Nick Rennard
By Nick Rennard | SEO | January 28, 2015

Setting Up Conversion Tracking

Hello Advertisers!

Setting up conversion tracking is probably the most important step when you’re first creating a campaign. I’ve met plenty of folks who didn’t care to set up conversion tracking because they were only concerned with cheap clicks (and cheaper clicks). This is a pitfall for many online advertisers as they attempt to wield the power of AdWords. Honing in on a single piece of data is always a bad idea. You should always keep your scope as wide as possible in order to determine the success of a campaign (another good blog here for expanding on your data analysis). That being said, if there’s one piece of data you should keep a very close eye on, it’s your conversions. In order to analyze conversions, you’ll need to make sure you set them up properly.

In the past, I’ve reviewed how to set up some basic goals in Analytics. Keep in mind that AdWords is less accurate with data reporting than Analytics, so you’ll want to know how to set up goals on both platforms. Today I’m going to explain the process of setting up conversion tracking within AdWords.

To start off, you’ll need to click the Tools dropdown box at the top and then click Conversions:


Here there will be a big red +Conversions button. Click it!


You’ll need to give your conversion a name. You’ll also be checking the Webpage option for the type of conversion we’re going to set up today. This type of conversion will be used when people reach a certain page on your website. This whole set-up process will generate a code to be inserted onto the “thank you” page; this is the place where customers are brought after they complete a conversion (form completions, quote requests, purchases, etc). If your website doesn’t have a “thank you” page, then you’ll have to track the last button that they click as a conversion (this is a more complicated set-up because you’ll need to rewrite the code within the button itself; we won’t be covering how to do that today). If you don’t have a “thank you” page, then I recommend setting one up for people to land on after they complete a conversion. It will be significantly easier to track and set up in both AdWords and Analytics.


Now you’ll need to set a conversion value. For many conversions, you won’t need a conversion value (like a form submission or a quote request). Here’s a resource for customizing your conversion tracking for transaction-specific values. Make sure it’s counting all conversions. Then set your conversion window to 30 days and select a category.


You’ll want to expand the Advanced Options. The view-through conversion window is set to 30 days by default. A view-through conversion happens when someone sees one of your ads, doesn’t click it, yet still converts. These occur frequently in remarketing campaigns – someone consistently sees your banner ads, but they never actually click one of the ads (yet they still convert by typing your website in directly, finding you organically, etc). If you’re interested in changing the window for these, feel free. I’d recommend setting the window as long as you can so you can see what kind of branding effect your campaigns leave behind months later.

Secondly, you’ll want to uncheck Optimization (checked by default). This allows Google to change your bids to snag clicks. Basically, my experience is that Google will just inflate your bids to generate more clicks. As we discussed earlier, more clicks is not necessarily better (especially if you’re having to pay extra money for them). I don’t like letting Google control my bids. The whole reason we’re setting these up is so that we can manage them manually.


Finally! Select the appropriate option and insert this code within the body tags of the page you are tracking. If you’re sending this code to your web developer, then I recommend copying and pasting it into a Notepad file rather than sending it via e-mail. Often, the spacing will get messed up when you copy and paste the code and send it between multiple e-mailing platforms. A Notepad file is a good way to preserve the indentations and spacing of the code.


That’s it! Setting up conversion tracking is easy, and you’ll want to set up as many relevant conversions as you can. Being able to analyze which keywords are generating traffic that actually leads to sales is vital to running a successful AdWords campaign. Often, when people do website  maintenance the conversion tracking code will get stripped, so make sure you contact whoever handles your web development if conversions suddenly stop reporting.

Happy Advertising!

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