Import conversions from ad clicks into Google Ads

Importing conversions lets you see how your online ads affect offline sales and other valuable actions. This article explains how to prepare a file to import the conversions you receive from clicks on your ads into Google Ads.

For instructions on how to import conversions from calls, see Import phone call conversions.

Before you begin

Before importing conversions, make sure that you’ve followed all the instructions to set up offline conversion tracking.

You can import your data into Google Ads by uploading or linking to a file through the Google Ads interface, or by transmitting the data through the Google Ads API (AdWords API). This article explains how to import conversions by uploading or linking to a file. If you'd like to transmit the data through the Google Ads API (AdWords API), read this help article from our API Developer's Guide.

Instructions

Follow the instructions below to prepare and import your conversions data.

1. Prepare your data for import

  1. Download a template based on the type of conversions you’d like to upload (in Excel, CSV or Google Sheets).You can also download templates from the Google Ads interface:
    1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
    2. Click the tools icon in the upper right-hand corner of your account.
    3. Under 'Measurement', click Conversions.
    4. In the menu on the left, click Uploads.
    5. Click the plus button .
    6. Click View templates.
    7. Find the templates for 'Conversions from clicks' and select a template format to download.
  2. Observe the following guidelines for uploading spreadsheets:
    1. Make sure that you don't remove the column that begins with 'Google Click ID', or your import will fail.
    2. Make sure that your data doesn't include additional columns or any personal information.
    3. If you want Google Ads to import your conversions automatically on a regular schedule (see Step 2: Import your conversions), you need to use Google Sheets or link to a file over HTTPS or SFTP.

    If any of the conversions you import are within one day of the click, Google Ads may not be able to record them yet. As best practice, upload an extra day's worth of data with each import. Google Ads won’t count duplicate conversions.To determine whether a conversion is unique, Google Ads uses the conversion action name, time of conversion and Google click ID (GCLID) associated with a conversion.

    Note: If you are using external attribution with your conversion import, refer to About importing externally attributed conversions below for the appropriate upload template and additional features.

  3. Use one of the following formats to enter the time zone (do not enclose the time zone in quotes or other special characters):
    1. Enter your time zone ID. This method is recommended to avoid errors during daylight savings time transitions. Example – Parameters:TimeZone=America/Chicago

    2. Enter your GMT offset by indicating + or - and then the 4-digit time difference. (For example, New York's offset is -0500 and Berlin's is +0100.) If you use Greenwich Mean Time, then simply enter +0000. Example – Parameters:TimeZone=-0500

  4. Next, add a new row for each offline conversion, filling in the columns as follows:
    • Google Click ID: The GCLID that led to the offline conversion. (If you haven’t already, follow the instructions to set up offline conversion tracking to learn how to get this.)
    • Conversion Name: The name of the conversion action (e.g. 'lead qualified' or 'contract signed') that you’d like to import this conversion for. It's important that you use the exact same spelling and capitalisation that you did when you created this conversion action in your Google Ads account.
    • Conversion Time: The date and time the conversion occurred. See the table below for a list of acceptable date formats (for example, MM/dd/yyyy HH:mm:ss). You can add a time zone to the conversion time by using one of the last 4 formats listed. Replace '+z' with the GMT offset by indicating + or - and then the 4-digit time difference. (For example, New York's offset is -0500 and Berlin's is +0100.) Or, replace 'zzzz' with the time zone ID from this list.
Format Examples
MM/dd/yyyy hh:mm:ss aa '08/14/2012 5:01:54 PM'
MMM dd,yyyy hh:mm:ss aa 'Aug 14, 2012 5:01:54 PM'
MM/dd/yyyy HH:mm:ss '08/14/2012 17:01:54'
yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss '2012-08-14 13:00:00'
yyyy-MM-ddTHH:mm:ss '2012-08-14T13:00:00'
yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss+z '2012-08-14 13:00:00+0500'
yyyy-MM-ddTHH:mm:ss+z '2012-08-14T13:00:00-0100'
yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss zzzz '2012-08-14 13:00:00 America/Los_Angeles'
yyyy-MM-ddTHH:mm:ss zzzz '2012-08-14T13:00:00 America/Los_Angeles'
  • Conversion Value: (optional field) A number representing the value that you place on the conversion. It could reflect a currency value or you could simply choose to enter relative values of 0–10 (negative numbers are not accepted). If you leave this field blank, Google Ads will automatically apply the conversion value that you defined in Step 2.8 when you created your new offline conversion action.
  • Conversion Currency: (optional field) The currency in which your conversion value is provided. You'll use this if you report conversion values in more than one currency, or have multiple accounts that are billed in different currencies. Use 3-character ISO 4217 currency codes, such as USD for United States dollars and JPY for Japanese yen.

Externally attributed conversions

If you use your own external attribution system to attribute your conversions across multiple clicks, then you'll want to use external attribution with your conversion imports. Externally attributed conversion actions allow you to import fractional conversion credits for each click.

To use external attribution with your imports, make sure that you select Use external attribution when you create your conversion action in Google Ads (as specified in Step 1.14 of these instructions). When you're ready to upload conversions with partial credit, make sure that you download our Conversion Import template for external attribution (in Excel, CSV or Google Sheets). There are also a few other things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure that you don't remove the column that begins with 'Google Click ID', or your import will fail.
  • Make sure your data doesn’t include additional columns or any personal information.
  • Remember to set the 'TimeZone' value in the 'Parameters' row and/or in your 'Conversion Time' column. Learn more about setting up your time zones.
  • You will need to enter the name of the attribution model that you are using to assign partial conversion credit; for example, this could be 'Linear' or 'Data-driven'.
  • If you choose to include conversion value, it should be the partial value corresponding to the attributed conversion credit (see the following example below).
  • The amount that you enter in the 'Attributed Credit' column should be greater than 0 and less than or equal to 1.
  • The 'Conversion Value' and 'Conversion Currency' columns are both optional.

An example of how to use the Conversion Import template with external attribution is when you are tracking purchases and collecting the GCLID from each customer click. It might take three clicks before a customer purchases a $100 item on your website. One click might come on a Google Ads display ad, one click from another advertising network and a final click on a Google Ads search ad. You decide you want to use a Linear attribution model. Your upload would look like this:

Parameters:Attribution Model = linear          
Parameters:TimeZone=-0800     # Attributed credit should be between 0 and 1 # # Optional # # Optional #
Google Click ID Conversion Name Conversion Time Attributed Credit Conversion Value Conversion Currency
googleclickid1 External Attribution Conversion action name 05/01/2017 3:42:01 PM 0.33 33.33 USD
googleclickid2 External Attribution Conversion action name 05/01/2017 3:42:01 PM 0.33 33.33 USD

2. Import your conversions

To import your offline conversions to Google Ads, you'll need to upload your conversion file into your Google Ads or manager (MCC) account. You can either upload a file once or create a schedule to regularly upload a file that you keep online. Follow the instructions for a one-off upload or scheduled uploads below, depending on how you want to import your conversions.

Important: After creating a new conversion action, wait 4–6 hours before uploading conversions for that conversion action.
One-off upload of your conversions
  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click the tools icon in the upper right-hand corner of your account.
  3. Under 'Measurement', click Conversions.
  4. In the menu on the left, click Uploads.
  5. Click the plus button .
  6. Click the Source drop-down menu and select the source of your file. You can upload a file from your computer or Google Sheets, or transfer it over HTTPS or SFTP.
  7. Based on the source you selected, choose from the options below:
    • If you selected 'Upload a file' or 'Google Sheets', click Choose file to find and select the file that contains your offline conversion information.
    • If you selected HTTPS or SFTP, enter the file URL and the username and password to access the file. Note: If you select SFTP and get a 'File not found' error, try placing a double-slash (//) between the file path and name. (For example: SFTP://sftp.mysite.com/conversions//conv.csv)
  8. To import a file’s contents without previewing the upload results, click Apply and skip the remaining steps. To preview the upload results, click Preview. The file preview highlights the number of conversions that will be imported into your account. The preview also includes any errors in your file. You can fix the errors in your file and upload it again, or ignore the errors.
    • When the preview is ready, click Details to see some of the content from your file. The errors will be shown first.
    • To see all of your file contents, click More.
    • Click Apply file. A progress bar at the bottom of the page will notify you when the conversions in your file have finished importing. Click Details in the progress bar to see all the conversions that were imported.

You can view files that you’ve uploaded but haven’t applied, as well as files that you’ve uploaded and applied. Learn more about viewing your uploaded files

Upload your conversions on a schedule

Google Ads can automatically import your conversions on a regular schedule. You’ll need to create a file with your conversions in Google Sheets or store the file online with HTTPS or SFTP. To schedule file uploads, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click the tools icon in the upper right-hand corner of your account.
  3. Under 'Measurement', click Conversions.
  4. In the menu on the left, click Uploads.
  5. Click Schedules along the top of the page.
  6. Click the plus button .
  7. Click the Source drop-down menu and select the source of your file. You can upload a file from Google Sheets or transfer it over HTTPS or SFTP.
  8. Based on the source you selected, choose from the options below:
    • If you selected 'Google Sheets', click Choose file to find and select the file that contains your offline conversion information.
    • If you selected HTTPS or SFTP, enter the file URL and the username and password to access the file. Note: If you select SFTP and get a 'File not found' error, try placing a double-slash (//) between the file path and name. (For example: SFTP://sftp.mysite.com/conversions//conv.csv)
  9. Click the Frequency drop-down menu and select how often you’d like your file to be imported.
  10. Click the Time drop-down menu and select when your file will be imported.
  11. Click Save & preview. The preview indicates if the schedule saves successfully or not. A schedule might not save if Google Ads can't reach the file source due to an incorrect username or password, or if the file isn't formatted properly.
  12. Click OK to return to the 'Schedules' page. The Schedules page lists all of your scheduled uploads.

    Note

    If there’s a problem with your scheduled upload, you’ll see an alert in your account and receive an email. You’ll need to check your online file to fix the problem.

  13. To change your scheduled upload, click Options under the 'Actions' column and choose from the options below:
    • Click Edit to change the settings for a scheduled upload.
    • Click Pause to stop the scheduled uploads for a file.
    • Click Resume if the scheduled uploads for a file were paused and you’d like to resume the scheduled uploads.
    • Click Remove if you don’t need to upload the conversions in the file any more.

    You can’t change the scheduled upload options if your Google Ads account has read-only access.

3. View your results and Fix issues


It's common, especially when you're first setting up your Conversion Import process, to have errors in your upload files.
We urge every advertiser to examine the results for their uploads.

View your uploaded files

Once your conversions file is uploaded, you'll see a new entry for that file in the Uploads page. Note that uploading and applying a file could take several minutes.

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click the tools icon in the upper right-hand corner of your account.
  3. Under 'Measurement', click Conversions.
  4. In the menu on the left, click Uploads.
  5. If you have any files that you've previewed but haven't applied, you'll see them in the 'Pending actions' table. In the 'Actions' column, click Apply to import the conversions in the file or Discard to remove the uploaded file.
  6. Below the 'Pending actions' table, you'll see a list of the files that you've uploaded and applied. Check the following columns for more information about the files:
    • The 'Status' column lets you quickly see whether the conversions in the file were imported successfully.
    • The 'Results' column provides more details about the import status. If the file import failed, this column will provide a reason why it failed. This column also provides links to view the conversions that were imported and which ones weren’t due to file errors.
    • The 'Actions' column provides the following links:
      • Download results: Download a copy of your uploaded file. This link appears when all the conversions in your file were imported successfully.
      • Download all: Download a copy of your uploaded file, including conversions that failed to import.
      • Download errors: Download a spreadsheet that lists the conversions from your file that failed to import, along with error messages.
      When you select any of the three links above, the downloaded file includes a 'Results' column that confirms that a conversion was imported successfully or explains why it failed to import. These links are removed 30–60 days after your initial upload.
Fix import issues
  1. View your uploaded files and find the file that has the error.
  2. In the 'Actions' column, click Download errors to download a spreadsheet that lists the conversions from your file that failed to import.
  3. Review the error messages in the 'Results' column of the spreadsheet to determine why Google Ads couldn't import your conversions.
  4. Make the necessary corrections to the spreadsheet, save it and try uploading it again.
  5. Sometimes there might be a problem that prevents the entire file from processing. If this happens, you'll find the error message in the first row (if it's a .csv or .tsv file) or in a new 'General Errors' worksheet (if it’s an Excel file).

Guidelines for importing conversions

Time your uploads

Offline conversions uploaded more than 90 days after the associated last click won't be imported into Google Ads; this means they won't show up in your conversion statistics.

Upload multiple conversions for the same click

The same conversion won't be imported more than once. So, if you try to upload a conversion with the same combination of GCLID, 'ConversionName', date and time, Google Ads will ignore it.

But if you want to upload multiple conversions of the same type – several offline purchase conversions, for example – for the same click, you can. Google Ads will record them as separate conversions as long as they have different times (the GCLIDs and conversion names can be identical) and provided you have your conversion counting setting set to 'every'.

It's a good idea to re-upload any conversions that occurred shortly before your last upload, just in case some of them were too recent to be processed. Google Ads needs 4–6 hours after the ad click before a conversion can be successfully uploaded. (If you upload a conversion too soon after the click, you'll see an error message that says: 'We're still processing this click's information, please try again after 4-6 hours.')

For example, if you upload your conversions daily, you'll want to make sure that you upload all conversions from the last two days, just in case some of the conversions from two days ago weren't processed. Don't worry about double counting – Google Ads won't count the same uploaded conversion more than once.

View your imported conversions in Google Ads

It takes about 3 hours for your imported conversions statistics to show up in your Google Ads account. When they do, they'll appear in your conversions columns. (You can learn about the conversions columns and how to add them to your reports in Understand your conversion tracking data.) To see how performance varies by conversion action, you can segment the 'Conversions' column by 'Conversion action name'.

The longer the delay between your clicks and your conversions (online or imported conversions), the longer you will have to wait to see the most complete conversion metrics.

Example: If you want to see conversion statistics for Monday, your clicks take three days to convert and you upload your conversions nightly, then you'll have to wait until Friday morning before you can see Monday's accurate conversion statistics.

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