As part of their online advertising strategy, a small business spends an average of $9,000 to $10,000 a month on paid ads. That’s a lot of money, especially for startups that have yet to see a clear return on their investment.
While advertising involves financial risk, businesses can help minimize it by launching ad campaigns that guarantee positive results. Otherwise, they’ll drain their budget with hefty advertising costs that will never bear fruit.
This is where conversion tracking comes into the picture. Businesses using paid ads should monitor the performance of their ads and see whether they’re working as expected.
The Importance of Tracking Your Ads Conversions
The main benefit of tracking your Google Ads conversions is monitoring your campaign’s effectiveness and gathering insights into what works and needs improvement. It also helps marketers learn more about their target audience and the consumer behavior in their market.
Specifically, conversion tracking helps in these aspects:
- Identifying which ads, ad groups, keywords, and campaigns drive the most valuable customer engagement
- Generating new strategies through Smart Bidding to create more targeted campaigns relevant to one’s business goals—whether that’s increasing sales or leads or boosting profit
- Seamlessly consolidating conversion numbers from across devices and browsers. A user may interact with an ad on one device and convert on another. These data are displayed in the All conversions reporting column in the user’s account.
- Learning a business’s ROI and making smarter ad spending decisions in the future
How Conversion Tracking Works
To start tracking conversions, users need to create a Conversion Action in their Google Ads account. This is a specific website action done by the customer essential to your business. It may be a purchase, sign-up, download, or any other action a customer makes on your website.
Businesses will be able to track the following actions by setting conversion goals:
- Phone calls – calls that customers make upon seeing an ad, whether to a contact number on the business’s website or clicks on a website’s Contact Us page
- App installs and in-app actions – number of installs of your iOS or Android mobile apps, as well as purchases or activities made within the app
- Import – activities that start online and end offline. An example would be a customer clicking on an online ad and proceeding to sign a physical contract in your office.
- Local actions – user engagements in a localized ad or an ad targeted to a specific location or store
Conversions are tracked a little differently for each of these sources. But for most sources except offline, they follow the same setup:
- Insert a conversion tracking tag, which looks like a code snippet, to the business’s website or mobile app. Once done, conversions will be tracked through the following process:
A customer clicks a Google Search or Google Display Network ad. They’re informed that a temporary cookie will be placed on their device for tracking purposes. When they complete the desired action, the system recognizes this as a conversion through the cookie in their computer.
- Use a Google forwarding number. Some conversion sources don’t require inserting a tag to a website or app. This includes phone calls from call-only ads. Using a forwarding number, users can record call details, such as the call duration, start and end time, and area code.
- Conversions from app installs and in-app actions on Google Play will be tracked automatically. No tracking code is needed.
After setting up conversion tracking, users can gather valuable data from their keywords, ad groups, and campaigns. These reports help businesses understand strengths and weaknesses in their advertising. Plus, marketers can use this data in achieving their business goals.
However, many small business owners don’t have the luxury of time to monitor their ad performance consistently. A smarter, more convenient choice is to hire a professional Google Ads agency that can handle their online advertising for them. This helps them minimize the room for errors and redirect their focus on establishing their business.
How to Set Up Your Google Ads Conversion Tracking
A conversion tracking tag is an HTML code snippet generated in Google Ads that website owners paste into their site or web page that appears once a conversion is made. This can be a Thank You page or an Order Confirmation page.
How is this code generated? To get started, follow these simple steps upon logging into your Google Ads account:
- Click on the Tools and Analysis tab. Click the drop-down menu and select Conversions. Go to the All conversions page.
- Click on the Conversions tab, then click + Conversion to create a conversion metric.
- Fill out the form. This will help Google Ads generate the code snippet responsible for conversion tracking.
- Type in the conversion name (e.g., product purchases or subscriptions). This should describe the metric you’re tracking.
- Choose the source of conversion.
Users are left with three choices for the above step: webpage, call on-site, and app download. Let’s break down each conversion source below.
Webpage source refers to actions completed on the page or site, including a purchase, a sign-up, or a simple page visit. This is relevant to those who are in the e-commerce business. Those looking to establish a dropshipping store can also leverage these metrics as conversions.
Users who want to track the above metrics can follow these steps:
- Choose a conversion category that’s closest to their business goals. From the drop-down menu, they can either choose: Purchase/Sale, Lead, Signup, View of a key page, or Other.
- Choose a markup language: HTML, CHTML, XHTML, and others. Website owners should consult their web developers on which language is compatible with their site.
- Enter a conversion value. For example, set 30 if the product’s price is $30. The conversion tracker can also track dynamic conversion values, which applies to e-commerce websites selling multiple products.
This conversion source refers to those who are expecting leads via phone calls. Call on-site is ideal for businesses that allow customers to call their phone number directly from their mobile phones.
In this case, conversion tracking is used to track the number of phone calls customers make from seeing or interacting with an ad.
To generate the code, users can follow the same steps for Webpage source. Then they need to manually insert the “onclick” HTML code into the original HTML code generated by Google.
This is relevant to businesses that want to record the number of mobile app downloads customers make upon seeing their ad.
Google Ads can easily track Android app conversions via the Google Play store. However, this feature is limited with iOS apps tracking conversions via the Apple App Store. It can only track conversions through iOS mobile app ads delivered through Google Display Network.
For Android apps, businesses will need to follow these steps:
- Enter the app’s Package Name. To view this info, users need to copy the URL of the app’s page in Google Play. The package number can be seen after the details?id= string and preceding the &feature= string.
- Cut the above info and paste it into the Package Name box.
- Check if it works correctly by clicking View in Android Market. This should direct the user to the app’s page on Google Play. Otherwise, they’ve entered the wrong Package Name.
Once that’s done, conversion tracking for the Android app should start automatically within 24 hours.
Start Making Effective Ad Campaigns
Tracking conversions is nonnegotiable for businesses, both online and offline. It helps them gain essential insights on consumer behavior, giving them the upper hand in boosting their future ad campaigns. This lessens the margin for error and increases their ROI in the long run.