Ad Grants Conversion Tracking Guide
Conversion tracking is a free tool that reports on desired actions that your website visitors take, after they have interacted with your ads. Examples of conversion goals include monetary actions, such as donations, purchases, ticket sales, membership fees as well as non-monetary actions, such as email sign-ups, volunteer sign-ups, new membership form completions, information request submissions, calls to your organisation or time spent reading content on your website.
How to track meaningful activity on your website:
Determine which tracking tool to use (conversion source)
Track with a tag from your Ad Grants account or import goals from Google Analytics
Determine your goal (conversion action)
Select a meaningful conversion action
The actions that you track on your site should reflect your organisation's goals. From the list below, consider all of the actions that indicate a website visitor has engaged with your organisation.
Google Analytics goal options (import into your Ad Grants account)
Accepted Google Analytics goal types
Recommendation: Track a visitor that sees a 'thank you' page URL, one that's only reached when someone completes a meaningful action on your site.
Disallowed: Your homepage or a frequently visited web page may not be used as the landing page for a Destination URL goal, as your number of conversions won't reflect a significant difference to your clicks. If you don't have a 'thank you' page, use a Smart Goal instead.
Recommendation: Use Smart Goals if you don't have a Destination Goal to track. They're an easy way to have the system help to determine the most valuable visits as conversions (i.e. counting a 'conversion' when someone visits your site that falls in the top 5% best quality traffic). This is identified using signals such as Session duration, Pages per session, Location, Device and Browser.
Recommendation: If you don't have a Destination goal to track or can't set up a Smart Goal to track if someone clicked on your ad and spent at least 2 minutes on your site.
Recommendation: If you don't have a Destination goal to track or can't set up a Smart Goal to track if someone clicked on your ad and visited at least 3 pages.
Recommendation: If you have a button on your site that you want to track when it is clicked, use Event tracking, e.g. If you have a 'contact us' button that leads to a pop-up widget and not a 'contact us' specific page, use event tracking to track. Since you can't use the Destination goal in this instance, you can track the click of the button instead.
AdWords conversion action options
Accepted AdWords conversion actions goal types
Recommendation: Place the code on a 'thank you' page that's only reached by a visitor when they complete a meaningful action on your site.
Disallowed: Your homepage or a frequently visited web page may not be used as the landing page for a Website conversion, as your number of conversions won't reflect a significant difference to your clicks. If you don't have a 'thank you' page, install Analytics and use Smart Goals instead.
Recommendation: If you promote mobile apps, you may use conversion tracking to help you see how effectively your ad clicks lead to app installs and in-app activity.
Recommendation: If phone calls are essential to your organisation, you can use conversion tracking to help you see how effectively your ad clicks lead to phone calls.
Select the appropriate conversion category
Choose the conversion category
Ad Grants policy: The conversion category Purchase/Sale must be used for any monetary based conversion, e.g. donations, sales of products, membership fees or ticket sales.
Non-profit conversion goals
|View of a key page||
Set conversion values
Set values for your conversions so that you can track which campaign types are most effective
Not all conversions are equal – some are worth more to your goals than others. If you assign values to your conversions, you'll be able to gauge the total value driven by your ads for different conversion types, rather than only the number of conversions. Then you'll be able to identify and focus on the highest-value conversions.
Use this reference table to guide the conversion value that you use:
|Conversion value setting||Recommended use case|
|Use the same value for each conversion||
If your website isn’t set up to show a unique sale amount or donation value, or if there’s only a free text box to add a donation amount, use your average value instead.
E.g. All donations lead to the same ‘thank you’ page. You know that your average online donation is £20 so you set average value to £20 for all visits to the ‘thank you’ page.
Use different values for each conversion
A transaction-specific value can be different each time the same conversion type occurs. If you own an online store with a shopping basket, for example, one purchase conversion might be worth £25, while another is worth £100.
If your website shows the specific values of each conversion and your site doesn’t lead to a separate 'thank you' page for each conversion, then use Google Analytics’ Ecommerce tracking or AdWords’ Transaction-specific conversion values to track the dynamic values.
|Don't use a value||Not recommended for tracking conversions with a monetary value to your organisation.|
Set your conversion count
Ensure that you’re counting every meaningful action accurately
Track how you count conversions based on the type of conversion you're tracking. You can choose to count every conversion that happens after a click, or only one conversion that happens after a click.
Only use every when additional value is added with the extra conversion. For example, a visitor signing up to run two charity races after a single ad click is something you would want to track as two conversions, so select every.
Determine your conversion window
Include all conversions that happen within an appropriate time frame
Another option to customise when setting up conversion tracking is your conversion window. You can adjust the timeframe or window that you want to count the conversion from a person who clicked on your ad.
The default window is set to '30 days', which means that you’ll track any conversions that happened within 30 days of the click on your ad.
Only include macro, lower funnel actions in "Conversions"
Ensure automated tools are using relevant information
This setting decides what conversion actions are included for use by automated features.
For smart bidding strategies such as Maximise Conversions, all conversions where 'Include in conversions' is 'yes' will be included for the system to make bidding decisions. The default setting is to include, but you may choose to exclude some conversion goals that are less valuable to your organisation.
Determine which attribution model you'll use
Determine how much credit is attributed to each click before a conversion
Before a conversion, a person may search multiple times and interact with multiple ads from the same advertiser. Attribution models let you choose how much credit each click gets for your conversions. You can attribute the credit to the customer's first click, last click or a combination of multiple clicks.
Recommended best practice: Consider using an attribution model other than last click
We recommend using Time Decay (aka Waterfall model). This gives distribution value with more allocated to the last interaction. For example, when one conversion is preceded by 4 clicks on ads, each click gets a fraction of the conversions; e.g. 0.4, 0.3, 0.2 and 0.1.
Use your conversion data to inform smart bidding
Use conversion data to power smart bidding strategies
Accurate conversion tracking is important so smart bidding strategies use accurate insights to bid higher for valuable clicks to your organisation.
Set your bid strategy to Maximise Conversions or Maximise Conversion Values
Use a conversion based Smart Bidding strategy and let the system bid higher for an audience more likely to complete your online goals.
Ad Grants has a limitation of $2 Cost-per-click (CPC) but to help Grantees attract more meaningful visitors this to CPC can be exceeded for conversion based Smart Bidding strategies.
- Sign in to your Google Ads account.
- In the page menu on the left, click Campaigns.
- Select the campaign you want to edit.
- Click Settings in the page menu for this campaign.
- Open Bidding and then click Change bid strategy.
- Select Maximise Conversions, Maximise Conversion Values, Target CPA, or Target ROAS from the drop-down menu. We recommend Maximise Conversions or Maximise Conversion Values.
- Click Save.
Conversion Tracking Troubleshooting
Recording an unusually low number or no conversions
If you're using the AdWords conversion tag
Verify that your conversion tag is working: Navigate to see your conversions and check the ‘Tracking Status’ column. Hover over the ‘Recording Conversions’ messaging symbol to determine your status. Follow the hints to address the issue. See: Check your conversion tracking tag.
Verify the code/tag is in the right place: After you’ve clicked on each conversion that you’ve added, you’ll see a tab called Web pages, which lists the URLs of pages where you’re tracking conversions. These are the pages on which you’ve added your conversion tag. Visit these URLs and use the Google Tag Assistant to see if there are any issues with the code.
If everything appears in working order but you’re recording 0 conversions:
Ensure that you’ve copied and pasted the code onto your site exactly.
Check for other applications and/or plug-ins interfering with the code.
Remarketing and conversion code look similar so make sure that they haven’t been mixed up along the way.
If you're using Google Analytics
Recording an unusually high number of conversions or high conversion rate
- AdWords conversion tracking troubleshooting article: Check your conversion tracking tag.
- Analytics goal troubleshooting article: Analytics is not tracking goals
- Ad Grants Live Stream on fixing common conversion tracking problems