Tracking conversions in Google Analytics

04 August 2017

Tracking conversions in Google Analytics

Conversion tracking simply means keeping a record of each time you succeed in prompting a customer to take an action you consider to be beneficial. This could mean clicking a specific link on your website (for example to make a purchase or sign up for a newsletter), downloading an app or calling you.

This data is essential for measuring the performance of your pay-per-click advertising and optimising it to deliver the best value for your money.

Conversion tracking covers more than just websites

When people think of conversion tracking, probably the first thought which comes to their mind is probably tracking what happens after a customer clicks on a PPC link, but actually the concept has much broader scope. For example, you can track app downloads and in-app purchases, and you can even track offline activity, such as phone calls made to a number shown in an advert.

How to set up conversion tracking for your website

Sign into your AdWords account, click on Tools and select Conversion. Click the button market +Conversion. As already mentioned, you will see a number of potential sources for the conversion; choose the one marked “Website”.

Choose your conversion give it a meaningful name and click Done. Generally speaking, you want to be as specific about this as you reasonably can be, to make your life easier as time passes. For example, naming a conversion “Purchase” might be all very well in the early days, but setting up at least a minimal structure now e.g. Purchase Product A, Purchase Product B etc. may pay dividends later on.

Set your various options, remember to click Done after each.

Click “Value”. Choose whether or not a conversion value should be applied to this type of conversion and if so whether it should be fixed or variable.

Click “Count”. Choose “Every” when literally every conversion counts or “One” if only the first conversion really has meaning.

Click “Conversion Window”. For how long after each click should conversions be tracked? You can set values for standard adverts and display network adverts.

Click “Category” – Use categories to segment reports. These can be easily updated.

Click “Attribution Model” – Use this to decide who gets credit for the conversion. This is an important point when it comes to allocating resources effectively.

Click Save and continue

This will generate a conversion tracking tag, which you then export and add to your website.

A word on attribution models

These days, it’s entirely possible for customers to have multiple interactions with adverts before they finally make a meaningful action. This raises the question of which click should get the credit for the conversion. The options are:

  • last click (last advert touched gets all the credit);
  • first click (first advert touched gets all the credit);
  • linear (clicks share credit equally);
  • time decay (credit is shared but the clicks closest to the conversion get the most credit);
  • position-based (first and last clicks get 40% credit each and the remaining 20% is shared);
  • data-driven (data on past conversions is used to assign credit, only available where there is sufficient data).

The choice of attribution model can make a significant impact on how adverts are perceived to have performed and is therefore worthy of serious thought.