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Linking Google AdWords and Google Analytics

link.jpgGoogle Analytics is a powerful and free Analytic platform that collects data on website and marketing performance.  


As marketing professionals having access to the right data gives us the ability to understand what works and what doesn’t, enabling us to know which dials to adjust.  Linking the Google AdWords and Google Analytics platforms together allows for performance data to be passed between these two platforms providing a deeper understanding of performance.  Linking the platforms is an easy process that I recommend everyone do so let's get started!


When to link

This is usually one of the very first things I do before I get started building out any advertising campaign.

How to link
First proper permissions for both the AdWords and Analytics accounts will be required for the linking process. The AdWords account will require Admin access and the Analytics account Edit permissions. Following permissions setup there are several important steps to link the platforms together.  


1. Enable Auto Tagging in the Google AdWords Interface. This will automatically tag your AdWords campaigns so that they can be identified in the Google Analytics platform as Google | CPC traffic. Log into AdWords, visit the small cog icon in the upper right corner of the account pages and then navigate to the account settings section. Enable Auto Tagging = yes.





2. Link the Analytics account to Google AdWords. Navigate to the Tools menu in AdWords and then to Google Analytics.



Then navigate to the Admin section > Property > AdWords Linking.




Depending on your setup you may see one or more options for AdWords accounts to link to.  Select the appropriate account or multiple accounts if appropriate, and click continue. Under step #2 (Link Configuration) name the link then select the Linked view you want to have connected to the AdWords account. Under Advanced Settings confirm that Enable auto-tagging is selected and link your account.


3. Link the AdWords account to the Google Analytics profile. Head back into the AdWords account and again to the cog icon in the upper right corner of your account pages. Then navigate to linked accounts and the Google Analytics section. Click the link and then select the profile you want to be linked to the AdWords account.


ga property link.png


Once the linking process is complete I recommend checking the Analytics account after approximately 12 to 24 hours to see if AdWords data is being reported in the Analytics platform under the section Acquisition > AdWords.


When you have confirmed that the data is being shared between platforms it is time to start reviewing performance metrics in both the AdWords and Analytics platforms. Here are some helpful ideas to get you started.


1. Import goal and transaction data from Analytics into AdWords as conversions.
2. Enable Custom Columns in AdWords that contain helpful Google Analytics on-site metrics such as bounce rates, average session duration and more.
3. In Analytics, review AdWords click and cost data in tandem with Analytics on-site metrics to get a better understanding of performance. Consider creating customized reports to get the most from your data.
4. Easily create Remarketing lists in Analytics to use in your AdWords account.  Analytics offers options to create amazing customized Remarketing lists.

5. In Analytics add a Google | CPC segment to any report to review AdWords performance.

about Kim Clinkunbroomer

Owner, Clink Digital Marketing, Google Partner, AdWords Top Contributor 2006 to present. Our goal is to provide our Clients with the highest level of service to help reach their goals and grow their businesses. Contact: 847-361-3057

Rob Taylor
August 2015

Hi Kim,


Thanks for the post. I'm running into issues where Analytics shows the traffic as sessions and is incorrectly tallying the Adwords traffic. It is saying that I have 29 sessions from Adwords when I actually have closer to 21k clicks. I know sessions vs. click are different metrics but I only expected it to be off by a few, not thousands. The correct Adwords traffic is showing within that Acquistion--> Adwords tab but under Source/Medium it is wrong. Just wondering if you had any insight with this issue.


I'm in the process of turning off auto tagging and using the old school UTM extensions on my Adwords URLs to see if that helps or not.


Thank you,


Ryan M
May 2016

Hi Kim,


Do you know the maximum number of AdWords accounts that can be linked to one GA account?