Recently, out of curiosity, I did an experiment.
After running and re-running a data collection of hundreds of ecommerce companies, I’ve come to a conclusion that even I found astounding:
One quarter of larger companies don’t connect Google Ads with Google Analytics.
Here’s how I found out.
At Littledata, we sampled 55 larger customers (those with more than 500,000 monthly site sessions) and found that 24% had more than half of their total traffic coming from Google Ads accounts not linked to their main Google Analytics property.
In other words, over 24% of mid-sized and enterprise companies don’t use the simple smart connection between Google’s two most popular marketing tools.
While it’s not destructive to function without this simple connection, it certainly is detrimental to ecommerce websites. Google provides tight integration and data sharing between Google Ads and Google Analytics, but only if account users choose to enable the links.
Why does this matter?
Assuming the companies in the 24% group spend $50,000+ monthly on paid traffic acquisition, they are potentially missing out on optimisations worth thousands a month.
For small ecommerce businesses and early-stage startups, this likely won’t break the bank.
For mid-sized and enterprise companies, however, it’s thousands of dollars in potential revenue spiraling down the drain.
When monitored consistently with data-backed changes and improvements, Google Ads can be a tremendous stream of ad revenue for ecommerce businesses.
For those who spend time and money investing in Google Ads for their business, why not invest all the way? The 24% group is likely blind to the fact they’re missing out on revenue by not connecting their Ads platform with Google Analytics.
Single-channel and multi-channel attribution
If the 24% group is suffering so much without a smart connection, how are they working around the problem?
Marketers are taking a backroad-approach by analysing their Google Ads performance only in the Google Ads platform.
Rather than jumping on Google Analytics’ more robust platform — designed for deeper analysis of online shopper behaviour — marketers in the 24% group are likely exporting both data reports to Excel (one from Ads and one from Analytics) and manually trying to stitch together pieces of data that don’t always align. This approach leaves marketers:
- Frustrated trying to explain missing / incomplete data
- Tracing back customer history to reconcile mismatched data
- Wasting time and energy on a problem that is already solved
Another disadvantage? This skews multi-channel contribution for these Ad campaigns. It also requires a parallel tagging system to send events to Google Ads, which adds a new complex layer to the equation — an added possibility of tracking errors.
Ironically, as Google builds out more targeting and personalisation features for marketers, it’s marketers themselves who miss out. Without the luxury of Google Analytics’ user history, marketers are making less-informed decisions about their storefront, products, marketing strategy and more.
The fix, of course, is connecting Google Ads and Google Analytics. But why?
Why connect Ads and Analytics?
With expert guidance, connecting the two can take less than 10 minutes.
With the connection handy, ecommerce marketers can clearly see multi-channel attribution and Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) directly in Google Analytics.
It also allows Ads to be targeted on ecommerce events or Google Analytics goals, and it frees up marketers to build pinpointed audiences based on any segment in Google Analytics. These audiences can be used for any ecommerce marketing strategy, including retargeting and hyper-targeting audiences through content.
Anecdotally, the biggest barrier to linking Google Ads and Google Analytics is not a matter of leverage, but logistics. It’s really as simple as gathering the team members who have 1) the right account permissions and 2) the know-how to enable the two links.
Benefits for ecommerce sites
Ecommerce site managers enjoy two key benefits with this smart connection:
- Higher ROI from ecommerce remarketing audiences
- Easier tracking of the customer journey from view to purchase
Whether you’re a marketing manager, website manager or digital agency handling the back-end of an ecommerce business, your data should inform your decisions.
With a simple Google Ads-Google Analytics smart connection, you’ll see better marketing attribution and more accurate reporting. That’s not all — you’ll also enjoy increased ROI from your marketing efforts without spending loads of energy tracking the paths of your online shoppers.
If your company is one of the majority missing the benefits of linking the two products, or has a complex multi-account setup that may be missing coverage of minor Ad accounts, now is the time to do something about it.