Ad Grants conversion tracking guide

Conversion tracking is a no-cost tool that reports on desired actions that your website visitors take after they have interacted with your ads. Clicks measure traffic whereas conversions measure value.  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 no-cost Google tools: you may use either Google Ads 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 goal

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 like session duration, pages per session, location, device and browser. 

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.  

Google Ads conversion action options 

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

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. 
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

Nonprofit 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.

[Recommended] Use different values for each conversion

A transaction-specific value can be different each time that the same conversion type occurs. If you accept donations online, for example, one donation conversion might be worth $25, while another is worth $100. You can track unique values for each conversion for several types of conversions, such as:

  • Donations
  • Purchases 
  • Membership fees
  • Ticket sales 
  • Other monetary goals

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’ E-commerce tracking or AdWords’ transaction-specific conversion values to track the dynamic values. 

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.

Below, you’ll find step-by-step instructions for how to track unique values on some of the most popular donation platforms:

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. 

For example, if all donations lead to the same ‘thank you’ page and you know that your average online donation is $20, you can set your average value to $20 for all visits to the ‘thank you’ page.

To change a conversion value, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. At the upper-right corner of your account, click the tool icon.
  3. Under 'Measurement', click Conversions.
  4. Click the name of the conversion action that you’d like to change.
  5. Click Edit settings.
  6. Click Value.
  7. Select 'Use the same value for each conversion'
  8. Enter the currency and average value of each donation in the drop-down options.
  9. Click Save.
  10. Click Done. 

Set your conversion count

Ensure that you’re counting every meaningful action accurately

Track how you count conversions based on the type of conversion that 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 that 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 the best way to count the conversions that you've created, adjust 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 time frame 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 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)
 
Nonprofits 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

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 that 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 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 that 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. 
  7. Click Save.

 Conversion tracking troubleshooting 

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

 

If you're recording an unusually low number or no conversions

If you're using the Google Ads 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 that 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 to 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 Goals 

See: Analytics is not tracking goals

 

If you're recording an unusually high number of conversions or high conversion rate

Adjust your count setting: Navigate to the Conversions section in Google Ads 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 pageviews or common website paths, take a look at Google Analytics.

 

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