Understanding Differences between conversion data in Adwords and Analytics[ Edited ]
March 2015 - last edited March 2015 by KathleenG
I wanted to cover a few commonly asked questions about the discrepancies advertisers see when importing Analytics conversion into AdWords or when they compare Analytics conversion data to AdWords. The points below will explain the primary reasons why you might see discrepancies and give you a better understanding of how AdWords and Analytics are different when it comes to tracking conversion data.
Discrepancy when Importing data from Analytics to AdWords :
Sometimes you might see multiple conversions from your Google ads (google/cpc) during a specific date range in Google Analytics. However when you see the data in AdWords you might see a lesser number. Usually the discrepancy is minor. However in rare instances you might see a large discrepancy as well. I’m going to explain why you may see this with examples and simplify how you can go about troubleshooting this :
1) Import delay : Data gets imported from Analytics to AdWords every 48hrs and sometimes 72 hours based on time zone differences. So if you see 10 conversions in the past 2 days in Analytics and 0 in AdWords, check when the last time data was imported from Analytics to AdWords.
To check this : Go to your AdWords account Click on Tools>>Conversions
Under Tracking Status hover over the small bubble next to the status given and see the last date of Import. Chances are that the data is yet to get imported and hence you see the discrepancy.
2) Cookie attribution time : Another reason you might see a discrepancy is because of the specific date range you’re looking at. For example, you could be seeing 5 conversions for bookings made on your Hotel Booking site between the 1st and 10th of January, however only 3 conversions when you look at the same date range in AdWords even though your importing this data from Analytics. This discrepancy can be attributed to the way the Analytics and AdWords cookie function. If you’ve ever come across this article, you might be familiar with this. The Analytics cookie attributes conversions on the day of the conversion while AdWords on the day of the click. Now if a user clicked on the ad on the 31st of December and then came back later directly to the website to convert on the 3rd of January, Analytics would record it on the 3rd. When this conversion gets pulled into AdWords due to the rules of the AdWords cookie it would be attributed on the day of the click i.e the 31st of December. To check this yourself you can use the
3) Cookie window duration : Sometimes when you see a date range which is larger than 30 days you can see discrepancies as well. For example Analytics might show you 30 conversions while AdWords shows you about 20. Depending on your conversion action the discrepancy might vary. It can be explain due to the cookie duration as well. By Default the AdWords cookie lasts for 30 days (unless increased manually) while the Analytics cookie lasts for 6 months. Example : A user came to your site in on the 1st of December through an Ad but made the conversion on the 20th of January directly coming to your site. Analytics would record this as an AdWords conversion as the Google ad was the last non direct attribution. However when importing into AdWords this conversion would not show as the conversion window would have elapsed.
Comparing conversion data between AdWords Conversion Tracking and Google Analytics :
2) and 3) both apply here as well.
Additionally the final source of the conversion matters too.
Source Attribution : If a user clicked on an Ad and then came through Google organic or a referral to complete a conversion, Analytics would record under Google Organic while AdWords would still attribute it to a Google Ad. In such cases is where you might see more conversions from AdWords conversion tracking than Google Analytics for your website. Please note that for Direct traffic both AdWords and Analytics would attribute the conversion to Paid. The situations mentioned above are of course not the only reasons for discrepancy but they would explain why you would see them most of the time.
Let me know if you have any follow up questions.
Re: Understanding Differences between conversion data in Adwords and A
ScottyD, AdWords Top Contributor
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