When your AdWords don't talk to your Analytics


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

Our founder, Robbin Steif, started LunaMetrics in 2004. She is a graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Business School, and has served on the Board of Directors for the Digital Analytics Association. Robbin is a winner of a BusinessWomen First award, as well as a Diamond Award for business leadership. In 2017, Robbin sold her company to HS2 Solutions and has since retired from LunaMetrics.

  • Anonymous

    How about two different accounts … a Google Analytics account and an AdWords account?

    When you sign up, each account gives you JavaScript with its own unique ID number.

    I’m trying to figure out the best setup.

    Do you think the best way to track AdWords is to use the Google Analytics JavaScript on each web page, and track AdWords in GA?

    Would you ever use the AdWords JavaScript?

    Hopelessly Confused

  • Hi Hopeless.

    Yes, there are lots of options. It is nice to use the AdWords Javascript sometimes, it is just easy to look at the data in the AdWords interface, I must confess.

    However, the cookies only last for 30 days, so if someone comes back six weeks later on a bookmark, your Adword doesn’t get “credit.” Analytics cookies have a default life of 6 months. Also, *if* you are using Google Analytics, you will want to link your AdWords to your Analytics so that you can learn more about them.

    Personally, I think the best way to do this is to set up both accounts and link them (you can use the link early in the post to get to Google’s description of how to link), and track in GA. If you don’t mind the extra javascript, it is nice to also have the AdWords tracking, because it enables you to strongly focus on your AdWords conversion. One of the things that Google Analytics doesn’t handle really well is AdGroups, and I often really want to work at that level.

  • Pingback: Online Marketing Blog » Blog Archive » Linking AdWords & Analytics: a Troubleshooting Guide()

  • Thank you Robbin for the info of autotagging turned off. I spent so many hours searching for a clue until I found yours .

  • hei there,
    i am following google advice.. but in adwords, when i click on reports> google analytics , instead of having the page opened.. i am redirected to the home page of adwords.
    what the hell?

  • i have the same problem like alex.

  • I’ve checked all of the above, i have it linked; i can see analytics from adwords. Landing page is a home page and definitely have analytics code on the home page. Auto-tagging is on. My problem is it shows clicks but no visits in Analytics.

  • Robbin

    Pixels, do a gclid test. If you don’t know what I mean, read on — look for your ad in the SERP and then click on it yourself, and look at the landing page (I guess that is the home page)URL, does it have the word “gclid” in it? If not, the referring info is getting stripped out, almost always by a redirect.

  • @Pixels – Also, when you look at your AdWords stats through the left menu in Analytics, make sure that you have ALL TRAFFIC selected.

    Otherwise, it will show no visit.

    Hope it helped. šŸ˜‰

    Eric Paquet
    SpƩcialiste AdWords

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