How to use Google Analytics for Ads: A Comprehensive Guide 101

Ofem Eteng • Last Modified: December 29th, 2022

GOOGLE ANALYTICS FOR ADS

Introduction

The essence of advertising is to make your business competitive and garner greater visibility. Placing Ads on targeted sites to increase the marketing of products, promotion of sales, downloading of files, or subscription for newsletters is essential for the growth of any business. These ads though important need to be tracked by using performance metrics to measure if they are having the desired outcome or not.

In this article, you will learn how to use Google Analytics for Ads that can be monitored to gauge your online presence, take stock of the viability of the ads, and consider areas of possible improvements through the results derived from analytics.

Google Analytics, handles information about your websites ranging from clicks, impressions, conversions, etc. Lots of enterprises use Google Analytics as a traffic tracking tool for their websites, and while that is one of its best-known functions, Google Analytics has a ton of use cases, such as monitoring the type of traffic flow, devices used for searches, and knowing the people carrying out these search on your site.

Another use case for Google Analytics is in the setting up of campaigns and measuring the conversions of ads associated with those campaigns to ascertain whether they are meeting your desired marketing objectives. 

Here is an outline of this blog:

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About Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a veritable web analytic service tool provided by Google to track and report website traffic by monitoring traffic flow and learning what people are searching for on your site. Google Analytics can be used to track website activities such as how long the average visitor spends on your site (duration), the number of pages visited or viewed in a given session, the total number of unique visitors to your site, etc. It can also be used to gather specific information about the source of the traffic. 

This valuable data derived from Google Analytics helps you in understanding your site and coming up with effective ways through which users can interact with it. Analysis such as these allows you to check for better performance as regards your marketing, content, and products. Google Analytics is therefore the most widely used web analytics service on the web.

Google Analytics for Ads 

Creating Ads for specific campaigns helps you segment your marketing scope since targeted ads can be placed on designated websites on which users can engage and be prompted with the assigned call to action activity. For you to be able to set up ads in Analytics that can be tracked, you have to set up campaigns that are traceable to identify the performance metrics on each of these ads. These ads are tracked on Analytics to measure performance metrics which are essential to ad reviews.

Ads can be created for diverse platforms such as Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Campaigns for these ads are then integrated with Google Analytics by tracking landing page activity and conversions (goals). 

To create Ads, we will consider the following:

Setting your Goals

To know how well your ads are performing on various platforms whether based on clicks or impressions, you have to set targets and goals. Goals measure how well you are meeting your target objectives on your site or app. A goal represents a desired outcome, also known as a conversion. Goals might include purchase on a website, lead generation, viewing a specific page, submitting a contact information form, or downloading games/videos/files.

Having and defining goals is essential in digital analytics because well-defined goals allow Google Analytics to provide useful insights into how set targets are achieved on your site or app. The information gotten can then be used to evaluate the effectiveness of your online business as well as improving your marketing campaigns.

To set goals on Google Analytics for Ads, do the following in order:

  1. Sign in to Google Analytics.
  2. Click Admin, and navigate to the desired view.
  3. In the VIEW column, click Goals.
  4. Click + NEW GOAL or Import from Gallery to create a new goal, or click an existing goal to edit its configuration. 

Next, you can create a NEW GOAL from three basic options: using a goal template, creating custom goals, and creating Smart Goals.

You can visit the official documentation for further reading on goals creation and the available goal types which include destination, duration, pages/screen per session, and event.

Generating URL Parameters

Now that you have your goals set up, you can proceed to set up the campaign ads to be placed on targeted sites. First, you need to generate the URL parameters and this will be done using Google Campaign URL Builder. On the URL builder page, as shown in the diagram below, you should fill out the form which has fields for website URL, Campaign Source, Campaign Medium, Campaign Name, etc. which are all mandatory fields and Campaign Term, Campaign Content, etc. which are optional. 

Google URL Builder
Image showing Google URL Builder

Creating or Having a Trackable URL 

The Website URL is the designated landing page of your site. It is the page a visitor will be taken to when they click on your ad. You should type the URL in the website URL box provided. An example of the link might look like this – http://www.yourdomain.com/promotions.html

Defining your Campaign Source, Campaign Medium, and Campaign Name

The Campaign source is typically the website or e-mail listings where your ads will be displayed for the user to see. This can include Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, etc.

The Campaign Medium is used to define the type of Ads you want to use. It can be Cost-Per-Click (CPC) Ads for link clicks, Cost-Per-Mile (CPM) Ads for Impressions, Banner Ads, or even a link from an e-mail, whereas the Campaign Name is the definition of the specific Ad you are trying to promote. It could be an annual sales Ad, for example, “Big Holiday Sales”, or the promotion of a new product like “New toys sales”. 

Although Campaign Term and Campaign Content are found in the builder, they are not mandatory fields. Campaign Term is used for paid Ads to note the keywords in search while Campaign Content is used to differentiate ads by tracking individual ad performance.

Generating a New Campaign URL for your Ad

Having filled out the values in the previous sections, the campaign URL for your custom Ad will be automatically generated. It could look something like this: 

http://www.yourdomain.com/promotions.html?utm_source=Amazon.com&utm_medium=Banner&utm_campaign=Big%2BHoliday%2BSales.

Copy the generated URL and paste it into an Ad Manager on the site where the Ad will be placed eg. Facebook Ad Manager. Yet another option is to convert the generated URL into a short link by using a service like Bit.ly.

Track Ad Performance in Google Analytics

To ascertain how well your ad is doing, you will need to track its performance and this is done on Analytics. Follow the steps below:

  1. Login to Google Analytics.
  2. On the left side menu, select Acquisition.
  3. Then click on All Traffic.
  4. Next, select Source/Medium.
  5. Select the Campaign Name you want to track. 
  6. Click the Goal Conversion tab to see how well this campaign converted for each of your goals.

Conclusion

In this article, you have learned how to use Google Analytics for Ads by building up a URL that can be tracked to know your marketing performance on different sites. The methods used here can be done for Ads on popular sites like Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as well as others. You were also shown how to set goals, build a customized URL for your ads, and how to track the inner workings of the ads.

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What are your thoughts on using Google Analytics for Ads? Share your tips on more ways you can use Google Analytics for Ads in the comments below!

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