I’m sure you’ve heard Peter Drucker’s famous quote:

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

Of course, Peter wasn’t talking about Google Ads, but he might as well have been. When it comes to success using Google Ads, measuring campaign performance is absolutely critical. If you aren’t measuring conversions like quote requests, online purchases, and phone calls, then there’s no way to improve the campaign by adjusting bids, budgets, targeting, ad copy, and landing pages.

In other words, you’re flying blind without conversion tracking…

But often Google Ads conversion tracking is not enough. That’s because Google Ads tracking is binary… it’s either a yes (conversion) or a no.

le analytics to optimize google ads

Google Ads Conversion Tracking Is Binary

Let’s say you set up Google Ads conversion tracking to measure when prospects complete a quote request form on your website. Over time, you’ll start to see which keywords and which ads are driving quote requests.

This is great! You can now increase bids on keywords that are generating quote requests and also edit your ad copy try to increase your conversion rates.

That’s the power of Google Ads conversion tracking — it’ll show you which ads and keywords generated a conversion and which didn’t.

But what happened with all those ad clicks that didn’t turn into a conversion? Sure, it’s helpful to know those clicks didn’t convert, but why didn’t they convert? What did those visitors do on your website? And with those clicks that did convert, is there any way to improve the website to increase the landing page conversion rate?

Unfortunately, Google Ads conversion tracking will not give you those answers. All Google Ads conversion tracking can say is “yes” or “no.”

To answer these open-ended questions, you need to turn to Google Analytics…

Google Analytics Elaborates On Google Ads Tracking

Where Google Ads conversion tracking simply tells you “yes” or “no,” Google Analytics will clarify and elaborate on why.

For example, you can review behavioral metrics like bounce rates, pages per session, and average session duration (aka time on site). If 99% of your Google Ads traffic is bouncing, meaning they don’t click to a 2nd page before exiting, then your landing page is to blame. There might be a technical issue like a slow loading page or a page that isn’t mobile or tablet friendly. Or maybe there is a message-to-market mismatch from the ad targeting and ad copy to the landing page.

It’s also entirely possible to have a healthy, low bounce rate, but still no conversions. This is especially true with busy websites where your prospects are easily distracted to click to pages outside of your sales funnel. In that case, review your Users Flow reports to see how your traffic is navigating through key pages of your website. You may be surprised to see how many of your visitors are veering off course after clicking on your Google Ad.

Now, you may be wondering, where exactly should I look in Google Analytics to determine how to improve my website conversion rates? Just the other day on a consulting call, I was asked, “What are the top Google Analytics reports to use?”

And that brings me to a key takeaway from this article…

Google Analytics Is Only As Good As the Questions You Ask

To put this in perspective, I’ll use a recent example. One of our clients runs a national e-commerce business and she was advertising in Google Ads with a limited budget. The problem with advertising nationally is that you quickly spend your entire daily budget unless you narrow your focus on your top geo locations.

But what are your top locations?

Well, our client was running Google Ads so we naturally reviewed the conversion data first. However, there wasn’t much data yet… Sound familiar?

Sure, one option is to run the ads nation-wide, collect data, and then narrow the targeting. This is the option Google will recommend because it means you give them more money to figure out your answer…

But if you have Google Analytics installed then you may already have the answer to this question! In fact, that’s exactly what we found out when we started to dig into our client’s Google Analytics account.

You see, we didn’t just open up Google Analytics and run some of our “favorite” reports. We first asked a really important question, “Where are the the top converting customers located?” In our case, we ran into another road block because there wasn’t a lot of sales data in Google Analytics yet. So the next important question was, “Where are the visitors located that click add-to-cart”?

Bingo! Now we have some decent data to work with. We were able to answer this question using a Sequence Segment report layered on top of the Geo Location report in Google Analytics. I know that sounds complicated, but it’s actually quite simple. We created a custom Sequence Segment that filtered the data so that we only reported on visitors that had been to the “add to cart” page. These are the visitors that were at least interested enough to add the product to the cart, but for some reason many of them didn’t pull the trigger.

Once we had the Segment, we then applied this Segment to the default Geo Location report within the Audience section of Google Analytics to identify the locations to use in the Google Ads campaign.

Don’t worry about the exact reporting details for this example… That’s not the point and this isn’t a lesson in how to create Sequence Segments.

My point is that Google Analytics likely has the answer to help your Google Ads campaigns. The key is to make sure you’re asking the right question.

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