Google Ads

    Google Ads Conversion Tracking Guide

    For marketers, it’s always an exciting event when you see people clicking on your ads. But that’s just the very beginning of what we need to track, record, and revise. Once someone clicks on your ad, what happens after? Did they spend time on your website? Did they click the ad and then get distracted by something else? Did they fill up their cart with a bunch of your products because your ad was so compelling?

    You don’t need a crystal ball to answer all those questions, you need conversion tracking. Keep reading to learn more about:

    • What is Google Ads conversion tracking and how does it work
    • Benefits of using Google Ads conversion tracking
    • How to set up and install Google Ads conversion tracking
    • When to use Google Ads conversion tracking

    What is Google Ads conversion tracking & how does it work

    Conversion tracking is a free tool Google provides that shows you what happens after a customer interacts with your ad. That interaction could be a purchase, an e-book download from your blog, a call to your HQ, or any other desired actions, or conversions. 

    We’ll get into more detail below, but on a basic level, conversion tracking starts when you set a conversion action in your Google Ads account. A conversion action could be website actions, calls, app downloads, and in-app actions (such as in-app purchases). Anything that’s valuable to the business that you want to track and promote more of.

    But before that even happens, you must add a conversion tracking tag, or code snippet, to your website or mobile app code. We’ll take you through that step by step below. The tracking tag places a temporary cookie on their computer or phone that will record when he or she performs a conversion action. 

    Note that depending on what your desired conversion is, you may not need a tag. For example, if you want people to call, you’ll use a Google forwarding number to track when a call comes from one of your ads. 

    Once conversion tracking is set up, you can log into your account and see all the data. This data can show you the ads that are most effective for your conversion goals.

    Benefits of using Google Ads conversion tracking

    Conversion tracking lets you see the full story of how your ad is performing. Without conversion tracking, you’re getting just a glimpse of what’s going on, and with only a piece of the information you need, you won’t be able to make informed decisions about budgets, optimization, and more. 

    Google Ads conversion tracking also gives you a detailed look at the keywords, ads, ad groups, and campaigns that are driving the valuable conversions you’re looking for. Not only that, but you can also get cross-device and cross-browser data. 

    Only with all of the information available can you understand your ROI and ROAS and make the best decisions.

    Screen Shot 2019-07-02 at 11.15.14 AM

    Image from Google

    How to set up and install Google Ads conversion tracking 

    (From Google’s Support Page)

    Step 1: Create a conversion action

    1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
    2. In the upper right corner, click the tools icon , and under "Measurement," click "Conversions.
    3. Click the plus button .
    4. Click Website.
    5. Next to “Conversion name,” enter a name for the conversion you’d like to track, such as “newsletter sign up” or “wedding bouquet purchase.” This will help you recognize this conversion action later in conversion reports.
    6. Next to “Category,” select a description for your conversion action from the drop-down. The category allows you to segment your conversions in reports, so you can see similar conversions together.
    7. Next to “Value,” select how to track the value of each conversion.
      • Use the same value for each conversion. Enter the amount each conversion is worth to your business.
      • Use different values for each conversion. Use this option if, for example, you’re tracking purchases of products with different prices. Later, when you add your conversion tracking tag, you’ll need to customize your tag to track transaction-specific values
      • Don't use a value. 
    8. Next to “Count,” select how to count these conversions.
      • One. This setting is best for leads, such as a sign-up form on your website, when only one conversion per ad click likely adds value for your business.
      • Every. This setting is best for sales, when every conversion likely adds value for your business.
    9. Click Conversion window. Select how long to track conversions after an ad interaction from the drop-down. The window can be 1 to 90 days. Learn more about conversion windows.
    10. Click View-through conversion window. Select how long to track view-through conversions from the drop-down. The window can 1 to 30 days.
    11. Click Include in “Conversions.” This setting—selected by default—lets you decide whether or not to include data for this conversion action in your "Conversions" reporting column. If you uncheck this setting, data will still be included in the "All conversions" column. You might want to uncheck this setting if you use Smart Bidding, and you don't want to include this particular conversion action in your bid strategy. Learn more about the "Include in 'Conversions'" setting.
    12.  Click Create and continue.

    You’ll now see a screen that shows you’ve created your conversion action. 

    But you’re not done yet! Keep following the instructions to be guided through setting up your conversion tag, which involves adding 2 code snippets to your website: the global site tag and the event snippet. There are two methods to achieve that:

    You also need to make sure you’re letting site visitors know that you’re collecting their data. You’ve probably seen this on other sites as a cookies collection pop up screen. 

    Screen Shot 2019-07-02 at 11.13.00 AM

    When to use Google Ads conversion tracking 

    Always! Because Google Ads conversion tracking is a free tool that really doesn’t take that long to set up, there’s no excuse not to use it. It delivers valuable information that is a must-have for any modern marketer. 


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    Breanna Lambert

    Breanna has 10+ years’ experience in marketing, though the tides & trends have pushed her almost exclusively into digital. She lives in the hills above Boulder, CO and spends her downtime outside exploring with her husband, son, and pup.