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AdWords – Beyond Clicks to Conversions

A click on your AdWords ad indicates someone may be interested in what you have to offer. Assuming your offer is compelling and your landing page is relevant, they may take their click a step further and convert. A conversion is more valuable than clicking and Conversion Tracking is a way for you to measure that important next step. This is all about what happens after the searcher clicks on your AdWords ad. These steps include buying something if you have an ecommerce site or filling out a lead generation form for service businesses. Conversion Tracking is important because you can see if your ads are leading to activity that brings in new business.

To enable Conversion Tracking, you need to add a piece of code to the page people see after they complete the action that counts as a conversion. For example, if someone makes a purchase and the final page they land on is, then /purchasecomplete.html is where the conversion code is placed. This is an example of form submission tracking which is a commonly used method of tracking.

For those who want to track more than just form submissions, there are several additional options, such as calls directly from the website or calls from ads. For those who have a lot of conversion activity happening offline, they could use the import feature which allows them to bring in offline sales data back into AdWords. It’s a little tricky because a GCLID (Google Click ID) field needs to be added to the website forms by a website developer. Then, the GCLID parameter is automatically assigned when someone clicks on the ad and will need to be sent to the customer relationship management tool (CRM). Regularly, advertisers need to find sales that have a GCLID connected to them and import that info along with sales amount back into AdWords. From here, AdWords matches the GCLID to the original ads to help advertisers understand how AdWords helped with offline conversions. This is definitely an advanced feature which is where Google’s support file can be helpful.

You can also take Conversion Tracking a step further with the Conversion Optimizer. Here the focus is not on clicks or impressions which is where new advertisers traditionally start with their ads. With Conversion Optimizer, goals are based on cost-per-acquisition (CPA). Advertisers choose to pay a maximum amount or an average amount per CPA. To use this, Conversion Tracking must be installed and there needs to be at least 15 conversions within the last 30 days. This history is needed so predictions can be made about future conversions.

There is also the option to track all conversions or only unique conversions. The completion of a lead generation form works best as a unique conversion. This is one individual that may convert into a customer at some point. If you instead track all conversions for a single lead generation form, you may have duplication of forms for some reason and end up tracking a unique lead more than once. For conversions that are based on purchases, it makes sense to count every single conversion. In this case, you don’t want to track only that one shopper. You want to track all five items that were purchased. In your conversion reporting, you will be able to compare these unique and total conversions.

In addition to adding tracking code to completion pages, Analytics data can also be used to track conversions. To use this method, advertisers must first set up goals in Analytics and ensure AdWords and Analytics are linked. After goals have been recorded in Analytics, they can be imported in AdWords by choosing “Conversions” from the Tools menu in AdWords. This method appeals to advertisers because there is no need to use new conversion codes. They can work with the pre-existing Analytics code.

People are often confused because the term “conversions” is used in the context of AdWords as well as Analytics. In AdWords, a conversion is based on a click on an ad. The user may click on the ad, but not take any action. In Analytics, it’s based on visits to the site which are actual sessions where a visitor spent time on your website. Analytics is focused on this time when the person is on the website, performing actions. Both types of metrics are important which is why advertisers should always use AdWords and Analytics together.

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