Google Ads Conversion Tracking Tag

Conversion tracking is an important step in PPC management. Without conversion tracking, marketers have an incomplete picture of what happens when a customer clicks an ad and visits their website.

Do they perform the desired conversion activity? Do they browse the site? Or, do they just return to the search engine results page (SERP). Without conversion tracking enabled, it’s anyone’s guess.

While conversion tracking is crucial, it is also challenging to install correctly. When marketers don’t properly enable this script, it can lead to very damaging decisions. It’s like entering the wrong location into your GPS. You’ll still receive turn-by-turn instructions, but not to the right destination.

In this discussion, you’ll learn about conversion tracking and how to add a conversion tracking tag to your website.

Step 1: Before Getting Started

Your first step should be to prepare the necessary materials. Setting up conversion tracking requires both a website and a Google Ads account. You’ll need to have access to both, including the ability to edit your website.

If you hire someone to develop and edit your website, he or she will need to participate in the process.

You should have a clear idea of what qualifies as a conversion for your company. You may also want to create or identify a conversion page on your website. This is a page that someone only reaches once they convert. This is where you will put your conversion tracking tag.

Step 2: Creating A Conversion Action In Google Ads

You’ll need to create a conversion action in your Google Ads account. Sign into your Google Ads account and click the tools icon in the upper right (the icon looks like a wrench). You’ll find conversions under the Measurement tab.

To add a new conversion activity, press the blue and white ‘+’ sign and select Website. Next, you’ll be asked to name your conversion. Your name should be specific so you can easily identify it later. You may have more than one conversion activity and you want to know the difference between each. A good name may be “webinar signup,” or “eBook download.”

If you are creating many different conversion activities, you may want to add a category description. When you look at your conversion reports, it will be easier to group similar conversion activities.

You can add a value to your conversion activity. It’s optional, but there are two approaches to conversion values. The first is to assign the same value to all your conversions. This is an average of what your new customers will spend.

Alternatively, you can use different amounts for each unique activity. This is ideal if you have dramatically different prices across your products. For example, the conversion value on a customer buying a new television is different from a customer that buys a case for their phone.

You also must choose how to count conversions: one or every. One conversion is used when additional conversions by the same user don’t add value, like signups. Google will then ask how long after a click do you wish to track conversions from the same user. This is useful for companies with long marketing funnels, and for better understanding cross marketing where leads often need significant nurturing before converting.

Finally, you have to decide to include this activity in your account-wide conversion report. By default, everything is included in your conversion report, but you may wish to exclude some actions.

Step 3: Generate Your Conversion Tracking Tag

With your conversion activity created, your next task is to set conversion tracking tags on your website. These snippets of code will signal to Google when site traffic is coming from an ad click and when that ad traffic converts.

There are actually two conversion tags at play here:

  • Global site tag: The global site tag must be added to every page on your website. When a visitor enters your website, the tag will automatically add them to your remarketing list and store information about what ad message brought that individual to your site.*
  • Event snippet: This is the tag that tracks the actions that signal a conversion has been made. This should only be included on pages where conversions need to be tracked. Moreover, you need a unique event snippet for each type of conversion activity.

*Because of new regulations regarding information and data collection, you should notify users and even ask consent before collecting and storing data with your global site tag.

You have two options with how to install these tags to your site.

The DIY Approach

If you want to install the tag yourself, choose the “I haven’t installed the global site tag on my website” option. Google will then show you the full global site tag script. You must copy and paste this script to every page on your website between the <head> and </head> tags.

Does this seem familiar? You may have already performed this step if you use Google Analytics or another Google product. If that’s the case, you only need to add your conversion ID to the existing tags on your site.

If you’ve already installed the global site tag when you set up a previous conversion activity, you do not need to repeat this step.

With the global snippet enabled, you now need to copy the event snippet. Google will provide instructions on how to enter this into your website’s code. Again, it’s important to only add this snippet to pages where conversions are happening. You can track by page load or click.

Google Tag Manager

Instead of the DIY approach, you can use the Google Tag Manager tool. This is a relatively easy to use feature that allows marketers to effortlessly add and change code snippets to their site. This tool will ensure that your conversion tracking tags are properly installed.

If you’re not comfortable with editing the scripts of your website, this may be the safest approach!


Once you’ve completed your conversion tracking tag setup, it’s important to test your work. After a few days, enter the conversions page on your Google Ads account. You’ll see your various conversion activities and tags with their status listed. Ideally, you should see the status “recording conversions.” If it says “unverified,” there may be a problem with the scripts that require further investigation.

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