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PPC Conversion Tracking 101: Foolproof Guide

A pay-per-click (PPC) campaign can give you an incredible lead generation machine.

While this is a great thing, advertisers can’t get valuable information on how many clicks are converting to actual sales, downloads, or sign-ups without PPC conversion tracking. Read on to learn more about conversion tracking, how it works, how to set it up, and its benefits.

Conversion Tracking

Conversion tracking is a free Google tool that gives advertisers insight into what happens after site visitors interact with their ads. The technology tracks conversions, which depending on the targets, could mean the number of purchases, sign-ups, appointments, or downloads our PPC ads influenced.

Once we set which post-ad actions are valuable to us, Google tracks these conversions and provides us with useful information such as demographics, customer behavior, and effective campaigns.

How Conversion Tracking Works

Conversion tracking begins once we determine which post-ad actions are valuable to our business. We have to inform Google of our goals before it can provide us with relevant marketing data.

We can track many types of actions, but they can be broken down into five main groups.

Website Actions

Conversion tracking can help us determine our campaigns’ effectiveness by measuring website actions, which include purchases, sign-ups, and form submissions. Activating conversion tracking in our websites allows us to track nearly any action we consider valuable.

Phone Calls

Conversions from phone calls include direct calls from ads, calls to a phone number from a website and clicks on a mobile site. We can even opt to assign a unique phone number for our campaign, where accidental calls will not be included in the conversion count.

App Installs

Tracking app installs Android and iOS downloads, which can be measured using downloads from Google Play or first opens, the first time a customer opens our app after downloading it. The latter option is possible with a third-party app analytics provider.

It’s also possible to track in-app actions such as purchases using in-app billing or Firebase, adding code to the app, or again a third-party app analytics provider.

Import

Import activities are influenced by online efforts that end in an offline action, such as signing a physical contract or purchasing via phone.

Local Actions

Local actions are tracked when customers who interact with our ads complete an action specific to a physical store. We don’t have to use local actions tracking if we have already activated visits conversion tracking.

Recommended Types of Conversion Tracking

There are different ways to practice conversion tracking for other PPC goals. Read on for the recommended types of conversion tracking for different types of post-ad actions.

  • It is ideal to set up conversion tracking on our website for purchases, sign-ups, and other website actions. We will discuss this process in more detail.

How To Set Up PPC Conversion Tracking On Website

Setting up PPC conversion tracking on our website is a useful skill. It enables us to determine the effectiveness of our PPC campaigns in getting our clients to perform actions favorable for our business. Let’s discuss the options in setting this tool up on our website.

Naming the Action

The first step is naming the action so that anyone who has access to the website can understand. These are the options for conversion action types:

  • Purchase or Sale

Specifying a Value

Next, we should select a value, which depends on the conversion we’re tracking. For example, if we want to use the same value in tracking app downloads, we should choose the option, “Use the same value for each conversion,” and specify the value.

We can choose the option for online stores, “Use different values for each conversion,” since the purchase amounts are different for each client.

Conversion Counting

We have to indicate how we want conversions to be counted. An online boutique might want to count every transaction, regardless of how many times one client makes a purchase. An e-book company, however, might want to count downloads from one device as one conversion.

Conversion Windows

Conversion windows are the maximum time frames we want to count a conversion after a lead clicks on it. In other words, we have to determine until what point in a campaign it makes sense to give credit to a certain PPC ad for a conversion.

For instance, a real estate agent might set a seven-day window for a quote request but a 90-day window for an actual home purchase.

The default for a view-through conversion window — a type of conversion tracking that measures how many visitors see a Google Display Network or video ad but do not click on it — is set at a default of one day.

Count as Conversion for Reporting

We can either keep this option checked to include an action in the conversions column in Google Ads reporting or leave it unchecked. Google uses the conversions column in its automated bidding algorithms. If we want to keep track of a particular action but not have our bids optimized against it, we can uncheck this option.

Attribution Models

We can set an attribution model for each conversion action we create. The default setting is currently the last click, which tracks which advertisement a customer last clicked on before making a purchase, sign-up, or download.

Attribution models are not available for an app and in-store conversions or Display Network or video ads.

Benefits of Conversion Tracking

Using conversion tracking provides advertisers with valuable information on the following:

  • Keywords, ads, and ad groups that are driving conversions for our PPC campaigns

These types of information can help us adjust our current PPC campaigns and create better ones in the future. They can also help enhance the following factors.

Data-Driven Decisions

Gaining insight into the pros and cons of our current ads can help us adjust our strategies.

Google has a highly specific targeting system that we can control for better results. For example, suppose our conversion tracking shows us that most of our audience members are using mobile phones to search for products or services like ours. In that case, we can put more budget on mobile searches and less on desktop computer and tablet searches.

Doing so enables us to maximize our budget and avoid wasting it on a type of device our audience is not using.

Maximizing Return on PPC Investment (ROI)

Conversion tracking allows us to make the right decisions to reduce unnecessary spending and maximize PPC ROI through profitable ad channels.

Strengthening Ad Copies

Powerful ad copies are essential in creating high-converting keywords. Sometimes, little tweaks on word choices and phrase arrangement can significantly impact our conversion rate.

Once we get information on top-performing keywords, we can practice pruning and stop spending our budget on keywords that generate clicks but don’t convert, those with quality scores of three or lower, or those that are not profitable.

Improving Website Content

Even the best ads can’t convert warm leads if the website content does not provide visitors with a good user experience (UX). For example, if our conversion tracking tells us that most of our target market members are using their mobile phones to search for products or services like ours, we have to make sure that our site is mobile-friendly.

Running PPC ads that are not optimized for mobile-friendliness for a mobile-using audience won’t work. Google Mobile-Friendly Test is a free tool that allows advertisers to check the mobile-friendliness of their site. It will flag the aspects of the site that are not ideal for visitors using their mobile phones.

Optimize Ads for Best Results

PPC is a multi-faceted aspect of digital marketing, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for all companies. We should keep experimenting, testing, and improving our ads to find the mix that will yield the best results for us.

Conclusion

Running a PPC campaign without tracking could be unnecessarily burning through our marketing budget without reaping the desired benefits. Before running a campaign, we should set realistic goals, and we should do everything right to achieve them, including tracking our ads’ effectiveness.

My name’s George from BrandMatcher.io. I write about digital marketing services like link building, influencer outreach, digital PR and SEO.