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Google Analytics vs AdWords Conversion Tracking

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# 1
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While I am quite familiar with the differences in tracking methods for GA and AdWords Tracking, I am wondering how Google attributes conversions when using Analytics to track AdWords conversions.


For one client, I unfortunately can only use GA to track conversions. I am not sure if GA attributes the conversions to the last click (could be organic or maybe direct hits) only.


What happens if someone comes through AdWords and revisits the day after through an organic search entry and then converts. GA usually attributes this conversion to the organic traffic, but does AdWords still get to know that a conversion was generated through one of the ads?



When comparing attribution models with the Model Comparison Tool I get a 100 percent increase in ROI for ppc when I select 1st interaction vs last interaction. 


Marked as Best Answer.
Accepted by topic author adhummer
September 2015

Re: Google Analytics vs AdWords Conversion Tracking

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# 2
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Hi adhummer,

As far as I understand, AdWords will import any conversion (goal) and count it as a conversion if Paid was involved at any stage of the goal completion. So the attribution model that AdWordds would use when importing would be the equivalent of a unilateral attribution, over the specified days. So if the 'paid' click happened outside of the specified time limit (usually 30 days) then this will not be counted as a conversion when importing.

Be sure to set up how each goal is counted in AdWords itself, or duplicate submission of forms will be counted as separate conversions(unless this is useful too you).

Hope this helps

Re: Google Analytics vs AdWords Conversion Tracking

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# 3
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Thanks, I find it a little awkward that the values are just not the same.

Re: Google Analytics vs AdWords Conversion Tracking

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# 4
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Hi Clynton,

I know this post is a bit old, but I wanted to ask a follow up question if I may.

When you say "unilateral attribution" what does that mean?

Also, I wanted to narrow down (not sure if you have the answer) whether if AdWords will show the imported Analytics goals as first click or last click attribution?

Thank you in advance for your time.

Re: Google Analytics vs AdWords Conversion Tracking

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# 5
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Hey Alexander,

I don't know exactly what Clynton meant with "unilateral conversion"

Adwords simply imports any conversions and associates it with the click and the time the click took place - a person can convert days later but it shows in the reports at the time the click took place.

As far as I am concerned, GA attributes the aforementioned conversion to the last visit, which could be a direct visit and not adwords. In the attribution model reports one could still see how adwords effected the conversion but not in the general reports.

AdWords in the other hand imports all GA conversions and monitors which ones are associated with an ad click or even impression and attributes it to adwords regardless of when it took place on the buying funnel.

Let's say a person comes to a website through a referral, later searches the brand name and clicks on an ad. In a later visit by typing the url in the browser the person finally buys.

In GA the conversion is attributed to the direct visit while adwords "attributes it" / gives credit to the branded click but in truth the source was the referral as can been seen in the respective report in GA.

Hope that helps.