Google Ads conversion tracking

Do you want to know more about conversion tracking with Google Ads? Read all about it here.

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Conversion tracking is one of the most important things to get right when it comes to setting up a Google Ads account and should be the second thing that is set up once an account has been created, before any campaigns go live. In this post we’ll go through all the important terms and features associated with conversions.

What is a conversion?

Google Ads says a conversion is:

An action that’s counted when someone interacts with your ad (for example, clicks a text ad or views a video ad) and then takes an action that you’ve defined as valuable to your business, such as an online purchase or a call to your business from a mobile phone.

Conversion tracking is similar to a goal in Google Analytics, it is a way of tracking what people are doing when they come to your site from a paid ad on Google, and should be used to track the things that you want them to do. For example filling out a contact form, downloading a brochure, calling your helpline, purchasing something or booking an appointment and this is the reason why it is so important, as it shows how targeted the traffic is coming to your site, and in some cases can be used to calculate the ROI of your campaigns. All of these things are important to know, as you don’t want to be paying for traffic that isn’t actually interested in what you have to offer and is unlikely to generate any business.

Setting up conversion tracking

Firstly, there’s a nice little video here from Google Ads about conversion tracking:

Conversion tracking in Google Ads

But before you begin, you should ensure that you have turned on auto-tagging in your Google Ads account. This is so you don’t have to go through and manually tag URLs and means that everything is automatically tracked in Google Analytics, so you can then import Analytics goals into Google Ads to show as conversions. The easiest way to check this is to type auto-tagging into the Search bar and click “Account settings (Auto-tagging)”:

auto tagging google ads

auto tagging settings

If you’re wishing to use the Google Ads conversion code to track actions on your website the following tags/snippets will need to be added to the <head> section of your site:

  • Global site tag – this should be placed in the <head> section of the HTML code on all pages of the site
  • Event snippet – this should be placed in the <head> section of the conversion page only, so the page that is only seen if the conversion is carried out, ie. the thank you page of a form
  • Phone snippet – this should be placed right after the global site tag on the pages on your site where your phone number appears

For more detail see:

To import goals from Google Analytics simply choose the Import and Google Analytics option, after clicking the blue plus button when in the Tools & Settings > Conversions section and find the goal in the list provided:

Conversions google ads

Add conversions google ads

import conversions

Conversion settings

When setting up a conversion there are different setting options to choose from, for example:

  • Conversion window – this is the period of time between the click and the conversion that you are willing to allow, this can be up to 90 days (please note that standard conversions in Google Ads are assigned to the date of the click, not the conversion)
  • Counting – you can choose to count ‘every’ or just ‘one’ conversion per user depending on what your conversion is, so if you are tracking enquiries you are probably going to choose ‘one’, as it will only ever result in one lead. However if it’s sales you are tracking you would choose ‘every’ as a customer might come back and purchase something else from your site at a later date (please note this will only be recorded if it happens within your conversion window)
  • Values – you can assign values to your conversions, whether that be manually or dynamically, so if you have an ecommerce site this should be a dynamic value that reflects the sale value, or if it’s leads you are tracking, this figure could be your known average revenue per lead
  • Include in ‘Conversions’ – if you choose to include these conversions in your ‘Conversions’ column and use Google’s smart bidding, your campaigns will be optimised for these conversions
  • Attribution model:

Attribution model google ads

Find out more about the attribution models here. Which one you choose depends on how your business would like to credit clicks along the pathway to conversion.

Conversion columns

Once conversions are set up and tracking there will be some great data available within Google Ads, for example:

  • Conversions – the total number of actions (that you have chosen to be added to the ‘Conversions’ column) these are reported on the day of the click rather than the day that the conversion happened. This allows you to see which campaign, ad group, keyword and ad generated each conversion.
  • All conversions – the overall total number of actions that you are tracking in Google Ads (this can be used if there are some smaller, less important conversions that you’d like to track, so you can get a better idea of how your campaigns are performing, like views of a contact page, for example, that you don’t want to skew your conversion data).
  • Conversion rate – the rate at which the campaigns are converting (conversions divided by clicks), this is a percentage and the higher the better.
  • Cost / conv – the cost per conversion, so the price you are paying for each conversion your ads are generating, the lower the number the better.
  • Conversion by time – this is a new column and is the number of actions as reported on the day of the conversion rather than the day the click happened, so this will differ from the conversions column depending on what date range you are looking at.
  • View-through conversions – these are recorded if someone takes action on your site after just seeing your ad (an ad impression), the user doesn’t have to interact with the ad (click on it) but if they later convert on your site it would be recorded as a view-through conversion.

If you have a website and want to try paid search advertising to generate more business (conversions) but don’t know where to start – contact us!

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