Converting the Preached: Adwords, Analytics & Conversions

You know the value of tracking conversions – they’re the lifeblood of your business. And frankly, if you’re seeing big fat zeros in your Conversions column in your Analytics or Adwords, you’re effectively clueless as to the effectiveness of your marketing.

And yet, I’ve seen so many clients who haven’t been tracking conversions. In a way that’s understandable: when you sit down to implement, it’s not so easy: so many elements (like accounts)  need connecting.

If you start tracking conversions in Adwords, you’ll be given a block of code that you’ll need to put in a page, or on a button. If you need to edit your ‘thank you’ page and insert the code., it’s not simple if your site is WordPress – there are plugins, but the one I saw didn’t let you specify which page the conversion code went in. So maybe you’ll have to create a template just for the thanks page and put it there… While it can be simple, depending to your site architecture,  it often isn’t.

There is an alternative way, and that’s to connect and import goals from Google Analytics. True, Adwords code-driven conversions have a laser focus, but I’d argue that Analytics must be the starting point for your data-driven marketing decisions. Understanding your website traffic is the building block for business success.

So, and if you haven’t already, begin by deciding on and setting-up your primary goal in Analytics. Keep it focused on actions critical to the business rather than a woolly goal like ‘spends more than 5 mines on the site’- here we’ve set up a post-form-submission thanks page as a goal:

Then in Adwords, link your Analytics to your Adwords, and import your Goals.

In Settings–> Linked Accounts, select Google Analytics then click the ‘Set-up link’ button. you ought to Enable Google Optimize while you’re at it – you do plan to do some A/b testing on the new site, don’t you?







Next, specify the Property view you want to focus on:

Select which View you want to connect with; do you have multiple views don’t you, to filter out in-house clicks etc.

While you’re there, link Google Search Console with Adwords so you can see organic search data and compare with paid performance.

Finally, don’t forget to Import the Goals:

Congratulations, you’ve set up conversion tracking in Adwords based on Analytics and taken a big step to quantifying and understanding your business.


6 PPC Tips That Will Give You The Competitive Edge

I’m a big fan of a focused PPC campaign. Focused on conversions. Here’s are some tips to achieve that.

  1. Always remember that the beauty of Adwords PPC over other channels is that you are reaching potential customers at the exact point at which they are making a decision to buy a product like yours.  Or at least starting to think about it. Reach them with relevant keywords, ads, and landing pages.
  2. Always use negative keywords. Review the Search Terms used to show your ads. What keywords are being used that do NOT relate to your product? You’ll probably be surprised at keywords that slip in that lead to keyword combinations that bear no relation to your product. Lose them.
  3. Always look at your keyword Quality Score. Regardless of the impact it might have on your  bids, it’s such a good indicator of the relevance of a particular keyword to your campaign (and landing page). If the QS is 5 or below, do something: lose the keyword, or work it into your page somehow – Page Title, body of the page, just somewhere it can be seen by the system.  If the keyword doesn’t match the page,  people aren’t going to convert, let alone click.
  4. Utilise Sitelink & Callout Extensions – they’re such a good way to enhance the ad.  For free. See the example below – only the AO ad uses relevant sitelink extensions, showing additional, relevant links I might want to click on.
  5.  Test your Ads,  Test your Headlines. Ads can have 2 headlines of 30 characters, and while it’s tempting to go to town on these, sometimes keeping it simple avoids losing part of the message when a headline is truncated. Here’s an example:
    Example PPC ads
    Here we have a couple of pitfalls. Which? magazine seems more to be pushing it’s subscription – I saw your ad because I’m looking for a laptop, not a magazine. Also we see a couple of message lost because they are over-long. The last ad urges us to ‘Hurry, Must…’ Must what?
  6. And no ad in the above example using the Path fields of an ad. Path is two fields in an ad definition that shows on the second line of an ad.  How much more likely would I be to click on the John Lewis ad, or indeed any of these ads, if the shown link was rather than just, or rather than just  This goes to my first point – always think about the mindset of the viewer of your ads.I realise this post and specific example deals with some big brands  whose ads are automatically created rather than hand-crafted as a small business ad campaign would be. But it does illustrate how, which a bit of attention to detail, one can create PPC ad campaigns that leverage all the elements available in Adwords and in doing so, help you gain a competitive edge.