Mastering Success: A Guide to Google Ads Conversion Tracking Strategies

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Introduction to Conversions

A conversion represents a key interaction that aligns with the objectives you aim to achieve via your website, essentially serving as benchmarks for business success. These pivotal interactions are categorised into two types: micro and macro conversions, with each playing a distinct role in the user’s journey towards fulfilling your ultimate business goals.

 

Micro-conversions, like newsletter sign-ups, are early indicators of user interest and steps towards significant actions, such as purchases (macro-conversions). These actions are vital for progressing user engagement and increasing the chances of achieving major business goals.

 

On the other hand, macro-conversions signify the primary objectives of your online presence, embodying the most critical user interactions like completing a purchase. These are the milestones that directly reflect the effectiveness of your website in achieving its core business goals.

Importance of Conversion Tracking

 

Monitoring and analyzing conversion data allows for a deeper understanding of your business’s performance online. It helps identify which strategies are effective and which areas may require adjustments. Specifically, by examining the behaviors and pathways of users who have completed macro-conversions, businesses can gain insights into successful patterns and replicate these strategies to enhance overall performance.

 

Additionally, conversion tracking plays a vital role in evaluating the success of advertising campaigns. By understanding which campaigns lead to conversions, you can make informed decisions on how to allocate your advertising budget more efficiently, ensuring resources are invested in strategies that drive tangible results.

Google Ads Conversion Tracking Setup with Google Tag Manager

 

Step 1:

Google Ads Configuration

 

We will start by taking an example of a lead form on my website. I want to send data back to Google Ads whenever someone successfully submits it.

First, let’s create a conversion in Google Ads. Log into your ads account at ads.google.com account and go to Goals > Conversions > Summary (on the left sidebar). Then, click the New conversion action button.

When prompted by the window, you’ll be asked to choose the types of conversions you wish to monitor. Given my focus on a website, I opt for ‘Website’ as my selection.

 

The Google Ads screen will now ask you to enter your website’s URL to look at how it is set up for ads.

Enter your domain and click on Scan.

Once done, you will see two different options available.

 

The first one will be to automatically import conversions based on the website events you have set up. If you have done this through GA4, you can directly import it here as a conversion.

The second option will be to set the conversion actions manually. This is the option that we are going to select.

Let’s begin with the tracking of our lead form submission manually. Click on  “Add a conversion action manually” to open up a new window.

 

Goal and Action Optimization: We’ll select the Submit lead form option from the dropdown menu. If you are tracking a different action, choose another action that best suits your action.


Conversion name: Let us set this to Lead form submit.

Value: Assigning value to conversions varies by the nature of the conversion action and its impact on your business. For e-commerce transactions, the value should reflect the actual purchase amount, enabling dynamic and accurate ROI calculations. For actions like lead submissions, newsletter signups, or other non-transactional conversions, it is recommended to assign a fixed value based on the estimated worth of that action to your business. For instance, if a lead form submission is considered, you might assign $1 if the goal is merely to track activity. So here, we’ll enter $1 as the value.

 

Count : It plays a crucial role in how Google Ads tallies conversions following a user’s arrival via an ad. For e-commerce transactions, it’s essential to count every purchase individually, regardless of whether the purchases involve the same product. Conversely, for actions like form submissions, multiple submissions by the same user should not inflate conversion counts, as this would lead to data duplication. In such cases, it’s appropriate to set the count to one to accurately reflect unique conversions without overcounting.

For all the other options, you can let it be the same or change according to your needs.
Now after clicking on “Save and Continue” you will now be redirected to a page that shows the different ways to implement this conversion tracking on your website.

 

Here, we’ll select the Google Tag Manager option.

Now, copy both the Conversion ID and conversion label which we’ll use later in GTM.

Step 2:

Google Tag Manager Configuration

 

The very first thing we need to implement in GTM is the conversion linker tag.


The Conversion Linker tag in Google Tag Manager is crucial because it helps in capturing and preserving conversion data across a user’s journey on a website, especially when navigating through different pages or after being redirected from an ad click. It ensures that conversion tracking remains accurate and consistent by linking user clicks with conversions, vital for effective ad performance analysis and optimization.

Now let us create a new tag. In the Tag Configuration window, select Google Ads Conversion Tracking. Then enter the Conversion ID and Conversion label in their respective fields.

Now we’ll create a trigger and, add this to our tag and save our tag.

Step 3:

Testing

 

First, we need to enable Google Tag Manager Debug mode, and click the “Preview” button in the top right corner of your GTM interface.

When you initiate the process, a new browser tab will automatically navigate to tagassistant.google.com.

Subsequently, a dialog box will prompt you to input the URL intended for testing and debugging purposes. This URL could be that of a homepage or any intended page. Upon entering the desired URL, click on the ‘Start’ button to proceed.

 

Following this action, a new browser window will emerge, displaying the URL you submitted in the preceding step. Now before proceeding, let’s make sure that the tag assistant is connected to the website. You can check this if the popup that appears on your website shows “Tag assistant connected.”

 

Now, let’s proceed with submitting the form on our website. After that, I should see the Formsubmit event on the left side of the preview and debug mode. Once I click it, I should see that the tag has fired.

Step 4:

Publishing the GTM container

 

You’re all set! With everything in place, you can now make your Google Tag Manager container changes live for your website visitors. To publish these changes, locate and click the ‘Submit’ button found in the top-right corner of the Google Tag Manager interface. Following this, confirm by clicking on ‘Publish.’ This action will activate the tag for all your website traffic.

Advanced Conversion Tracking Techniques

 

Cross-Domain Conversion Tracking

Cross-domain tracking is essential for businesses operating across multiple domains, aiming to provide a unified view of the user journey. It requires configuring the analytics tool to recognize user sessions across different websites as a continuous experience, often involving code modifications and analytics settings adjustments. The advantage is a comprehensive understanding of the conversion path across domains, enabling accurate attribution of conversions and the optimization of marketing strategies across the user’s entire journey.

 

Tracking Specific Conversion Goals

This method focuses on measuring user actions crucial to your business’s success by setting predefined conversion goals. These goals could range from completing a purchase, subscribing to a newsletter, to filling out a contact form, each potentially assigned a monetary value to assess their impact. Implementation involves configuring goal tracking within an analytics platform like Google Analytics, where specific actions or page loads are defined as conversions. The primary benefit is the ability to pinpoint which marketing strategies, channels, or content are most effective, allowing for optimised resource allocation and content strategy adjustments to boost conversions.

 

Enhanced E-commerce Tracking

Enhanced e-commerce tracking offers deep insights into user interactions on e-commerce platforms, covering the entire shopping process from product views to transactions. It necessitates additional setup, such as modifying the website’s code to track detailed actions like product impressions, cart additions, and checkout progress. The benefit lies in the detailed analysis of shopping behaviour and product performance, aiding in identifying purchase funnel bottlenecks, optimising product placement, and improving the overall user experience to increase sales.

 

Custom Conversion Tracking Setup
Custom conversion tracking caters to tracking unique, business-specific interactions that standard methods do not cover. This could involve using JavaScript for capturing specific user actions or server-side tracking for events without direct client-side interaction. The main advantage is the ability to gather unique insights tailored to specific business objectives, offering a detailed understanding of how specific features or content influence user behavior and conversion rates. This enables targeted optimizations and improvements, driving more effective engagement and conversions.

Conclusion

 

Google Ads conversion tracking distinguishes between micro and macro conversions to measure business objectives, crucial for optimizing marketing effectiveness and budget allocation. The setup involves creating conversion actions in Google Ads, integrating with Google Tag Manager for detailed user behaviour tracking, and assigning values to track conversions accurately. Advanced techniques like specific goal tracking and cross-domain tracking provide deeper insights into user interactions and marketing impact. Through testing and publishing in Google Tag Manager, businesses can enhance targeted strategies and improve overall conversion rates, ensuring efficient use of advertising resources.

FAQs

 

  • What is a conversion in Google Ads?
    A conversion in Google Ads represents a crucial interaction on your website that aligns with your business objectives. These are categorised into micro-conversions (e.g., newsletter sign-ups) and macro-conversions (e.g., purchases), each marking progress toward achieving your business goals.

 

  • Why is conversion tracking important?
    Conversion tracking is vital for understanding your online business performance, identifying effective strategies, and making informed decisions on advertising budget allocation. It provides insights into user behaviors leading to conversions, helping optimize ad campaigns for better results.

 

  • What is the purpose of the Conversion Linker tag in GTM?
    The Conversion Linker tag in GTM ensures accurate and consistent conversion tracking across a user’s journey on your website. It links user clicks from ads to conversions, preserving data when navigating through different pages or after ad click redirects.

About Author

Aditya is a Web analytics professional with experience in the Overall journey of a digital business from frontend development to creating digital marketing campaigns and implementing complex tracking on the website through GTM including server side mechanisms. He has a vast expertise with the analytics tools such as GTM and GA4 and thus is able to give insights about what all is happening in the user journey. He has conducted many CRO and Analytics Audits, extracting actionable insights from large data sets and thus providing strategic recommendations for improving conversions and user experience.

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