One of the first things that anyone who works with AdWords should learn about is the free conversion tracking Google provides to all its AdWords associates. This tracking enables you to find out what happens after someone clicks on your advertisement, including whether they proceed to call you, download an app from your site, purchase something from your store, or sign up for your newsletter. It also allows you to determine the most potent keywords that you’ve used, and more importantly, to take all of this information and put it to practical use by fine tuning your advertising campaigns.

Setting up conversion tracking

As you might expect, conversion tracking can be set up directly from the AdWords site. Simply login to your AdWords account, head to the tools tab, and select “Conversions” from the menu. From the conversions menu, select the conversion tab and click the button marked “Conversion”, which will prompt you to select a name for your tracking as well as provide details regarding what kind of tracking you want to set up. Once completed, AdWords will provide you with a snippet of code that needs to be added to your site in order to track conversions. Even if you don’t know how to use HTML, applying this code to your site should take only a few seconds with the step by step instructions provided by Google alongside the code. Once added, AdWords will begin collecting information about your conversions almost immediately.

Importing Conversions to AdWords

One feature only recently added to AdWords allows you to import offline conversion data into AdWords to see how your ads affect offline sales. The way it works is simple. When a consumer clicks on your ad, AdWords provides you with a unique ID for that click identifying the user and the ad, then storing that data into your AdWords database. Once the sale is made, you can select that ID, choose the type of conversion you wish to mark, and enter it alongside the remainder of your tracked AdWords conversions. Although this process will require the extra step of integrating your offline data, it’s also one of the best ways to get a complete picture of the true value of your conversions.

Mobile Conversions

Another recent addition to the AdWords arsenal of features is mobile tracking. If someone browses your site from a mobile device and is allowed to click a number to call it, tracking those calls is as simple as tracking website traffic. If you don’t take orders through your site or do a large part of your business over the phone, tracking calls may be an essential part of conversion tracking for your business. Much like other forms of conversion tracking, tracking mobile calls can be done through the AdWords conversion menu. Simply select the conversion button, enter a name for the conversion, and when prompted to provide a source select “Call-on-site.” Just like other conversion tracking, you’ll have to enter a snippet of code into your site.

Why Bother?

One question worth asking is exactly why tracking and measurement is important. The most obvious reason why you should track your conversions is because tracking can help you identify which keywords are working for your business. With that information in hand, it’s possible to spend more of your advertising budget on the keywords that are producing results and less on those which are falling short of your expectations. In that regard, tracking conversions is one of the best ways to improve your return on investment (ROI) from your advertising. Additionally, it’s surprisingly easy to analyze the data you collect. From the campaigns tab of your AdWords account, you can select Columns -> Conversions in order to find an analysis of your data. Two of the most important elements of this analysis include the total count of conversions you’ve received from a single ad click, which allows you to develop a highly accurate estimate of how many new customers your ads are producing, and the ratio of money spent on ad clicks to conversions developed (which gives you a crystal clear picture of your ROI.