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Understanding Key Events and Conversions in Google Analytics and Google Ads


Google has unified the definitions of conversions across Google Analytics and Google Ads, simplifying how these metrics are measured and reported. Here’s a detailed breakdown:

Key Events

  • Definition:
    • A key event measures a critical action important to your business success, such as a purchase or newsletter signup.
    • These events are recorded in Google Analytics and appear in Analytics reports.
  • Creating Key Events:
    • Identify or create an event that measures the desired action.
    • Mark the event as a key event in Google Analytics.
    • Example: If a user scrolls to 90% of a lead-generation page, mark this as a key event to track how many users engage deeply with your content.
  • Benefits:
    • Enhanced behavioral reporting.
    • Insight into user interactions across all channels.


  • Definition:
    • A conversion is an important action derived from a key event that helps measure ad campaign performance and optimize bidding strategies.
    • Conversions provide consistent metrics across Google Analytics and Google Ads.
  • Creating Conversions:
    • Identify a key event in Google Analytics.
    • Create a new conversion in Google Ads based on this key event.
    • Example: Mark the ‘generate_lead’ event as a key event and create a Google Ads conversion to track when users complete a signup form.
  • Benefits:
    • Consistent conversion data across platforms.
    • Conversions are eligible for bidding and reporting in Google Ads.
    • Unified performance metrics for better optimization of ad campaigns.

Implementation and Benefits

  • No Action Required:
    • Existing setups remain unaffected.
    • Key events continue to be reported as they were previously.
  • Linked Accounts:
    • Conversions created from key events in Analytics appear as conversions in Google Ads.
    • Historical conversion data remains accessible for year-over-year comparisons.
  • Future Enhancements:
    • New tools and features will be added to the Analytics advertising section, enhancing conversion reporting.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why the change to key events?
    • To align conversion definitions between Google Analytics and Google Ads, simplifying performance measurement and reporting.
  • Do key events and conversions share the same attribution settings?
    • Yes, attribution settings for key events can be found in the Attribution settings page in Admin.
  • How to create Google Ads conversions from key events?
    • Create web and app conversions in Google Ads for each key event, ensuring consistent data across platforms.
  • Can non-key events create conversions?
    • Yes, any Google Analytics event can create a Google Ads conversion and will automatically be marked as a key event.
  • Does this affect other Google advertising platforms?
    • No, other platforms like Campaign Manager 360 and Display & Video 360 are unaffected.

For more detailed guidance, visit the Google Analytics Support page.

This update aims to provide a more intuitive and consistent experience across Google’s analytics and advertising tools, helping businesses optimize their marketing strategies more effectively.


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