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You would think tracking conversions in Google Ads and Google Analytics would yield the same results. It usually doesn’t. The reasons for this conundrum are essential to understand as you manage your pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns.
For the purpose of illustration, let’s use the following scenario to understand the different ways in which these two platforms track conversions:
- On Monday, Jane clicks on an ad and reviews information but does not complete a transaction or other conversion action.
- On Tuesday, Jane gets an email that says, “You left items in your cart; don’t forget to checkout!” She clicks the email link but does not complete her order.
- On Wednesday, Jane goes directly to the website and finally finishes her order.
The path that Jane used to convert from visitor to customer for this example was Google Ads > Email > Direct.
Now for the difference in conversion attribution between the two platforms, Google Ads and Google Analytics.
Google Analytics: Jane’s purchase will be tracked based on the last click action and the date of the conversion. In this case, the last action was a direct visit to the website. Since Google Analytics leverages the last-click attribution model, the conversion action would be registered to the source “Direct” on Wednesday, the date the transaction occurred.
As you can see, the last-click attribution