Pssst, hey did you miss it?
Google Analytics quietly rolled out a new feature for measuring AdWords performance in April that could have easily been overlooked, but is packed with data and happens to be one of my favorite features right now.
Let’s have a closer look…
The feature release
On April 11, 2016, Google Analytics posted “release notes” with a laundry list of features that have been added. If you’re like me and crave the maximum AdWords data that you can get your hands on, you’re going to love this new feature built into Google Analytics.
From the release notes:
New Sitelinks report in AdWords reporting section in GA: The AdWords reporting section in GA reports on most features available in AdWords. Based on advertiser feedback, the main missing feature was Sitelinks. We’ve now added a new Sitelinks report to the AdWords reporting section in GA. Note that this report includes data for actual clicks on Sitelinks leading to a website visit.
The sitelinks feature received some media coverage, but I’m still seeing PPC professionals discovering the new feature for the first time even months later, so I know it was easy to miss.
If you happen to already spend a lot of time in Google Analytics, you may have noticed the “new” callout next to the report link:
Why is this new feature so awesome? This new reporting view allows you to see which individual sitelinks are performing on any given campaign, and how those sitelinks contribute to performance after a click to a website – huge win!
How it used to be
Google had mentioned in the past that AdWords sitelinks boost clickthrough rate on average by 10-20%, and for branded terms, 20-50%. Knowing that, plus the data we had access to the in AdWords platform on sitelinks was enough to keep us happy.
Yes, you can get a fair amount of data on sitelinks by accessing ad extension stats in the AdWords dashboard. Things like clicks, clickthrough rate, costs, average position, etc.
This shows you how the individual sitelinks are performing, but we lacked the additional insight of what happened after a click on the sitelink.
Below, you can see the sitelinks organized by top performers in GA:
Plus, you can add secondary dimensions as well, and explore sitelinks by campaign, for example. You can also click around on your goals tabs, and see if the sitelink contributed to any goals you have set up in Google Analytics.
You can also see things like costs, bounce rate and pages per session. All of this data gives you a testing ground. See which sitelinks are driving sales, and which perhaps need to be switched out with something else.
Armed with that data, you can now show your clients or your team, for example, that maybe that “FAQs” sitelink isn’t the best sitelink for the ad, and that it should be replaced with a link to the top-selling product/service instead.
I recommend checking out this new feature to view sitelink performance if you’re already using Google Analytics. And if you haven’t yet linked your AdWords and Google Analytics… what are you waiting for?