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Conversion Tracking for PPC Managers [The Basics]

Produced by Hanapin Marketing

Confused by conversion tracking? Trust us, you’re not the only one. Our Hanapin experts recently went back to the basics (because even experts need a refresher!) of conversion tracking in one of our monthly training sessions, and we want to walk through the basics with you, too.


In this whitepaper, we’ll discuss specific troubleshooting within Google Analytics, how to check Google Analytics and AdWords goals, Facebook tracking, Google call tracking, and tons of other goodies, so buckle up!






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





Boom! Done. But wait…now what do you do? Of course, just like your 5th grade math teacher pounded into your head way too many times, CHECK YOUR WORK. There are a few things you want to ensure before you move forward:


  1. Which goals are on & tracking? How many conversions have they had in the last 7 days?
  2. What types of goals are tracking?
  3. 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 going to make event fields really easy for you:



Need more direction on Event Tracking implementation? Check out THIS help site and THIS help site!




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



All Pages


If you’re using a destination goal (aka, 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.





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


1. Track using the Google AdWords tag

2. Import Analytics Goals into AdWords

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


First, with the AdWords conversion tag, check to make sure the tag is actually installed properly, using Tag Assistant or GTM debugger. Secondly, in Google 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 Google Analytics, ensure that the goal is set up properly (see a pattern here?


Success starts at the set up!), and that the Google Analytics tag is placed on every page. Then, make sure the correct AdWords 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 this table.


At a glance: Tracking differences between Goals, Transactions, and AdWords Conversions.


So, if your head is exploding, here are some Google Analytics takeaways:


  1. The GA tag needs to be on every page on your site. Especially on your thank you page!
  2. The goals need to be set up correctly! Some questions to ask yourself: Is it on and recording?
  3. Are you using the right thank you page? Are you using the right destination (i.e. contains, equals, regular expression)? VERIFY the goal before you click save!
  4.  AdWords and Analytics should be linked!




It’s true, you too can track Facebook conversions! When it comes to Facebook, like all things, there are a few things to be aware of.


The Pixel Base Code


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



With the pixel base code’s advanced matching, this allows information like one’s email, name etc. to be passed to Facebook. Why do you want this? Because it allows matching users beyond the use of cookies. That’s right, throw those cookies away! (Bad joke). With this, Facebook claims up to a 10% increase in attributable traffic, conversions, etc.



Custom Conversion (Rule Based)


This type of custom conversion is based on URL rules, and is created from 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 pageviews, 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 plug in that reports pixel activity, including errors, and allows you to check the on-page behavior of a pixel.



Facebook Takeaways


Some things to remember with Facebook conversion tracking:


  1. Pixel base code needs to be on every page, and use Pixel Helper to verify pixel placement.
  2. Use custom conversions or standard events to track KPI’s. Note: dynamic product remarketing needs specialized values within standard events
  3. Utilize the pixel helper to troubleshoot!




Let’s dive into Google conversion tracking. From the beginning, you’ll go into AdWords and into Tools > Conversions > Add Conversions.



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



Tools > Conversions > Webpages




Call Tracking


In order to set up Google call tracking, go to Tools > Conversions > Add Conversions > Track Calls > Source of Phone Call.




When setting up your call tracking in Google, the first step is to set your call action settings, including name, call length, window, phone number, and install code.



Secondly, go into Select Campaign > Ad extensions > Add Extension > Add Phone Number. And voila! Hello call tracking.





Now that we’ve gone through how to track Google conversions, you probably guessed what was next: Bing. 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 AdWords.





What even is this sorcery? Google Tag Manager is (brace yourself)…a management platform for your tags. Bet you didn’t see that coming.

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 in the <head> and one at the opening <body>, which you can find under Admin > Install Tag Manager.



What kind of tags can I implement?


Answer: almost all of them, with exceptions of course. These tags are available as custom HTML or integrated. Look at all those tag types!



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 in 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, and adds consistency across all tags, and can also be used as triggers.





When working with this tag, simply follow these main steps, so beautifully organized in this table:



Be sure to choose the right business type, such as retail, local deals, jobs, real estate, etc. If you choose retail as your business type, you’ll use GMC as feed. But all others use Business Data. If your vertical doesn’t have a business type, just choose Custom. And be sure that your tag’s custom parameter ID value matches your feed ID value.


With tagging, you need to develop a strategy. Each use case has its own set of tag parameters to be implemented, and there are three different ways to place the tag. Don’t forget to implement the RMKT tag on your desktop and mobile sites, but note that mobile apps are not yet available for RMKT.


Updating Your Tag

If you already have a standard remarketing tag and want to start using dynamic remarketingyou 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.



Can you believe it? That’s it! We’ve made it through the basics of conversion tracking for PPC managers. We hope this was insightful and can be a great guide for you to look back on as you succeed in conversion tracking in the future!