Better Together: Using Google Analytics Reports to Analyze Paid Search Performance

4/26/2016

- Andrea Hamilton, Client Strategist

Gleaning meaningful insights from Paid Search advertising takes more than just examining data from the AdWords or Bing engines. Take your analysis a few steps deeper by leveraging the data in Google Analytics to improve overall performance and understand how users are engaged once they get to your site.

In this article, I’ll share four of my favorite reports that are helpful in analyzing paid search performance via Google Analytics reports. Before I get into the specific reports, I would remind users to make sure that their AdWords account is first synced with Google Analytics. This is an important and necessary step to making sure you have meaningful data to analyze.

If you aren’t sure how to sync your account, review the “how to” instructions via this link: How to Link your AdWords and Google Analytics Account. For the purposes of this article, we’ll assume that your account is synced and you have enough data populating that you can begin your deep dive.

REPORT #1: Landing Page Report – This report helps you understand how specific pages perform. This can be very helpful in evaluating where you are currently sending paid search traffic compared to how organic traffic performs. You may learn that there is a page that performs well organically that could be a good page for lead generation for paid search. Additionally, if you are sending paid search traffic to specific landing pages you’ll be able to examine which pages are receiving traffic, which pages are converting or which ones are not. With that information, you can optimize the landing page content or identify a more optimal landing page for your campaigns.

Landing Pages
Navigate here: Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages

REPORT #2 - Keyword Report: Which keywords are converting and which keywords are not converting? We spend a great deal of time building out campaigns to find out that only a handful of keywords convert. This report is helpful in refining your keywords, their cost and their overall performance.

keywords
Navigate here: Acquisition > AdWords > Keywords

REPORT #3: User Flow: The Users Flow report is a graphical representation of the paths users took through your site, from the source, through the various pages, and where along their paths they exited your site. The Users Flow report lets you compare volumes of traffic from different sources, examine traffic patterns through your site, and troubleshoot the efficacy of your site. This report can be used with the Landing Page report to get a sense of what traffic is doing when they get on specific landing pages. Is there a large drop off? Are their specific pages that you would expect to see more engagement from that actually have a higher bounce rate? The User Flow report can help answer some of these questions.

User Flow
Navigate here: Audience>User Flow

REPORT #4: Device Report - This report is broken down by Device Category of which there are three types: desktop, mobile and tablet. Users are more connected than ever. We live in a mobile world and, regardless of your industry, understanding how users engage across all device types is very important to your paid search strategy.

Mobile
Navigate here: Audience > Mobile > Overview

Add in a secondary dimension for Source Medium to drill down to Paid Search performance

Together, Google Analytics and AdWords are powerful tools that can provide meaningful insight around who, what, where and how users from paid search engage on your site. These are just a few reports that I find helpful to begin the process of analysis. Don’t forget to add secondary dimensions and segment your traffic to gain even more granular detail.

Happy Reporting!

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