Google Ads is introducing a significant change by moving from the previous method of importing the last non-direct click from Google Analytics 4 (GA4) to Google Ads.
Now, Google is adopting a complete cross-channel conversion credit import approach.
This update will provide a more comprehensive understanding of the customer buying journey, leading to better-informed marketing decisions.
I first became aware of Google Ads transitioning to cross-channel conversion credit in a LinkedIn post from Frederik Boysen, CEO & founder of Profitmetrics.io.
After contacting Google, I received confirmation that the information Boysen shared was accurate.
Google will have more details to share in the coming months. In the meantime, here’s a breakdown of what’s changing and why it matters for your Google Ads campaigns.
Before & After Cross-Channel Conversion Credit
Google Ads imports conversions from GA4 using a last non-direct click attribution model.
That means no conversion is imported into Google Ads if the last click was not from a Google advertisement.
The forthcoming update will import full cross-channel conversion credit into Google Ads, even if the last non-direct click wasn’t from Google advertising.
The new cross-channel import should provide more accurate conversion value reporting by incorporating the effects of other channels.
This will make it easier to spot discrepancies in the values tracked by Google Ads versus GA4 cross-channel credit.
While this is an improvement over the current system, GA4 tracking has some limitations compared to Google Ads tracking.
As Boysen highlights in his LinkedIn post, GA4 tracking is limited in the following ways:
- GA4 doesn’t track view-throughs for networks like display or YouTube. Google Ads does.
- GA4 lacks built-in cross-device identification. Google Ads tracking utilizes logged-in user data to identify users across devices.
- GA4 doesn’t offer full server-side tracking without a script firing. In contrast, Google Ads provides comprehensive server-side tracking with offline conversion click import.
Due to the above-listed limitations, Google Ads tracking will likely remain the superior choice for bidding, while GA4 import may become the preferred option for reporting.
The introduction of full cross-channel conversion credit import in Google Ads will provide a more accurate understanding of the customer buying journey.
Although GA4 tracking still has some limitations compared to Google Ads tracking, its improved reporting capabilities make it a valuable tool.
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