Why doesn't my data match?!? Google Ads vs Analytics

Why doesn't my data match?!? Google Ads vs Analytics

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Written by: James Gunson
So you're reviewing a campaign, putting together a few thoughts on how it went and you just can't seem to get the numbers to match up. Why won't clicks equal visitors? Why does Google Ads report conversions differently to Analytics? What is going on here. Which platform should I trust?
Google does a pretty good job of explaining potential reasons for data discrepancies and lots of links to drill down into each particular issue. So rather than repeat them all, I've included links to the relevant sections below.
General data discrepancies
This article talks about several potential reasons for differences in the data between Google Ads and Analytics. Then they go into a step by step checklist on how you can get the two platforms to match up (as much as you can). There are three main areas:
  1. General configuration issues
  2. Reasons for discrepancies between clicks and sessions
  3. Reasons for discrepancies in the conversion rate
Comparing Analytics & Google Ads conversion metrics
This article will give a summary of the tracking differences between conversion metrics in Google Ads and Google Analytics. It also goes in-depth into why there are data discrepancies in eight key areas:
  1. Attribution differences
  2. Date of transaction
  3. Reporting freshness
  4. One conversion vs every conversion
  5. User differences to different tracking methods
  6. Account level tracking
  7. Cross device conversions
  8. Phone call conversions
Attribution models for conversions
Extra for experts - The pretty amazing team over at Luna Metrics put together this blog post that's still relevant today. It talks about how Google Analytics and Google Ads will attribute your goal conversions differently. We think it's worth getting your head around. 


If you're interested in learning how to use the Google Ads platform more effectively, check out our Google Ads eBook:

Google Ads eBook 2019



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About James Gunson

James advises NZ businesses on their digital marketing strategy, and handles everything from Google and Facebook Ads campaigns to Analytics implementation and SEO. His focus is on fine-tuning online campaigns for better ROI and creating long-term success for our clients.

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