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How to Set Up Conversion Tracking in Google AdWords

In a previous post, I discussed the need for AdWords users to think behind clicks to conversions. Let’s move to a step by step on the how-to for setting up conversion tracking on a web site.

What is the action?

Some potential actions are signing up for a service or email newsletter, or buying a product but what your actions are depends on your site and what these actions are is a question you answer outside of AdWords. Make sure you know what the conversion is and understand where this is recorded on your website.

Once you’ve done this off-line piece, you can go into AdWords and choose Conversions under the Tools menu. Choose the red Conversions button to get started and follow the below steps.


Naming a conversion is so easy that people may not realize how important it is. This will be used in your reports so make sure it is something that makes sense to all account holders – not just you.


How much is a particular conversion worth to you? Set them all at the same value, different values for different conversions, or no value at all. Different values for different conversions is for products with varying prices. You want to know when someone buys your $20 items or $200 item. (These instructions for this are more in-depth and you can learn how to track transaction-specific values in Google’s support files).

A value may be difficult to determine for some ecommerce sites when the action is filling out a lead generation form so you may want to choose no value if you can’t make this determination. However, if the action is to make an appointment for a consultation that costs $100, paid at the time of the appointment, the value is $100.


Count all or unique conversions that happen after an ad click. For example, if someone books multiple appointments for your service, such as massage therapy, you want to count all appointments because each one generates revenue.

When the action is filling out a lead generation form, you may want to consider unique. If you receive two lead generation forms in a row from me, it’s likely that I didn’t think my first form went through and hit the submit button multiple times. If you count all, you count me as a potential customer two times. If you count unique, you’re counting me as one potential customer.

Conversion windows

How long do you want to track conversions after the ad click takes place? Customers may see an ad one day and click on it, but return to the site a couple weeks later to convert. You can decide how long you want that window to be and may be based on your normal buying cycle. For example, if you are advertising a week long promotion, you may want a 7-day conversion so you can see the impact of this promotion over a short time period.


How would you best categorize the type of conversion: purchase/sale, sign-up, lead, or view of a key page?


You can optimize your bids based on the conversion type. It is set by default and you can uncheck the box since it is an optional feature. If enabled, bids are optimized based on automated bid strategies, such as Conversion Optimizer.


The code – or tag – is what your webmaster will place on the website. Don’t worry about not understanding this part as a marketer. Your role will be to complete the above steps and the tag instructions are what you send to your webmaster. Make sure your webmaster places the code on the confirmation page of your action. You are not tracking someone’s arrival to a page, but the page they reach after they complete an action.

To make sure it works, load the confirmation page and see if a conversion is tracked. The status of your conversions will change from unverified to no recent conversions. Once conversions are tracked, the status will change again to recording conversions. If you’re a chrome user, you can check your implementation with the Tag Assistant extension.

Add a new column to your campaigns to choose the Conversions metric so you can now see conversion data with each of your ads. Now you can measure the real value of the clicks on your AdWords ads.

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