If you’ve read my previous post about the GAIQ exam tips, you’ll notice in the section called Adwords Information, I talked about how the initial update by Google on how their cost data import update affected traffic reports in Google Analytics and how we’ve been debating in the GAAC forums about accounts that don’t have cost data import enabled treat Adwords traffic as direct instead of cpc. This will affect the traffic reports by over inflating direct traffic and slowly diminishes cpc traffic.
This really isn’t good as it doesn’t give you an accurate representation on how your online marketing activities are performing. With high direct traffic, you’d probably think, “Holy cow! My website brand really rocks and I don’t have to spend much money on online advertising anymore. Thus, you decide to cut down your Adwords spend or other forms of online advertising.”
One way to overcome that was to manually utm tag your destination URLs which would’ve been a big pain in the butt if you’ve got a large Adwords account with many campaigns and adgroups.
So finally Google made a post about a week ago about another update to the adwords cost data reporting that reverts back to how Google Analytics originally reported traffic from Adwords.
Now if you’ve got your Google Analytics account linked to Adwords, have auto tagging enabled but don’t have Adwords cost data applied, your Adwords traffic will now show as google/cpc, as it was originally.
What you should expect is a drop in direct traffic and a gradual increase in cpc traffic in your traffic reports.