Does your business have marketing goals?
If the answer is no I hope you have an alternative source of income.
If your answer is yes then your business should be tracking conversions .
But what is a conversion?
One of the most common misconceptions about conversion tracking is that it only works for purchases made online. In reality, a conversion is any meaningful action completed by a visitor on your website. Something as simple as subscribing to your company blog, downloading a whitepaper, or even viewing an important webpage on your site can be tracked as a conversion.
So first, define what actions are meaningful to your business. Perhaps you own a sports camp and visitors who explore your interactive activities map on one of your web page’s tend to be valuable to the growth of your business. Even though these visitors are not directly increasing revenue they’re converting by expressing an interest to learn more about the services and activities you offer (making them an attractive lead).
Why do I need to track conversions?
Do you want to find out what’s working and what’s not?
Do you want to optimize your AdWords account  to improve performance?
Do you want to save money and improve your ROI?
If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, you absolutely MUST track conversions!
The point is conversions are important, which makes tracking them even more important. I was deeply saddened to hear that less than 50% of active AdWords accounts have conversion tracking implemented . Not tracking conversions is essentially like driving down a windy road, in the dark, without your glasses. There is no clarity as to whether your marketing efforts are actually working. You could be wasting your dime and time on PPC due to a lack of conversions. According to Dan Norris , co-founder of Informly, “Blogs that don’t employ conversion strategies generally convert at less than 1%. Ones that do convert at 5% or higher.”
Certain clients of mine who are following my advice and tracking conversions have found that they are getting a heaping pile of ad impressions and even clicks to their sites, but those visitors aren’t converting. How frustrating! But at least they now have a clear path to focus on – for example by improving their site relevancy and optimizing their landing pages , conversions are likely to follow! But without this tracking set up, we would be stumbling down a crooked path with a blindfold on.
One of our Paid Search Strategists here at WordStream, Jason Gannon, conducted a case study in July of 2013 on one of Google’s newer features at the time, enhanced sitelinks applied at the ad group level . Jason looked at a shoe retailer in Canada focusing on CTR , conversion rate (1-per click) and conversion rate (many-per-click) to see how upgraded sitelinks affected the account. Jason found a significant impact on clicks and conversions, which helped the retailer gain more conversions and a better ROI.
“Improving conversion rate just the slightest amount is going to have a significant impact,” wrote Jason. “If all else stays equal and you can improve conversion rate by .5%, that could almost double your business!”
There is no way to make these crucial improvements without implementing conversion tracking to be aware of what changes are working or hurting your business.
How do I set up conversion tracking?
In order to track conversions from PPC, you need to create a code to insert into the thank-you or confirmation page a visitor lands on after converting. So if you have multiple conversions you’re going to need a landing page, confirmation page, and code for each one. You likely already have two of these three components in place. To address the latter, follow the below steps to get coding in Google AdWords:
NOTE: WordStream customers can easily generate Google AdWords conversion codes through the “Show me more tab” under the Manage PPC section of the software. Reach out to your Customer Success Rep if additional guidance is needed.
- Click on the “Tools and Analysis” tab, and select “Conversions” from the drop-down menu.
- This will bring you to the “All conversions” page. To create a new conversion make sure you are in the conversion tab, and then click the green +Conversion button. Here you will need to name your conversion and select the source to generate the tracking code.
- Choosing a source: A conversion source is where the user completed the conversion. It is important to select the right source to generate the correct tracking code for either a conversion made on your webpage, through a phone call, or by downloading an app.
- Next select your conversion category, conversion window, markup language (most likely HTML), and set a conversion value if desired.
- Navigate to the next screen to generate the code. Here you can select who makes changes to your site, and email them the code with a personalized message. If you make these change to your site you will want to copy the code in the box, and paste it between the <body></body> tags of the page your conversions are directed to after converting.
Now that you are all set up with conversion tracking, let your account run for a bit to gather data, and then make a habit of allocating time each month to analyze and optimize. Look at your conversions and conversion rate for specific campaigns, ad groups, keywords, ads, and landing pages. Allocate more budget to those that are converting well, and revamp underperforming ads or landing pages.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and test additional functionality that you may have not used in the past, for example implementing sitelink extensions or creating a remarketing campaign  through the display network. According to Fit Marketing’s Chris Kilbourn , “Even the slightest bump in conversion rate can generate significant incremental business for your company.”
So take your blindfold off, put your glasses on, and start tracking conversions!
4 Reasons to Start Tracking Conversions Today:
- Gain insight into what’s working and what’s not: by measuring conversion you can see what campaigns, adgroups, keywords, ads, and landing pages are receiving the most conversions and make changes accordingly.
- Get more customers! Who doesn’t want more customers? Once you start getting conversion data you will have a clearer understanding of what changes you need to make to underperforming keywords, ads, etc. Make these changes and watch the customer flood in!
- Improve your ROI: Clicks are not valuable if they are not converting. Track conversions to reduce wasted spend, gain more quality clicks, and improve your return on investment.
- Experiment and grow: Once you have conversion tracking implemented you will now have the flexibility to experiment with additional functionality in AdWords like ad extensions, remarketing campaigns, product listing ads, etc. Test to find additional ways to gain even more conversions, and grow your business into a money-making machine.
About the author:
Margot is a Customer Success Specialist at WordStream with a background in SEO, SEM, content and digital marketing. Follow her on:
Twitter: @ChappyMargot 
Google+: +Margot da Cunha 
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/margot-da-cunha/30/3a7/14b