Explaining the Differences between AdWords and Analytics Tracking to Clients

Stacey ShiringanalyticsLeave a Comment

The differences between AdWords and Analytics tracking are many and complicated, and clients often ask “Why?” We’ve asked the experts here at InfoTrust to walk you through the maze so when a client asks you the dreaded “Why”, you’ve got the knowledge and confidence to steer them through the complicated landscape. Below are their top answers.

The variations between AdWords and Analytics Tracking

They Don’t Use the Same Metrics

One of the most frustrating differences between AdWords and Analytics tracking is that AdWords doesn’t use the same metrics as GA. For example, there is no basic “revenue” metric in AdWords, just like there is no “Total Conversion Value” metric in Analytics. That’s how different their attribution models are.

Attribution Differences

If a user clicks on an ad from your AdWords account, then returns the next day via a Google organic search result and triggers a Transaction. Analytics will attribute the revenue to Google/organic. AdWords will attribute the revenue to the AdWords campaign.

Date of Transaction Differences

AdWords reports conversions against the date/time of the click that led to the successful action. Conversely, in Analytics, the conversion is attributed to the day the conversion actually occurred. So date ranges are nearly impossible to compare between the two.

Reporting Freshness

AdWords conversion tracking numbers are reflected a little sooner (typically within 3 hours) in AdWords than imported goals/transactions from Analytics into AdWords (typically within 9 hours).

Users Blocking Tracking Data

If a user opts-out, or blocks a tracking method (e.g., specific cookies) that Analytics uses to track data about a website session, a conversion might not be recorded by Analytics, but might still be recorded by AdWords via the AdWords conversion pixel.

Technical Issues with User Devices and Website Hosting Companies

Web pages that load slowly on mobile devices due to poor website design or technical difficulties on website hosting servers can cause the tracking to time out so that it’s not recorded.

Subscription Renewals are not Tracked

If a person signs up for a subscription based service or product, only the first order is tracked. Renewal or refill subscriptions are not tracked.

Manual Data Reconciliation is a Possibility

There are ways that we can manually reconcile the data but the client would have to determine if manual reconciliation is worth the investment of time and money.



Interested learning how to get more out of your clients’ Google Analytics reporting? Contact your Infotrust consultant for more information!

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