s a lot of info out there about goal tracking because it’s one of your most basic key performing indicators (known as KPIs) you need to set up.

This kind of tracking is simply vital. We have a saying:

In real estate the three most important things are location, location, location. In online marketing, it’s tracking, tracking, tracking.

Tip 3: Dive Into That Google Ads Data In Analytics

Once you have the above linked, Google Ads and Google Analytics share data very nicely. You can get both: 1. Google Ads data in Analytics and 2. Analytics data in Google Ads. However, Analytics will give you some levels of details that you just can’t get in Google Ads (we’ll touch on those in a second).

Navigation: Acquisition > Google Ads > Campaigns

First, navigate to the above to see the Google Ads section and click on the Campaigns link. This will give you a nice snapshot of your Google Ads account along with various on-site metrics, goals, etc. 

Google Ads Section of Google Analytics

Navigation: Acquisition > Google Ads > Search Queries

Perhaps, you want to do some analysis by search queries (the exact phrases searched in Google Ads). You decide you want to look at any search query that doesn’t have a goal conversion with more than $100 in ad spend. 

To do this, apply a couple of advanced filters:

  1. Click Advanced. Select Include. Cost. Greater than 100.
  2. Click Add a Dimension or metric. Goal Completions. Equals 0.

Now you can compare the traffic that meets that criteria (or any other metrics you want to filter) in one area with additional data points to optimize by. If you want to adjust, just click the “edit” link shown below and change your filter parameters.

Analytics Advanced Filter

You can quickly plow through possible poor producing keywords to turn off or make into negative keywords. (You can do similar filters in Google Ads, but the U/I currently only allows you to see conversion data not Analytics data at the Search Query level.) 

Navigation: Acquisition > Google Ads > Sitelinks

In Google Ads the ability to see how your sitelinks are performing is again limited. The U/I currently doesn’t allow you to view Analytics data by sitelink.

By the way, This is an example of a site link extension. See shaded part:

Google Ads Sitelink Extensions

Want to know what sitelink has the highest time on site? 

Simply click the “Site Usage” tab in the upper left section of Google Analytics. Then, sort by the Avg. Session Duration column. 

Tip: Stretch out your date range to get a more complete data set. To further refine this data:

  1. Do a Secondary Dimension sort by Campaign so that you can identify results by campaign. 
  2. Set up an Advanced filter: Click Advanced. Select Include. Users. Greater than 50 (or any other number you choose to make sure you are looking at enough valid data.
  3. Trim the poor producing Sitelinks from your Google Ads account.

Tip 4: Not Sure Where To Start With Google Analytics Data? Start Here

Navigation:  Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium

Most marketing professionals spend a lot of time under Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium. At a glance this will give a snapshot of all the traffic sources and marketing channels for quick comparison and a jumpoff point for exploration.

Where to Start When Viewing Google Analytics Data

It’s an easy place to explore traffic. For instance, in the above, you can click on “Google / organic” and take a look at how that was trending. 

You can even run secondary dimensions on this data. In this case, sorting that traffic by desktop, mobile and tablet results: 

Sorting Analytics by Secondary Dimensions

You can even take it a step further and just filter to see how Google organic mobile traffic is trending. The point is, there are a variety of ways to dig down deep if you start at this one spot in Google.

When you have all your Google Ads integration and UTMs for other channels set up, then you can easily compare how each channel does from this view.

Tip 5: Help Google Analytics Help You — Custom Alerts

Navigation: Customization > Custom Alerts

At Zero Company, we love Custom Alerts. Alerts are a great way to keep you notified when something changes that you should look into. 

These get sent to your inbox and put something on your radar without you having to always have your nose in Analytics. Ask yourself, “What would be a tragic error or missed opportunity if I wasn’t notified?

For example, this setup below allows for us to view a website when the 404 error triggers. (This could be especially bad if you have Google Ads pointing to a page and suddenly the page is down…it happens.) 

In this case, the page contains “Nothing found” in its page title. If we see a spike in these pages with over 35 user sessions for a day, it triggers the alert to send an email.

Google Analytics 404 Error Alert Conditions

Perhaps, your site is less trafficked. Instead of setting it up for a certain amount per day, you can change that to a percentage increase per week. Here’s another example of how that would work:

Analytics 404 Error Alert by Percentage Increase

Note that in this instance, we changed it to compare to the previous week. Also, the page title that triggers this error is a little different than the other one. 

If the page title contains “Hmmm” we know we’ve got errors on our site. You could also set this to apply to a Landing page that matches any type of page URL like /404 if that’s the case.

To set these up, Navigate to Customization > Custom Alerts. Click on the “Manage custom alerts” button. On the next screen, click on the “+NEW ALERT” button.

Some other Google Analytics Custom Alerts you can create:

Social media traffic alert:  Maybe a sudden burst of traffic might mean you’ve gone viral. You don’t want to miss out on this opportunity. At least now, you will know:

  1. Period: Day
  2. Applies to: Source
  3. Condition: Matches regular expression
  4. Value: facebook|twitter|linkedin|instagram|pinterest|reddit
  5. Alert me when: Sessions
  6. Condition: increase by more than
  7. Value: 400 (or whatever number makes sense given your traffic)
  8. Compared to: Previous day

Need to know if your organic traffic is dropping? Maybe you don’t want to dive into Analytics and compare data all the time. You can set up any KPI to hit you on a monthly basis, too. Here’s the settings:

  1. Period: Month
  2. Applies to: Medium
  3. Condition: Matches exactly
  4. Value: organic
  5. Alert me when: Sessions
  6. Condition: % decreases by more than
  7. Value: 10
  8. Compared to: Previous month

We could easily highlight a dozen other possible alerts to set up for low revenue, no revenue, low conversion rates, decreases or increases in traffic, increase in self-referrals, etc.

If you have your Google Ads integrated with Analytics, you can set up alerts for increases in ad impressions, changes in CTR or CPC, etc. All the metrics you’re pulling into Analytics can be used.

Think about what your KPIs are. Think about what would be tragic if you didn’t know. These are the things you want in your inbox (or even text to your mobile phone if it’s that important).

Tip 6: Event Tracking To The Rescue

Navigation: Behavior > Events

This is a favorite little hack that our PPC marketers love to use with our PPC management services.  

Like Goals in Google Analytics, Events trigger in Analytics for certain user activity. Maybe you find it useful to know when a certain button is clicked. Or, perhaps, when a specific external link is clicked as someone navigates away from your site. 

Maybe you want to trigger when a video is watched for a certain amount of time or a podcast is listened to. All of these can be tracked.

Most Google Analytics users aren’t aware that with a little bit of extra code added to your site you can bring these data points back into Analytics.

Why would tracking Analytics Events be useful for Google Ads?

Here’s one example. We had a client whose sole purpose of the site was to send users to another site on a large domain that we had no control over. How do you track success in your advertising if you can’t see when they arrive to the other site?

By adding a little event tracking code to the button that sent the visitor to the other site, we were now able to track this action in Analytics. 

But still, we wanted to link this data into our Google Ads account. Thus, we took it a couple of steps further … and turned these Events into Goals.

How to Turn Events into Goals in Analytics:

  1. Navigate: Admin > Goals
  2. Click New Goal
  3. Under Acquisition select “Create an Account”
  4. Name the Goal and select the “Event button
  5. Choose your Event

Now…you’ve got Events to Goals.

And Goals can be imported into Google Ads as conversions that can be optimized or used as data points for Google’s bidding algorithms (like Target CPA bidding). 

So, you’ve turned a button click into something that Google Ads will now use its machine learning on and optimize its bidding with in order to drive you more of that behavior. 

This is how you should be feeling right about now: 

Setting up events, do require a little bit of extra code on your site. See Google for more details.

Pro Tip: Use Google Tag Manager (GTM) for your codes and you don’t have to bug your webmaster or IT team all the time. 

Learn more about Google Tag Manager here.

Once GTM is working on your site, you can use it to setup events.

Tip 7: Look At Traffic & Analytics Data For Key Site Pages

Navigation: Behavior > Site Content > All Pages

Most people are pretty familiar with this section. It breaks down site traffic by page. You can, of course, do the usual secondary dimensions to sort by source/medium and look at how your various marketing channels are doing on these pages. 

This view can be very useful after a site redesign or any kind of traffic drop off. 

Compare dates before and after the traffic drop off and try to pinpoint major changes to any of your pages. 

Analytics will naturally sort your data by the most trafficked (current page) to the least trafficked. 

If you have hundreds or thousands of pages on your site, the pages that are no longer getting much traffic will be buried. An easy way to look at the most trafficked that you used to get is to flip your comparison dates like so:

Tip: Reverse Dates in Analytics

…putting the more recent time period in the bottom. This will allow you to easily see what pages used to have traffic, now do not. (Tip: Double check your bottom date. You usually have to redo the year because Analytics freaks out a little when you do this.)

As you scroll, you can compare those previous high trafficked pages and find your issues. For example, on this page we see a massive change:

Tip: Finding Pages That Used to Have Traffic

Traffic completely dropped off the map. This may pinpoint a problem. Maybe one of your ads is going to a dead page because of a URL change no one told you about. (Often, after a site redesign, URLs get changed without proper 301 redirects and SEO traffic falls off or goes to an error page for a while before getting dropped from the search engines.)

Site changes need to be monitored when you are running ads. Make sure you periodically view traffic from this perspective.

Tip 8: How Fast Are My Website Pages Loading?

Navigation: Behavior > Site Speed > Overview

Behavior > Site Speed > Page Timings 

This is a hidden little gem that often gets overlooked. 

Because more and more online traffic comes from mobile devices, you want your pages to load fast. If your pages take too long to load, studies show users will quickly give up

According to research done by Google, 53% of your mobile visitors will leave a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load up. Got a slow loading landing page you are sending advertising to? This is a huge problem. 

To find out how your pages fare with load time, navigate to 

  • Behavior > Site Speed > Page Timings. 

Here you will get a chart like this that compares each page to your average load time. Quickly, you can see some in the red that have issues. Have your web team focus on speeding up the load time for these.

Fast Page Load Time is Critical in Online Advertising

Tip 9: Dashboards For Your Analytics Data

Navigation: Customization > Dashboards

Want to view a variety of KPIs on one screen? Dashboards are a great way to create a customized Analytics report that can be shared with your team or client or reviewed periodically in Analytics. 

These can be private, as well, so only you view them.

Here’s a sample dashboard that looks at Visitor Technology. It breaks down a variety of stats into one page.

Use Dashboards to Help Optimize Your Ad Campaigns

You can either build your own dashboard or look at some of the many that are already created and easily added to your account. 

What is a Google Analytics Dashboard? A custom dashboard is simply a collection of various Analytics widgets into a single view. 

While running your Google Ads, for example, you may want a PPC dashboard that pulls in your important ads data into one view.

Here’s a link to Google’s solution gallery where you can find some prebuilt top-rated dashboards.

You can use these templates for your own dashboards or you can share dashboards you created between your Analytics accounts. 

If the Dashboard is already in your account, click Share in the upper left hand section, click “Share template link.” You can send that via email or add it to a browser window if you are logged into the other Analytics account you want to share it with.

Sharing a Google Analytics Dashboard

Click create and it. This should now add this to your Analytics account.

If you are uploading a dashboard from Google’s gallery, click the import button and it will ask you which Analytics account you want to import it to just like the above image.

If you like a dashboard and want to use it for reporting purposes, dashboards can be scheduled to automatically email on a recurring basis. 

To do this:

  1. Click the Email tab at the top of the dashboard.
  2. A window will pop up with details, add the email addresses you want it to go to.
  3. Select the Frequency (Once, Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly)
  4. Under Advanced Options select how long you want these emails to be active for.
  5. Add some email text and send.

Scroll the Google gallery or search according to your needs. Beyond a PPC dashboard that pulls in your Google Ads data, check out some of the others.

Here’s a couple of great ones we recommend: 

  1. Site Performance Dashboard – This will tell you site speed issues by browser, country, page and some other important stats. Pay particular attention if one of your pages is much slower loading than others.
  2. New Google Analytics User Starter Bundle – A lot in here including custom reports and segments. This is put together by the awesome Google Analytics Team.
  3. Content Analysis Dashboard – Take a look at the engagement and lead production from the various pages on your site.

If you don’t have a pretty reporting interface for your Google Ads campaigns and are stuck using Excel spreadsheets or snapshots from Google Ads, consider integrating these dashboards in your monthly report and your boss will appreciate it.

Tip 10: The Last Click Should Not Always Get Credit For Conversions

Navigation: Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions

Think about the 1-800-Flowers example. Amy originally clicked on a Google ad to go to their site. She then left and came back via email and made a purchase. Analytics would give email the final credit for the sale.

It’s important, however, for 1-800-Flowers to know that the first click came off a Google search ad in order for the PPC management team to optimize their ROI.

This is where assisted conversion data becomes important.

You must be tracking conversions of some sort for this to be useful. If you have ecommerce tracking setup, then you will see dollar amounts in here, as well. 

When you navigate to the above, the first view will show by channel. 

Assisted Conversions by Marketing Channel

We prefer to use the Source/Medium view, which is highlighted in blue just below the graphic and above the table of data.

Source/Medium Data for Assisted Conversions

This view will help you determine if there is more value from your marketing sources than you originally thought. As mentioned, the first visit by a prospect often is not the one that gets credit for the final lead or sale. Here, you can see those assisted conversions in addition to last click conversions. This will give you a more accurate look at your return on ad spend.

Assisted Conversions by Marketing Source & Medium

In the above example, we can see that in addition to the $322K in last-click sales for Google paid search, there was another $235K that it assisted on!

This is extremely valuable data to optimize your Google Ads with!

Once we implemented new PPC bidding rules based on the above data, revenue shot through the roof for this site.

Navigation: Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Top Conversion Paths

If you want to see a visual demonstration of how people are typically converting between your channels, this is a nice view. 

Don’t forget to also view by Source/Medium so you can break the paths down further. 

In the below example, this shows a common path. The user first came to the site on a Google paid search ad, then came back by directly typing in the domain name, then came back via the Google organic results, then direct to the site again before finally converting:

Conversion Path for Google Paid Search

What you don’t want to get lost in that path is that the Google paid search ad should really get the credit for this sale, not the “(direct) / (none)” source that was the very last click. 

Want to maximize your ROI from your ad spend? Use the above Google Analytics attribution data to get a complete picture of the real profitability of your marketing efforts.

Tip 11: How to Find Keywords In Google Analytics

Navigation: Acquisition > Search Console > Queries

Obviously, you can see your Google Ads keywords in Analytics once you’ve linked up the account. But how do you find your organic keywords in Google Analytics, as well? This can be useful information to use along with your Google Ads campaigns.

Since Google Analytics plays well with Google Ads and other parts of the Google ecosystem, don’t stop at just integrating just your Ads account. Integrate your Google Search console, as well. It used to be you could easily get your organic search keywords inside of Analytics. The search engines removed that ability and you were left with little data about your organic keywords. Google has brought some of that ability back with the integration between Google Analytics and the Search Console.

The data in Search Console and Analytics is only stored for 16 months, so it’s still limited. Once you have this data, it may be a useful source of information that helps inform what you do or don’t do with your Google Ads keyword buys.

Also, link your Search Console account to Google Ads and review the Paid & Organic Reports inside Google Search Console.

Tip 12: Got Simple Data Queries and Questions?

Google Analytics is trying to be more user-friendly. For instance, now you can ask Analytics Intelligence questions in the box at the top of Analytics:

Google Analytics Intelligence Questions

Want to know:

  • Why is AdWords (or Google Ads) traffic down?
  • Why is my bounce rate increasing?
  • Is there a problem with paid search?
  • Is there anything unusual?
  • Is the United States traffic normal?

Google will give you some quick answers.

For instance, with that first question, Google Analytics returned this data:

Google Analytics Intelligence Results

It will break down the difference and provide a breakdown of traffic from your different campaigns.

You can even do comparisons in the same fashion. Type “Compare conversion rates for paid search and display” and in the right column it will give you some instant data:

Analytics Intelligence Comparison Results

Play around with this, we’re sure it will become more and more robust over time. If you have a simple question, toss it into the search box and see if Analytics can quickly find that info for you. Instead of spending several minutes trying to navigate to where that data might be, see if you can save time and get your answer in a few seconds using this method.

Here’s more details on Google’s Analytics Intelligence.

Tip 13: Cleanup And Debugging: Keep That Ad Data Clean

You’ve heard the old concept of “garbage in, garbage out.” Analytics is only as good as the data it collects. Make sure your data is as clean as you can make it.

Some areas that typically need to be cleaned up: 

  • Self-referrals are when you are tracking your own site as a referral source because there is a disconnect in your analytics cookie and installation. You will see your own domain as the referral source of the traffic and you lose all the real source information.

This can be hugely problematic, for instance, if a massive amount of sales data is credited to your own domain. It may strip your Google Ads traffic from your source data, leaving you flying in the blind for optimization. Ideally, you find out where this is occurring.

Google has some tips here to clean this up.

  • Referral spam will appear from time to time from some bots that try to get you to visit a domain name by sending a burst of traffic to your site so that their site will appear in your analytics. These are often from dubious websites that don’t have any connection or reason to link to you. You can create filters to exclude these domain names from appearing in your analytics. 

Go to Admin > View > Filters to set these up.

  • Incomplete conversion data. Maybe you have a different form on your landing pages then you do on your contact pages. Make sure that both of these are triggering a goal conversion, not just one of them.

Tip 14: Use Advanced Filters

This is a powerful little box that is often overlooked. It’s on just about every Google Analytics table page. Learn to use it.

Advanced Analytics Filters

You can use the search box for quick filters of data in a table, but the “advanced” link allows you to create some custom rules to filter data.

Filtering Google Ads Search Queries in Analytics

You can include or exclude certain metrics and dimensions from your data. 

Maybe in the above view I want to include only Google Ads search queries that contain the word “buy” in them and compare how these do.

Maybe I want to add a second filter that looks at searches in them with “buy” that were made on mobile devices and see how that compares to those not on computers. Getting into groups of user’s heads and refining data can tell a story. These stories can turn into action items.

In the above case, we found that users typing a query with “buy” in it were nearly twice as likely to convert on mobile as on computers. We could then use that data to make mobile bid adjustments in our Google Ads.

Tip 15: Use the Analytics Data in Google Ads Carefully

Remember, you are also importing data from Analytics into your Google Ads account. You can use this to your advantage…or muck things up if you are not careful. Here’s three things to look at:

  1. As part of the link up with your Google Ads account, Analytics pushes goal conversion data into your account. You can choose whether to use or not use that goal conversion data. (In Google Ads, click Tools > Conversions and edit your conversions.)
Include Goal Conversions in Google Ads

What you don’t want is to see double reporting of your conversions. For instance, you may have a Google Ads conversion tracking pixel giving you conversions data in addition to Analytics. 

2. Next, let’s take a look at the other data imported from Analytics. Google doesn’t import every metric into Google Ads. If you are wondering which of these is not possible when you link your adwords account to google analytics, look at the list available in the image below. It’s not a lot, but if you don’t have a lot of conversion data to optimize by, you may want to do some optimizations by these Analytics metrics:

Imported Metrics from Analytics to Google Ads

You can even set up autobidding rules based on how your ad groups and keywords perform with these metrics.

3. Lastly, as mentioned, Google Analytics will import audiences you can use for remarketing. It automatically brings in All Visitors as an option for you to then use with display ads or as bidding adjustments for your search ads. You can see this under your audience manager

Importing Audiences from Analytics to Google Ads

We definitely recommend this as a best practice. As mentioned with 1-800-Flowers, it wasn’t the first visit that convinced Amy to make the purchase, it was the follow-up. Remarketing Campaigns are an inexpensive way to push your prospects through the funnel.

So You Made It This Far…

There’s a lot to chew on in Analytics. We could easily go on for days, but the above is a solid foundation of how you can combine Analytics in conjunction with your ad campaigns. Even if you don’t have a deep understanding of the mechanics of each tip, just knowing what’s available to you is often important enough. 

Building up valuable data and diving into it bit by bit can really move the needle for your online marketing. Our analytics experts love diving into this data when servicing Google Ads accounts for our clients.

We have a saying here:

“Data dictates decisions.”

When it comes to online marketing, the data can be endless. But so much of it can be turned into actionable items to improve your business.

Think about 1-800-Flowers’ customer journey. The ability to get inside the head of your site visitor can turn what was originally a non-sale into a repeat customer.

Winning the moment of truth online takes rolling up the sleeves and understanding how your ads, your site and your traffic all interact with each other. Whether you are a massive company like 1-800-Flowers or an SMB just looking to improve your bottom line, these types of best practices apply to both.