How to import GA4 conversions in Google Ads: A Comprehensive Guide

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Introduction

What is the correct way of analysing conversions in Google Ads?

 

Many users import conversion data from their GA4 property to Google Ads. This leads to a common observation that the conversions recorded by Google Ads are way lower than those recorded by GA4, even when the Google Ads account is correctly linked to their GA4 property.

The most important point that people miss is prioritising Google Ads conversion as a primary data source and keeping the GA4 imported conversions as secondary data by viewing the additional insights and cross-channel attribution capabilities of GA4, even if the data might be slightly delayed.



It should also be kept in mind that the conversions recorded via Google Ads conversion tracking code are updated faster in Google Ads (usually within 3 hours for conversions attributed using the ‘Last click’ attribution model and within 15 hours when using other models) than those imported to your Google Ads account from GA4.


The imported conversions data can take up to 12 hours to be reflected on the Google Ads reports when attributed using the ‘Last click’ attribution model and up to 24 hours when using other models.

Since most advertisers use and rely on this day-of-visit attribution model these days, the conversion data between Google Ads and GA4 can be out of sync for up to 24 hours.

Setting incorrectly allocated conversion numbers in Google Ads might lead to reallocating the budget away from campaigns that are, in reality, performing adequately well and when reporting to stakeholders or clients, these discrepancies can cause confusion.



It might seem like campaigns aren’t delivering the expected ROI, leading to unnecessary intention or change in strategy and if specific ads or keywords appear underperforming due to lagging conversion data, you might miss out on optimization opportunities or even mistakenly pause well-performing campaigns.

Frequent discrepancies can add to the concern of both platforms, leading to uncertainty in decision-making. Relying solely on Google Ads conversions as your primary data might lead to an incomplete understanding of campaign performance. To gain a more comprehensive view, consider integrating GA4 data for additional strategic insights.



It’s essential to synchronise the attribution model between Google Ads and GA4 to ensure data consistency and comparability. Discrepancies due to mismatched attribution models can skew data interpretation.



You should leverage Google Ads conversions as your core dataset and supplement with GA4 data as a secondary source for a well-rounded approach to campaign optimization and strategic decision-making. This dual-source analysis ensures a more robust foundation for evaluating your advertising efforts.



Step-by-Step Guide to Importing GA4 Conversions into Google Ads

Mentioned below are the steps which should be followed to import Conversions from GA4 to Google Ads –

Step 1 : Log in to the required Google Ads account and click on “Goals” from the left menu bar.

 
 
Step 2 : Under Conversions, select “Summary” and click on “New Conversion Action
 

Step 3 : Now choose the “Import option”.

 

 

Step 4 : Select Click on “Google Analytics 4 properties” and select “Web”. 

 

 

 Step 5 : Now after clicking on “Continue”, you will be able to see a list of all the events from your GA4 property that are marked as conversions in your property.

 

 

Step 6 : Select the conversion import you want to import into Google Ads, and click on “Import and continue”.

 

 

 

Step 7 : Click on the “Done” button.

Now you can see the imported GA4 conversion events listed as “Conversion Actions” in Google Ads.

 
 

How to setup Google Ads conversion tracking using google tag manager

Conversions are critical interactions on your website that correspond with your business objectives, acting as key performance indicators. These interactions are broadly classified into two categories: micro and macro conversions. 

 

Micro-conversions are preliminary actions, such as newsletter sign-ups or account creations, which indicate a user’s initial interest and engagement. They’re important as they often precede and pave the way for more significant actions, known as macro-conversions.

 

 Macro-conversions, like completing a purchase or booking a service, are the ultimate objectives of your website, directly reflecting the success of your online presence in achieving its primary goals.

The importance of tracking these conversions lies in the valuable insights they provide into your business’s online performance. This tracking helps pinpoint which marketing strategies are effective and identifies areas for improvement. By understanding the user behaviours that lead to macro-conversions, businesses can replicate successful tactics to enhance their overall performance

 

To effectively track conversions with Google Ads, after setting up the initial conversion actions, you need to configure Google Tag Manager (GTM):

  • Start with the Conversion Linker tag in GTM, which ensures that conversion data is captured accurately throughout the user journey on your site, particularly after ad clicks.
  • Create a Google Ads Conversion Tracking tag by entering the Conversion ID and label from your Google Ads account into the respective fields in GTM.
  • Set up the appropriate triggers for the tag to fire, such as when a user submits a form on your site.
  • Use GTM’s Preview mode to test and confirm that the tags are firing correctly on the desired actions.
  • Once verified, publish the GTM container to apply the conversion tracking live for all website visitors.

For a more detailed step by step guide on how to “How to setup Google Ads conversion tracking using GTM”, refer to the Blog – Google Ads Conversion Tracking.  

Conclusion

 

In conclusion, importing GA4 conversion events into Google Ads streamlines the process of tracking and optimising for valuable customer actions. By following the simple step-by-step guide, you can seamlessly transfer important conversion data from GA4 to Google Ads, allowing for more precise campaign targeting and bidding strategies. This integration is key to understanding the full impact of your advertising efforts and making data-driven decisions to enhance your return on investment. With the conversions successfully imported and listed as “Conversion Actions” in Google Ads, you’re now equipped to better measure and refine your marketing campaigns for optimal performance.

 

FAQs

1. Why is there a discrepancy between the Conversions imported from GA4 and the native conversions through GTM?

 

Discrepancies between conversions imported from GA4 and native conversions tracked through Google Tag Manager (GTM) often arise due to differences in attribution models, timing of the conversion recording, and the distinct ways each platform handles data. Additionally, processing delays between platforms and filtering rules for conversions (like deduplication settings) can contribute to these discrepancies. It’s important to ensure both GA4 and GTM are configured with consistent settings for a more accurate comparison.

 

2.Where can I see the conversions in Google Ads imported from GA4?

 

You can view the conversions imported from GA4 in your Google Ads account by navigating to the “Goals” menu, selecting “Conversions” and then clicking on “Summary” Here you’ll find a list of all conversion actions, including those imported from GA4.

 

About Author

Aditya is a Web analytics professional with experience in the Overall journey of a digital business from frontend development to creating digital marketing campaigns and implementing complex tracking on the website through GTM including server side mechanisms. He has a vast expertise with the analytics tools such as GTM and GA4 and thus is able to give insights about what all is happening in the user journey. He has conducted many CRO and Analytics Audits, extracting actionable insights from large data sets and thus providing strategic recommendations for improving conversions and user experience

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