The Comprehensive Google Ads (Adwords) Conversion Tracking Guide

Out of everything we’ve put out over the years this has been the most read piece of content we have here. It’s been fully updated (for Google Adwords to Google Ads -global site tag- transition) and even expanded upon to meet all your conversion tracking setup needs.

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One of the definitions for the saying, “Shot In The Dark”, is: “An attempt that has little chance of succeeding”. You don’t ever want to start a Google Ads campaign without conversion tracking set up! If you truly want your campaigns to perform don’t just give it a shot in the dark.

Without it there’s a lot of guesswork involved – it makes figuring out your campaign return-on-investment much more difficult, and now more than ever the algorithms built into Google Ads needs conversion data to work to full potential. With tracking installed Google Ads will do a lot of the work and calculations for you and you’ll know which specific keywords and keyword match type variations are performing best.


 

How Google Ads Conversions Work

A conversion is an action you want users to take. Every campaign you run should have an ultimate goal of users requesting your service, purchasing from your store, downloading content or signing up for your email newsletter. Inside Google Ads you’re provided with tracking codes – snippets of HTML and Javascript code that you or your developer will place on your website or within your app, and it tells the Google Ads platform that a conversion has happened when that code has “fired”.

New Global Site Tag

It’s important to note that back in late 2017 Google rolled out a new type of website tracking tag (gtag.js) that can be used for conversion tracking as well as audience (think remarketing) page view (even Google Analytics) tracking all in one. Prior to this you’d have two, or even three, separate scripts (one for conversions, one for remarketing, and another for Google Analytics) on your website. This new script is more accurate and faster to use.

This new tag on it’s own will not track conversions (a second script needs to be added for the actual conversion tracking) nor is it absolutely required to create a new conversion action in Google Ads. It is however our recommended method for future-proofing and getting more accurate tracking data from your campaigns.

One situation where you might not need to add the Global Site Tag is if you already have Google Tag Manager live on your website. Within GTM you can easily create your new Google Ads conversion actions. See the GTM section at the end for more.

Another reason you may not need to use the full global tag snippet from Google Ads is that you already have the new gtag.js version of Google Analytics on your site. If so skip to the Google Analytics section to learn more.


Jump To Specific Sections:

1. GENERAL WEBSITE
2. WORDPRESS
3. SHOPIFY
4. BIGCOMMERCE
5. MAILCHIMP
6. SQUARESPACE
7. WEEBLY
8. MOBILE APPS
9. PHONE CALLS
10. GOOGLE ANALYTICS
11. GOOGLE TAG MANAGER


 

How To Set Up Google Ads Conversion Tracking

To get started login to your account and click on the link that says “TOOLS” at the top.
Google Ads Tools Link

Then in the dropdown menu choose, “CONVERSIONS”:
Google Ads Conversions Link

On the next screen you’ll want to click the big blue circle with a “+” in it and you’ll see these options:

Google Ads Choose Conversion Type

Here you’ll be choosing which type of conversion you want to track.

Website, App Downloads, or Phone Calls. Most of you will probably want to choose Website first but if you’re looking for app or phone conversions you can skip ahead to those sections which are a little further down.

So let’s click on “Website” for now and you’ll see these options next:

Google Ads Website Conversion Settings
Conversion Window for Google Ads
CONVERSION NAME: Just pick a unique name (something that you and others will recognize later) for your conversion.

CATEGORY: Pick one that closely matches to what you’re tracking on your website.

VALUE: How much is each conversion worth to you? Is it the same amount each time? If so this step is very easy for you. Just pick the first option, “Use the same value for each transaction”, and enter in that amount. If you don’t want to enter a value for your conversions for now then you’ll pick the third option, “Don’t use a value”.

If you sell multiple products or services and they all have different (dynamic) values each time then instructions on how to properly track them all will vary depending on what platform and web technology your website is built with. We’ll cover most of the popular platforms further down below. First pick the option, “Use different values for each conversion”, and enter in a default amount that Google should use just in case a value isn’t passed when your conversion happens. This is a backup in case of issues.

COUNT: Here you’ll be choosing how to exactly count your conversions. Do you want Google Ads to take credit for every single conversion that happens after an ad click or do you just want to know that a certain type of conversion happened at least once. This will depend on your business and goals. Let’s say that you’re running ads for leads only – no sales transactions. You’ll probably just want to pick, “One”, here. For example, you have 3 different white papers for users to request. After clicking your ad and arriving at your website, one user requests all 3 white papers. Do you want to count that as 3 different conversions or just 1? But if you’re an e-commerce store and someone clicks your ad and buys 3 different items you’d probably want to have, “Every”, chosen here. It’s just a matter of how you’d like to track it.

CONVERSION WINDOW: How long do you want Google to keep taking credit for the conversion after ad click? Typically 30 days is chosen but ultimately comes down to your business. Do you have a long sales “window” from lead to actual business? Then longer than 30 days is probably a better option for you.

VIEW-THROUGH CONVERSION WINDOW: How long do you want Google to keep taking credit for the conversion after a user SAW your ad? This is when your search or display ads are seen by a logged in Google user. These users didn’t click your ad but ended up converting on your website anyway. We usually go with 1 day here but again it depends on your business and goals.

INCLUDE IN CONVERSIONS: This just means if you want this conversion action to be included in the Conversions column inside a Google Ads campaign. Sometimes you may want to track smaller, micro actions as conversions inside the platform, but not necessarily want Google Ads to optimize or calculate cost per conversion or conversion rates off of it.

ATTRIBUTION MODEL: Although there isn’t a wrong choice here you really should strive for anything other than “LAST CLICK” for this unless you’re just absolutely certain that users are only clicking and converting on one search/ad click. Our favorite tends to be “TIME DECAY”.

Here’s a scenario describing how Time Decay would work:

Say a user does 3 different searches (all relevant to your account) within your Conversion Window time frame. 1 ad click 28 days ago, 2nd ad click 20 days ago and the 3rd, and most recent click, was 2 days ago. The user finally converted on your site with that 3rd ad click. In this case Ad 1 would get partial (but least) credit, Ad 2 would get partial credit, but the final ad would get most credit.

You can read more about how Google describes each model here and read up on their push away from Last Click here.

That does it. Hit the blue “SAVE & CONTINUE” button and next you’ll see these options:

Add Google Ads Conversion Tracking Tag

You’ll either be copy/pasting this code yourself or sending it to your developer to handle. If you’re emailing it to your dev then you’re good to go for now but if you’ll be doing this yourself we try and cover many of the popular platforms and web technologies below. If you know that Google Tag Manager is installed on your site you can skip ahead to the GTM section now.

If you click on the “Install the tag yourself” option you’ll be met with even more instructions that will vary based on what stage of the game you’re at. Sort of a Choose Your Own Adventure situation.

install Google adwords tracking yourself

We’re going to assume this is your first time setting up tracking so that’s the route we take here next. And this is where the new Global Site Tag comes into play. 📌(**If you already have the new Global Site Tag (gtag.js) version of Google Analytics installed on your site then it’s as easy as adding an extra line to that script. Jump to the Google Analytics section to see how. We’ll go with the default option of “The global site tag isn’t installed on all of your HTML pages”. It says that you need to copy this script and paste it into the < head > tags of your site. That way it fires on every page view.

Page Load or Button Click Conversion Snippets

In addition to the main global script above there’s another one that actually tracks the conversion(s). This too goes in < head > tags but usually not on every page of the site. Which one you use depends on if you want the conversion tracking script to fire on a page load (your thank-you/confirmation page) or when a button (like a Buy Now or Sign Up) is clicked.

Google ads Pageload or Click

More often than not you’ll be using the “Page Load” option here. But if you’re sending traffic to a 3rd party site where you can’t place tracking on the final confirmation page, or if you just want to track certain buttons as smaller micro conversions, then you’d use the “Click” option and that snippet looks like this:

Google Ads Click Conversion

Notice that it says to “call gtag_report_conversion” when someone clicks the button that you want to track. Some of you are completely lost right now aren’t you? We’ll get you through it! What that means is that we need to flag Google Ads when our button is clicked. There’s a number of different ways to get the same result depending on what coding language you (or your developer) decide to use but here’s an example that should get you started.

First we have a regular HTML button you might find on your website:
html button code

And now lets add in the gtag_report_conversion reference that Google told us to include:
html button with Google Ads onClick

Now (as long as your Global Site Tag Snippet is also in place) this particular button will “fire” a signal back to Google Ads when the user came to the site via an ad click.


📌 **Remember: if your conversion values are different every time (dynamic conversion values) then you’ll need to modify the Page Load conversion code given to you. If this applies to you what needs to change is covered in each section below. Look for the platform or web technology that your website runs on.**

Let’s use two quick examples to help you understand when dynamic conversion values would be needed or not:

First let’s say you’ve got 3 different informational courses for sale on your website. They cost $99, $129, and $159. It would probably be easier for you to just create 3 different thank-you pages and 3 different conversions in Google Ads here. One for each price point.

But now let’s say that you have 300 different items for sale on your eCommerce store. You obviously wouldn’t create 300 different thank-you pages and 300 different conversions here. You’d go the “dynamic conversion tracking” route in this situation. And again, accomplishing that will depend on what platform your site or online store runs on.


 

Tracking Conversions On A Basic HTML Website

Although it’s rare these days but if you’ve got a really simple website built with good old fashioned HTML & CSS on no major platform or CMS, (like WordPress), you’ll just need to open every page of your site in your favorite code editor.

A) Take the Global Site Tag (or double check that’s in place because of Google Analytics) given to you in Google Ads and make sure it’s placed inside the < head > < / head > tags of each one of your site pages.

B) Then place the actual conversion tag (either for Page Load or Click) on only the page you need tracking on. The conversion tracking should NOT be in place on every page (unless you have a button to track on every page that is). This snippet also goes in the < head > < / head > tags of this page.

Save all your page files and re-upload them to your server.


Tracking Conversions With WordPress

I’m willing to bet a lot of you are using WordPress to power your websites so let’s dive into a few different scenarios that you probably fall into.

A) You’re not selling anything and just have a pretty basic WordPress theme without a lot of options. In this situation we’re going to assume that you’re going for lead-gen or newsletter sign up conversions. Trying to track a view of a key page. WordPress conversion tracking is usually easier in your case.

B) You’re selling physical or digital products. Tracking WordPress sales conversions may be a bit more involved but we can usually get what we need using plugins. Although we prefer adding conversion tracking without adding another plugin to the WordPress backend, we know that not everyone is comfortable digging into theme files to add the tracking scripts. So most of our solutions here for WordPress will be plugins.

So follow along for direction on how to put Google Ads tracking tags on your WordPress site.

Tracking Conversions With Woocommerce

If you’re selling with Woocommerce and all products are just one price point (you’ve manually entered in a value for each conversion when setting it up in Google Ads) go ahead and install this plugin here. Once it’s installed hover over “Woocommerce” in your admin panel and then click on “settings” as seen here:

conversion tracking woocommerce

Once inside you’ll see this:

woocommerce conversion pixel

Click on the “Integration” tab up top and then you’ll paste the conversion tracking code into the “Checkout Scripts” box. If your conversions have no values or they don’t change each time, then you’re all done. Just save!

If you need dynamic conversion tracking (capturing the value of each transaction) then you can install this plugin here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/woocommerce-google-adwords-conversion-tracking-tag/ which will track conversions that change in value each time.

In settings for this plugin you’ll provide the conversion ID and LABEL:

woocommerce conversion value tracking plugin

Hit save and you’re done.

Want to give Google Tag Manager a try instead of a plugin? You’ll be pulling in a PHP variable and WooCommerce uses this for order total:

<?php echo $order->get_total(); ?>

Head down to the GTM section for more.

 

Tracking Conversions With Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 is a very popular contact form plugin for WordPress with over a million installs. If you’re using this and want to track form submissions as conversions in Google Ads, just install this Contact Form 7 add-on that redirects users to a thank-you page after submitting the form.

So of course that means you just need to create a new WordPress page (if you don’t have one already) that contains the content you want the user to see after they’ve filled out your form. You’ll add this page to the Contact Form 7 Redirect Plugin settings.

On that thank-you page is where you’ll place the conversion tracking code that Google Ads has provided you.

Tracking Conversions With Easy Digital Downloads

If you’re using the popular EDD plugin to sell digital products then you have less “easy” options. The easiest is using this plugin here but it hasn’t been updated in quite a while. You could try it. Just uninstall if it doesn’t work.

The other way is to have us or your developer do a bit of light coding work adding this code to your WordPress theme.

Tracking Conversions With Ecwid

This WordPress plugin is another option for those selling physical products and need a shopping cart feature for your website.

Click on the plugin’s settings from the left hand WordPress menu, choose General, then click on Cart & Checkout. You’ll be pasting your Google Ads conversion action script here in the box below where it says, “Tracking Code on ‘Thank You For Your Order’ Page”. Hit the save button afterwards.

If you only want to track when an order is placed (no revenue tracking) then you only need to paste your Google Ads conversion script here without any edits.

But if you’ve got more than one product then we highly recommend tracking revenue inside Google Ads as well. This will get you one step closer to truly knowing what sort of ROI you’re getting from your paid media efforts.

In order to do that you’ll need to make a few small edits to the Google Ads conversion script. Go ahead and paste in your script and make the following edits:

Use %order_total% for the value and %order_id% for transaction id. What that does is dynamically pull both order revenue totals and the transaction identification number of each purchase. Here’s what that looks like after making edits to your script:

ecwid wordpress revenue conversion tracking script

 


Tracking Conversions in Shopify

The first thing you should do here is check if you already have Google Analytics installed and what route you want to take with it.

Remember, there’s the global tag for all page tracking (that you don’t always need, just depends on your Analytics situation) and then a separate conversion tag only for the check out page.

A few scenarios:

Scenario A) If you already have the new gtag.js version of Google Analytics installed then all you have to do is add one small line of code to it so that your page views are synced to your Google Ads account.

We show you how to determine what kind of Analytics script you have installed, as well as how to find the extra line of code to add, down in the Google Analytics section here.

Scenario B) If you have an older version of Google Analytics installed and do not want to update to the gtag.js version then you or your developer will be opening up the theme.liquid file and placing your Ads global site tag script between the < head > < / head > tags of your Shopify theme file. Click Save when you’re done and the Google Global Site Tag is now tracking page views of your Shopify store.

Scenario C) You’re using Tag Manager – just skip ahead to the tag manager section to set up your conversion tracking.

When you’re ready to install the conversion tracking script go to the “Settings” link in your admin panel:

shopify admin

And then you’ll need to click on the “Checkout” link:

shopify admin checkout

Once inside the checkout area scroll to “Order Processing”:

shopify adwords conversion tracking script

You’ll see a box that says, “Additional content and scripts”. This is where your Google Ads conversion tracking code will go.

To prevent counting multiple sales conversions when a user reloads the confirmation page you can add in the following lines:

The first line is {% if first_time_accessed %}.

And then you’ll be pasting your Google tracking script code after this line.

After your tracking script you’ll add one more line, which is {% endif %}.

Now to make sure that your Google tracking script also records order revenue and ID (your variables) you’ll be doing the following edits to your code snippet:

For the transaction_id line use, {{ order_number }}.

For the value line you’ve got two choices. You can choose whether or not to include taxes and shipping with order totals.

To include it use, {{ checkout.total_price | money_without_currency }}.

To exclude it use, {{ checkout.subtotal_price | money_without_currency }}.

Here’s an example of what your order tracking script could now look like:

google ads conversion tracking code shopify

Hit save and you’re done!


Tracking Conversions With BigCommerce

**At this time BigCommerce says that they DO NOT officially support Google’s new Global Site Tag.**

That’s OK though, we’ll walk you through how to handle Google Ads conversion tracking in your BigCommerce store, even with the new global tag!

You have a few ways to go about this though. Here’s a few scenarios:

Scenario A – You have Google Analytics installed on your store already but it’s an older version – not the new “gtag.js” version. If you’re not sure what type you have installed, go to ADVANCED SETTINGS > WEB ANALYTICS > Click on GOOGLE ANALYTICS tab here:

BigCommerce Google Analytics Settings

What does your script look like?

old google analytics vs new gtag version

If it matches the top script in the screenshot above and you’re ready to update then here’s your next steps:

1) Update your script to the new gtag.js version like you see in the bottom portion of the screenshot above. Login to your Google Analytics account and click on ADMIN > TRACKING INFO > TRACKING CODE.

2) Take this code and replace your old script with this one. Continue to scenario b) below.

(You won’t lose any data as long as you or your developer haven’t done any extensive custom event or page tracking work on your site. Since we’re talking BigCommerce here, we estimate 95% of you would not be affected by switching over.)

Scenario B – You have the newest version of Google Analytics installed on your store. The gtag.js version. Here’s your next steps:

1) Login to your Google Ads account and either create a new conversion action or edit one that you’ve already created. You want to get to this screen below that asks about your current site tag situation:

global site tag already installed

You’ll choose that middle selection, “Global Site Tag already installed, but comes from another Google product”, because you have the gtag.js version of Google Analytics installed already.

As you can see from the screenshot, when you choose that one you’re given one line of new code.

This new line needs to be added to your Google Analytics code snippet.

2) Back in BigCommerce, go to ADVANCED SETTINGS > WEB ANALYTICS > Click on Google Analytics tab.

3) Now add in that one new line of code right before the ending < / script > tag.

It should look like this now:

google analytics gtag google ads

The new Global Site Tag is now installed on your BigCommerce store!

Scenario C – You have the older version of Google Analytics installed and can’t or don’t want to update or edit. Your best best is going with Google Tag Manager.

Scenario D – You don’t have Google Analytics installed on your BigCommerce store and don’t plan on adding it. You just want Google Ads tracking. Here’s your steps:

1) Take your Global Site Tag from your Ads account

2) In BigCommerce, go to ADVANCED SETTINGS > WEB ANALYTICS > Click on Google Analytics tab.

3) Paste your Site Tag here and save.

4) Move on to the next section for actually tracking sales conversions.

Now on to tracking your individual BigCommerce orders and order totals in Google Ads.

1) In your store backend go to ADVANCED SETTINGS > AFFILIATE CONVERSION TRACKING.

2) Copy your Event Snippet script – which is given to you when setting up your conversion action. It looks like this:

google ads event snippet

3) Paste it into the box in the BigCommerce Affiliate Conversion Tracking section.

4) Now edit the code to pull in dynamic order values. Where the real magic happens!

BigCommerce gives us a few different variables to work with. They’ve listed them here.

For example, if we wanted to send back the entire order value amount back to our Google Ads account we’d use this variable: %%ORDER_AMOUNT%%.

So your new Event Tag Snippet would look like this:

dynamic order value bigcommerce

You’ll see we added in two variables. One to pull in order value and another to pull in order ID.

5) Don’t forget to click the save button.

You have now successfully set up Google conversion tracking for your BigCommerce site!


Tracking Conversions With MailChimp

If you’re counting Mailchimp form submissions as conversions then you need to redirect users to a custom thank-you page after doing so. Mailchimp already has a perfect guide on setting this up here.

Once you’ve got that set up just make sure that your conversion tracking code snippet is installed on this thank-you page. After a user has signed-up or sent a submission they’ll be sent to this page and Google Ads will record a conversion for you.


Tracking Conversions on Squarespace

If you’re not using Tag Manager and are ready to install the Global Site Tag (GST) for your entire Squarespace website, then login and go to SETTINGS > ADVANCED > CODE INJECTION.

Paste your GST into the HEADER box. Now your page views will be tracked.

Your next step is to install the actual Google conversion tracking code. Compared to other platforms below, Squarespace excels at being user friendly for tracking conversions!

Two scenarios:

a) Selling on your site? You’ll stay in this same CODE INJECTION area but scroll down to the bottom where it says, “ORDER CONFIRMATION PAGE”:

google ads conversion tracking in squarespace

You’ll paste your tracking script in this box.

You’ll want to edit this script so that it pushes dynamic order values back to your Google Ads account.

Squarespace has conveniently included the available variables that we can use right here. Thanks Squarespace!

You’ll choose which variable variation you want to include in your Google Ads account and edit your code a bit. For example, if you want to track the grand total of an order you’ll use {orderGrandTotal} for the value. Here’s an example:


'value': '{orderGrandTotal}',
'currency': 'USD',
'transaction_id': '{orderId}'

b) Now for those of you that are not selling. You’re probably trying to track a view of a key page or when a user submits a form. If it’s a form you’re tracking the easiest method is to redirect the user to a Thank You page after submitting.

By default this redirect option does not exist but Devon Stank has the perfect solution for creating the necessary redirect.

You’ll need to create a Thank You page for the user to land on after submitting your form.

Click on PAGES from the left hand menu and scroll down to the bottom to where it says “Not Linked” and hit the plus symbol.

You’ll create your new page and under ADVANCED settings for this page you’ll see an input box to paste your conversion snippet into.

Hit save and you’re done!

 


Tracking Conversions on Weebly Sites

We want to preface this with the fact that Weebly is not user friendly when it comes to setting up revenue tracking scripts for Google Ads. But this will get you started.

Login to your Weebly backend and go to SETTINGS > SEO. This is where you can paste your Global Site Tag (GST) script. Remember that GST is for tracking ALL PAGES so you’d paste the script in the HEADER area of the site. So that it fires on all pages.

The next step is getting the actual conversion tag code onto the page or pages that you want to track conversions on. For example, if you’re selling with your Weebly site then you’d want the tracking script in place on the order confirmation page. The last input box in the screenshot here:

weebly conversion tracking google ads

The problem here is that it won’t pull in revenue dynamically if your order totals are different each time. At this time it looks like Weebly users will have to rely on their support staff for that.

If you’re not tracking revenue and just tracking something like a form submit then you’ll need to make sure users are redirected to a “thank you” page after filling out the form.

Visit the settings for the form itself and choose LINK under the CONFIRMATION area. You’ll enter in the URL of your Thank You page.

On this page is where your conversion tracking script will go. You’d head back to the SEO section for that particular thank you page and make sure the script is in place to fire on that page ONLY.


Tracking Conversions on Wix Sites

Unfortunately Wix is another platform without a lot of good options for tracking. First, for installing the basic Global Site Tag (GST) for page views, you’ll go to TRACKING AND ANALYTICS under ADVANCED SETTINGS:

wix conversion tracking google ads

Next, click NEW TOOL > CUSTOM and paste in your GST. Then choose the HEAD for the location.

Now to place the actual conversion tracking script. You’ll return to TRACKING AND ANALYTICS settings and again select NEW TOOL > CUSTOM and paste in your code provided from your Google Ads account.

The difference this time is that you’ll need to pick a specific page for this script to fire on. You only want it to be in place for your Thank You Page. Under CHOOSE SPECIFIC PAGES you can start to type the page name and it should pull up for you. And again you want it in the HEAD section of This Page Only.

If you’re selling on your WIX store and want to track revenue totals, this is where their platform lacks full control at this time. You should be able to accomplish it with Tag Manager though.

If you want to give Google Tag Manager a try here’s how you can go about it.

You’ll want a VARIABLE that “grabs” the total order revenue.

1) Create a new VARIABLE, call it something like “Revenue” or “OrderValue”.

2) For the Data Layer Variable Name input, use: ecommerce.purchase.actionField.revenue.

3) Now create a new Google Ads TAG. Enter in the conversion ID and Label (this is given to you when creating the conversion in your Ads account.) And for the Conversion Value input you’ll use your Variable name here. If you used “Revenue”, for example, for the name then your input would look like this: {{Revenue}}.

4) Create a TRIGGER for when that conversion tag will “fire”. According to their support team, a successful purchase will send off a “purchase” event that we can use here in GTM. Create a new TRIGGER and choose CUSTOM EVENT as the type. Enter in purchase as the event name input as seen here:

wix custom purchase event

Save and Submit!

 


Google Ads Conversion Tracking For iOS and Android Apps

First you’ll need to create a new conversion. Once logged in to your account click the “Tools” link at the top and then pick “Conversions”.

On the next screen you’ll pick “App”:

Google Ads Adwords App Tracking

Next you’ll need to pick between Firebase, Google Play or 3rd Party App Analytics to pull in your user data from. You may need to contact your app developer to determine which method to go with.

Firebase

Firebase is another platform from Google that provides app building tools and user engagement stats for your apps. You’ll need to link both Firebase and Google Ads so they can “talk” to each other. You can even add Google Analytics to your app through Firebase.

Google Play

Google play is an app store. This is where Android and Google Chrome users can go to find and install apps. Linking Google Ads with Google Play easily allows you to track Android App Installs and In-App Purchases without any extra code!

3rd Party App Analytics

There’s a bunch of different platforms outside of Firebase and Google Play that you can choose to use. Buzinga has a good list of different options. If you’re not already using one then you’ll want to talk with your team/developers to decide which option looks best. Each one will have their own settings for linking to your Google Ads account.

How To Setup Google Ads Call Tracking

Not all conversions have to be digital only. You can even count phone calls to your business as conversions too!

Login to your account and click on the “Tools” link at the top. Then choose “Conversions”, and then pick “Phone Calls” on the next screen:

Google Ads Adwords App Tracking

Next you’ll need to decide your situation:

a) Calls from ads using call extensions or call-only ads. This is for the campaign type where you can run ads that only allow phone calls and no website visits. Ad to phone call. If that’s what you’re doing then this is the setting you’d choose. In addition to that, if you have call extensions running on your ads, (You should be! I talked about them here. ) you’ll also pick this option. Note: This requires a Google Forwarding Number in order to work.

CONVERSION NAME: Give it a good name that you and others will recognize.

CATEGORY: Pick a good category that this phone conversion closely matches.

VALUE: If your data is on-point and you know how much revenue calls, on average bring in for you, then you can enter that number here. Many users do not know that yet and you can choose not to give this conversions a value.

COUNT: If the same user calls you twice after clicking an ad – do you want that to be counted as two conversions. If so you’d choose, “Every” here. If not then just choose, “One”.

CALL LENGTH: This is one of the most important steps for call tracking. This is telling Google when to determine a call as a conversion. Think about your best customers. How long do they typically stay on the phone with you. It defaults to 60 seconds. If that sounds too short you can increase the time. Maybe you only want calls that are 2 minutes or longer to be a conversion. You can make that edit here.

CONVERSION WINDOW: This is telling Google how long to keep taking credit for the conversion after the ad was clicked. 30 days is on by default but this will vary depending on your business. A month is typically used.

INCLUDE IN CONVERSIONS: This is telling Google to either include or not include this conversion action in the Conversions column inside your Google Ads campaign.

ATTRIBUTION MODEL: Although there isn’t a wrong choice here you really should strive for anything other than “LAST CLICK” for this unless you’re just absolutely certain that users are only clicking and converting on one search/ad click.

b) Calls to a phone number on your website. This option is for those of you who are sending traffic to a landing page on your website that lists your phone number. If you want Google Ads to track phone calls from users who land on your site after clicking an ad then you’ll be choosing this option. The difference between the option above is that option A is tracking numbers actually clicked on in your ad. This B option is once a user is actually on your site and they’ve dialed a specific number referenced. This step requires a little more work and Google walks you through it in 3 parts here.

Conversion Tracking With Google Analytics

There’s a variety of ways that Google Analytics (GA) can be used to track your website conversions. We’ve broken this section up depending on what you’re looking to do with GA and Google Ads.

Importing Google Analytics Goals into Google Ads

You can track goals in Google Analytics and then import those goal completions as conversions in Google Ads. As long as both accounts are linked to each other that process is pretty easy. Many of you may already be doing this.

More often than not these days, we tend to steer our clients away from this method though.

The main reason is how Google Analytics gives credit (attribution) to those conversions. By default your GA account is on a “Last Click” model.

That means that only the last (non-direct visit) click will get the credit for a conversion.

Here’s an example:

User clicks ad on day 1, doesn’t convert.

Same user clicks a remarketing ad on day 3, still doesn’t convert.

Same user does a search for your brand name on day 5, clicks organic result, and finally converts.

In that example GA gives credit to the Organic channel only. Google Ads doesn’t get any credit.

We can’t tell you what’s right for your business but we can recommend giving attribution serious thought.

Most users will not convert on their first visit. They’ll need multiple touch points to be nurtured down the marketing funnel. Defaulting to Last Click may not be the right choice.

If you’ve evaluated your goals and data and have determined that Last Click is how you want to track conversions in your Ads account then you can do that in these 5 steps:

1) Open your Ads account, click on TOOLS > LINKED ACCOUNTS.

2) You’ll see a list of apps that you can sync. Click DETAILS under Google Analytics.

3) You’ll now see a list of GA accounts that you have access to with the current email account you’re logged in with.

4) Find the correct GA account or view associated with your Ads account. Click LINK.

5) Hit SAVE.

You now have the ability to choose IMPORT when creating a new conversion action in your Ads account.

Global Site Tag for Analytics and Google Ads

If you’ve read the beginning of this guide you saw us mention the new Global Site Tag tracking script format that Google rolled out. It looks like the script block in the bottom portion of this screenshot:

old google analytics vs new gtag version

If you login to your GA account now and head to the Tracking section in Admin, you’ll see your new version that is now there by default. This doesn’t mean that you already have it installed on your site though. You’ll have to double check.

If you have an older version of GA installed we can’t tell you for sure to upgrade your GA tracking script without first knowing if there’s been any custom dev work done on your site. There could be custom code that may rely on the older version of Google Analytics. Check with your developer if you’re unsure.

We can say however, that the new gtag.js version of GA makes things a bit easier when it comes to setting up Google conversion tracking.

It’s as easy as adding one new line to the new version of GA.

When creating (or just editing a current one) a new conversion action you can select the option that says that you already have a global tag installed from another Google product. When you do that you’re given a line of code to add as seen here:

global site tag already installed

Now your Google Analytics script would look like this after adding in the new line:

google analytics gtag google ads

Now you have Google Analytics updated and working along with Google Ads.

But remember – this alone will not track conversions!

This is just eliminating the need for a separate Google remarketing tag like we previously needed, and it allows us to track page view actions in Google Ads.

The actual conversion action is done with a separate block of code given to you when creating that action in your Ads account.

 

Conversion Tracking in Google Tag Manager

Using Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a great way to “inject” code and event tracking into your website. There is a learning curve but it’s definitely worth the time it takes to grasp it.

Here’s how to go about setting up conversion tracking for Google Ads inside of GTM.

After you create your conversion action in Google Ads you’ll want to choose “Use Google Tag Manager” on this screen:

google ads conversion tracking tag manager

Now you’re given two important pieces: Your Conversion ID and your Conversion LABEL.

In a new tab jump into your tag manager account and click on TAGS from the left hand menu.

Click the NEW button.

Name it something like “Google Ads – Conversion”.

Click TAG CONFIGURATION.

And you’ll see a list of different tags to choose from. You’ll select “Google Ads Conversion Tracking”:

google ads conversion tracking tag

Now you’ll see inputs for your conversion ID and your conversion LABEL. Paste them here.

You’re not done yet. Down below this you’ll see a section for TRIGGERING. We have to create a trigger for when your conversion script fires.

Two scenarios:

Scenario A) You’re just tracking a key page – something like a Thank You page after form submit – things are a bit easier to do so we’ll start with that first.

After you click on the TRIGGERING section, hit the plus symbol to create a new trigger.

You can name it something like “Thank You Page View”.

Click on “TRIGGER CONFIGURATION”.

Select PAGE VIEW:

google tag manager page view trigger

And choose SOME PAGE VIEWS:

tag manager trigger configuration

Use your unique thank you page URL here.

Save and Submit!

Scenario B) You’re looking to track clicks on important buttons or elements and not a view of a key page.

Click on the TRIGGERING section, hit the plus symbol to create a new trigger.

You can name it something like “Sign Up Button Click”.

Now click on “TRIGGER CONFIGURATION”.

Select JUST LINKS:

just clicks tag manager trigger

And then choose SOME LINK CLICKS here:

some link clicks google tag manager

Now you’ll have to decide how you want tag manager to track when this element is clicked – which will fire your Ads conversion pixel.

There’s a lot of options here and if you’re not familiar with the options (like HTML and CSS) it won’t make much sense to you. You’ll need to get a hold of your developer or have us get things set up correctly for you.

But if you wanted to use the ID option (Click ID), for example, you could go back to your website and right click on the element you want to track, and then choose “inspect” or “inspect element”, depending on what browser you’re in, from the options that show.

You want to look through the code that shows now. And your element itself should be inside a div. Something like: < div id="my-cool-element" >.

In that case you’d enter in my-cool-element for your Click ID.

If that doesn’t work you may need to try Click Classes instead. And now you’d be looking for a CSS class that applies only to the element that you want to track. If you choose a CSS class that’s shared by numerous elements you may get inflated conversions.

Again, there’s a lot of options here, and you may need to experiment with a few of them to get the best results. Don’t forget to test!

Now for those of you who need to track order values. You’ll run through the same set of steps as above but here’s the extra steps that you’ll need to run through:

1) Select VARIABLES from the left hand menu. Create a new USER-DEFINED VARIABLE.

Give your new variable a name.

Click on VARIABLE CONFIGURATION.

And choose DATA LAYER VARIABLE:

data layer variable for conversion value

Now in the input for “Data Layer Variable Name” is where you’ll put in the order total amount variable given to you by the platform you use.

For example, if you go back up to the Shopify section you’ll see that this platform uses {{ checkout.total_price | money_without_currency }} to dynamically pull in checkout totals. So you’d put “checkout.total_price | money_without_currency” (without quotes) into this input. So what you place inside this box will vary depending on your shopping cart software.

Save your variable.

2) Now you’ll go back to your Google Ads tag that you created and you’ll be using this new variable. Click the plus symbol here:

google tag manager conversion value

And you’ll be able to choose your newly created order value variable.

Save and submit – you’re all set.

 


That does it folks! Let us know your thoughts. Need us to cover more scenarios or web platforms? Need it done for you? Don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help.


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