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Google Ads Conversion Tracking: This Is Why You’re Getting Bad Results

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Google Ads have proven to bring amazing results to many small businesses by letting them outperform their competition and drive sales.

However, tracking Google Ads conversions isn’t particularly a piece of cake, especially if you’re new to it. Without having everything set up correctly, you might be pouring your ad budget down the drain before you know it.

Have you been wondering recently why your Google Ads campaigns aren’t bringing expected results? Then you have probably forgotten to import your Google Analytics goals to Google Ads.

In this article, I’m going to show you why it’s critical to set up your Google Analytics goals and feed Google’s Algorithm with valuable data to track Google Ads conversions accurately. Scroll down for a step by step guide.

How to Set Up Google Analytics Goals for Google Ads?

Google Analytics is a platform that shows all your online marketing results and website traffic, including acquisition, audience, behavior, and conversions. That’s why it’s essential to link Google Analytics to Google Ads, export your goals, and use them as Google Ads conversions.

Google Analytics provides businesses with the ability to see the traffic pertaining to a Google Ad Campaign that did not lead to a conversion. Integrating Google Analytics will allow your company the means to adjust your ad structure (keywords, bidding, demographics, etc) as needed. Optimization of Google Ads through routine monitoring and strategy implementation with Google Analytics will lead to an overall improved ROI

Even Google emphasizes that these two platforms are a powerful mandatory pairing. So, here’s how you can make sure you’re getting the most out of them.

Step 1: Set Up Google Analytics on All Website Pages

Firstly, you need to have a Google Analytics account. If you don’t have one yet, you can go ahead and sign up for one right now.

Then you need to create a property for your website. Once you’ve done that, you’ll get a tracking code which you need to install on your website.

Not sure how to find your tracking ID? No worries, here you go:

Open your Google Analytics Account → click ‘Admin’ in the bottom left corner → go to the ‘Account’ column → choose the account you want to find the tracking code for → find the property from the ‘Property’ column → find ‘Tracking Info’ & click it.

Then click ‘Tracking Code’ → you’ll see your tracking ID (beginning with UA) under the ‘All Website Data’ drop-down menu.

Then click ‘Tracking Code’ → you’ll see your tracking ID (beginning with UA) under the ‘All Website Data’ drop-down menu.

Step 2: Link Your Google Analytics Account to Google Ads (Adwords)

Now that you figured out your Google Analytics account and set up the tracking code on your website, it’s time to connect Google Analytics to your Google Ads account.

Go to your Google Analytics account → select ‘Admin’ → go to ‘Property’ → select ‘Google Ads Linking.’

Then click the ‘+New Link Group’ red button → select the checkbox next to any Google Ads accounts you want to link with your Google Analytics property.

*Note: You should ensure that your destination URLs are tagged. If you followed the steps I provided above, then auto-tagging was automatically enabled in your Google Ads account.

Setting up Google Analytics goals are crucial, especially when spending on paid ads. The reason being, you need to understand the exact value and ROI of the ads that you are running. Goals can be very specific and most sophisticated companies will set up 8-10 custom goals to track user behavior, and other important user interactions and revenue coming from the ads that are being run.

Step 3: Create Goals in Google Analytics

This step is very important to measure properly all the actions taken on website (e.g., filling out a form, making a purchase, etc.) If you don’t set up your goals, you WILL NOT be able to see any results. And no matter how much money you spend on marketing.

If you don’t tell Google what you want to measure, it won’t measure anything, and your advertising efforts will make no sense. No goals → bad (aka zero) results.

Tracking conversions for Google ads is a must and not even an option. When you don’t track conversions, you’re not collecting enough data on how your ads are performing and your ads can’t further optimize better to target the right end-user.

Eric Siemek | Director of Search at Youtech

Here’s how you can create Google Analytics goals.

Go to your Google Analytics dashboard → click ‘Admin’ → find ‘View Settings’ → click ‘Goals’ underneath.

Then press the ‘+ New Goal’ button.

Follow the Goal Setup instructions and make sure you know what you want to measure. Is it revenue, acquisition, inquiries, or engagement?

The next step is to choose the type of goal. It means that you already have to know which of these goal types will work best for what you want to measure. In most cases, you’re probably going to end up combining a few of them.

Firstly, you should always track the goals which are closely tied to revenue. For eCommerce, these would be sales; for B2B – demos booked, for service-based businesses – lead form submissions. Secondly, you should track soft conversions. They are part of the funnel and contribute to the overall selling cycle. Examples can be: adding a product to cart, visiting the Contact Us page, etc.

So, there are four types of goals:

  • Destination: If you want to know whether a user visits/sees a specific page of your website, for example, a checkout page. With this goal, you’ll be able to measure website pageviews as conversions.
  • Duration: If you want to know how much time a user spends on your page. This goal will help you count every time someone spends a specific amount of time (set by you) as a conversion. You can learn more about users that actively engage with your content.
  • Pages/Screens per session: If you want to count a set number of pages a user views per session as a conversion. It’s another way to track your engaged site visitors.
  • Event: If you want to know how a user interacts with your website. Is it watching a video, adding a product to a cart, pressing a ‘Share’ button, or any other action? With this goal, you’ll be able to learn whether users complete specific action before they get to the destination page view. Check out Google’s Guide for more information about setting up this goal.

*Note: Don’t forget to press ‘Verify this Goal’ at the end of the setup process to test your goal.

Setting up Google Analytics goals when running Google Ads is critical to your Ad campaign success. Without setting Google Analytics goals, it would be like throwing money into a fire because you wouldn’t know how many new customers and sales you generated from your Google Ads campaign. Setting goals in Google Analytics isn’t enough, though, you need to set the right goals. You want your goals to focus on filling your sales pipeline with as many new and potential customers as possible.

So, if you’re a service-based business, you’d want to track phone calls from your website and track each time somebody fills out a contact form or sends you an email directly from your website. And if you run an eCommerce business selling products, then you probably want to set goals to measure each time a person visits your checkout page and whenever somebody completes an order on your site. By setting up the right goals in Google Analytics, you’ll be able to calculate the return on investment from your Google Ads spend and make sure you’re not wasting any money.

In Google Analytics, you’re also able to set up custom goals for your specific business needs (e.g., a gravity form goal.) However, it takes time and experience to be able to determine and set up your goals correctly. That’s why you might consider getting expert advice before doing it by yourself. For instance, we always make sure to tailor Google Analytics goals to the needs of our Google Ads Management clients.

Step 4: Import Your Google Analytics Goals into Google Ads

After you linked your Google Analytics and Google Ads accounts, you might need to wait 1-2 hours before all the imports are ready. Now, it’s time for the most crucial action – adding your Google Analytics goals to Google Ads.

We prefer to set up event and goal tracking in Analytics and then import them into Google Ads. The reason for this is you want to have consistent conversion tracking across all your digital channels, not just Google Ads. This also enables you to compare Ads conversions against SEO, email, and social channels as long as they all use the same landing page.

Open your Google Ads account → click the ‘Tools & Settings’ tab at the top right → find ‘Measurement’ → then click ‘Conversions.’

Then press the blue plus sign to add new conversions.

Next, choose ‘Import conversions from another system.’

Finally, select Google Analytics as your import source and click continue.

Once you’ve checked the boxes with goals you want to import, click ‘Continue’ and then ‘Done.’

Now, you’ll be able to see your recent goal conversions reported in both Google Analytics and Google Ads.

Want to check your Google Ads Goal Conversions reported in Google Analytics?

Go to the ‘Reporting’ → click ‘Conversion’s –> press ‘Overview’ → find ‘Source/Medium’ → then choose ‘Google/CPC.’

Want to check your Google Analytics Goal Conversion in Google Ads?Go to ‘Tools’ and then press ‘Conversions.’

Setting up goals allows the company to leverage the analytical power of Google Analytics to understand campaign performance. For example, the company can segment campaign performance by certain landing pages, user segments or devices. This allows the company to learn far more about its Google Ads Campaigns, which results in increased ROI and a better understanding of customer behavior.

*Note: Be careful when dealing with the following settings:

  1. Count in conversion or not
    If you check ‘yes’, the algorithm will optimize the campaign for all the conversions. So, you might want to count forms submission and sales but not page views, for example.
  2. Attribution model
    Google Analytics reports on the last click by default. For instance, if you come to the website by clicking on an ad, then directly, then via social media, the social media source will be counted as a conversion.

With Google Ads, you can choose between ‘first click’, ‘last click’, ‘linear’, ‘time decay’, ‘position-based’, or ‘data-driven’ attribution models. The ‘first click’ can be a good setting to measure ad campaign results, but you will get a slightly different reporting in Google Analytics and Google Ads.

Final Words

When it comes to paid advertising, setting relevant goals is essential. They let you provide Google’s Algorithm with better conversion data and track all your digital marketing efforts effectively.

It might be challenging to configure the right Google Analytics goals for your business, yet it’s obligatory to add them to your Google Ads. By doing so, you’ll be able to analyze and optimize your Google Ads campaigns more efficiently and measure the actions that matter the most.

So if your Google Ads campaigns are bringing you zero ROI, now you know what might be the possible reason for that. And if you want someone to help you boost your sales, we can kick start your Google Ads today!

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Damien Bouvier
Damien Bouvier
Damien is the co-founder of Zima Media and is a Google and data-certified professional with an MBA in information technology. For several yearsm he has conducted technology audits, provided consulting services, and implemented data projects for businesses across varying industries.
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