Google Analytics counts preconfigured goals once per session. If there are multiple sessions, (meaning someone has visited your site more than once) and they complete a configured goal, it will be counted more than once. Transactions, on the other hand, are counted “many per session.” If someone buys something within a session multiple times, it’s going to count each one.
Google Ads allows you to configure what you would like to count. Goals can be counted once in a session, or each time they happen.
Take ad clicks for example. If you’re running an e-commerce type site, you may want to count every single one, but if you’re running a lead generation site, you might want to count only one. This will depend on your business goals.
This is an important one. Google Analytics will give credit at the time of the goal completion, regardless of what happened prior. Same for transactions. Credit is given at the time of the transaction.
Google Ads is more confusing. The Google Ads platform gives credit for the last impression preceding the ad click that led to that conversion. If somebody performs an action like clicking on an ad but doesn’t complete a goal or a transaction until several days later, Google Ads will go back and give credit to the day the first click happened or rather the impression preceding that click will be given credit. When looking at the performance of Google Ads, it’s important to look at the conversion windows (which we’ve talked about previously) to see the actual length of the sales cycle.
In short, Google Analytics is going to give credit at the time of the completed goal or transaction. Google Ads it’s going to give credit for the impression prior to the click.
This is about which marketing channel gets the credit. Google Analytics gives credit for both goals and transactions to the last non-direct. (Any channel that’s not direct.)
Remember, direct is that mystery bucket of unknown traffic. We’ve talked about that before as well if you’d like to learn more about what direct traffic is.
In Google Ads, credit is only given if the user has clicked on an ad.
For example, someone clicks on a Google Ads ad. Google ads is going to give itself credit. However, if they don’t complete the desired action at that time they clicked, and then later they come back via an organic search, Google Analytics is going to give credit to Google search, not to the Google Ads.