Analytics
3.1K members online now
Discuss discrepancies between AdWords and Google Analytics data, linking AdWords and Google Analytics, importing your goals/Ecommerce transactions into AdWords, and setting up Remarketing
 
Guide Me
star_border
Reply

AdWords Search Queries report - different keywords/totals

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi - 

 

Thanks in advance for reading my questions here. I hope that some of you can provide guidance, but I want readers to know that I am happy to follow links and do my own research, I just haven't been able to find answers in my searches. I've also tried to analyze the data in my reports by exporting to CSV then working with the data in spreadsheets and even imported into a database (SQL is my area of strength). 

 

When running this report, found under Acquisition -> AdWords -> Search Queries, I selected a date range and added a filter to only see bounce rates over 98 (I've also tried 100). 

 

The total I get in cost is greatly different depending on whether or not I add a secondary dimension and which secondary dimension I select. I do not understand how this happens, as the total figures (for ad spend and total clicks) are all the same, only the summed figures at the top line show different. 

I have compared the keywords found without a secondary dimension with those listed if I specify date as the secondary dimension and there are some keywords in each report that are not in the other. 

Can anyone help me understand why this is the case? 

 

Again, thank you for your expertise. I feel stupid for not getting this and think I must be overlooking some obvious reason for this. Hopefully someone will educate me and I can put this behind me and laugh about misunderstanding it!

 

Best regards,

Chris

1 Expert replyverified_user
1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions
Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by topic author Christopher L
January 2016

Re: AdWords Search Queries report - different keywords/totals

Top Contributor
# 7
Top Contributor
The date dimension should not affect the totals. I suspect you are suffering from a sampled report -- reduce the date range to shorted time period (covering no more than 500,000 total sessions in that date range) and try again.

When you make queries with multiple dimensions and sampling kicks in, the numbers become meaningless almost immediately.

If you want a data dump, use Customization and build a Flat Table using the same dimensions and metrics you have in your standard report, plus apply a filter for Source / Medium exactly matches 'google / cpc'.

You can add more dimensions and metrics to the report in an attempt to understand what is happening.

When you said you had filters for bounce and clicks, did you mean segments or advanced filters? They are very different in how they affect your data. With the custom report, you can get a detail data dump, then apply a filter or segment, or add a dimension, and see the results.
Mike Sullivan, Google Analytics Top Contributor
Was my response helpful? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’ Learn how here.

View solution in original post

Re: AdWords Search Queries report - different keywords/totals

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor
The integration with AdWords and Analytics is not 100% -- many of the Analytics dimensiosn are simply not imported from AdWords, so when you include the Analytics-only dimensions, some AdWords data drops out.

Also, Google Analytics is inconsistent in its use of '(not set)' values for dimensions that have no value set in them -- in some cases, they simply don't show any row if that dimension has no value. In other cases it shows a row with '(not set)' displayed. If you mix the first type of dimension with an AdWords dimension, it is possible to see some of the AdWords totals without the detail. I know its all kind of wishy-washy, but it explains why things behave differently depending on what you select.
Mike Sullivan, Google Analytics Top Contributor
Was my response helpful? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’ Learn how here.

Re: AdWords Search Queries report - different keywords/totals

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Mike -

Thank you for that information. I was pretty sure that this issue related to the inconsistency between the two platforms, so I should have explained that.

Is there any way for me to know which figures are (more?) correct? For example, if I have 900 phrases with a total of $2200 in clicks that were 100% bounces, is that accurate when adding another dimension might show just 580 phrases and $1700 in clicks with 100% bounce rate? Is one more accurate than the other? I'm leaning to the idea that a report with more unique values should be more accurate than one missing content. Is that wrong? Is Google known to double count (in error) when doing this data importing?

In advising a client, what number would you go with? We are coming in behind another vendor and want to help illustrate how certain keywords have always bounced and offer some guidance on what to do. If the keywords are appropriate, maybe the landing page content should change. On the other hand, we may want to neg some keywords.

Thanks for your answer and any other advice you might have -

Chris

Re: AdWords Search Queries report - different keywords/totals

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor
The details matter....adding WHAT other dimension? In most cases, if the numbers do not drop to zero, you are generally ok, BUT the difference between the total and the by-dimension-added numbers is usually a dimension-was-not-provided scenario. In that case, it depends greatly on which dimension was added and why AdWords did not populate the values into Google Analytics.

As for double counting, if a dimension could have 2 values in a session, then yes, there could be double counting. In most cases, this does not happen. Again, there is no general answer, and there is no lookup list of dimensions that could cause problems (i.e. which dimensions are session-level dimensions, and which aren't?).
Mike Sullivan, Google Analytics Top Contributor
Was my response helpful? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’ Learn how here.

Re: AdWords Search Queries report - different keywords/totals

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
I appreciate all of your help, so I will limit my burdening you with what I have to learn on my own.

In that regard, let me leave you with a final example. Let's say I'm using this report, AdWords Search Queries.

1. I've set the filter to bounce = 100, clicks greater than 0
2. This, applied, shows 1819 distinct records
3. Cost is now $14,857 of $106,128

If I add the dimension date, the cost changes to $29,478 of $106,128.

This is a huge difference. So in my testing, I looked for "Matched Search Query" fields that were in one and not the other (exported version of the report). While I found some missing in each, nothing that made a total that matched the difference.

I am lost as to how to interpret this. I believe that this is a significant cost impact since there are things we can do to improve the engagement of visitors using keywords that are appropriate (and we can make negatives of the keywords that shouldn't be matched).

Any final thoughts on how I can understand this simple change? Other figures are returned with any change to the second dimension. I'm guessing that there are cases where the second dimension doesn't have a value that might get removed from a report, but why would the complete list of matched search queries be so much lower than the version with reporting by date? Could that be an issue in the report design that is duplicating in the count somewhere?

Gosh I wish this was Cognos and I had access to raw data to build a model Smiley Wink

Again, I apologize if I am completely clueless on this and if I've taken too much of your time already, I understand and I thank you for your efforts to help me!
Chris

Re: AdWords Search Queries report - different keywords/totals

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
oh - and is either of those two numbers ($14k and $29k) more likely to be right? Are neither reliable? Is the Matched Search Terms report generally unreliable with large sets of keywords?

Thanks!
Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by topic author Christopher L
January 2016

Re: AdWords Search Queries report - different keywords/totals

Top Contributor
# 7
Top Contributor
The date dimension should not affect the totals. I suspect you are suffering from a sampled report -- reduce the date range to shorted time period (covering no more than 500,000 total sessions in that date range) and try again.

When you make queries with multiple dimensions and sampling kicks in, the numbers become meaningless almost immediately.

If you want a data dump, use Customization and build a Flat Table using the same dimensions and metrics you have in your standard report, plus apply a filter for Source / Medium exactly matches 'google / cpc'.

You can add more dimensions and metrics to the report in an attempt to understand what is happening.

When you said you had filters for bounce and clicks, did you mean segments or advanced filters? They are very different in how they affect your data. With the custom report, you can get a detail data dump, then apply a filter or segment, or add a dimension, and see the results.
Mike Sullivan, Google Analytics Top Contributor
Was my response helpful? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’ Learn how here.

Re: AdWords Search Queries report - different keywords/totals

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
MAN! You are a smart one Mike! Thank you - I hadn't recognized that the sampling was caused by the SESSION count and not by records. DUH! Because of the views being used, the session count is enormous, and I hadn't taken that into account.

I meant filters, as in the "advanced" link at the top of the data grid, not segments; however, there are segments being used in this view and that is likely the cause of the differences being observed. I think this will help me navigate in a more effective manner quickly.

Now I need to post again requesting a recommendation on a bootcamp for GA/AdWords. As pricey as they were for Oracle back in the day, I definitely got my $3k for a few days' worth out of them. It's amazing how a) spending a lot of money for training b) having the best trainers and c) being tested on the factual questions (like understanding how segments work) can help one learn more and put it into practice rapidly I hope such things exist for GA, as the training I last had on it (from Google) came before all of the complexities in linking and sampling were something I was seeing in projects.

Again, thank you for resolving the issue. The solution you are proposing should give me the answers I seek.

I'll mark your answer "accepted" and look forward to learning more by reading the forum and asking questions from time to time

Re: AdWords Search Queries report - different keywords/totals

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Even with the flat table custom report, there were still discrepancies. It is a shame the data isn't more consistent, but at least now I know not to rely on it as my sole source.

Thanks again!