Conversion tracking tells you if your digital marketing programs — like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising — actually make you any money.
Ask yourself these simple questions to determine if you should be tracking conversions:
- Do you have an e-commerce site that sells products or services online?
- Do you collect business leads online?
- Can visitors get a demo or download a file after filling out a form?
- Can customers request quotes online?
- Can visitors sign up for email newsletters?
- Do you post coupons for visitors to redeem either online or at a brick-and-mortar location?
If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then you should immediately implement conversion tracking for at least your PPC advertising.
If you answered no to all of the questions and the only call to action on your website is to make a phone call, then you should have call tracking set up for your PPC campaigns.
What is Conversion Tracking?
Conversion tracking maps an action that a visitor takes on a website back to other data for that visit, allowing deeper analysis in web analytics programs.
It enables you to monitor the success of your PPC campaigns down to the individual keyword level.
Setting up conversion tracking requires placing small snippets of code on your website. Google, Microsoft, Yahoo/Verizon, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, Snapchat and even Twitter all provide the needed conversion tracking codes free of charge. You only need to copy the codes provided by the platforms, then paste them into the HTML of the web page that indicates that an action took place.
For example, if an order confirmation page loads, an order likely took place that triggered that order confirmation page. Inserting the tracking code on the order confirmation page would therefore enable you to track the data for all of your orders.
Minor changes can also be made to track revenue value of orders, form completion, and other actions that result in a specific page load.
Using Google’s free Tag Manager makes implementing conversion tracking even easier, allowing you to set up multiple third-party tracking codes in one place with only two snippets of code added to your website. Google Tag Manager also helps with privacy issues that will affect conversion tracking as Google makes changes to their first-party and third-party tracking policies.
Conversion Tracking for PPC
As mentioned earlier, you can track conversions and revenue from successfully completed orders on your site. Since you can trace that data to a specific keyword (or Audience, depending on campaign type), you can see the actual sales that were generated by that keyword and calculate its return on ad spend (ROAS). In this way, you can determine your profitability and decide how to allocate your budget.
If your primary action on your website is a lead, you’ll be able to see what your cost per acquisition (CPA) is. Once you have a baseline CPA, you can start to figure out what your goal needs to be for your campaigns to be cost-effective.
Conversion tracking gives you the ability to determine the value of your ad campaigns. You’ll know if the money you are spending is bringing you business. You’ll be able to make better decisions about where to spend your marketing dollars based on hard data.
Don’t throw your advertising dollars away on a wish and a prayer. Make your budget work harder and smarter by putting conversion tracking in place today.
Note: This post was originally written June 18, 2008, and was substantially updated June 23, 2021.