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. 

Ad Grants policy requires that accounts created since January 2018 and accounts using conversion-based Smart Bidding strategies implement valid conversion tracking, as described below. 

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

A conversion is tracked by the addition of code on your site and is triggered by a visitor engaging with pages or content where the code is placed. There are two main options using free Google tools: you may use either AdWords conversion tracking tag or import goals from Google Analytics.
We recommend using Google Analytics. If you do not have conversion tracking code on your website yet, then we recommend using Google Analytics.
 
If your site has Google Analytics already and you’re confident with your web-tracking-code setup, you'll only need to create Goals and import them into your Ad Grants account.

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

Destination

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.  

Smart Goal 

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.

Duration 

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.

Pages/Screens per session

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

Event

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. 

Make sure that you import your Google Analytics goals into AdWords after you create them.  

AdWords conversion action options

Accepted AdWords conversion actions goal types

Website

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. 

App

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. 

Phone call (Note: Country availability)

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. 

Whether you use conversion tracking within your Ad Grants account or you’re importing Goals into your account from Google Analytics, use this reference table to select the category for your conversion. 

Conversion Category

Non-profit conversion goals
Purchase/Sale 
  • Donations
  • Purchases
  • Membership sales
  • Ticket sales 
Sign up 
  • Volunteer sign-up
  • Email/newsletter sign-up
  • New membership form completion
  • Free account registration
  • Event sign-up
Lead
  • Downloads of information
  • Clicks to call
  • Click to email 
  • Clicks to social accounts
  • 'Contact us' form submissions
  • 'Contact us' clicks on a button
View of a key page
  • Visit to the contact us page if you have no 'Contact us' form or button
  • Duration time on site goals
  • Pages per session goals
  • Watching videos
Other
  • Anything else

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.


We recommend that you select 'Every' in your conversion counting settings if this is the case, so that every donation is counted, even if from the same person, instead of just the first donation from that person.

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. 

Examples: 

  • Donations
  • Purchases 
  • Membership fees
  • Ticket sales 
  • Other monetary goals
Don't use a value Not recommended for tracking conversions with a monetary value to your organisation. 
If you track donations via a third-party platform, such as Classy or PayPal, import these values so that you can use that information to improve your advertising campaigns.  

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

If no additional value is created, select one. For example, if the same person downloads the same content twice, you would only want to track this as one conversion, so therefore select one.
Once you’ve decided on the best way to count the conversions that you've created, adjust your counting settings

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.

Recommended best practice: Extend your conversion window for actions that take longer to consider (such as large donations or longer volunteer commitments)
 
Non-profits often have longer conversion cycles to take action after learning about an organisation, especially on donations, so consider setting the window at its maximum, '90 days'.

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.

Select 'Include in conversions' to 'yes' for conversions that you want conversion-based smart bidding strategies to bid higher on. 

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

Ad Grantees who use automated conversion-based bidding strategies, such as Maximise Conversions, Target CPA and Target ROAS, can bid higher than the program’s $2.00 bidding limit.

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.

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. In the page menu on the left, click Campaigns.
  3. Select the campaign you want to edit.
  4. Click Settings in the page menu for this campaign.
  5. Open Bidding and then click Change bid strategy.
  6. Select Maximise Conversions, Maximise Conversion Values, Target CPA, or Target ROAS from the drop-down menu. We recommend Maximise Conversions or Maximise Conversion Values. 
  7. Click Save.

Conversion Tracking Troubleshooting 

Ad Grants Policy: Conversion tracking must be for reporting only valid conversions each month.

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 

See: Analytics is not tracking goals

Recording an unusually high number of conversions or high conversion rate

Adjust your count setting: Navigate to the Conversions section in AdWords and view the column Repeat Rate. If the repeat rate for any of your conversions looks high adjust the count setting. 
Remove duplicate tags on your site: Use Google Tag Manager, a Google tool to help you easily update website tags, to make it less likely to accidentally count the same conversion more than once.
Remove AdWords conversion tracking from frequently visited pages: If you’d like to track content-based awareness and educational goals, use Google Analytics’ Duration or Pages/Screens per session goal types instead. If you’d like to track page views or common website paths, take a look at Google Analytics.
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