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About conversion tracking

Conversion tracking is a free tool that shows you what happens after a customer clicks on your ads -- whether they purchased a product, signed up for your newsletter, called your business, or downloaded your app. When a customer completes an action that you've defined as valuable, these customer actions are called conversions.

This article explains the benefits of conversion tracking, how it works, and our security and privacy standards. For setup instructions, see Set up conversion tracking.

Use conversion tracking to measure your AdWords results

Why use conversion tracking

  • See which keywords, ads, ad groups, and campaigns are best at driving valuable customer activity.
  • Understand your return on investment (ROI) and make better informed decisions about your ad spend.
  • Use Smart Bidding strategies (such as target CPA, enhanced CPC, and target ROAS) that automatically optimize your campaigns according to your business goals.
  • See how many customers may be interacting with your ads on one device or browser and converting on another. You can view cross-device, cross-browser, and other conversion data in your “All conversions” reporting column.

How conversion tracking works

Conversion tracking starts with you creating a conversion action in your AdWords account. A conversion action is a specific customer activity that is valuable to your business. You can use conversion tracking to track the following kinds of actions:

The conversion tracking process works a little differently for each conversion source, but for each type besides offline conversions, it tends to fall into one of these categories:

  • You add a conversion tracking tag, or code snippet, to your website or mobile app code. When a customer clicks on your ad from Google Search or selected Google Display Network sites, a temporary cookie is placed on their computer or mobile device. When they complete the action you defined, our system recognizes the cookie (through the code snippet you added), and we record a conversion.
  • Some kinds of conversion tracking don’t require a tag. For example, to track phone calls from call extensions or call-only ads, you use a Google forwarding number to track when the call came from one of your ads, and to track details like call duration, call start and end time, and caller area code. Also, app downloads and in-app purchases from Google Play will automatically be recorded as conversions, and no tracking code is needed.

Once you’ve set up conversion tracking, you can see data on conversions for your campaigns, ad groups, ads, and keywords. Viewing this data in your reports can help you understand how your advertising helps you achieve important goals for your business.

Security and privacy for website tracking

Google's security standards are strict. Only pages containing the Google conversion tag are tracked through this program. We use data encryption and secure servers.

Privacy is also very important to Google. That's why we do the following to protect your customers' privacy:

  • Conversion tracking cookies persist for a limited time only.
  • Conversions aren't isolated: This means that you can't match conversion data to specific customers, you can just see overall data for ads and keywords.
  • Conversion tracking includes the option to notify customers about cookies: During the setup process, we'll help you create a notification box for your website that lets your customers know they're being tracked. This is known as the Google Site Stats box, which appears on your conversion page -- the page customers see after they complete a conversion. Google Site StatsThis notification appears only for customers who've been referred by Google to your site on the same device. When customers click on it, they see a page explaining how we use cookies and how they can disable them. Customers will also have an opportunity to provide feedback about your website.
  • Promote a clear privacy policy: If you don't use the Google Sites Stats box, we ask that you review your website's privacy policy to make sure it discloses your use of tracking technology.


If you choose to use it, we recommend placing the Google Site Stats notification in the lower-right hand corner of the conversion page, no further than a quarter of the screen away from the last line of content.

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