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2 Tracking AdWords

An AdWords account is never finished nor fully optimised. You will always be able to test and/or find new improvements. In order to do so effectively, we recommend you install AdWords conversion tracking.

Conversion Tracking

AdWords conversion tracking is a free AdWords tool to help you understand what happens after someone clicks on your ad. By knowing which keywords most often lead to conversions you can invest more wisely and boost results

Conversion tracking is extremely easy to install. Agencies sometimes prefer third party tracking tools as they already manage other digital marketing platforms through these tools. I would strongly recommend you implement AdWords Conversion Tracking as well, as this will give additional insights inside the AdWords account. Also it will enable advanced reporting and bidding tools like attribution modeling, cross-device conversions and customer journeys, in-app conversions and automated bidding that might not be available in their 3rd party tool.

Anyone interested in optimising their AdWords investment should enable conversion tracking as soon as possible.

How does AdWords Conversion Tracking work?

  • Advertisers add a single snippet of HTML and JavaScript code to your webpage. Specifically, this snippet is placed on the page your customers see after they complete a conversion — the “Thank you” page they see after a purchase, for example.
  • Every time a customer clicks your ad on Google.com or selected Google Network sites, a temporary cookie is placed on the customer’s computer so a conversion can be recorded when the customer reaches the conversion page.

Create a Tracking plan

Before setting up Conversion Tracking, you should determine which actions are valuable for your business and what are the outcomes they’d like your AdWords advertising to drive.

For example, if you sells items on your website you are likely to be interested in measuring the number of purchases that your advertising generated. Alternatively, other advertisers may be interested in how many leads or newsletter signups they generated. While, some advertisers may want to measure how many calls or app downloads their AdWords advertising provided.

Advertisers should set up Conversion Tracking for all of the valuable actions your visitors can take online, to ensure that you properly measure the value your advertising generates for their business.

Setting Up Conversion Tracking

You can find the full step-by-step instructions for setting up Conversion Tracking here. Advertisers with multiple accounts which target the same market should implement their tag on the MCC level. It is very important that you make sure all your AdWords accounts are tracked at the highest level MCC account. Failure to do so, will lead to poor bidding, duplicate counting of conversions and very limited value from AdWords attribution tools. More about Cross-Account (MCC) Conversion Tracking here.

Google Analytics goals versus Conversion Tracking

When you set up a conversion in AdWords you will asked to choose between conversion tracking and Google Analytics goal imports. I would strongly recommend you use AdWords conversion tracking.

The first reason for this is that (with standard attribution logic) Google Analytics will de-duplicate conversions between digital channels. This means that if for example you run Criteo remarketing ads, and the last click came from Criteo, Google Analytics will not send a conversion into AdWords. A lot of people think this is an advantage, as the number of conversions you see in each of the platforms you use tend to be closer to the real numbers (when you add them up).

However, for AdWords, in the situation described above, it was part of a successful journey and there is no signal back to the AdWords account that this was the case. I would prefer to get as much feedback as possible on what AdWords interactions have (partially) contributed to a conversion. The more feedback to optimise on the better.

Second reason is that you can add more conversion options, such as calls, store visits, app downloads and/or cross device conversions, through AdWords conversion tracking. There will be more on those conversion types later.

Automate AdWords Bidding

Automated bidding takes the heavy lifting and guesswork out of setting bids to meet your performance goals. Once you have set up conversion tracking well the next step is to automate some or most of your bidding.

There are six different bidding strategies, depending on what you want to achieve. Target CPA (cost per Acquisition) is the most common bidding strategy in AdWords. It runs on the use of Google’s machine learning technology and advertisers’ conversion tracking data.  The algorithm evaluates historical conversion data, leveraging numerous signals, and optimizes your bid for each auction to achieve your CPA goal. Target CPA predicts conversion probability of each impression to achieve the maximum number of conversions within your target CPA.

Adwords automated bidding is the only way you can adjust your bid for every single auction you enter. Bids are based on numerous different variables around the user, the platform used and the search query that is used.

You can find a lot of answers on the Conversion Tracking FAQ page.

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