Yes! Please! I often survey attendees of an AdWords Seminar, and a common theme often emerges.
- Most of the audience uses Google Analytics.
- Most of the audience does not use the AdWords conversion tracker.
They are different tools that should be used differently.
AdWords Conversion Tracking
The AdWords conversion tracker just tracks conversions. You can define a conversion in many different ways (sale, lead form, page view) etc. You can define different conversions within the same account. Once you’ve enabled conversion tracking, you can run reports to see performance statistics by keyword, ad group, campaign, ad copy, landing page, content sites, etc by different conversion types (what keywords lead to contacts vs. shopping cart checkouts).
AdWords conversion tracking passes that stats back to your AdWords account so you can easily access all you conversion information cross referenced with your AdWords data within the single AdWords reporting interface. This is a huge timesaver.
Google Analytics is an analytics system. It will give you more information than you need to know about your site and visitors. You can easily define goals (conversions) within your analytics account. Google Analytics will tell you about visitors to your site that came from other sources than AdWords. You can view browser, screen resolution, referring site info, and your AdWords account within Analytics (as well as hundreds of other data points).
Like AdWords conversion tracking, analytics should be used to make decisions. Whenever you decide to implement analytics, the first question you should ask is ‘What information do I need to know to get my job done well?’. You can ask that of the design, marketing, and other departments within your organization. Then look for an analytics solution that fits your needs.
For most small businesses, Google Analytics will fit that need. If you need to make real time decisions, then it will not meet your needs.
However, it is much more difficult to extract data such as what content sites are sending you converting traffic from your Analytics account. From within the AdWords conversion tracker – it’s easy. From Analytics – incredibly difficult.
Use Both Google Analytics and the AdWords Conversion Tracker
Assuming you’re willing to use Google Analytics, and it gives you the data you need to perform your job – then you should use them both. Since these two tools perform different functions, you need a tool for each function. Neither are difficult to install, and the data can be invaluable for increase your website’s effectiveness.