Conversion Tracking Within Google AdWords


Measuring the Effectiveness of your PPC Advertising

With the recent changes to popular naming conventions within AdWords, as well as the updates to the methods used for measuring conversions themselves, I thought a fresh look at the way we measure conversions within the dashboard was in order. A pre-requisite for tracking within AdWords is to make sure that:

  • AdWords auto-tagging is enabled
  • AdWords is linked to a Google Analytics view with goals set up
  • You have imported your Google Analytics goals into Adwords

Once you are confident you are tracking all of the goals you need to in your analytics view, you are ready to proceed. Note that I assume you are using call extensions with your ads for the rest of my article. If you need help with establishing any of the above, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@Benjamin_Page) for assistance. First, you will want to be on the campaigns tab in the dashboard. From there, you will want to customize your columns [“Columns” dropdown > “Customize Columns”] and add the four following:

1. “Converted Clicks” – similar to the old one-per-click conversion column, which tracks unique conversions – because duplicates from multiple conversions via the same ad click are not included here. This column does include users who “clicked to call” using the ad’s call extension.

2. “Estimated Total Conversions” – this also happens to be an area addressed in the Google Partners webinar last week. This column represents estimated cross device, many-per-click, and manually dialed phone call conversions. With many-per-click conversion tracking, duplicates count (see #3).

3. “Conversions” – tracks many-per-click conversions. If one click leads to multiple conversions, all subsequent conversions (within the default 30-day window) are counted here.

4. “Phone Call Conversions” – tracks manually dialed phone call conversions that last over your specified threshold (default is 60 seconds). If someone sees your call extension phone number and manually enters it on their keypad, it is routed through the Google call center and subsequently tracked. The best way to make this report more visually appealing and actionable is to segment by “Click Type” once you have these columns enabled. From there, you will be able to see clicks on the different parts of the ad, it’s extensions, and the call type.

In this example, there are 84 “Converted Clicks”, 3 of which are mobile clicks-to-call. There are 9 “Phone Call Conversions”, which were manually dialed. This would mean that we saw 93 total unique conversions for that campaign within the specified date range. Presently, this is my favorite (and arguably the safest) way to report conversions: adding “Converted Clicks” and “Phone Call Conversions”. With this, you will get all of the unique on-site conversions, and call conversions – whether manually dialed or click to call. These two columns are probably the best non-trivial indicators of performance that are quickly available to advertisers. Other metrics like assisted conversions are not without value; they provide some context on the customer journey and help us understand how users interact with our brands post-ad-click. As the methods for offline & cross-device conversion tracking continue to develop, we will get closer to measuring the true impact of our campaigns. For now, though, I’ll leave the estimates alone, and work on improving what I can measure.