I have to use web analytics packages every day in my work, whether it is Google Analytics or one of the paid providers, and it still surprises me when I log into a new clients account and discover that in Search Engine Traffic, there is no Paid traffic recorded.
Meanwhile, they are paying money to do PPC, they just haven’t connected it to their Analytics packages.
In the simplest case, if you are using Google Analytics and Google Adwords, connecting the two is a matter of only a few clicks. It is great because you then have all your Adwords ads tagged in your Google Analytics so that you can easily compare it to all the other sources of your traffic.
Also, by connecting the two, you have access to your analytics in your Adwords account, as a convenient tab, and you can view your analytics at any time.
It takes less than one minute. But still, many large online businesses are not linking their Adwords to their Google Analytics.
In other analytics tools it takes slightly longer to tag your PPC campaigns to be recorded in your analytics package, but it isn’t an onerous undertaking. I had one Client tell me that they were paying their PPC provider to do their analytics in the Yahoo Analytics tool Index Tools, but the provider had not tagged up ANY PPC campaigns that they were undertaking (I wish I could get paid to do nothing like that).
This makes it difficult for the client to assess the relative ROI of their different traffic sources, it makes it difficult for the SEO provider to measure the impact of their own SEO work, and it makes it impossible for the client to see an objective measurement of their PPC performance.
I am not sure why some PPC providers do this, but perhaps it is to do with hiding costs, volumes, or the difference between clicks and visits. It is a deceptive and lazy practice, which I hope is eradicated by clients demanding full disclosure in the future.
If you have a PPC provider, you must demand that they tag up all campaigns they undertake. If they refuse, you should wonder why. If they say they can’t do it for some technical reason or another – ask them to talk to your SEO provider, or Web Analytics consultant for advice. I am sure that it will then get done.