Mature self-serve ad platforms like Google AdWords, Bing Ads & Facebook Ads each offer their own proprietary tools to track conversions generated by ads. Or measuring conversions from other traffic sources like LinkedIn Ads that just started with conversion tracking solutions. In this post, I’ll walk you through tracking conversions from any traffic source with the help of Google Analytics and their custom reports.
What Are Conversions?
A conversion takes place when a visitor to your site takes an action you care about and “converts” to a customer. This could be through filling out a form, completing a purchase, or by simply showing a high level of engagement with your site. This post will help you define and measure which traffic sources result in conversions.
How to Track Conversions
If you’re already using Google Analytics, all it takes is a defined goal and a special URL that reveals the source of the click. If you haven’t installed Google Analytics yet, you can learn to configure it here.
Step 1: Build your tracking URL
You’ll need to use the Google Analytics URL Builder to tag your URLs with custom campaign tracking parameters. Simply fill out the form by inserting your landing page URL along with the rest of the campaign details.
For example, if I’m trying to track conversions from a new LinkedIn Ads campaign, I’d fill out the form as follows:
Website URL This is the URL of the page you are linking to:
Campaign Source This will record the campaign’s source:
Campaign Medium This will record the type of campaign:
Campaign Term This can be used to record the keyword that is being targeted: (blank)
Campaign Content This can be used to record the ad that was shown:
Campaign Name This will record the campaign’s name:
Now take your new URL and use it in your campaign in place of your standard URL.
Google Analytics will assume that anybody that clicks this URL is from this campaign. Consequently, it will attribute any actions they take to this campaign as well.
Step 3: Define your goal
If you don’t have them set up already, you’ll need to create goals in Google Analytics for the conversions you want to track.
For example, if you’re an e-commerce site, you’ll want to track shopping cart checkouts. You can do this by creating a goal that counts visits to the URL of the order confirmation page that customers see when they complete their order.
To create you goal in Google Analytics, follow these steps:
Click “Admin” in the navigation bar.
Click “Goals” under View.
Click “+New Goal”.
Create your goal by following the wizard.
Once you’ve created your goal, Google Analytics will track your goal performance and attribute it to the appropriate sources.
Creating Custom Reports
When you’ve created your goals in Google Analytics and you’ve tagged your ad URLs, you’ll be able to create easy-to-read reports that reveal your campaign’s performance. My favorite way of viewing this data is with Custom Reports in Google Analytics.
To create your first custom report follow these simple steps:
Click “Customization” in the navigation bar.
Click “+New Custom Report.”
Give it a title.
Click “+ add metric” and choose the metric columns you’d like to see. Search for the goal you just created and select the metric for Completions [e.g., Purchases (Goal 1 Completions)]. This will show you the number of conversions of this type. You can add multiple metrics columns.
Click “+ add dimension” and choose how you would like to break up the data in rows. You can also add multiple dimensions in order to drill down into each successive level. I suggest adding “Source / Medium” as the first dimension, then “Campaign.”
Click “Save” and you’ll be presented with a beautiful custom report to measure your conversion performance.
With these steps, you can measure conversions across any digital source easily!
Sam is the Director of Online Marketing at InVision and former Director of Marketing at AdStage. Prior to AdStage, he was part of the AdWords product team at Google, serving as the in-house AdWords expert and advisor to product management, engineering, and UX. Prior to that, he personally managed and grew in-house digital marketing programs with over $300,000 in monthly ad spend.