Why You Are Missing Out Without Conversion Tracking

Which digital marketing channels are driving the most leads and sales for your business? Are any channels just wasting your budget? Without properly set up conversion tracking, there’s no way to answer those two critical questions.

How can you tell if your new Google Ads campaign is improving your conversion rate? What percentage of visitors coming to your landing pages are there because of your Facebook Ads? You can’t get an accurate assessment of the ROI generated by your advertising efforts without implementing mechanisms to track visitor responses.

What Is Conversion Tracking?

Conversion tracking involves placing a piece of code on your website to track visitors and their actions. The data helps you understand their responses to various techniques used in your ad campaigns and different webpage designs. You can use conversion tracking for testing of keywords, redesigned landing pages, and new ad text.

Items You Should Be Tracking

  • Forms on your website (ex. quote requests, scheduled appointments, demo requests)
  • E-commerce sales
  • Coupon codes you give out as a way of encouraging people to visit physical locations
  • Phone calls

Here is what you gain by effectively tracking your digital marketing efforts.

1. Better ROI Tracking

You can add tracking codes to “Thank You” pages to monitor completed transactions by visitors and origination channels. That can tell you how many of those conversions came from visitors who clicked on specific advertisements. You can include tracking of signups, lead generation, or other items relevant to improving ROI.

2. Insights Into Campaign Successes

Some ads will perform better than others. Conversion tracking tells you how well specific keywords perform in attracting your target audience. You can also learn which ad campaigns to eliminate if they tend to draw visitors who quickly move away from your landing pages. Use information gained from your split testing efforts to tweak your keyword lists, ad copy, and landing pages for better performance.

3. Figuring Out What Content to Reuse

You want to stick with what works. Conversion tracking lets you know which content on your website attracted the most interest, or which campaigns helped drive higher-quality visitors. You want content that keeps visitors on your site who will eventually convert into a lead or sale.

4. Improved Audience Categorization

Segmenting audiences allows you to provide relevant content to those who visit your site or sign up to receive your email communications. Conversion tracking helps you figure out whether you have your contacts properly sorted for the type of information they receive.

Better categorization means your audiences aren’t sending your emails directly to the trash bin, or worse, clicking the “report spam” and/or “Unsubscribe” link. You also increase your chances of attracting the type of attention that leads to more conversions and better ROI.

5. Knowledge of Where to Direct Marketing Budget

Marketers running campaigns on a limited budget must maximize each dollar spent, while being cost-efficient. That allows you to create more effective campaigns that get the most for your money. You avoid dumping money into failing ad strategies and can direct those funds to higher-performing efforts.

Why Conversion Tracking?

Conversion tracking allows you to track and improve the ROI of your digital marketing campaigns by helping you identify your best-performing campaigns and eliminate those not delivering the desired conversion rates. It also helps you understand where you should be directing your budget across all the various marketing channels so you maximize every dollar invested.

Want more help tracking your marketing campaigns?  Click here to grab a copy of our “Ultimate Google Analytics Checklist.”

How to Measure Your Google Ads ROI

In this article you’ll learn how to calculate how much can you afford to pay per click in Google Ads to generate your desired return on investment (ROI).

Measuring your Google Ads ROI is an important step in effectively optimizing your ad campaigns. You must know how much you need to invest and how much that investment should pay you back. That’s the only way to stay on top of your campaigns to make them a true success.

Think of Google Ads like a vintage slot machine where you pull the handle and win the jackpot when 3 BARs are in a row. Google Ads is similar in that you need to get the right combination of targeting, bids, and advertising copy to hit the jackpot and drive quality leads and sales. While slots are heavily dependent on luck, Google Ads isn’t as much as long as you know how to manage them properly. That’s the great part about Google Ads.

With that, let’s dive into how to measure your ROI with Google’s advertising platform.

Measuring Your Google Ads ROI

The American Economic Association reports the average ROI of Google Ads is $2 in revenue for every $1 spent. This is the average, so some businesses have a lower ROI while others have a higher one.

Some of the reasons some people aren’t seeing such a high ROI is because they are not:

  • Targeting the right search terms
  • Choosing the best bid price
  • Measuring their revenue correctly

Knowing how to do each one of these correctly can shed some light on what to expect from the return on your Google Ads investment.

Accurate Conversion Tracking

The first step is to set up conversion tracking. Clicks to a website does not always mean sales. The only way to qualify a click is to be able to track the click from the ad to the completion of a sale.

One way to do this is to track the click from the ad to the final “Thank You” page after a sale has been completed. This is, of course, for e-commerce or where services are purchased online. For phone call leads, call-tracking could be used.

Once the conversion tracking is set, you can move on to the next step, which is targeting the right search terms.

Targeting the Right Search Terms

Targeting the right search terms is important in measuring ROI for Google Ads. It’s crucial that your ads are targeting buying-intent keywords, rather than research-intent keywords.  Afterall, ROI is determined by the sales resulting from ad clicks.

While some industries have obvious buying-intent search terms, there are others that do not. This could make choosing the right ones difficult, leading to lower returns.

In that case you’ll need to test your keywords over time and measure the results.  Based on the number of leads and sales calculated from your conversion tracking, you’ll be able to make smarter decisions about bidding on your keywords.

Considering Bid Price

If sales revenue exceeds ad costs, then you know your ROI is positive.  That’s obvious and easy to calculate.

But how do you know what bids to use for each keyword to generate a desired ROI?

To answer that question we need to first calculate earnings per click.  Earnings per click is how much revenue you generate per click on your ads, which will vary from keyword to keyword.  To calculate earnings per click, simply multiply the revenue generated per conversion by the conversion rate of the keyword.  For example, if you generate $200 per conversion and the conversion rate is 2%, then your earnings per click is $4.

That means on average you’re generating $4 in revenue per click.  Obviously, if you bid and pay more than $4, you’ll lose money and your ROI will be negative.

Now that you know your earnings per click, you can calculate the bid price you’ll need to pay to generate your desired ROI.  The formula is: CPC = (earnings per click) / (ROI + 1). For example, if your desired ROI is 50% and your earnings per click is $4, then your target cost per click (CPC) is $2.67.

Measuring Google Ads ROI takes patience, time, and a bit of analysis. However, once you’re able to track conversions and identify the best search terms that have profitable bid prices, you will start to see how much easier it is to predict your ROI in relation to how much you’ve invested into your ads campaign.

Want more Google AdWords tips to improve your performance? Click here to grab a copy of our Ultimate Google AdWords Checklist.

6 Tips for Starting an AdWords Campaign

Taking the plunge into Google AdWords can seem overwhelming, especially for small businesses that lack the resources of large companies. AdWords can appear extremely daunting, but it’s actually not as complicated as it seems once you get the hang of it. Still, there are many moving parts, and finding success takes time and effort. How do business owners with no Google advertising experience get started?

6 Tips for Starting an AdWords CampaignTaking the plunge into Google AdWords can seem overwhelming, especially for small businesses that lack the resources of large companies. AdWords can appear extremely daunting, but it’s actually not as complicated as it seems once you get the hang of it.  Still, there are many moving parts, and finding success takes time and effort. How do business owners with no Google advertising experience get started?

Here we’ll review six tips for new businesses that are starting up AdWords campaigns. When you finish reading this, you’ll feel less like you’re falling and more like you’re taking your first steps toward a worthwhile goal.

Tip 1: Do Your Homework

Before you log in and start setting up a Google AdWords campaign, it’s critical to take a step back and do your homework. For example, you’ll need to answer the following basic questions:

  1. Who exactly are you targeting with your ad campaign?
  2. Where (which geographic locations) are your ideal customers?
  3. Which product or service are you promoting?
  4. Are you going to present a special offer in your ads?
  5. Why should a prospective customer choose to click on your ad and purchase from you versus all the other options?
  6. What is your monthly budget?
  7. How much can you afford to spend to generate a lead or sale from your ad campaign?

As you can see, these questions are not specific to Google AdWords. They are specific to your business and your advertising goals and the answers will determine how you set up your campaign.

Tip 2: Set Up Conversion Tracking

How will you measure the success of your Google AdWords advertising campaign? Is it the number of phone calls? Or the number of online sales? Or the number of demo requests?

Once you identify the goal(s), then you need to set up conversion tracking so that you can measure whether or not your AdWords campaign is meeting expectations. Think of conversion tracking like a report card. You need to have a report card so that at the end of every month you know if your AdWords campaigns are passing or failing.

Luckily, AdWords has built-in conversion tracking to measure just about any goal you would want to track. But you need to set this up before you turn on your ads!  It’s not retroactive.

Tip 3: Get Into the Testing Mindset

No matter how much you invest in planning, researching, and meticulously setting up your ad campaigns, there is a very good chance that your ads will not be profitable right away.

That’s because it’s impossible to know until you start to collect data from your target keywords and ads.  For this reason, I recommend all new advertisers get into the “testing mindset” for the first 1-3 months of a new campaign. During this testing period, you’re essentially investing in research data that you can then use to improve the performance of your ad campaigns.

It’s OK if your ads are not profitable right away as long as you’re actively collecting data and making improvements that will later make the ads profitable.

This leads us to tip No. 3 …

8 Considerations for Planning a Google AdWords Campaign

Ready to make a splash in Google AdWords? If you’re marketing your small business, then you may have first-hand knowledge about the ease of using Google’s ad platform. But don’t be fooled — it takes more than hastily written ad copy and keywords to be successful in AdWords.

TM0810_searchglobe copyReady to make a splash in Google AdWords? If you’re marketing your small business, then you may have first-hand knowledge about the ease of using Google’s ad platform. Anyone with a Google account and a credit card can get ads up and running within minutes. Online marketing can be an intimidating concept, but AdWords distills the creation of ad campaigns into a simple, step-by-step process.

But don’t be fooled — it takes more than hastily written ad copy and keywords to be successful in AdWords. Much like cooking isn’t as simple as throwing food into the oven, creating profitable campaigns in AdWords requires knowing your target audience, analyzing competitors and defining goals for your advertising efforts. Do these things, and your campaigns are far more likely to hit their desired targets. Neglect this pre-launch research, though, and your ads may never flourish.

Here we’ll review eight important steps when planning your Google AdWords campaigns. Whether you’re new to AdWords or have some experience, these easy steps can strengthen your advertisements right out of the gate.

1. Define Who You’re Targeting

Think of your AdWords campaigns as radio stations. If you wanted to attract the most listeners, you wouldn’t play the same music on all of your stations. Some stations would play the current pop hits, while others may play rap, classical or country. Each unique station would resonate better with specific groups of people.

So when creating your campaigns, think carefully about who you’re trying to reach with each one. If you’re marketing a shoe store, do you want your newest campaign to target male or female shoppers? Are you marketing formal shoes or sneakers? Are you trying to appeal locally or attract nationwide online orders? Or perhaps you’re selling to a niche market, like people with unusually large feet? Any information you can gather on your target audience will help you build your campaigns.

2. Find Relevant, High-demand Keywords

Building quality keyword lists is essential for all your campaigns. However, good keywords need to be more than relevant — they also need to be in high demand. In search marketing, demand is measured by how many people are searching for various keywords. Keywords that garner little attention from Web users aren’t going to help your advertising campaigns.

Fortunately, Google makes it easy to find relevant, high-demand keywords. Simply enter your keyword ideas into the AdWords Keyword Suggestion Tool, and Google returns lists of similar keyword terms along with their estimated monthly search volumes and various other metrics. Estimated costs per click are shown, but these figures are often incorrect. Definitely pay attention to the level of competition for each keyword term; keywords with higher levels of competition are being bid on by more AdWords users, which pushes up the required bids for premium ad placements. You’ll maximize your reach and make your budget go further by finding relevant, high-volume keywords with less competition from other advertisers.

3. Make a Focused Sales Pitch

Knowing how to blast your ad to the masses is important, but reach doesn’t matter if your ad isn’t interesting. What exactly are you selling, and why should your campaign’s target audience care? What makes your business or your product special? Are you offering a deal or discount that your customers shouldn’t be without?

Your sales pitch must be short and sweet. Pay-per-click ads don’t leave much room for making your point, which is why it’s so crucial to zero in on one or two selling points for each of your campaigns. Choosing the sales pitches for your various campaigns goes hand-in-hand with knowing your target audiences.

5 Types of Google AdWords Conversion Tracking

When I first started using Google AdWords in 2006, conversion tracking was in its infancy. There was only one type of conversion pixel code and there was no option to customize anything. Oh boy, have the times changed

When I first started using Google AdWords in 2006, conversion tracking was in its infancy. There was only one type of conversion pixel code and there was no option to customize anything.

Oh boy, have the times changed. AdWords now gives advertisers five different conversion types, along with options to customize exactly how conversions are tracking in your account. For example, you can now track all conversions or you can track only unique conversions to exclude the instances when prospects complete multiple forms on your website.

In this article, I’m going to bring you up to speed on all five different conversion types:

  1. Webform Submissions
  2. Online Sales with Revenue
  3. Calls from Website
  4. Calls from Ads [Call Extensions]
  5. Offline Sales [Import]

1. Webform Submissions:
Again, this was the only option for me back in 2006. Webform submissions like quote requests, demo requests, or any other key action on your website should be tracked as a conversion in your AdWords campaign. This can be easily set up by adding the conversion code to the “thank you” page of all your webforms.

2. Online Sales with Revenue:
Eventually, Google introduced the ability to assign a value to your conversions, which revolutionized campaign management. If your business sells anything online, then you absolutely must set up revenue tracking for your shopping cart. Once set up, you’ll start to see revenue data in AdWords so you can calculate your profit per keyword, placement or ad.

3. Calls from Website:
Just last year website call tracking was launched so that advertisers can see how many phone calls are generated from the AdWords ads. This code is fairly technical so I recommend assigning this task to your webmaster to get set up. Once installed you’ll start to see conversions in your AdWords account any time a prospect calls after clicking on one of your ads.

4. Calls from Ads:
Most people do not call directly from the phone number listed in an ad, but some do. In AdWords you can track these calls by using a Call Extension, which is one of the many Ad Extensions available in AdWords. When you set up your Call Extension, make sure to click on the advanced options and check the box to track phone calls using a Google forwarding number.

5. Offline Sales [Import]:
Up to this point all the conversion tracking options sound great, but they don’t solve the major problem for non-eCommerce businesses, which is tracking sales generated off of the internet.Luckily Google recognized this problem and introduce the Offline Sales Import conversion option. This is the most technical of them all, but it’s well worth the effort to have your webmaster set this up. Here’s how it works:

  • Your webmaster will have to edit all the forms on your website to add a hidden field called “GCLID” (stands for “Google Click ID”)
  • Your webmaster will set the value of this hidden field using the URL parameter called “gclid”. For example, when someone clicks on one of your ads, Google automatically ads the “gclid” URL parameter, which looks like this 123ABC567DEF. This is the unique tracking code you’ll use to track sales back to your ads.
  • You’ll need to send the GCLID code to your sales team and/or your customer relationship management (CRM) tool like Salesforce.
  • On a monthly basis, you’ll need to find all the sales that have a corresponding GCLID code and import those codes, along with the sales revenue, into Google AdWords.
  • AdWords will automatically match the GCLID codes to the keywords, placements and ads that the customers originally clicked on before ultimately making a purchase off of the internet.

If that didn’t make sense, then just send your webmaster this page and he or she will be able to help. Trust me, it sounds more complicated than it is.

Go through the 5 conversion types again and make sure you have them all set up in your AdWord campaign. These are all critical to maximize the performance of your campaigns.

Want more free Google AdWords tips? Click here to get my Google AdWords checklist.

5 Common Google AdWords Mistakes to Avoid

Google AdWords is one of the most powerful tools you can use to advertise your business. It allows you to target your advertising dollars towards customers who are already ready to buy, and to tap into a constant stream of prospects searching for your product or service. Plus, there’s no big upfront investment so you can start with a low advertising budget and then scale over time. These factors make Google AdWords a vital resource for any small business, but like any tool, it is often misunderstood and misused.

Google AdWords is one of the most powerful tools you can use to advertise your business. It allows you to target your advertising dollars towards customers who are already ready to buy, and to tap into a constant stream of prospects searching for your product or service. Plus, there’s no big upfront investment so you can start with a low advertising budget and then scale over time. These factors make Google AdWords a vital resource for any small business, but like any tool, it is often misunderstood and misused.

I’ve reviewed hundreds of AdWords accounts and the most common mistakes I see typically fall into 5 basic categories, all of which can be quite costly to your business, but are fairly easy to fix. Here is a look at the most common types of mistakes people make when using Google AdWords, and how you can avoid them.

  1. Budget Allocation Errors
    This mistake can happen during the planning phase. Many company owners simply allocate their available dollars equally across all of their products or lines of business. This is almost never the best idea because all products and services are not equally valuable to your business. Instead, focus on your marketing goals based on maximizing your ROI (Return on Investment).

    Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve with your ad campaign. Do you want to grow an already profitable business unit or try to scale a new product or service? How many new customers do you hope to attract per month? Figure out what you want to accomplish, and then allocate your budget based on what is most likely to help you quickly reach your goal.

  2. Ad Writing Problems
    Writing ads is a tough job, but a great ad is the key to attracting the right prospects and turning them into customers. Many business owners struggle with exactly what message they want to send, and end up making one of 4 basic ad writing mistakes. See if your ads fall into any of these categories:
    • One Size Fits All: One size fits all ads try to target a single ad to a long list of keywords. Instead of being highly relevant for one keyword, the ad ends up being mediocre for all of them. To fix this, create separate, tightly targeted ads for each of your core keyword phrases.
    • Me Too: These ads don’t stand out from the competition in any memorable way. If everyone in your line of business offers free consultations, then a free consultation doesn’t make you special. Figure out what you provide that is different from what your competitors provide, and highlight that difference in your ads.
    • Feature Rich: Your prospects want to buy a product or service that solves a problem in their lives. Feature rich ads focus on all the bells and whistles, but fail to answer the basic question of how the purchase will meet a specific need. To improve these ads, identify your customers’ needs and explain how you will fulfill them.
    • Company Focused: Like feature rich ads, company focused ads fail to explain what you can do for the customer. Talking too much about your company wastes space that could be better used for telling prospects what you will do for them.
  3. Landing Page Issues
    It is easy (and often the obvious first choice if you’re just getting started) to set your website’s home page as the landing page for all your ads, but it can cost you customers. Your home page gives a general introduction to everything you do, but your prospect clicked on a specific ad to meet a specific need. Make it easy for your prospects by targeting individual landing pages to the relevant ads. Describe the benefits of your product or service, give specifics, demonstrate your credibility, and don’t forget a call to action.
  4. Keyword Match Type Mistakes:
    Keyword match types is one of the least understood aspect of Google AdWords for new advertisers and unfortunately these mistakes can be extremely costly. When you add keywords to your AdWords campaign, then Google allows you to set 4 different match types to tell Google exactly which search phrases phrases should trigger your your ads.
    • Broad: This is the default setting so new advertisers often unknowingly select this when setting up their campaigns. However, it is almost never the best option. With this setting, your ad will display when a prospect searches not only your chosen keyword, but any other keyword that the algorithm thinks is related. You could end up paying for clicks from people who have no interest in what you are actually selling.
    • Exact: This setting displays your ad only to prospects who search for your exact keyword phrase in the exact way that you set it up. This can be overly restrictive because you could ignore prospects who are highly interested but searching in a slightly different way. For this reason, I generally do not recommend starting with Exact match until you identify the top performing search phrases. Once you know the exact phrase, then you’ll want to use Exact match to laser target your advertising.
    • Phrase: Phrase matching is almost always the best choice for a new Google AdWords campaign. It displays your ad when your keyword phrase is searched, even if it is part of a longer search phrase. Note that your ads could still display for irrelevant searches so it’s critical to use Negative keywords whenever you use Phrase match. Negative keywords will block your ads from displaying on any irrelevant searches you select.
    • Modified Broad: This is generally the best setting for business owners who want to expand their advertising campaigns. It matches your ad to search phrases that include all of the words in your keyword phrase in any order. It improves your reach, but also raises your risk of irrelevant clicks, which is why you’ll want to avoid this advanced setting when you’re just starting out.
  5. Conversion Tracking Omissions
    Without conversion tracking, you have no objective data to use in tweaking your advertising campaign and maximizing your ROI. Yet many business owners omit this crucial step. Setting up online conversion tracking for solely web-based businesses is as simple as adding a bit of code to your receipt, or “thank you” page.

    If your sales convert offline through phone calls or face to face meetings, conversion tracking is a bit more complicated, but still entirely possible. Your options include tracking phone numbers, coupon codes, and Offline conversion imports. All it takes is some understanding of the Google AdWords conversion tracking system and a little persistence to continually keep track of your leads and sales from your advertising campaigns.

Want more Google AdWords tips and advice? I put together an AdWords checklist to help you get your campaigns set up for success. Click here to get my Google AdWords checklist.