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How To Properly Setup Google AdWords Conversion Tracking

Every one of our PPC Audits begin the same way, making sure conversion tracking is setup properly.

In order to properly manage and optimize an AdWords account, you need key performance indicators (KPI) that you can work towards improving.  Every business and website will have different advertising goals; increase traffic, increase sales, etc., and conversion tracking is the most common and simplest way to track these.  While standard AdWords reporting will show you keyword level data such as clicks and cost, conversion tracking can help you understand if these clicks are turning into actual conversions, so you can make informed decisions on how to best optimize your account.

In this second part of our PPC audit series, I am going to walk you through one of the most valuable things you can do for your AdWords Account, setting up conversion tracking in Google Adwords.

Here I will explain the simplest method of setting up conversion tracking in AdWords.  Every site has different technical challenges that may or not may not make this method the best, but this will work for the vast majority of AdWords Accounts and websites.

Here are the things you will need in order to set this up:

1.  An AdWords account:  Hopefully by this point you already have one and are ready to go!

2.  A Website:  This is where we will place the code to track conversions.

3.  The ability to edit the website:  As long as you have access to the backend of your site, and the ability to copy and paste, you should be good to go!

Step 1: Log into your adwords account, and click on the “Tools and Analysis” tab.

Step 2:
Click on “Conversions” within the “Tools and Analysis” tab.

Step 3:
This is where you manage all of your Google AdWords conversion tracking codes.  Let’s go ahead and click on the “+ new conversion” button to create your first conversion code.

Step 4:
Go ahead and name your conversion code.  This could be anything that identifies the action we are tracking (sale, info request, etc.), and leave “Webpage” selected.  Click “save and continue.”

Step 5:
This is where you can customize your code some.  Go ahead and select a the category your conversion falls under.  Set the security level to “HTTP” or “HTTPS” (you can go to your confirmation page and see which is used in your URL).  Select your markup language.  Enter a conversion value (only use this if you have a good understanding for the $ amount that is brought to you with each conversion.  If you have advanced revenue tracking needs skip this for now, there are other methods for tracking revenue).  Now you have the option of either selecting “Add a ‘Google Site Stats’ notification, or skipping the notification.  This notification is displayed as a little box on your confirmation page that lets users know that this tracking is occurring.  If you choose to skip the notification, you should at least mention this conversion tracking in your privacy policy.  Go ahead and click “save and continue.”

Select whether you want to send the conversion code to the individual who will be installing the code, or to get the code to install yourself.

Step 6:
Whew!  You have created your first conversion code!  Now we need to install it on your website.  It is very important that the code be installed in the correct location to properly track conversions.  Your conversion code should go on the thank you or confirmation page that immediately proceeds the conversion point (checkout, form, etc.).  This should be the only place on your website the code is installed.  If you have multiple conversion points you are going to track with this one code, make sure the code goes on each confirmation page.  The code can be installed the same way a Google Analytics code would be installed, anywhere in the body of the page.

Congratulations!  You will now see the “conversion” column in your AdWords dashboard.  If you aren’t sure that your conversion code is tracking properly, you can always to a hard test (manually click on your ad and complete a conversion).

By simply having this new conversion metric in your AdWords account, you can at least begin to gain an understanding of your ROI.  While we leverage advanced tracking with our enterprise software, allowing us to get highly accurate revenue and path to conversion metrics not available in AdWords, you wouldn’t believe how many accounts don’t have the most basic tracking set up.

Keep your eyes open for the next parts of this series where I will talk about geographic targeting, and we can make sure you aren’t wasting more of your ad spend!