So you've got your AdWords campaign up and running, and your ads and keywords are starting to generate an impressive number of clicks. Great! But unless you've got conversion tracking installed, you won't be able to see how many of those clicks are actually resulting in sales.
Conversion tracking is a powerful tool in AdWords that lets you identify how well your ad campaign is generating leads, sales, downloads, email sign-ups, and other key actions for your business. The data recorded by conversion tracking allows you to identify which areas of your campaign are working and not working, so you can optimize your bids, ad text, and keywords accordingly.
Depending on your business, a conversion could be counted when a customer makes a purchase through your website, signs up for a newsletter, fills out an online survey or contact form, downloads an app or whitepaper, calls a phone number from a mobile phone, and so on. After you've identified what customer actions you want to track as conversions, it takes just a few simple and free steps to get conversion tracking up and running for your campaign.
RELATED: What Is a Good Conversion Rate?
AdWords Conversion Tracking: The Basic Setup
Setting up conversion tracking involves generating a bit of HTML code in AdWords that you paste into the webpage on your site that customers visit immediately after completing the conversion (such as an "Order Confirmation" or "Thanks for Your Email" page).
To get started, click on the Tools and Analysis tab in AdWords, and select Conversions from the drop-down menu, which brings up the All conversions page. Click on the Conversions tab, then click the +Conversion button to create your first conversion.
You'll be prompted to fill out a form that will help AdWords generate the appropriate HTML code for you to paste into your webpage.
Give the conversion a name, such as "Contact Form submissions" if you want to track how many times visitors fill out your site's Contact Us form.
Next, select the source of the conversion. Your choices are:
1) Webpage. (If you want customers to complete an action on your webpage, such as an online purchase, contact form submission, or page visit.)
2) Call on-site. (If you want customers to call the phone number on your site from a mobile device.)
3) App download. (If you want customers to download your app.)
Here's a more detailed walk-through of each of the three conversion sources:
1) Webpage Conversions
Choose the most accurate conversion category from the drop-down menu: Purchase/Sale, Signup, Lead, View of a key page (i.e. the Contact Us page), or Other. (Click image to enlarge.)
Select the Markup language. HTML is the standard choice, but check with your web developer if one of the other alternatives (CHTML, XHTML, WML) would be more appropriate – especially if you're running a mobile site.
Next, enter a value for the conversion. You can assign an amount manually, such as 10 if you're selling e-books for $10 each. If you're selling a lot of different products, you can also set up the conversion tracker to record shopping cart values that change dynamically on the site. (This feature is explained in more detail in the Advanced section below.)
Enabling the tracking indicator causes an unobtrusive message to appear on your site letting visitors know that their visits to your site are being tracked by Google. Displaying it is optional, and you can opt out of showing the message by selecting the "Don't add a notification to the code generated for my page" option. If you do select it (by default, the selection is "yes") you can replace the standard message with your own, and customize the message's appearance by changing the size (single line of text vs. two lines), page background color, and language.