Tracking Conversions in Google Ads

Tracking Conversions in Google Ads: A Comprehensive Guide

In the digital marketing landscape, conversion tracking is a critical component of any successful Google Ads campaign. Understanding how users interact with your ads and subsequently take desired actions on your website allows you to measure the effectiveness of your advertising efforts and optimize for better results. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of tracking conversions in Google Ads, covering everything from setting up conversion tracking to analyzing and optimizing your campaigns based on conversion data.

What is Conversion Tracking?

Conversion tracking is the process of measuring specific actions that users take on your website after clicking on your Google Ads. These actions, known as conversions, can include:

  • Purchases
  • Form submissions
  • Phone calls
  • Sign-ups
  • Downloads

By tracking these actions, you can determine which ads, keywords, and campaigns are driving valuable customer activity, thereby making informed decisions about where to allocate your budget and how to optimize your advertising strategy.

Why is Conversion Tracking Important?

Conversion tracking is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Performance Measurement: It allows you to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. Without conversion tracking, you won’t know which ads are driving sales or leads.
  2. Budget Optimization: By understanding which keywords and ads are generating conversions, you can allocate your budget more effectively, focusing on high-performing areas.
  3. Improved ROI: Conversion tracking helps you identify and eliminate underperforming ads and keywords, leading to a higher return on investment (ROI).
  4. Data-Driven Decisions: It provides insights that inform your overall marketing strategy, helping you to make data-driven decisions.
  5. Automated Bidding: Google Ads offers automated bidding strategies that rely on conversion data to maximize performance. Accurate conversion tracking is essential for these strategies to work effectively.

Setting Up Conversion Tracking

Setting up conversion tracking in Google Ads involves several steps. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:

Step 1: Define Your Conversions

The first step in setting up conversion tracking is to define what constitutes a conversion for your business. This could be a purchase, a form submission, a call, or any other action that you consider valuable.

Step 2: Access Conversion Tracking in Google Ads

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click on the Tools & Settings icon in the upper right corner.
  3. Under the Measurement section, click on Conversions.

Step 3: Create a New Conversion Action

  1. Click the + button to create a new conversion action.
  2. Select the type of conversion you want to track (Website, App, Phone calls, or Import).

Step 4: Set Up Conversion Tracking for Websites

If you’re tracking conversions on your website, follow these steps:

  1. Select Conversion Category: Choose the category that best describes your conversion action (e.g., Purchase, Lead, Page view).
  2. Set Conversion Name: Give your conversion action a name that makes it easy to recognize.
  3. Value: Assign a value to the conversion if applicable. This can be a static value or dynamically assigned based on the transaction amount.
  4. Count: Choose whether to count every conversion or only one conversion per click.
  5. Conversion Window: Set the time period in which conversions should be recorded after a user interacts with your ad.
  6. Click-through Conversion Window: The maximum number of days between an ad click and a conversion.
  7. View-through Conversion Window: The maximum number of days after an ad impression during which a view-through conversion can be recorded.
  8. Include in “Conversions”: Decide if you want this conversion action to be included in the “Conversions” column in your reports.
  9. Attribution Model: Choose an attribution model that determines how credit for conversions is assigned to touchpoints in the conversion path.

Step 5: Install the Conversion Tracking Tag

Once you’ve set up your conversion action, you’ll need to install the conversion tracking tag on your website. This involves adding a global site tag (gtag.js) to every page of your site and an event snippet on the page where the conversion occurs.

  1. Global Site Tag: Copy the global site tag and paste it between the <head> tags of every page on your website.
  2. Event Snippet: Copy the event snippet and paste it between the <head> tags of the page where the conversion occurs, such as the order confirmation page.

Step 6: Verify the Tag Installation

After installing the tags, it’s essential to verify that they are working correctly. Use the Google Tag Assistant Chrome extension or the Google Tag Manager to ensure that the tags are firing properly.

Tracking Conversions for Phone Calls

If phone calls are a valuable conversion for your business, Google Ads offers several ways to track them:

  1. Call Extensions and Call-Only Ads: Track calls made directly from your ads.
  2. Calls to a Phone Number on Your Website: Track calls made to a phone number on your website after a user clicks on your ad.
  3. Calls Using a Google Forwarding Number: Use a unique Google forwarding number to track and measure call conversions.

Importing Conversions

If you track conversions in another system, such as a CRM, you can import these conversions into Google Ads. This is particularly useful for offline conversions, such as sales made over the phone or in a physical store.

  1. Set Up Conversion Actions: Define the conversion actions you want to import.
  2. Prepare Your Data: Ensure your data includes the necessary information, such as the Google Click ID (GCLID) for each conversion.
  3. Upload Your Data: Use Google Ads or Google Ads API to upload your conversion data.

Analyzing Conversion Data

Once you’ve set up conversion tracking, it’s time to analyze the data to gain insights into your campaign performance. Here are some key metrics to focus on:

  1. Conversions: The total number of conversions generated by your campaigns.
  2. Conversion Rate: The percentage of clicks that result in conversions.
  3. Cost Per Conversion: The average cost to generate a conversion.
  4. Conversion Value: The total value of all conversions.
  5. Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): The revenue generated for every dollar spent on advertising.

Optimizing Your Campaigns

Use the insights gained from your conversion data to optimize your campaigns:

  1. Adjust Bids: Increase bids for high-performing keywords and decrease bids for underperforming ones.
  2. Refine Targeting: Use demographic, geographic, and device targeting to reach your most valuable customers.
  3. Test Ad Copy: Experiment with different ad copy to see which messages resonate best with your audience.
  4. Use Automated Bidding: Leverage Google Ads’ automated bidding strategies, such as Target CPA or Target ROAS, to maximize conversions.
  5. Improve Landing Pages: Ensure your landing pages are optimized for conversions by offering a clear value proposition, easy navigation, and a strong call to action.

Common Challenges and Troubleshooting

Conversion tracking can be complex, and you may encounter challenges along the way. Here are some common issues and how to troubleshoot them:

  1. Tags Not Firing: Ensure the global site tag and event snippets are correctly installed and firing using Google Tag Assistant.
  2. No Conversions Recorded: Check the conversion window settings and ensure they align with typical customer behavior.
  3. Incorrect Conversion Values: Verify that the value parameters in your event snippet are correctly set up.
  4. Discrepancies Between Google Ads and Analytics: Understand that there may be differences due to attribution models, conversion windows, and tracking methods.


Tracking conversions in Google Ads is a powerful way to measure the effectiveness of your advertising efforts and optimize your campaigns for better performance. By setting up conversion tracking correctly, analyzing the data, and making informed adjustments, you can achieve a higher return on investment and drive more valuable customer actions. Remember, the key to successful conversion tracking is continuous monitoring and optimization based on the insights gained from your data. Start implementing these strategies today to take your Google Ads campaigns to the next level.

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