When Data doesn’t match up with Google Ads and GA

Created by Mohammad Siddiqui, Modified on Thu, 05 Mar 2020 at 10:04 AM by Mohammad Siddiqui

There is a difference between Adwords Clicks and Analytics Sessions. One of the key things to note is, Adwords Click/Analytics Session Ratio can be affected in a number of various ways.

Sessions in Analytics may not be recorded due to server latency, redirects, users clearing their browser cache. It is also common for minor discrepancies to occur when matching data, up to a delta of 20%. However, anything greater will require further investigation.

To help troubleshoot, there are several important things to check. These are ordered in terms of basic to advanced.

Account Linkage in Google Analytics

  1. Check that Adwords Account is properly linked to Google Analytics

  2. Check for Wrong Adwords account linked to Google Analytics

  3. Make sure that Multiple Adwords accounts are not linked to same GA view

Clicks Vs sessions

An Adwords click is a very basic action on behalf of your visitor and is recorded by Adwords servers. It’s a simple metric. Analytics sessions are much more sophisticated and include several layers of data.

Adwords Click = Click >> Metric Recorded

Analytics Session = Pageviews, events, social triggers, multiple domains etc >> Metrics Recorded

  1. Clicks and sessions are fundamentally different metrics

  2. Be vary of users clicking on the same ad multiple times

  3. Understand that GA sessions are not filtered for invalid clicks

  4. Understand that there are differences between Google Adwords and Google Analytics Conversion tracking

  5. Make sure your website code is setup to enable pageview measurement[see an example of code]
     ["config", "UA-01234567-4", {send_page_view:True}]

Tracking Code errors

  1. Google Analytics tracking code missing from landing pages

  2. Google Analytics tracking code not firing on landing pages

  3. Multiple Google Analytics tracking code firing on landing pages


  1. Manual tagging is not configured correctly

  2. Adwords destination URLs are not tagged

  3. Using Manual and Auto-tagging together for Google analytics

  4. Using Manual and Auto-tagging together for non- Google analytics purposes

GCLID  parameter configuration

Here’s what the parameter extension looks like:


Ensure that the Adwords account matches the above formatting.

  1. Make sure GCLID parameter is not being dropped because of redirect
    An example of a redirect could be as simple as https:??www.yourwebsite.com/B/2020/

    If there are redirects set up from the landing page to another webpage on another domain for example, then it’s possible to lose that trigger. The tracking code on the advert landing page needs time to trigger in GA, so setting a delay before the redirect occurs is good practice.

  2. Ensure Google Analytics can read the GCLID value
  3. Make sure the GCLID parameter is not breaking the URL rewrite rule, otherwise you would need to reconfigure it on the webserver.
  4. Bookmarks can contain old/expired GCLID parameters
  5. Data sampling issue creating data discrepancies

  6. View filters excluding Google Analytics session data
  7. Error #15 – Adwords CPC Data Is Not Being Collected By Analytics

A common issue that arises in Analytics reports is where Cost Per Click (CPC) metrics are not collected. 

This issue is related to Adwords/Analytics linked accounts and more specifically refers to a situation where redirects are set up in an Adwords process.

When Adwords is linked to Analytics, it automatically adds tracking parameters like this one to the campaigns using auto-tagging. (Adwords >> Home >> Settings (Cog icon) >> Account Settings >> Preferences >> Auto Tagging >> Tracking (set to “Yes”).

Historical Changes are not being accounted for

WhenAdwords and Analytics data are combined, the data can be viewed side by side. Adwords record the number of times visitors click on ads. Analytics records the number of times visitors visit the website and what they do while they are there and when they leave. Adwords Clicks & Analytics Sessions Don’t Match

In an Analytics session, there are multiple touchpoints for the user and Analytics to record. With Adwords it’s simple, it’s only one click.

To learn more about troubleshooting Google ads clicks vs Analytics please view the following articles:





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