Last week we ran an article listing 6 key metrics every AdWords account manager should be measuring. Unsurprisingly, conversions made our elite list of metrics, but we wanted to come back to this point once again this week.

Why? Well, because AdWords likes to make conversion tracking a little more difficult than necessary. And, presumably just for fun, it also likes to change its definition of what conversions are and how it measures them. Confused yet? No problem – because this is precisely what we’re going to clear up today.


4 basic methods for tracking conversions in AdWords

You have four ways to track conversions within the AdWords Tools panel. All you have to do is click Tools and then Conversions from the drop-down menu.



Next you’ll need to click on the +Conversion button and that will bring your first four tracking options.




Your first option is to track conversions on your website. This happens by placing a piece of code on a page that comes after a conversion (eg: a thank you page). When users land on this page, the code marks their arrival as a conversion.



Next up you have app conversion tracking and you’ll want to use this if you have an Android or iOS app to promote in AdWords. You have two types of conversions within this option – Downloads and In-app actions, like purchases.


Phone calls

Now we come to one of the more underutilised conversion tracking methods. Seriously, if phone calls are important to your business, and you’re running an AdWords account, get this set up.



Once you click the Phone calls tab, you’ll have three types of phone call you can track: calls directly from ads, calls to a phone number on your site and clicks on your number from mobile devices.



Not every conversion happens directly from an ad click and not every conversion happens online either. This is where Import conversion tracking comes in, allowing you to import offline conversion data. You can find out more information about tracking offline conversion on the AdWords Help page.


Google Analytics

Another underutilised tool is Google Analytics (GA), which you can use to track conversions in GA and import that data into AdWords. This opens a new world of freedom with conversion tracking and other metrics, but you’ll need to link your GA and AdWords accounts first.


How Google defines conversions

Now that you’re tracking conversions in AdWords you’ll want to compile your reports. There are a number of conversion types you’ll want to know about at this stage, as defined by AdWords:


Conversions (conv.) – Total conversions for all actions you include. You can also help Google determine what counts as a conversion (which we’ll come to shortly).


All conversions (all conv.) – A wider set of conversion data (regardless of what you choose to measure), including cross-device conversions, store visits, certain phone call and other types of advanced conversion metrics. You can find out more about what’s included over at AdWords Help.


Cross-device conversions – We touched on this in the previous section and cross-device conversions happen when a user moved from one device to another during the buying process.


Converted clicks – A window you can set to count multiple conversions from the same user as only one. For example, if a user clicks your ad and converts, then returns within 30-days to sign up to your newsletter, you can count both as a single converted user.


Phone call conversions – Counts any call longer than a time limit you set as a phone call conversions. This doesn’t include calls from mobile though.


Telling AdWords what to include as conversions

You can also include custom actions that AdWords will track as conversions by going back to Tools, Conversions and then clicking on the +Conversion button.


Select your conversion type from the four options we ran through earlier, name your conversion type (eg: email signups, eBook downloads, etc.) and set your tracking values. By default these will have Include in “Conversions” set to Yes and this is what you’ll need to change if you ever want a specific conversion excluded.


With that set up, you simply click Save and continue and review your conversion before sending it live. Done.


Get to know your conversion tracking options

So that’s a quick crash course on conversion tracking in AdWords, as things stand in late 2015. We could have gone into more detail on each of these points, and there are numerous others to cover – but you’d be reading a thesis paper if we covered everything here today. As always, you can get in touch of you need more details, or help with anything else digital marketing, and we’ll be back shortly with more tips.