Google Ads Conversion Tracking vs Importing Goals from Google Analytics: Which one to choose?

Confused on how you should be tracking conversions in your Google Ads account?

There are basically two options to collect data: you can either use the built-in Google Ads Conversion Tracking method, or you could import your existing goals and eCommerce conversions into Google Ads from Google Analytics.

How does the import work?

It’s not Google Ads conversion tracking using Analytics code.

It’s data import from Google Analytics to Google Ads, and a given conversion is imported to Google Ads only if it is attributed to Google Ads in the last click model in Google Analytics.

Last click in Google Analytics actually means last non-direct click because a direct visit is not a click in Google Analytics terminology.

It means that if the Google Ads click is followed by, for example, a visit from Facebook and then the user converts, this conversion won’t be imported to Google Ads.

What about Google Ads attribution?

You can change the attribution model in Google Ads conversion settings to, for example, linear, position-based or data-driven model.

But Google Ads still won’t consider conversion paths other than those attributed to Google Ads by Google Analytics in the last non-direct click model.

Google Ads simply doesn’t see that these clicks were on paths to the imported conversions.

Altering the attribution model in Google Ads won’t change it.

In the case of Analytics imported conversions, attribution modeling in Google Ads is a strange construction. For example, if you use the linear model in Google Ads, it will equally attribute the conversions to all Google Ads search clicks on their paths – but only if the Google Ads search click is the last (non-direct) click preceding the conversion in Google Analytics.

If the last click in Analytics is not a Google Ads click, the conversion won’t be attributed in Google Ads at all.

Don’t stop using it

Of course, there is nothing wrong with the import itself.

Linking Google Ads and Analytics allows you to see the ads performance data in Google Analytics.

You can import Analytics metrics like bounce rate, average session duration, and pages per session into Google Ads account. You can also create valuable Google Ads remarketing lists using Analytics data.

It is OK if you use imported conversions as additional data (“not included in conversions”). But for optimization and bid strategies, you should instead use Google Ads conversion tracking.

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