When Your AdWords Don't Talk To Your Analytics

March 02, 2007
By Robbin Steif

So you did everything Google told you to do, but you can’t get your AdWords to talk to your Google Analytics.

This question came our way this week, and it was interesting, because I just went through the same problem myself. So here is some advice.

Problem #1) You want to link AdWords and Analytics, but when you follow their directions, you don’t get an “I already have Analytics” option.

I learned this one the hard way. Because you can only have one AdWords account associated with your GA account (even though you might have multiple Analytics profiles and even be able to look at multiple Analytics accounts), you have to unlink the old AdWords account so you can get the one you really want. However, unlinking is fraught with problems. (Thanks Justin, for teaching this one to me.) In fact, Google even says, if you want to unlink, contact us (use their contact form, they are pretty responsive.)

Problem #2) You successfully linked AdWords and Analytics, but you don’t see your campaigns.

This can be caused by autotagging turned off. You might have your autotagging turned off so that you can tag your AdWords just the way you want, but you have to tag them all. If you want to turn it back on, it is in AdWords, under My Account > Account preferences.

Problem #2a) You successfully linked AdWords and Analytics, you have autotagging turned on, but you still don’t see your campaigns. Or maybe, you see some of them, but not all of them.

When you see some but not all (and you have autotagging turned on), that’s a red flag — you don’t have Google Analytics installed on the landing page. “But wait,” I can hear you say, “I have my Analytics in a file that automatically gets copied to every page on my website.” Yes, I work with a customer like that, and two (count ’em, one-two) of her campaigns landed on very specific landing page, stripped of all navigation and include files. Hence, stripped of Google Analytics.

Problem #3) No, none of those are the problem. Your account was never linked to another AdWords Account, you have auto-tagging turned on, you have analytics on your landing pages. This was the problem that came to me this week. Finding the problem was real gumshoe work and it was exciting to discover it.

Here’s what happen. I was getting ready to send it to someone on high, but decided to have one last look. I wanted to be sure he had GA on his landing pages. And then I noticed that he did have code installed — but he was running two different Google Analytic accounts. The account that was used from his landing pages was nothing like the account for the rest of his site. (I mean, the numbers, like this: uacct=”UA-xxxxxxx-y”) So yes, there is a Google Analytics account somewhere, someplace, that is reading the AdWords, but the other account, the main one, can’t see that the clicks are coming from AdWords. And isn’t the whole idea to be able to see it in one place and then make decisions based on your data?

Robbin Steif