From the perspective of the search engine giant Google, the year 2022 begins with several innovations that make tracking a decisive success factor for advertisers.

Various improvements in favor of the privacy of all users of Google Search were followed by a series of recommendations for advertisers. The topics of site-wide tagging, Google Consent Mode and enhanced conversions are becoming an absolute must in Google Ads management. At least if you want to compensate for measurement gaps and make the maximum number of actual conversions visible in the account.

Which tag do you use?

But even within the tracking tags offered by Google itself, there are now quite significant differences. The sentence „We measure everything on the basis of Google Analytics“ is no longer tenable in 2022. The reason for this is that the web analysis service Google Analytics is now partly completely blocked by various plug-ins or browsers trimmed for data protection. Current complaints and judgments in the EU, which deal with the data protection-compliant processing of the collected data, do not necessarily make the situation any clearer.

Regardless of this, differences between Google Analytics tracking and tracking via the Google Ads tag have been known for a long time. Google itself has also been transparently presenting this for quite some time: Compare measured values from Google Analytics and Google Ads. But what is the best way to obtain sufficient data for your own Google Ads campaigns?

Here we can definitely see that the measurement differences between the two variants are increasing, sometimes dramatically. While it used to be between 10% and 20% measurement loss that was „normal“ with Google Analytics, it is not uncommon to see deviations of 40% today. For some advertisers, this is problematic for the meaningful use of their own bidding strategies. Switching tracking to the Google Ads tag without interposing Google Analytics as a conversion source then definitely makes sense.

Example: Tracking differences in e-commerce

In the example shown here, we are dealing with the data of an online store of just 14 days. Over this time, a measurement difference of 30% has already accumulated. Over 27,000 euros in sales would not have been assigned to Google Ads or the correct campaign. The longer the period considered, the wider the gap in tracked sales. For bidding strategies such as target ROAS or target CPA, such measurement differences are real performance killers. They lead to campaigns being assessed as worse than they actually perform. Even worse, bidding strategies lack valuable conversion data to achieve advertising goals or the optimal market position.

What advertisers should do now

Because the discussion about measurement loss is not new, there are clear recommendations on how to meaningfully support the best possible campaign performance. At the same time, user decisions on privacy, such as the cookie banner, are definitely taken into account.

  • #1 Test tracking directly through Google Ads and stop interposing Google Analytics.

  • #2 Keep using Google Analytics for your web and channel statistics, but stop using it to import conversion actions.

  • #3 Adjust your bidding strategies wisely based on the newly collected data. Example: If 40% more orders can be tracked all of a sudden, target ROAS or target CPA bids will obviously need to be adjusted meaningfully.

  • #4 Have Google Consent Mode (tracking without cookies) and Enhanced Conversions (anonymized matching with logged-in Google accounts) set up.

With these four steps, advertisers currently have a good chance of staying ahead of the competition in Google Ads.