Zach Mandelblatt
By Zach Mandelblatt | SEM | December 10, 2013

The Importance of Having (& Using!) Conversion Tracking Part 2

Different Types Of Conversions

 

In my last post, I called out anyone who isn’t tracking conversions, as well as anyone who is tracking conversions but never use the data to improve their account.  If I’ve inspired you to join or renew your faith in the church of conversions, welcome! The next step is to define exactly what a conversion is for your website and to figure out how to track it.

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Welcome to the PPC Church Of Conversions

First, let me define “conversion”.  A conversion is the desired outcome from a website visit.  There are three basic types of conversions: lead generation, e-commerce, and branding.  This week I’m only going to talk about lead gen and e-commerce conversion tracking.   Next week we’ll discuss branding and some more complex goal tracking options in Google Analytics!Lead Generation ConversionLead generation conversions are pretty simple: a conversion means that a visitor to your site has turned into a lead.  If you are trying to get someone to fill out a form, call a phone number, engage in an online chat, or any of a number of similar actions, you’re working in this category of conversions. The question any lead-gen-based website should be asking itself is, “how much am I willing to pay to get a conversion?”  Once you know the answer to that question and you have conversion tracking working properly, advertising decisions are easy. The conversion data will tell you how much you spent to generate a lead at the campaign, ad group, and even keyword level.Provided that you or someone you know/employ can access your website’s back-end, setting up lead gen conversion tracking for form fill-outs can also be quite easy.  All of the major advertising platforms (Google AdWords, BingAds, etc.) generate tracking code that’s easily pasted into your website’s code.  That tracking code registers a conversion in the conversions column of that platform’s dashboard.  You can usually generate this code in the “Tools” tab of the platform you are using (in AdWords, for example, click the green “Tools and Analysis” tab, then “Conversions”).  Paste the code onto whichever page your would-be customer sees after they have converted (for example, the “Thank You” page website visitors see after they fill out a form).Tracking phone calls can be a bit trickier.  Although Google would like you to think that you can track calls within AdWords, all they actually track are calls directly from AdWords Call Extensions.  If they visit your website and call the number listed, AdWords can’t track that.We do offer a call tracking solution that tells us when any traffic source leads to a phone call .  Below you’ll see an example of the call data we can gather. We can pipe this data back into AdWords and see exactly which keywords led to each phone call and how much was spent to generate it.  This information allows an advertiser to cut waste and funnel more resources towards the highest ROI keywords.

call data
Call tracking telling us exactly which keywords led to which phone call
If a conversion for you is a phone call or a form fill-out, track both!  But, what happens if a phone call is worth more than a form fill-out or vice versa?  The answer here is to assign a conversion value during the goal creation process.  During the conversion creation process, there is an optional step where you can assign a dollar value to a conversion. Is a phone call is twice as valuable as a form fill-out?  Assign the form fill-out a value of ten and the phone call a value of twenty!  Then you can look at total conversion value when making decisions about keyword bidding, taking into account the phone call’s higher value.
conversion form
Giving a Google AdWords Conversion a value of 8 in the AdWords Conversions tab
E-Commerce ConversionIf you are an e-commerce store, you want your PPC visitors to purchase items from your online shopping cart. We want to track exactly what keywords or campaigns are leading to those purchases.  Using the one-to-one conversion tracking option in AdWords we just discussed is miles better than having no conversion tracking at all, but it isn’t ideal because it values all purchases equally.  This means that a $20 purchase is valued exactly the same as a $1000 purchase and can lead to misinformed decisions about how to spend ad dollars.  Without better information, we won’t be able to properly adjust our bidding strategy for keywords that lead to larger purchases.Fortunately, Google offers us a solution that tells us exactly how many dollars of revenue different traffic sources generated for your website.  It is called “E-Commerce Tracking” and it is implemented through Google Analytics.  E-Commerce tracking requires platform-specific code to be inserted on the last page of the e-commerce site’s shopping cart.  The code recognizes final purchase amount and sends it to Google Analytics.
ecommerce overview
E-Commerce revenue data being piped into Google Analytics from a website shopping cart
Although the code does not usually report revenue by traffic source perfectly, it is generally accurate to within 10% of actual revenue, making it extremely useful.  Take the screenshot above: if we spent $1000 on both Google AdWords (google/cpc) and BingAds (Bing/CPC) in this period, we’d better adjust our budget to spend more on Google and less on Bing as soon as possible! Alternatively, if we only spent $50 on Bing Ads to generate that $1446 in revenue, we should strongly consider spending more.You can also import this data into AdWords and see exactly how much revenue different campaigns, ad groups, and keywords have produced.  Total revenue can be found in the “Total Conversion Value” column, making “Conversion Value/Cost” an accurate rendering of how many dollars were generated by each dollar of ad spend in different parts of the campaign.  The screenshot below shows an AdWords account with E-Commerce data being piped into AdWords from Analytics and displayed as Total Conversion Value.  This is useful stuff!  We can use the highlightedConv Value/Cost column to inform us on whether to increase or decrease bids for the various campaigns.
conv value:cost
E-Commerce data piped into AdWords from Analytics telling us exactly how many dollars in revenue a dollar in advertising generates
How do you find and install e-commerce tracking code?  Most website platforms have preprogrammed e-commerce code plug-ins available, so ask your developer if they can help you implement it!  Alternatively, a quick Google search or forum browse of your website platform’s page can often unveil the code for you to implement yourself (although this can sometimes lead to website error if you don’t implement the code correctly, not a good idea unless you are an expert!)Join me next week as we go over Branding Conversions and to further use goals in Google Analytics to track goals!
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