Boost Your Business With Adwords Conversion Tracking

adwords conversion tracking

Have you ever wondered how to precisely measure the effectiveness of your latest ad?

Do you find yourself “guestimating” the impact of your advertising campaigns?


Wonder no more!

AdWords conversion tracking highlights every customer’s journey after clicking on your advertisement.

Did they make a purchase? What about sign up for your newsletter? Or did the customer visit your page and leave again in a few seconds?

The AdWords conversion tracking tool provides an answer to all these questions.

Here’s what you need to know:

Conversion Tracking 101

Google’s AdWords conversion tracking is an invaluable tool for any business running ads.

It tells you what you’re doing right, but more importantly, the data shows what you’re doing wrong.

For example, if your ad drives customers to your site, but they leave right after, you know your ads are driving interest.

But the problem is they’re not converting to sales.

And if an increase in sales and revenue is your overall goal, then something went wrong.

Basically, conversion tracking lets you know changes are required for greater success. Plus, it stops you from continuing to run a faulty ad.

Running ads that don’t convert doesn’t just cost you money up front. It puts off an increase in revenue for another day.

So, now you know you want AdWords conversion tracking. Here’s how you use it:

Here’s how you use it:

Goals, Goals, Goals

If you’re new to Google Analytics or haven’t set up goals yet, you’ve arrived at the first stop on the AdWords conversion tracking train.

Goals are basically conversions in the Google world.

If you’re already set up on Google Analytics, goals will be set up for the whole site. But you’ll need to create goals for individual pages if you want to measure it on specific actions.

Now, you don’t technically need to use the goals function on Analytics. The AdWords tracking itself (as explained below) works well on its own.

We recommend using the Goals in addition to AdWords conversion tracking data.

Analytics goals provide more options among sources than conversions along. They allow you to track behaviors like video clicks – not just major actions like sales.

Essentially, it allows you to learn more about consumer behavior in addition to measuring conversions.

And as we know, more knowledge equates to advertisements that convert!

Setting Up AdWords Conversion Tracking

The first essential step is to link your Adwords account to your Analytics account so they can share their data.

If you haven’t already, here’s how:

  1. Log in to Google Analytics
  2. Select Admin
  3. Choose “Property”

Then, head over to your Adwords account. To import the data from Analytics, find the Tools menu and choose “Conversions.”

Google will then convert your Analytics goals over to your AdWords account and begin tracking conversions.

Once your accounts are connected, set up the conversion tool.

Before setting up the conversion tracking tool in AdWords, you need to determine what stats you want to track.

You’ll need to start by choosing your source.

AdWords conversion tracking can look at the following sources:

  • Websites
  • Apps
  • Phones
  • Imports

The way tracking works changes according to the source chosen.

For example, website conversion tracking informs you when customers do something on your website. “Something” could be completing a purchase, clicking a button, or signing up for a newsletter or waitlist.

Choosing the tracking for your app lets you know when the app is installed or when a customer uses the app to perform an action.

If you included a phone number on your ad or your site, the phone tracking tool lets you know when it’s clicked on. It also tells you when a customer calls you from the site.

Tracking conversions through imports requires you to upload offline data. For example, if a customer makes a purchase in your office based on your ad, you can upload it here.

Combined with the Analytics goals, you can see how it’s possible to tailor AdWords conversion tracking to measure the impact of virtually any ad on consumer behavior.

How to Track Conversions Over Time

You’ve learned how to set up tracking, but there are a few reports you need to know as well.

Google’s comparison tool allows you to easily compare current periods to previous ones.

It effectively allows you to track conversions over time.

It also tempts you into looking at your data 24/7/365.

If you’re one of those people, you might notice conversions on a downward trend compared to previous periods.

Negative trends are generally a cause for concern. But that’s not always an accurate reading of the data.

Downward spirals appear because AdWords looks at the ad’s impression date – not the conversion date.

Data for the ad changes because not all conversions take place on the day of the impression.

Remember the $500 carry-on suitcase you saw an ad for? Did you buy it immediately? Or did you do a bit of research before taking the plunge?

Reading the data requires familiarity with how long your conversions take on average.

Remember, a big purchase might convert slower than an ad for a flash sale.

Frederick Vallaeys, one of the creators of AdWords, calls this the conversion lag

Vallaeys recommends using the “Time Lag” report, found in Conversion Funnels, to achieve this. The report provides you with the data on conversions as well as how long it takes them to happen.

Adjusting the settings for the “conversation window” in this tool is a good way to better understand your conversion lag.

If the report shows the average conversion takes two weeks to occur, then set the window to a longer timeframe. A longer conversation window allows you to better account for conversions made long after an impression.

Looking at these reports is important for nailing your conversion rate. If you’re too eager, you might deface a perfectly good ad. 


Google’s own tools are invaluable for measuring the strength of your advertisements.

AdWords conversion tracking is no exception.

Use Analytics and AdWords together to better measure and understand your customer’s behavior and create better ads.

Looking for more strategies to boost your website traffic? Check out our own list of best practices for high traffic websites.