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How to set up conversion tracking in Adwords

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Andy MacLean

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I'm Andy MacLean, blogger & SEO consultant. If you like this blog post (pretty) please leave a comment below or share it. Thanks for reading!

What is conversion tracking?

If you want to succeed with Adwords you need conversion tracking set up. Conversion tracking allows you to measure KPIs of your Adwords campaigns i.e. form fill enquiry, brochure download, sales etc. With conversion tracking you can easily identify what is producing conversions and identify what the cost per conversion is, giving you the data required in order to make for example bid changes per keyword. Lets look at a simple example…

conversion tracking example Click image to view large table

In this example a conversion is a form fill enquiry about holiday cottage availability. You can see that £77.79 was spent on the keyword ‘luxury villas dordogne’, producing 9 conversions at a cost per conversion of £8.64. In other words for every £8.64 spent on that keyword it produced a holiday cottage enquiry. Not bad! Compare that to the keyword ‘gites in dordogne’, which accrued £367.36 of spend, producing 579 clicks and 6 conversions at a cost per conversion of £61.23. Not so great! This would tell us we might want to spend more on ‘luxury villas dordogne’ by upping the keyword bidding and positioning for that term and we want to bid much less for ‘gites in dordogne’.

If your site is ecommerce and you are selling products then you’d want to set conversions up as a sale. Not only can you get cost per conversion data in Adwords but you could also pull in revenue and ROI data.

How to set up Adwords conversion tracking

Method 1

In your Adwords account go to :

> ‘Tools’ and click ‘Conversions’.

> Hit the red +Conversion button.

> Name your conversion e.g. Enquiry or Sale or whatever it is that you want to track.

> Choose your conversion category.

> Choose your conversion window. This is the length of time after initial contact with your site that you wish conversions to still be registered e.g. if you select 30 days and someone visits your site and then comes back and produces a conversions after 31 days it wont be registered as a conversion. If you are unsure id suggest leaving it at 30 days.

> Count – you probably want to choose unique conversions. If you choose ‘all conversions’ then if someone purchases 2 products or enquires twice 2 conversions are registered even though its the same person.

> Conversion value – If you want to track sales and you have 1 product to sell only then you can enter the product value here. This will pull revenue information into your Adwords dashboard so you can see how much money Adwords has generated (and by keyword). If you are tracking enquiries or brochure downloads you can assign an arbitary value. For example if you think every enquiry is worth £10 to you then enter 10. If you are tracking sales and the product value varies then tick ‘The value of this conversion action may vary’. If you select this option you will  need to modify the conversion tracking code to be able to pull in revenue data. See here for instructions https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/1722054.  I highly recommend this if you have an ecommerce site. If you don’t have an ecommerce site and dont want to assign an arbitary value then choose ‘Don’t assign a value to this conversion action’.

> Choose your markup language. Its probably HTML but ask your web guys if you aren’t sure.

> Tracking indicator. This decides whether you will have a little icon on your  enquiry ‘than you’ page or receipt page. I prefer not to have it.

> Hit ‘save and continue’, then choose ‘I make changes to the code’ and copy and past the conversion code. Either email this to your web guys or you can add the code to your site yourself. The code needs to go on the page that is reached when your conversion is triggered i.e. either your ‘thank you for your enquiry’ page if your conversion is a form fill enquiry or your receipt page if your conversion is a sale. Remember if your conversion is a sale and you want to track revenue in Adwords (you really do) then you need to edit the code as mentioned above.

adwords conversion settings
 Method 2

Using Google Analytics you can set up ‘goals’. These goals can be KPIs for almost anything e.g enquiry, sale, brochure download, people who visited more than 3 pages etc. If you don’t fancy adding conversion code to your pages yourself as in method 1 or don’t want to pay a techie to do it this is the DIY option. It’s also a good option if your number of enquiries or sales is limited as tracking alternative benchmarks e.g. people who were on the site for more than 2 minutes can provide you with more information about what is and isn’t working with your Adwords campaigns.

To get started go to your Analytics account, hit ‘Admin’ then ‘Goals’ then ‘New Goal’. The goals wizard will guide you through the various set up procedures which vary depending on what you want to track as a goal, so I wont go through all of them here. It’s fairly simple to follow. Make sure before you save a goal you hit the ‘verify this goal’ hyperlink to check that you have set it up correctly. If you want to track sales then you will also want to track revenue data in Analytics. Complete your sale goal as above and then view the guide here to modify your analytics code to capture reservation information.

import conversions from analyticsOnce you have created your goals and those goals start being reached you need to import the new goals into your Adwords campaign. Go to ‘Tools’ and then ‘Conversions’ in Adwords and import the conversions (see above). Once your goals have been reached for the first time and you import them, as above, you’re done. You don’t need to keep importing the new goals as they will populate automatically in your Adwords campaigns. You do need to make sure though you have added the conversion columns to your Adwords account (see below). You will also want to add the relevant revenue (conv value) columns if you’re tracking sales so you can start tracking revenue and ROI as below.

conversion columns
2014-07-25_1147Common issues and further guidance:

– For method 2 you will need to ensure your Adwords & Analytics accounts are connected – heres how to do that.

Googles guide to setting up conversion tracking, including how to edit the conversion code for pulling in revenue data.