Google Ads Conversion Tracking: 3 steps to the best setup
Is your conversion tracking ready for 2023?
Changes in Google Ads tracking technologies and data protection have accompanied us in the current year. As a result, advertisers lose valuable conversion data without adjustments. Keep track of your performance!
Why it matters
Seasonal shifts and the impact of the Corona pandemic have led to significant fluctuations in the performance of most Google Ads accounts in 2021. Often forgotten is the fact that data quality (especially measurable conversions) has also dropped significantly over the past two years when advertisers have been inactive in their conversion tracking setup. In numbers, this not infrequently means that between 30% to 40% of conversions (closes, leads, or online purchases) are not measured or only partially measured.
Tracking based purely on Google’s general website tag, which was last adjusted before 2020, for example, is no longer sufficient. In practice, outdated setups lead to having to factor in measurement losses. Bidding strategies such as target CPA or target ROAS thus become significantly less accurate and more difficult to adjust to business goals. If advertisers forego the best possible data in this way, they will literally always be advertising one step behind the competition.
We at UnitedAds would like to give you an overview of how you will continue to get the best data and best possible Google Ads performance in the future.
#1 Website-wide tagging – conversion tracking up to date
In 2021, Google Ads switched its own conversion tracking to a so-called first-party cookie. The reason for this was the changes in data protection within the EU. Users can no longer be tracked across multiple websites without further ado.
Especially for older conversion tracking setups, this means that adjustments are necessary. The following things should be checked:
Switch their to Google Tag Manager. This will make tag management for the entire website much clearer and easier
Have it checked if the current general website tag is used (gtag.js)
Have the new „conversion linking“ tag set up to be able to seamlessly assign user routes on your own website
#2 Google Consent Mode – Conversions messen ohne Cookies
At the latest after the corresponding ruling of the BGH, cookie banners with a clear user decision have become the standard. Users can usually decide whether cookies may be stored after an ad click by clicking on the cookie banner. The measurement losses for advertisers vary quite a bit.
Unclearly set up cookie banners not infrequently cause a conversion loss of 40-50%! This has a clear negative impact on the data in Google Ads and thus on your bidding strategies.
With Google Consent Mode, you can get back the bare count of conversion actions. This works even if the cookie banner is rejected. The storage of cookies is not necessary.
The advantage: data can be recovered for the opt-out group of users. The bidding strategy receives valuable completion data again. However, information about the user, such as their behavior on the website, is not collected. Thus, you respect the decision of the website visitors, but do not forgo the best possible performance of your Google Ads.
You should have this checked now:
What is the current consent/disapproval ratio of your cookie banners?
Can your cookie banner be connected to Google Consent Mode?
Have it tested whether user decisions are passed on in a privacy-compliant manner after installation.
#3 Enhanced conversions – the fine-tuning of your data
The „Advanced Conversions“ function is used to supplement existing conversion tags. In simple terms, this is a kind of plausibility check of incoming orders or leads.
For this purpose, entered customer data (e.g. email addresses) are hashed and compared with existing Google accounts. Google Ads can thus assign conversions more precisely to specific ad events such as clicks or calls. Don’t worry: Information is applied in a privacy-compliant manner as so-called hash values before it is sent to Google. Only the matching of these signals is relevant for your data; personal data of your customers is not transmitted.
The setup of this function is usually done on the URLs of your website where conversions are triggered.
You should have this checked now:
Is customer data collected during important conversions (for example, purchases or contact forms)?
Make sure that this data is compatible with your conversion tags!
Example: How matching works through advanced conversions for different ad networks.
Be one step ahead of the competition with your tracking setup! Conversion data that you capture is the basis for smart bidding strategies and thus also for the results of your Google Ads!