I am working with a few websites and all have the same problem. I have adWords and Analytic accounts linked to ether to be able to track conversions. Either all conversions are credited to non adWords traffic sources. Or looking at the attribution model, it is showing that the majority of conversions is coming form direct traffic! I work with small websites and small businesses that there is no way that their brand name is generating such traffic and conversions
My troubleshooting process was to check GA code is installed on all pages and that https connection is implemented site wide.
I have also tried to tag assistant recording and did not see duplicate sessions/ cookie reset.
I once read a tutorial for one of Google's engineers and he used to find if the gclid was dropping along the way while the user browses the site.
My question is:
1- Is there anything I should be looking for? how do you diagnose attribution issues when your PPC campaigns are not getting the credit they deserve?
2- Are there any resources with examples about advanced use for tag assistant t troubleshoot?
Re: PPC Conversion
Are you able to share an example of a landing page that you've been sending your Adwords traffic to? The fact that it is all showing up as direct sounds like there might be some sort of redirect going on, and that the redirect is not setup to pass the gclid, or any other variables that might be attached.
The difference in attribution between AdWords and Analytics is AdWords attributes the conversion to the last ADWORDS click, while Analytics attributes it to the last ANY click including direct. If all conversions are coming up direct it is likely due to one of the following:
1. a redirect to another domain or page that does not have analytics tracking on it
2. one of the pages in the conversion process or website experience is sending users to pages without analytics present or to another domain that is not trackable (i.e. a 3rd party support system such as paypal)
If this is occurring you will need to set up referral exclusions in Google Analytics (found under the admin tab > tracking info > referral exclusions) and add the domains that are a part of the process such as paypal.com.
Good uses to troubleshoot include adding the google tag assistant to your chrome extensions.
Let me know if that helps!
Re: PPC Conversion
Are you sure that you linked between your Analytics accounts and AdWords accounts?
If you didn't link them then chances are that's where your problem is.
As @David K and @Nick C Mentioned, if you have a redirect that too can cause the issue, although then you should have referral value in your analytics of the redirecting website.
It is also important to understand how AdWords count conversions Vs Analytics.
If you implement the AdWords conversion tracking code then it will always fire and report a conversion if the user clicked an ad from this account at any point of your conversion window (usually 30 days).
While Analytics attributes the conversion to the Last Non-Direct source.
AdWords Click->Referal Site->Direct->Conversion => Conversion is attributed to the referring site
Organic->AdWords->Direct->Conversion => Conversion is attributed to AdWords
AdWords->Conversion => Conversion is attributed to AdWords
also, in cases where your user clicked an ad, but than converted via another browser or private session mode, it will be recorded as direct.