By: Kris Hutchinson | VP, Google
Yes, you read that correctly. This article will show you how to get an increased conversion rate, 100% of the time.
“That’s impossible,” says the savvy marketer.
But it is possible. I’ve seen multiple clients do it over the years. And it’s surprisingly simple to do.
All you have to do is place your conversion tracking tag on the proper landing pages and viola!
The problem? It is never as simple as it sounds to get tags properly placed and firing accurately.
Your conversion data is only as good as the implementation of your conversion tracking mechanisms. If you don’t give your developers appropriate context about what you’re trying to track and how you plan to track it, you run the risk of making this boneheaded mistake. And that mistake means you probably need to relaunch your campaigns so your bid automation doesn’t try to act on that impressive perfect conversion rate you had for a few days…not to mention the embarrassment of getting everyone excited about how well the new campaign is performing out-of-the-gate.
At Jump!, we help our clients track and optimize against conversion actions like the acquisition of a new customer, a sales lead through a form, an online product purchase, the installation of an app, a subscription for a paid app, a lead over the phone, or even a visit to a brick-and-mortar location. We can pretty accurately track all of those with the right code in the right place. But it has to be well-planned, well-executed, and validated regularly.
Here are some of the various conversion tracking methods we employ:
- **Confirmation page pixel: **The most common method, where you place an ad platform’s pixel or tag on your “Thank You” or confirmation page. Every time that page is visited after an ad engagement, the pixel fires and records a conversion. This is where you have to make sure it’s placed ONLY on the pages that someone reaches ONLY after converting. If site visitors can visit that page without converting, your data will be inaccurate.
- **Event tag: **This one is harder, but arguably more accurate. It involves putting a universal tag across every page of your site, then custom tags around parts of the code that signify a conversion occurring. Often, this is used when a confirmation page doesn’t exist. For example, a user clicks your ad, visits your landing page, fills out a form, and clicks the “Submit” button. A popup occurs on that same page saying, “Thank you.” The event tag fires when the “Submit” button is pushed.
- **Google Analytics import: **If your GA conversion goal or transaction reporting is accurate, and you’ve linked your GA account to your Google Ads account, you can have that conversion data piped into Google Ads automatically. The upside is that this is probably the best way to get near-parity among the two platforms, but the downsides are that the data is delayed so you can’t rely on it for same-day analysis and you can’t easily import GA data to non-Google ad networks. (But we have a hack for that if you’re interested.)
- CRM/offline import: This method involves storing each site visitor’s unique identifier (known as the ‘gclid’ on Google, ‘fbclid’ of Facebook, etc.) and then using an API to send that identifier back to the platform with data like date/time, conversion value, etc. This is another good way to get near 1:1 parity among your different platforms but you’ll need an attribution model in place to determine which campaign and source gets credit.
- 3rd party tag: Some bid management tools offer their own confirmation page pixels and event tags. We list them separately here because we don’t normally recommend them unless you have a very specific use-case. Contact us if you think that might be you.
- Phone numbers: If you do business over the phone, you’ll need to lease or buy a pool of numbers (how many you need depends on how many campaigns you’re running, how much traffic your site gets, and how granular you want the data), install tags on your site that dynamically renders one of your pooled numbers based on the visitor’s source data, records the phone call, and applies AI to identify the call type (new lead, new sale, customer service, etc.), figure out the value if a transaction occurred, and report out to your BI platforms.
- Beacons: If you have a brick-and-mortar footprint and your ads drive customers to a physical location, we can piggyback on existing beacons or install your own 1st party beacon network to accurately track and optimize across the digital-real world divide.
So how do you ensure that your developers set everything up correctly? First, get everyone on the same page about what you’re trying to track. Start with a conversation and explain the goals. Tell them how the goals would typically be tracked, and ask them if they can think of a better, more accurate way to do it. Once you have agreement on how to track, provide them not only code that needs to be installed with a link to the platform’s instructions but also a brief summary that explains your expectations (we are tracking when site visitors complete Form ABC so the pixel needs to fire on confirmation page www.xyz.com/thank-you-abc).
How do you ensure it’s been installed correctly? Ideally, you’re using a container tool like Google Tag Manager and can get access to that. Sit with your developer before the pixel is live and preview how it will behave on the website. If that’s not possible, or even after you do that, push the code live and then place a test conversion. Remember, you’ll often need to click an ad to have the conversion appear in the ad platform. When you get to the page that has your conversion tracking on it, right-click and select “View Page Source”. Copy and save all that to share with your developer (if something isn’t working, they’ll want that code). Once you’ve seen the tracking mechanism is firing as expected and your platform is displaying accurate data (the correct number of conversions and the correct conversion value), you should be off to the races.
But, wait! What happens when your developers accidentally remove the pixel or change the funnel such that the pixel doesn’t fire anymore? How long will it take before you notice? Will your automation think that no conversions are happening and ratchet down bids, essentially turning off your campaigns? It happens all the time. That’s why you need to monitor your conversion tracking mechanisms consistently over time to ensure they maintain their accuracy and precision.
In summary, conversion tracking is one of the biggest problems when trying to scale campaigns. If you get it wrong, you can spend 6 or 7 figures on campaigns with incorrect data guiding you. **Getting your tracking right is crucial to success. **We have some tools to help with this at Jump! Contact us to learn more.