The Intro Guide to Conversion Tracking for PPC Marketers

Confused by conversion tracking? You’re not the only one.

Our experts recently went back to the basics of conversion tracking in a client training session and we’re here to walk you through it too.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the following :

  1. Google Analytics: The Basics
  2. Troubleshooting Analytics Goals
  3. Using Analytics Goals to Check Google Ads Conversions
  4. Google Ads Tracking
  5. Google Tag Manager
  6. Google Ads Dynamic Retargeting Tag
  7. Microsoft Advertising UET Tracking
  8. Facebook Tracking Pixel

Buckle up!

1) Google Analytics: The Basics


When it comes to Analytics tracking, let’s start with a simple question: where do you find goals? Ready? Don’t miss it.

There are a few things you want to ensure before you move forward:

  • Which goals are on and tracking? 
  • How many conversions have your goals had in the last 7 days?
  • What types of goals are tracking?
  • How was the goal set up?

There are a few different goal types in Analytics that you should know the difference between.

Event Tracking

With event tracking, implementation takes a couple of steps. First, event hits can be sent using the “send” command and specifying a hitType of event. The “send” command has the following signature for the event hit type:

And we’re made event fields really easy for you with the table below.

2) Troubleshooting Analytics Goals

Have you checked, double-checked and triple-checked that your Analytics tag is firing on all pages? Note: one of the below should match the Analytics view you’re using.

All Pages

If you’re using a destination goal (e.g. a thank you page) make sure to check that this page is being tracked in the All Pages report and segment by source/medium.

Goal URLs

Goal URLs will show you exactly which URLs are being counted as a goal, which is super important if you’re using destination goals.

Speaking of destination goals, pay attention to which kind of destination you’re setting up the goal as.

3) Using Analytics Goals to Check Google Ads Conversions

Do you find yourself banging your head against a wall because your numbers aren’t matching up in Analytics and Google Ads? We’ve all been there. Use these two options when tracking Google Ads conversions:

1. Track using the Google Ads tag

2. Import Analytics Goals into Google Ads

It’s extremely important to know – and understand – how you’re tracking conversions!

First, check to make sure the Google Ads conversion tag is actually installed properly using Tag Assistant or GTM debugger. Secondly, in Analytics, filter for the thank you page in the All Pages report, adding a secondary dimension for source/medium to see if google/cpc has any pageviews.

When importing from Analytics, ensure that the goal is set up properly (see a pattern here? Success starts at the setup!) and that the Analytics tag is placed on every page. Then make sure the correct Google Ads and Analytics accounts are linked.

So, why don’t those pesky numbers add up? Before you flip too many of your co-workers’ desks, take a look at the table below.

4) Google Ads Tracking

Let’s dive into Google conversion tracking. From the beginning, you’ll go into Google Ads and into Tools & Settings > Measurements > Conversions.

Then in conversion actions, you’ll see something like this:

Call Tracking

In order to set up Google call tracking, go to Tools & Settings > Measurements > Conversions > Add Conversion > Phone Calls > Select the Source.

When setting up your call tracking in Google, the first step is to input your preferences including call length and conversion value.

Secondly, go into Ads & Extensions > Extensions > Add Extension > Add Call Extension. And voila! Hello call tracking.

5) Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager is a management platform for your tracking tags. Basically, GTM acts as a container which means there’s no need to insert your tags on the actual page. Additionally, depending on your settings, you can selectively fire tags on specific tags or actions. These tags can be launched, rolled back and edited with just the click of a button.

Installing GTM

When installing GTM, you only need two tags on every page, one tag in the <head> and one at the opening <body>. You can find these under Admin > Install Google Tag Manager.

What kind of tags can I implement?

Answer: almost all of them, with exceptions of course. There are over 90 tag types available.

Integrated Tags

When working with integrated tags, simply fill in the blanks.

Custom Tags

With custom tags, simply insert whatever you want! You’ll want to use these when integration isn’t available or you want full control over tag parameters.

And here’s an example for your viewing pleasure:

But, you may be asking, how does a tag find a home? You have to push some buttons and trigger it. These can be based on the page path, form fields, or custom variables.

When triggering on page paths, you’ll get something like this:

And after all of your beautiful tags are done, you can find them right here!

When you need to track information and pass it along, the dataLayer allows you to add information to the page and easily communicate with GTM. Simply insert product values, category information, sales prices, promo information, page type, or anything else you want.

Of course, when you make major (and minor) changes, you want to be able to monitor and manage them. Luckily you can on the main page of GTM.

Custom Variables

Custom variables allow you to access/insert data into your tags with simple notation. This reduces errors, improves manageability, adds consistency across all tags and can also be used as triggers.

6) Google Ads Dynamic Retargeting Tag

To set up dynamic remarketing, go to your Google Ads account > Tools & Settings > Shared Library > Audience Manager > Audience Sources. Find the Google Ads tag card, hit the three dots in the top right corner and select Edit Source.

Switch your setting to “Collect data on specific actions people performed on your website to show personalized ads” and then choose your business type. Once you select continue you will choose from three options on how to implement your remarketing tag.

Updating Your Tag

If you already have a standard remarketing tag and want to start using dynamic remarketing, you can make a few changes to your existing tag.

Here’s an example of a retailer’s tag where the custom parameters are green, the remarketing tag is blue and dynamic unique values are highlighted yellow.

7) Microsoft Advertising UET Tracking

Now that we’ve gone through how to track Google, you’ve probably guessed what’s next: Microsoft. The set up looks a little something like this.

Step 1

Step 2: Conversions Tracking > UET Tag > Copy/Download Email

Step 3: Conversions Tracking > UET Tags

Step 4: Conversions Tracking > Conversion Goals > Name & Type

3rd Party Call Tracking Setup

When setting up a 3rd party call tracking, note that the destination URL will require additional tracking tags. So be sure to check your setup and check for missing tags in your campaign.

Additionally, set up the call as an event in Analytics.

Then, create a goal with the event in Analytics.

Lastly, import the Analytics goal into Google Ads.

8) Facebook Tracking Pixel

It’s true, we can also track Facebook conversions! When it comes to Facebook, there are a few things to be aware of.

The Pixel Base Code

The pixel base code must be installed on every page to track conversions because it’s used to track pageviews.

With the pixel base code’s advanced matching, it allows information like emails and names to be passed to Facebook. Why do you want this? Because it allows matching users beyond the use of cookies. With this, Facebook can claim up to a 10% increase in attributable actions.

Custom Conversion (Rule-Based)

This type of custom conversion is based on URL rules and is created within Ads Manager. You’ll definitely want to use this when your conversion is based on your confirmation pages.

Standard Events (Code-Based)

Standard events are required for dynamic product remarketing! They are used to track events beyond page views, most commonly used with purchase and lead. Standard events can also pass back unique values like revenue and product IDs.

Pixel Helper

Talk about a pro tip! If you haven’t used the pixel helper, you need to. This is a Chrome plugin that reports pixel activity, including errors and allows you to check the on-page behavior of a pixel.

Can you believe it? That’s it! We’ve made it through the basics of conversion tracking for PPC managers. To benefit from more Brainlabs resources, head back over to our library.