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Google Ads Conversion Tracking: Is It Working For You?

Google Ads Conversion Tracking

Google Ads Conversion Tracking: Is It Working For You?

When you think about digital marketing, it may be the more glamorous elements that spring to mind: producing beautiful creative ads, or coming up with some unique words that immediately describe what your business has to offer.

As important as those elements may be, it’s sometimes the “run of the mill” stuff that can really make an ad account tick. Want to understand how to get conversion tracking working for you? Read on to learn more.

In many senses, a Google Ads campaign can often be reduced to some fairly basic key metrics: you’ll spend a certain amount (cost) and be looking to ultimately generate a return on that investment, in terms of revenue. If the revenue isn’t enough to cover all of your costs, including the cost of advertising, then Google Ads won’t be delivering the results that you need. You see? It’s simple!

The role of conversion tracking

Except, of course, that it’s rarely simple to put in place a strategy that produces the desired outcomes. If you’ve tried to do so yourself (or maybe worked with an agency or freelancer in the past), then you’ve probably seen that there are various pitfalls to be avoided.

Typically, most advertisers will find that some campaigns will work better than others. In fact, some parts of campaigns will work better than others. We’ve used the word parts here to avoid loading the article with technical terms. But, for those in the know, we’re talking about ad groups, product groups, keywords, match types and individual ad copy variants, plus all of the rest of the elements that have an impact.

This is where conversion tracking has such an important role to play: it not only helps you to evaluate overall performance levels, but it also helps to identify the campaigns (and individual elements) that are delivering results. As well, of course, as those elements that aren’t delivering results.

That’s why it’s such a fundamental building block: without conversion tracking in place, you’ll struggle to understand what is (and is not) working within your Google Ads account.

What should you be tracking?

So what should you actually be tracking and what is a conversion exactly? The answer will differ, depending upon precisely what you are looking to achieve within any given campaign.

Let’s take the example of an online retailer. I’ve suggested an online retailer as a starting point since the metrics here tend to be the most straightforward. For a retailer running a Google Shopping campaign, for instance, success is basically measured in sales. Each sale is a conversion.

But that’s only part of the story. Google Ads conversion tracking enables you to identify how much revenue is generated from each sale and then further means that you can pass that information back into the Google Ads interface (more on that later). This is an optional feature. You should use it. In fact, if you’re running an ecommerce store and you’re not using it, then your Google Ads account isn’t currently meeting its potential. So time to get that sorted out!

The case of an online retailer is pretty simple. What about the service provider looking to generate B2B leads? Here, it depends upon the end goal.

Are you aiming to get someone to fill out a form on your website? If so, you should track that.

Do you give people the opportunity to contact you via the phone and see that as being valuable to your business? If so, you should track that.

What about receiving an email? Does that have value to you. If so, you should be tracking that.

Opening up an online chat? Guess what? You should be tracking that too!

You get the picture: track everything that you regard as being valuable to the business. If some types of leads are more valuable than others, then you should assign values to those lead types to take this into account.

How should you be using the conversion data?

Hopefully you’re clear on what you should be tracking at this point. But how should you use the data?

We’ll let you into a secret: Google Ads account management is all about maximising the impact of your advertising. This means that you should be using your budget in a way that maximises your chances of generating value for your business.

So, as the conversion data ticks in to your account, it’s going to be offering some valuable signals:

Some campaigns will be under-performing. As the data highlights that this is the case, you should be making changes to improve performance.

Other campaigns will be doing great. That’s fantastic! But could they be doing even better? Are they being held back by budget or by your bidding strategy? Could you expand your keyword set? What’s the data telling you about how performance varies, depending upon geographic locations, days of the week, device types and audience membership? You should be using the conversion data to enable ongoing, informed optimisation of your Google Ads account.

Google Ads conversion tracking: it may not be the highest profile element of an advertising campaign, but it’s absolutely fundamental to success.

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Keith Barrett
With more than 15 years of digital marketing experience, Keith Barrett is a fully Certified Google AdWords Partner. Offering insights into the world of PPC marketing in the UK, Keith is a Senior Consultant here at Search South. If you'd like to hear more of Keith's thoughts, then you can subscribe to our newsletter.