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PPC tips and advice

Clicks vs. Visitors differences between Google AdWords and Analytics

As Google Analytics becomes more widely used by business websites to track online activity, it's also possible to link a Google Adwords account into the data, which helps to add an extra level of information about the effectiveness of this form of pay-per-click advertising. However, a common issue that arises from this data is the discrepancy between the numbers of clicks reported by an AdWords campaign, and the visits data shown by Google Analytics.

Once a Google AdWords campaign is linked to an Analytics account, it's possible to view additional data within Analytics on how the PPC activity is working. The Analytics reports show data for clicks which most closely match the figures shown in the AdWords interface as well as for visits. There are often differences for each of these numbers between the two accounts and this discrepancy can occur for a number of reasons, even if the Google Analytics code has been implemented correctly.

Many people believe that AdWords clicks and Analytics visits are the same thing, but this is not true. In Google Analytics, there is an important distinction between the clicks in an AdWords Campaigns report (which shows how many times the adverts were clicked by visitors) and visits, such as the numbers shown in the Search Engines and Visitors reports, which are the number of unique sessions initiated by visitors.

Of course the first thing to check is that the Analytics code has been implemented correctly on all pages of a website and that the AdWords account is linked. If these elements are working correctly, then there are a number of reasons why the numbers may not match, such as:

It's therefore important for Google AdWords advertisers to understand the reasons for these discrepancies, so they can accurately assess the figures reported by Analytics to maximise the Google Adwords campaign's performance.

This article was first published in the February 2010 edition of our monthly newsletter.

If you'd like to know more about this issue and how it might affect your Analytics data, please contact us for a discussion. Alternatively, please request a FREE website assessment and see what you could achieve with a successful search engine marketing campaign.