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How to setup conversion tracking for your Google ads

Conversion tracking in Google Ads is a powerful process that helps you track & measure the ROI of your ad campaigns. Find out how to set it up. - A detailed walkthrough.

Why is it important:

Conversion tracking in Google Ads is a powerful tool that helps you track and measure the ROI of your ad campaigns. It allows you to set up a custom event code that will track when visitors complete a desired action or conversion on your website, such as signing up for your newsletter, making a purchase, downloading an app, or any other action that you specify.

With this information, you can analyze the performance of your campaigns, determine which ads are performing well, optimize your bidding strategies, and improve the overall effectiveness of your ad campaigns. Additionally, conversion tracking enables you to make smarter decisions by accessing real-time data about customer behavior and intent. By understanding how visitors interact with your website, you can adjust your strategy to target these users better and maximize your ROI. Conversion tracking is an essential tool for any business looking to get the most out of its online advertising efforts.

Things required before you start:

  • You should have an existing personal Google account with the necessary login information (email address, password).
  • You need to have an already set Google Ads account, and if you haven’t done it yet, then follow our guide to do so.
  • You should have an existing business website with Google Tag Manager already set up. If you haven’t set up a Google Tag Manager account, then follow our guide to do so.
  • You should have a Google Analytics tag already set up on your website, and if you haven’t, then follow our required guide to do so.

Steps to set up conversion tracking for your Google ads

Step 1: Go to the Google Ads website.

And click on the Sign In button at the top right corner of the screen.

You need to be logged in to your Google account associated with the ads account you are trying to access to be able to successfully log in in the next step.

Google ads conversion tracking setup process - accessing the website

Note: If you have multiple Google ads accounts already set on your Google account, then you will see the following screen after you click on “Sign In”, and you need to click on the Google ads account that you want to log into.

Selecting the Google ads account

If you have only one Google ads account associated with your Google profile, you will be automatically logged into the account after you click on “Sign In” in Step -1.

Step 2: Once you are in the account, click on the option “Tools and settings” at the menu on the top right corner of the screen, and from the dropdown, expand the menu item “Measurement”.

Once the menu has expanded, click on the option “Conversions” from the sub-menu.

Selecting the Measurement segment

Important Note: If you are not able to find the necessary links or buttons (as shown here) at the top menu of your Google Ads account, then you might have been, by default, switched to the new design of your Google Ads account. Though the new design looks good but since it’s still in the experimental phase, the UI might get complicated or erroneous, so we will recommend that for the time being you can simply switch back to the more stable older version.

To do so, please go to the option “Appearance” at the top menu, and from the dropdown, click on “Use previous design”.

Switching to the old UI design for the Google ads

Step 3: On the next screen click on “New conversion action” button.

Setting up a new conversion

Step 4: On the next screen, select the main source of the conversion action. In our case, it is “website”. Click on the required option to proceed.

Tracking from the website

Step 5: On the next screen, you need to type in the website domain in the textbox and click on “Scan”.

Google will then automatically check if you already have conversion setup on your website.

provide the website url

Step 6: Once done, you will be presented with two options for creating a conversion action:

  1. Creating conversion events from website events (Without code)
  2. Create conversion events manually using code

Both can be used depending on how your website has been set up.

If you have a thank you page that you direct your leads/purchasers to, then you can use that in setting up the conversion event easily without code, as in that case, it will be a defined event of page visits.

If you want to implement more data related to certain conversion events, like maybe revenue or sales data, then it is better to use the manual process, which can be again done through a Google Tag Manager account.

We will look into both methods one by one.

Step 7: Let’s say we are going to use the “without code” option for conversion event setup for a particular page, which is triggered when someone submits their details on our website, i.e. the thank you page.

Use the options under the “Create conversion actions automatically from website events” segment to set it up.

setting google ads conversion without code

  1. Use the “Select conversion goal” dropdown to select the desired goal/event type that you are setting. It can be a variety of values from Purchase to Submit lead form to Sign-up, etc.
  2. Use the “Choose match type” to define the event condition format. In our case, we want to set it up from any kind of thank you page, so we use “URL contains”.
  3. Use the Enter URL field to enter the value that you want to match for the condition.

So, in our case, this conversion event will be triggered any time the user lands on a page URL containing “thank-you” for e.g., learn.marketinglaunchteam.com/thank-you or learn.marketinglaunchteam.com/user/thank-you

  1. Once everything is set, click on the Add button to continue.

Your event will have been now successfully added.

Conversion successfully set up

Step 8: Now, let’s create a conversion event manually with code.

Under the segment “Create conversion actions manually using code”, click on the link “+ Add a conversion action manually” to proceed.

Adding Google ads conversion using code manually

Step 9: Under the option “Goal and action optimization”, click the dropdown menu to select the event type amongst Purchase, Submit lead form, Sign-up, etc.

And in the corresponding field under “Conversion name”, provide a meaningful name for the conversion.

Conversion type setup

Step 10: On the next option, Value, you can select whether or not to associate a value with the conversion that you are tracking.

  • You can either decide to have a fixed value associated with this conversion event. In case your purchase event has a since revenue value, i.e., you have a single type of package on the website that users can purchase or all your products/services have the same purchase value.
  • You can use the option of adding different values for each conversion, for which you need to set up additional steps to capture the actual purchase value from the website code.
  • You can decide on not to associate this conversion event with a value. In case it is a lead-specific event that can not be tagged as a purchase, or you are a B2B organization where your conversion value depends on the quotes and service level pricing, etc.

In our case, we are selecting the first option and setting it up from a value-focused conversion.

Conversion value association

Step 11: Once done, you can decide on the process of counting the event. You can either decide on counting each and every conversion separately, or you can count only the first conversion.

In case of a purchase event, you have to set the count to “Every” as each user can purchase more than one time on your website using separate accounts or the same account.

Conversion count

Step 12: There are other options associated with the way the conversion event will be associated with an ad, they are as follows:

Google ads conversion tracking setup process - details setup

  • Click-through conversion window: This defines how many days after a conversion can be attributed to an ad click.

For e.g., if set to 30 days, then if a user gets converted within 0-30 days after clicking on the ad, the conversion is attributed to the Google ad.

  • Engaged view-conversion window: This defines how many days after conversion can be attributed to an engaged video ad view.

For example, if set to 3 days, if the user gets converted within 3 days of viewing the video, then it is attributed to the video ad.

  • View-through conversion window: This defines how many days after a conversion can be attributed to an ad view. Ad view is not the same as click-through as, in this case, the user might have just seen the ad and not engaged with it or clicked on it.
  • Attribution model: is a way to track the success of your campaigns and optimize your marketing efforts. With Attribution, you can determine which channels are the most successful at driving conversions.

There are several attribution models available on Google Ads:

  • Data-driven attribution (preferred): This assigns the actual contribution of each ad for the final conversion based on the analysis of the conversion data and events.
  • Last-click attribution: This model credits the last ad click before a conversion occurs.
  • First-click attribution: This model gives all of the credit for a conversion to the first ad click that a searcher makes.
  • Linear attribution: This model assigns equal credit to all ads clicked in a given search query before the conversion occurs.
  • Time decay attribution: This model assigns more credit to earlier ad clicks than those that occur later in the search process before conversion.
  • Position-based attribution: This model splits up credit for conversions by assigning 40% of credit for conversions to both first and last clicks and then distributes the remaining 20% of credit based on other clicks that occurred in between those two points in time before conversion.

Step 13: Once it is all set, click on the “done” button at the bottom left corner of the screen to continue.

Google ads conversion tracking setup process - finishing up

The newly created conversion event will be displayed under the Manual event creation segment. Click on the “Save and continue” button to proceed.

Saving the conversion

Step 14: On the next screen, click on “Set up” next to the Google Tag segment to set up the conversion tracking tag.

setting up the conversion through the different processes

On the next screen, click on “Choose Tag” to continue. (At this stage, you should have already set up Google Analytics for your website, and if you haven’t done so, then follow our guide to do it before you proceed.).

Google tag for ads conversion

On the next screen, your Google Analytics tag will be visible here; click on the tag to continue.

choosing the tag

Once done, you be redirected to the initial screen, where you need to click on the “Confirm” button to continue.

Graphical user interface, application, chat or text message Description automatically generated

Step 15: Now verify the details and click on the “done” button at the bottom of the screen to finish the process.

Google ads conversion tracking setup process - finishing up the setup

Note: With the current Google Analytics 4 tool, Google uses machine learning to identify events like purchases on your website, so you don’t need to set up any definition for the Purchase event on the website, especially when you have set up the purchase event with a defined conversion value and not with variable data (in case of ecommerce, you need to follow our guide to set it up for variable with correct sales data “How to setup ecommerce conversion tracking with Google Tag Manager and WooCommerce”).

If you selected another manual event that is not identified by machine learning, then you have to set it up using the Google tag manager. Or, if you set up a manual purchase event with dynamic value, then you need to set it up on the data level of the Google Tag Manager. For the setup of data level in Google Tag Manager associated with WooCommerce, follow our guide.

Let’s take an example of a conversion event that is not auto-tagged by Google’s machine learning, for example, a “Subscribe to Newsletter” event.

For that, follow the process similar till Step 13 but in Step 14, you will find the following options:

Click on the tab “Use Google Tag Manager”.

Using google tag manager

Step 16: You will receive the following details to set up the conversion tag on Google Tag Manager.

Conversion id and labels

Step 17: Open Google Tag Manager in a separate browser tab.

Enter the container you are using for tracking the website.

Once you are logged into the GTM account, click on the “Add new tag” link.

Adding a new tag on Google Tag manager

Step 18: Provide a meaningful name to the tag in the given section and then click on the segment under Tag Configuration.

Tag configuration

Step 19: From the list on the next screen, click on the “Google Ads conversion tracking”.

Ads tracking tag type

Step 20: On the next screen provide the values (Conversion ID and Conversion Label) you have on your Google Ads conversion setup step on Step 16.

conversion ids setup

Step 21: Once done, scroll down and click on the region under the segment Triggering” to set up the trigger that executes this conversion action.

Trigger setup

Step 22: On the Choose a Trigger screen, click on the “+” at the extreme right end of the screen.

Step 23: Proceed to set up the new trigger for this conversion.

Let’s say the conversion tag is executed when a visitor submits their details on the Subscription form and is redirected to a Thank You page with the URL format.

https://www.abc.com/thank-you-for-subscribing

To set this as a trigger, provide a meaningful name to the trigger and then click on the are under “Trigger configuration”.

Page based trigger setup

Step 24: On the next screen, click on “Page View” as the Trigger type.

google tag manager trigger type

Step 25: Set up the Page View event to only trigger when the particular thank you page is viewed.

To do so, set the following:

specific pageview trigger setup

  1. Click on the option “Some Page Views”.
  2. Select the filter from the first dropdown as “Page URL”.
  3. Set the next condition element to “Contains”.
  4. Provide the URL format in the text box.

Step 26: Once done, click on the “Save” button at the top right corner of the screen to continue.

Trigger naming

Following that, you need to click the “Save” button on the Tag set up screen to proceed.

Saving the conversion event

Step 27: Now you need to set up something called as the “Conversion Linker” tag to ensure that the conversions are properly tagged.

You will already get a notification at the top of the Google Tag Manager screen as you have set up a Google Ads conversion tag without setting the Conversion Linker.

Conversion linker warning

Click on the “Add Tag” button to continue.

Step 28: Provide a meaningful name to the tag and then click on the Save button.

The tag will already be pre-populated with the necessary data, so there is no need to change them.

Setting up the Conversion linker tag

Step 29: Once done, click on the “Submit” button next to the label “Workspace changes” to submit the new tags and triggers to the live version of the website.

Submitting the changes to the GTM

Step 30: Provide the necessary details like version name and description, and click the Publish button.

Saving the changes

Once done, your Google Ads conversion tracking is complete.

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