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TPE #8: more conversions with these tracking best practices

Sep 12, 2022

Read time: 5 minutes

Welcome back to the PPC Edge! In this issue, we’ll show you how you can increase conversions by 6-20% by making a few small adjustments to your tracking setup.

Solid conversion tracking is the backbone of your Google Ads performance. However, whenever we do audits, we often see suboptimal tracking setups.

That’s why we’ve made a list of our best practices that you can apply to increase conversions in your own account, without making any changes to your campaigns.

Let’s dive right in!

 

Google Ads conversion tracking best practices

First, let’s take a look at the best practices. Then, we’ll dive deeper into why and some real-life examples of improved conversion tracking from our own accounts.

  1. Use the Google Ads Tag for primary conversion goal(s)
  2. Use enhanced conversions to track more
  3. Use data-driven attribution to attribute better
  4. Use events from Google Analytics as backup (secondary) conversion goal(s)
  5. Optional: use offline conversion tracking to improve conversion quality

On average, if you follow these best practices, you can see an uplift of 6-20% in conversions without making any changes to your campaigns.

Let’s continue by diving deeper into every best practice and some real-life data.

1. Use the Google Ads Tag for primary conversion goal(s)

The biggest mistake people make with conversion tracking: only importing Google Analytics events as Google Ads conversions. If you want to measure as many conversions as possible, you need to use the Google Ads Tag. Here’s why:

You can track more conversions: cross-device, view-through, engaged-view and enhanced conversions. Let’s look at some data, comparing tracking from Google Analytics events with Google Ads conversion goals:

Example 1: +44% more conversions with Google Ads conversion goals:

 

 

 

 

Example 2: +43% more conversions with Google Ads conversion goals:

 

 

 

These results are not typical. In some accounts, we may see differences of 5-20%. The bottom line is that the Google Ads conversion goals are simply better at tracking more conversions.

The conversion uplifts may come from:

Ability to track view-through conversions (whenever a Display/video ad impression leads to a conversion with your view-through conversion window). 

These conversions are NOT in your conversion column by default, so Smart Bidding doesn’t optimize for view-through conversions.

Ability to track engaged-view conversions (counted when a user watches at least 10 seconds of a video ad on YouTube/GDN or watches the entire skippable in-stream ad, if it’s shorter than 10 seconds, and then converts within the Engaged-view conversion window). 

These conversions are included in your conversion column by default, so Smart Bidding does optimize for engaged-view conversions. This is especially important with Performance Max, Display and YouTube campaigns. 

Pro tip: if you want to see how many engaged-view conversions your campaigns are getting, create a segment (segment > conversions > ad event type):

 

 

 

 

Ability to track cross-device conversions (whenever a user is logged in with a Google account on multiple devices, conversions can be measured accordingly).

These functions are unique to Google Ads conversion goals and impossible to use with imported events/goals from Google Analytics.

 

2. Use enhanced conversions to track more

 

Google introduced enhanced conversions as a counter against conversion tracking preventions (iOS14 anyone?). It’s a bit of a technical setup, but once set up correctly, you can see 6-10% extra conversions (especially on video campaigns):

 
 

3. Use data-driven attribution to attribute better

Let’s keep it short: with data-driven attribution, your conversion will be attributed better across various campaigns that lead to a conversion. We still see a lot of accounts without data-driven attribution enabled. There are some cases where last or first click attribution models make sense, but 90% of the time we recommend data-driven attribution.


4. Use events from Google Analytics as backup (secondary) conversion goal(s)

 

We recommend to use events/goals from Google Analytics as backup secondary conversion goals for when your primary Google Ads conversion goals stop working. We hope this never happens, but a small change to your website code can break your conversion tracking. That’s why you want a backup put in place. Set it up as a secondary conversion, so Smart Bidding doesn’t optimize for this goal.

 

5. Use offline conversion tracking to improve conversion quality

 

A great way to improve conversion tracking quality is by using offline conversion imports. You can use this to overwrite data, add more conversions, add conversion values for lead gen and more. We could write a full-length e-book on offline conversion tracking, so we won’t dive into much detail now.

 
 

Setting up new conversion goals? Be careful - do this

 

Are you only using imported goals from Google Analytics, and do you want to optimize your setup by implementing Google Ads conversion goals? Don’t just set up the new conversion goal and switch cold turkey. Your new conversion goal needs to gather data first (preferably 30 days).

Making changes to your conversion tracking can have a huge (temporary) impact on your performance and Smart Bidding. 

Therefore, we recommend the following procedure:

  1. Set up conversion goal with the Google Ads tag
  2. Set action optimization to secondary
  3. Gather data for 30 days
  4. Check tracking quality
  5. Make the switch
 

Best practices recap

Use our best practices and watch how your conversions will go up, without making changes to your campaigns:

 
  1. Use the Google Ads Tag for primary conversion goal(s)
  2. Use enhanced conversions to track more
  3. Use data-driven attribution to attribute better
  4. Use events from Google Analytics as backup (secondary) conversion goal(s)
  5. Optional: use offline conversion tracking to improve conversion quality
 

Good luck and thanks for reading The PPC Edge!

Bob & Miles


Thanks for reading, see you again next week.

 

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