PPC Conversion Tracking: What is it and what can you measure?

ppc conversion tracking google ads

PPC conversion tracking is often overlooked, but is an essential part of your paid reporting. Tracking all the regular metrics like clicks and impressions is important, but understanding your ad’s impact on your bottom line is vital.

Look at it this way.

So your Google Ads are all set up. We’re going to assume you’re correctly tracking them (but if you’re not, here’s a handy how-to guide), and you’re watching your ads and keywords generate an impressive number of impressions and clicks.

That’s exactly what you want, right? Wrong.

While impressions and clicks are important metrics to track, you can’t see how many of those then result in sales without Google Ads conversion tracking.


What is PPC Conversion Tracking?

Google Ads conversion tracking is a powerful tool that lets you identify how well your ad campaign is performing by measuring lead generation, sales, downloads and other key actions that occur after a customer interacts with your ads.

The data you get allows you to identify what’s working and what isn’t, so you can optimise your ads, your copy, your keywords and your landing pages accordingly. Once you’ve identified your chosen conversions, it’s easy to set your PPC conversion tracking up across all of your campaigns.


Editor’s note: Are you a B2B or high-value eCommerce business? PPC conversion tracking alongside marketing attribution tools like Ruler Analytics allow you to see the full buyer’s journey regardless of whether your customer converts online or offline. Ruler Analytics is an official Google partner. Our offline conversion tracking integrates with your website, CRM and Google Ads so that you can match leads to revenue and evidence which campaigns drove offline sales. Learn more here.

Book a demo with our team today to find out how you can connect the dots between your marketing and sales data.Book a demo Ruler Analytics


Types of conversion tracking

There are a wide range of conversions that you can track using Google Ads. Here are the four main groups to get you started:

1) Webpage: If you want customers to track an action on your webpage, such as an online purchase, a form submission, or content download

2) Call on-site: If you want to track phone calls from a mobile device.

3) App download: If you want to track app downloads (both for Android and iOS) or app purchase activity

4) Import: If you use offline conversions such as phone calls, or use a sales team to nurture form submissions, then you can import your offline conversion data.

Find out how to optimise your Google Ads campaign with offline conversion tracking


Why do you need PPC Conversion Tracking?

If you’re an eCommerce business, then you can see revenue generation directly in Google Analytics and Google Ads. However, you can’t track your lead generation quite so clearly in Google Analytics. PPC conversion tracking takes the guesswork (and maths) out of collating figures to ensure there’s no data gaps. And, if you’re a business that operates B2B or sells high-value products via eCommerce, then chances are you’re relying on a sales team to convert leads offline.

As such, lead generation tracking is essential to understanding ROAS (return on ad spend) of your PPC advertising. And the best bit about PPC conversion tracking is that Google Ads is smart enough to take your data and automatically convert it into audience profiles, meaning you can paint a clear picture of your customers.

So, we know what Google Ads conversion tracking is and why it’s useful. How do we set it up?

Google Ads PPC Conversion Tracking: Basic Setup Guide

Setting up Google Ads conversion tracking does require adding HTML code into your website, particularly into pages customers will visit immediately after completing a particular campaign e.g. an order confirmation page.


Create a conversion action

Get started by clicking, Tools and Analysis tab in Google Ads and then select Conversions from the drop-down menu.


You’ll be taken to the All conversions page. Click on the conversions tab and then click the +conversion button to create your first conversion.


Click website. Select a conversion type, e.g book an appointment or sign-up.


Next to the ‘Conversion name’, enter a name for the conversion you want to track. This could be ‘newsletter sign up’ or ‘contact us form submission’. This name will be used to identify conversions in reports.

Then, next to value, select how to track the value of each conversion. You can add an amount that reflects the value of the action. Or, you can use real costs to track prices. You’ll need to customise your tag to track transaction-specific values.

Next to count, select how to count your conversions. ‘One’ is best for leads, when only one conversion per ad click adds value for your business, e.g. a sign-up form. ‘Every’ is best for sales, where every conversion adds value, e.g. a sale.



Then, click conversion window. Here you can choose how long you want to track conversions for. The maximum length is 90 days. Then click view-through conversion window. This max is 30 days.

Click to include in ‘conversions’. This setting (which is defaulted), lets you decide if you want to include data in your reporting column. Finally, select your attribution type. Ideally, you would select data-driven but you need a certain amount of conversion data to use this model.


Click create and continue. The screen will show you’ve created your conversion action.

The next step is to set up your tag on your website.


Set up your conversion tracking tag

To set up website conversion tracking for the first time, you’ll need to add two code snippets to your website: the global site tag and the event snippet.

The global site tag needs to be coded into every page of your website. You only need one global site tag for each Google Ads account. Meanwhile, every conversion you want to track needs its own event snippet and needs to be installed on the site page for which you want to track that conversion.

There are two ways to install your tags:

Option 1: Install the tag yourself
Option 2: Use Google Tag Manager

Here’s an easy walk-through from Google themselves on how to add the conversion tracking tag regardless of which method you choose.


Analysing Your Google Ads Conversion Data

Once your conversion tracking is all set up, you can start reporting.

You’ll find all the data on your conversions in the Campaigns tab at the ad group, ads, and keywords levels. Click the Columns tab, then Conversions, to customise which columns appear.


Google Ads conversion tracking metrics to take note of

Some of the basic columns include:

Conv. (1-per-click): Counts each time you receive one or more conversions from a single ad-click. You can use this number to approximate the number of new customers you’re getting.

Cost / conv. (1-per-click): Displays your cost (how much you spent on clicks) divided by your total conversions. This helps you measure your return on investment (ROI). Ideally, you should be spending less on clicks than you’re earning on conversions.

Conv. rate (1-per-click): Shows the percentage of clicks that resulted in conversions. The higher the percentage, the more effectively the ads or keywords are performing.

View-through conv.: Measures the number of times a customer viewed, but did not click on, your ad and later went through with a conversion.



How to get the most out of Google Ads conversion tracking


Limitations of PPC conversion tracking

There are three main reasons why PPC conversion tracking, in isolation, isn’t enough to understand your marketing and its impact on sales.


Call tracking is unique to PPC Google Ads

Call conversion tracking is a necessary tool when setting up PPC campaigns. But what about all those calls you’re generating from organic search, or through social?

If your Google ads play a role at engaging users at the start of their buyer’s journey, but users are converting by different channels then it’s likely your adverts aren’t being fully attributed.

Call quality isn’t considered

While Google Ads does use call duration to determine if a conversion occurred, it doesn’t monitor the call itself. As such, you might be generating 100 phone calls, but 80 of those don’t fit your product or service. Is the PPC ad therefore generating high quality leads? The short answer is no!

A lead doesn’t guarantee a sale

While it’s great to track leads, only tracking leads means you’re missing vital data. Do you know how many of those leads are converting into sales? And how are you tracking the individual journey’s of users clicking on your ads?


How to link PPC conversion tracking to Ruler Analytics

To unlock the data you need to measure conversions, not just leads, in Google Ads, then you need a solution that can capture your online and offline interactions throughout the entire conversion path and can support long, and complex sales journeys.

Ruler’s marketing attribution solution seamlessly connects your visitor, lead and sales data to campaigns in Google Ads.

Once you successfully close the loop between your offline sales and marketing activity, you can determine which campaigns, ads and keywords are driving the most value.


Learn more about offline conversion tracking and how you can use smart bidding to optimise your PPC campaigns. We spoke to Odolena Kostova, Account Manager at Google, for her insight into smart bidding whether you’re new or experienced. 


Here’s how it works:

1. Ruler tracks each anonymous visitor to the website over multiple sessions, traffic sources and keywords.
2. When a visitor converts, data is captured via form, call tracking or live chat on your website.
3. Ruler matches the real user’s details with their marketing touchpoints and fires this to your CRM. Marketing data includes channel, source, campaign, keyword and/or landing page.
4. Ruler’s attribution solution allows you to analyse the impact throughout the entire sales cycle. Once the opportunity is closed into revenue, Ruler passes this data back to your Google Analytics and paid media tools so that you can report on revenue.

Marketing without proper understanding of its impact on revenue means you’re essentially marketing blind. Integrating Ruler Analytics with your website, CRM and Google Ads means you can unlock powerful data.


You’ll be able to:
  • Evidence marketing impact: Provide proof of your most successful marketing campaigns in driving offline sales and demonstrate your impact on revenue growth.
  • Drive higher quality leads: Match revenue to leads in one place for better insight into how your most profitable leads behave.
  • Get more from your Google Ads spend: Focus your time on the campaigns that generate the most revenue – and not just offline conversions.


We know how difficult proving your ad campaign impact on sales can be. There are so many factors to consider, it’d take a lot of time, and a lot of guesswork to even begin matching sales back to your marketing. Take the hard work out of measurement with Ruler Analytics by booking a demo. Or, if you want to learn more, download our offline conversion tracking eBook for more on how you can improve your reporting.

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Written by

Digital Marketing Manager at Ruler Analytics with experience in SEO, content marketing and social. After working both in-house for a travel firm and at an agency, I help people (who used to be me) attribute their revenue to their marketing efforts.