Understanding the Advertising Workspace in Google Analytics 4

The advertising workspace takes a prominent space in the Google Analytics 4 menu. That’s not a coincidence. GA4 is free, but built with the money you pour into Google Ads. Of course, you want to know how your paid campaigns are performing. So let's dive in…

These topics show you how to turn your spent search marketing dollars into priceless data.

How to access the advertising workspace in GA4?

You can access the advertising workspace on the main menu on the left.

Click on Advertising.

That’s remarkably easy compared to finding Universal Analytics reports and metrics in GA4, such as the behavior flow report in GA4.

When building its new analytics tool from scratch, Google saw a chance to highlight its number one source of making billions.

If your organization advertises on Google, quick access to the advertising workspace is important. You want to quickly see what’s happening with your campaigns.

If you don’t see data in here, you need to fix this first.

How to link Google Ads and Google Analytics 4?

To link your Google Ads to your GA4 property, you need to log in to your analytics account as Administrator or Editor.

Your GA4 account also needs to have Administrator access to the Google Ads account.

Step 1: Click on Admin in the left-hand corner at the bottom.

Step 2: In the property column, click on Google Ads links.

Step 3: Click on the blue Link button.

Step 4: In the next screen, click on Choose Google Ads account.

Step 5: Select the proper Google Ads account(s) and click on Confirm.

Step 6: Double check your selected Google Ads accounts and click on Next.

Step 6: Configure your data collection settings as required and legally allowed in your country.

Step 7: Review your link and click on Submit.

Step 7: Your Google Ads link is created in GA4.

After 24 hours, you can see the data flow into your GA4 account.

Google suggests you continue with importing conversions into Google Ads, and creating a remarketing audience, but our mission for this article is accomplished.

Let’s move forward and explore the 3 sections in the advertising workspace: the snapshot report, attribution models, and conversion paths.

The GA4 Advertising Snapshot report

The Advertising Snapshot report in GA4 is the homepage of your Advertising Workspace. You can access it in the left-hand menu: Advertising > Advertising snapshot.

Despite the tons of data in Google Ads, the report looks, feels and smells like a desert. That’s not a typo. I really meant desert with one “s”.

At this moment, it only contains 4 cards. Or better: 3 answers to questions related to your paid ads and one link to Google support.

Which channels drive the most conversions?

Your card will look different, but this is useful to understand how your channels compare against each other for that one metric that makes your business grow: conversions.

Insights in GA4

The insights in the advertising snapshot report are not directly related to your paid campaigns. That doesn’t mean they are useless.

While you are here, click on the Insights icon in the top right corner.

Where is the official Google support page for the advertising workspace?

(Does anybody actually read these pages?)

Which touch points lead to conversions?

This card is the most useful of your advertising snapshot. It shows you the journey of your users before they became customers.

Before we explore that point, it’s important to understand the next item in your ad workspace.

Compare attribution models in GA4

In the GA4 advertising workspace, you can easily compare different attribution models. To do this, go to Advertising > Model comparison.

In the table, you can compare different attribution models with each other.

GA4 can assign conversions to different channels based on the selected attribution model.

There is a good reason Google uses Last click for ads.

Can you gue$$ why?

A more important question is this:

Do you need to bother about the different attribution models and how they impact data?

  • If you run small paid search campaigns, probably not. Just make sure that you understand conversions may differ in Google Ads and GA4.
  • If you spend 1,000 of dollars per day, week or month on Google Ads, you need to dive deeper into the subject. Our Google Ads Mastery Program may be exactly what you are looking for.

Let’s see what else you can do in this report.

5 things you can do in the model comparison report in GA4

Although the Model comparison looks limited, there are some powerful exploration possibilities.

Ignore the comparison itself and this is what you can learn about your Google Ad campaigns, directly in Google Analytics 4:

#1 Analyze individual, selected or all conversions

By default, all your conversions are selected. With the filter, you can laser focus on one, or multiple conversions.

#2 View conversions per audience

Besides conversions, you can add the audience filter to the report.

If you want more detailed information, you can change the filter.

If you have set up a remarketing audience, you can easily add it here to see the number of conversions.

Filter on demographic data? No problem.

#3 View conversions per campaign

You can change the default channel group into campaigns and compare the performance of your Google Ad campaigns.

#4 View conversions per Google advertising network

You can add a second dimension to the table.

This way, you can, for instance, see how many conversions occurred on the different Google search networks.

All of this is nice, but it also stresses the importance of one detail when setting up your campaigns in Google Ads:

Always use descriptive names for your ad campaigns. Always.

#5 Customize the model comparison report

As with all reports in GA4, you can customize this one too. Click on the customize icon and you will see your options.

  • Interaction time: include all touch points.
  • Conversion time: only include touch points that contributed to conversions.

Although you do not see these touch points here, it does make a difference in assigned conversions. The screenshot below is a composed illustration. Of course, you can select only one option.

Let’s move on to the last report of the advertising workspace.

Conversion Paths report

The Conversion Path Report shows the user journey across channels in an interactive way.

Since you have linked your GA4 and Google Ad account, you unlocked some secret bonus levels.

The first two ones are directly related to the advertising workspace. Feel free to skip them.

7 advantages of linking Google Ads to GA4

#1 Google Ads data in GA4 advertising workspace

24 hours after you have linked GA4 and Google Ads, you see basic data flowing into the advertising workspace.

Google Ads experts will immediately see that it’s only the tip of the iceberg, compared to the data in Google Ads account.

If you think it’s not worth going through the effort, the next advantages will change your mind.

#2 Compare attribution models in the blink of an eye

Digital advertising platforms use different attribution models to decide which channel gets the credits for conversions.

The matter is complex, but the Model Comparison report shows you what the differences are.

#3 GA4 is more user-friendly than Google Ads

Google Ads is overwhelming for new users.

Just have a look at the Reports menu of Google Ads.

Good luck with explaining your teams or customers on how to navigate to the reports they need.

That’s a lot easier in GA4, where your advertising snapshot is only two clicks away.

#4 Google Ads data in GA4 reports

Besides the advertising workspace, you can see data from your ads in two different acquisition reports in GA4.

1. The Overview Acquisition report contains a card and a link beneath it to your Google Ads Campaigns.

2. You can use Google Ads dimensions in the User Acquisition report.

#5 Same conversions in GA4 and Google Ads

You can import your GA4 conversions into Google Ads.

If you are switching from Universal Analytics to GA4, that may be easier said than done, or presented by Google itself in the GA4 interface.

If you’re new to GA4, I highly recommend that you first grasp the concept of events in GA4 before tackling conversions.

#6 Create audiences in GA4 for paid campaigns.

In GA4, you can create audiences and target them with your Google Ads campaigns.

You can, for instance, create an audience segment in GA4 with users who visited your website, but did not buy from you.

By further refining your audiences, your ads ROI can truly boost.

#7 Protect your GA4 and Google Ads account

Not everybody needs access to your accounts. Not all your team members or external service providers need to know what’s going on in your Google Ads account.

Loading your data into your GA4 property is the fastest way to give users key insights to paid campaigns while securing your PPC campaigns.

7 advantages.

If you are still in doubt whether you really need the advertising workspace, let me summarize it.

Key takeaways

  • To load your Google Ads account data in Google Analytics 4, you need to link your GA4 property and Google Ads account.
  • The Advertising Snapshot is the limited home page of your advertising workspace.
  • In the Model Comparison, you can do a lot more than compare attribution models. The interactive report gives tons of insights about your conversions.
  • The Conversion Paths report shows you the journey from visitor to customer, or subscriber.
  • The Advertising Workspace is not the only place to analyze your data from Google Ads. Make sure you check the Overview Acquisition report and User Acquisition in GA4.
  • Google Analytics 4 is designed to cooperate smoothly with Google Ads. You can use your conversions and audiences in your ad campaigns.

Thank you for your time!

On behalf of the Data Driven U team, I sincerely hope this introduction to the GA4 Advertising Workspace will contribute to your paid search success.

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