Why & How To Set Up Adwords Conversion Tracking In A Small Business

In this post I will guide you step by step in how to set up adwords conversion tracking for your own business. But first let’s start with the very important question – why?

A few nights ago the brother of an old work colleague, who runs his own small business contacted me and asked; “Whenever I run a campaign (Google Adwords) I can never get into the top ads, I’m always located in the side ads. Not sure if my ads are set up to the best or the keywords? If you could shed some expertise on this would be much appreciated”

Always happy to help I replied straight back. Although, not the reply he was expecting. Instead of asking questions about his keywords, bids, targeting, ad copy or many of the other elements that make up a successful Google Adwords campaign, my first question was “Have you got your conversion tracking set up?

I know it wasn’t quite what he was anticipating by his response; “will that bring my Adwords up?”

“No” I answered. “But going forward it will tell you which keywords are converting and your return on investment – you will then know where to focus your efforts and money. No point in working/spending in areas that are not converting or providing acceptable ROI. Believe me it will be time well spent.”

If you are a small business spending money on Adwords but don’t have conversion tracking set up, I would encourage you to put off whatever you were going to do next, finish reading this post and then go straight to your Adwords account  and set up your conversion tracking.

It should only take you a few minutes, but it will be some of the most valuable few minutes you will spent.

How To Set Up Adwords Conversion Tracking

Firstly open up your Google AdWords account and in the top menu click on the word Tools. This will display a drop down menu from which you want to click Conversions:

How To Set Up Adwords Conversion Tracking

In the next screen you will see a button with the word +CONVERSION in it. Click on that button:

Creating the adwords conversion code

Nest you will see a page which asks for a name for the conversion. It is useful here to use a name that describes the type of conversion i.e. Sale, Lead, Enquiry etc.

You will also be asked to select how the conversion is being identified. Here we are looking at a simple conversion whereby after taking the required action the visitor is then sent to a specific page – usually a “Than You” page, whether that be a “Thank You For Your Purchase”, “Your Enquiry” or “Your Sign-up” etc.

Type Of Adwords Conversion

Click Save and continue.

Adwords Conversion Code Settings

In the next screen you will be asked to select a number of settings for your conversion code.

Selecting The Settings For Your Adwords Conversion Code

Conversion Value – here you have 3 options. If as an example you are tracking leads from an enquiry form and you know from experience and calculations how much a web generated lead is worth, you could check the first option.

If you are running an e-commerce store and want to track the exact value of the orders from your AdWords conversions, your platform provider will more than likely have a section on their support files that will provide you with the details of the changes you will need to make to the conversion code to be able to record transaction values, product descriptions, SKU’s etc.

The final option is not to assign any value to the conversion.

Count –  This is where you tell Google AdWords how you want each conversion to be counted. i.e.

All conversions: This is the most appropriate choice if you are looking to track sales. It will count each sale (within your defined tracking period – next option) as its own unique conversion. i.e If one day someone clicks your advert and then over the next 30 days makes 2 purchases – Google will record 2 conversions.

Unique conversions: Unlike the first option if having clicked on your advert your visitor comes back to your site on a number of occasions (again within your tracking period), completes an enquiry form and is then sent to your thank-you page, this will only count as a single conversion.

Conversion Window – this is the length of time or “window” you want to leave open to record conversions. The range spans set periods from 1 week to 90 days. It really depends on how quickly you expect conversions to happen as to the time period you set. Personally I wish they would introduce a 12 months option for easier analysis and reporting of the performance of the account, campaigns, keywords etc on an annual basis.

If you set the window to 90 days then your tracking will record all conversions (as defined by how you set the Count option) within that 90 day period. If only set to 1 week, then any conversions from that ad click on day 8 or beyond will not be counted as a conversion.

Conversion Category – this is simply to enable you to categorise the type of conversion you are recording for simpler reporting and analysis. The current options are; Purchase/Sale, Sign-up i.e for an email newsletter or autoresponder series, Lead, View of a key page i.e. if a visitor lands on a specific page where your tracking code is placed, but not necessarily a “thank you” page, then this is counted as a conversion. The final one is Other for anything that doesn’t fit the others.

The following options are a little bit further down the page:

Markup Language & Tracking Indicator

Markup Language – here, unless you are creating conversion tracking for a site that has specifically been created for mobile you should leave this as the default HTML.

Tracking indicator – this is a bit of a throwback to the days before the cookie laws where it was recommended you show an indicator on the page with the tracking code to show you were collecting activity data. Provided you have a suitable privacy and cookie policy statements on you site you can select the “Dont’ add a notification…” option at the bottom.

There is a small link on the page called Advanced Options and I will explain these in more detail in a later post. In brief they are related to view of your Adwords adverts and not clicks and the tracking of “view through conversions”. This is where someone has seen your ad, not clicked but later visited your site via another route and purchased, signed-up etc. i.e converted.

The final step in this section is to Save and continue.

Adding The Adwords Conversion Code To Your Site

The first step in the final part of generating the code is to tell Google if you will be adding the code to your site or if you have someone else that does it for you.

Grab or Send Your Code

Many small businesses are on packages where they pay a monthly fee for hosting and updates. If you are fortunate enough to have a web developer or “webmaster” make all the changes and updates to your website select the first option. You will next see this screen:

Send my Adwords Tracking Code To Someone else

Simply add their email address and any personal message you want to include, scroll down to just under the box that contains your code and instructions and click Send email. Job done. I would then just follow-up with your webmaster or developer to confirm they have received the code and when they will be adding it.

If you are adding the code to your site you need to check the second option “I make changes to the code“.

Placing the adwords conversion tracking code

Here you need to double-click in the box containing the tracking code which will highlight it all and from there you can copy, ready for pasting into the relevant section of your website.

Where you place the code will be between the tags of the page you will be tracking i.e. your “thank-you” page. For this site I use the Genesis Framework for WordPress with the Epik Theme. With this set-up for me to add the code it is a simple case of scrolling down the page editor in WordPress and pasting the code in the relevant box:

Where to place your adwords conversion code

The likelihood is that you will be using a website content management system or contact form plugin that has a section on the page or form editor to enable you to paste your code. Alternatively for WordPress you could use a separate plugin such as Smart Google Code Inserter to enable you to paste your code in the relevant tracked page.

Viewing Your Conversions

When you have placed you code in the relevant place on your page editor and clicked Done you will next see the following which shows your code is unverified:

Checking Adwords Conversion Code is working

The simplest way to verify if your code is installed correctly is to wait for a conversion. If you feel you can’t wait you can always click on one of your own ads and then go through whatever process is required to get to the page you are using to track conversions. You can then go back to your Adwords dashboard and to the campaign that holds the advert you clicked to see if it is recording that conversion. You may however have to wait up to 24 hours for it to display. Usually however it does not take that long.

Once Adwords starts to track the conversions when in future you click on the Tools option in the main menu and Conversions you will see the reporting as follows (this is from a test site I use so not particular active):

Viewing you adwords conversion data

However the real magic comes when you look at your keyword and advert data to then in future enable you to see which keywords and which adverts are actually performing for you:

Adwords Conversion Tracking Results

I hope you have found this article useful in understanding why and how to set up Adwords conversion tracking and also how to take action today to get it in place. If you have any questions or comments please do let me know either in the comments box below for through my “Ask Rob” link at the top right of this page.

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