AdWords Conversion Tracking For E-commerce

By on Apr 9, 2015 in AdWords | 0 comments


Being able to track revenue from your online marketing campaign is key for several obvious reasons. Interestingly enough, many websites are not configured to track revenue from the sources that help to generate it. These website owners tend to view revenue only from the shopping cart reports. While this is very important, it doesn’t help to understand what source/medium is driving those sales.

One medium people turn to often is Pay Per Click advertising (PPC). The best-known platform is Google AdWords. Using this platform may help to expand your business and increase revenue and profits, but only if you know how it’s actually performing.

Like most things in life, we can view revenue in more than one way for your AdWords campaign. To explain this last statement, we need to begin by getting a few things in place. First we need to put into place the ability to track the revenue that is being generated online. Then we need to understand the data that is being accumulated. Finally, once we gain that understanding we can see that a marketing campaign doesn’t just directly generate sales, but also helps to influence sales by driving the buyer back to the site.

This article will cover two ways in which you can track your online revenue from your AdWords campaign. Once you know where and how to get that metric, we can move forward and calculate ROI.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is probably the most used web tracking tool in online marketing and for good reasons. It’s free, and it is powerful. The amount of data that you can gather, and the level of reporting is incredible. You can extract almost anything that you want from the activity on your site.

Within Analytics, there are two ways in which you can see the impact that your AdWords campaign is helping to generate revenue. Last Click/ Direct Conversions and Assisted Conversions. Last Click conversions give credit to the last source a person came from. Direct conversion is when someone comes to your site from one source and makes a purchase. An Assisted Conversion means that it took multiple visits from possibly different sources before making a purchase. I state “possibly different sources” because people can come in from the same source and be counted as an assisted conversion.

View this video to gain further insight into how Multi-Channel Funnels work.

Last Click/Direct Conversions

One way of looking at the revenue generated by your campaign is to look at the last click/direct conversion. To view this information on your account, click on Ecommerce > Overview and then select Souce / Medium. You can see an image of it below.

Ecommerce Overview Google Analytics


Assisted Conversions

Assisted conversions are less understood and is an area of Analytics that most people don’t visit. The data found here will open up a whole new world to you in terms of understanding how Assisted Conversions gives you insight into your marketing campaign. To see this data click on Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions. Once you’re in there, we want to filter everything out and just keep AdWords. To do so, click on AdWords at the top of of the page under Type:.

Below you can see an image of the type of information you’ll be seeing.

Assisted Conversions Google Analytics AdWords


Within this view, you can toggle between Assisting Interactions Analysis, First Interaction Analysis and Conversions. For the purpose of this article, we’re only going to focus on Conversions. Conversions combine all of the conversion data, from first, assisted and last click/direct conversions. It lumps everything together, and this is what we want to see. 

Looking at Conversions in assisted conversions gives us a more accurate understanding of the impact the AdWords campaign has. It is not 100% accurate because there is always some data that is lost due to people using multiple devices and other issues.

AdWords Conversion Tracking

Within your AdWords account, you have the possibility to track revenue too. There are two ways to do this. You can import conversions from Analytics or install the AdWords Conversion Tracking code. There are advantages to both, but to see the overall impact of the campaign, using the AdWords conversion tracking may be a better solution. To access this code within your AdWords account, go to Tools > Conversions. There is one important thing to note when setting this up. The AdWords code doesn’t give you the ability to track revenue as is. You’ll have to make some minor changes to the code. For information on how to do this, visit Track transaction-specific conversion values on the AdWords support page.

Okay, you’re all set up, the tracking code is installed, now where’s the data? To see the revenue you will have to add a column in the AdWords account. Click Columns > Customize Columns > Conversions and select Total conv. value. Once you add it, click apply and you will see it as one of the columns. You can add this column to Campaigns, Ad Groups and Keywords.

Two Ways To Track Revenue, Which Should I Use?

The answer is both. Analytics and AdWords track the revenue differently. Analytics takes into account other sources. When viewing the revenue from Ecommerce > Overview > Souce / Medium, Analytics only takes into account the last click source. For example: if someone came from one of your ads and didn’t buy, then came back from an organic search result, Google Organic would take the credit for the sale. This is why looking at the Assisted Conversion data is so important. You can see how AdWords interacted with other mediums and the role it played in conversions. 

AdWords doesn’t look at other sources, it tracks the conversions from the last time someone clicked on the ad within a 30 day window. (30 days is the default, you can change that time frame in AdWords). For example: someone clicked on the ad, visited the site, came back from Facebook because of your Facebook page, then finally came back one more time through Google organic and buys, it would register as a conversion in AdWords. The AdWords conversion code doesn’t “care” about other sources, it only recognizes clicks to its ads.

The main advantage of using the AdWords Conversion Tracking code in the AdWords account is that it gives you a more accurate view of the impact your campaign is having. For example: imagine for a moment that you are importing Analytics data into the AdWords account. The data that is being imported, only imports last click conversion data. It doesn’t import assisted conversion data. This can be problematic because sometimes certain ad groups play a greater role in assisting conversions. By digging a little deeper in your analytics you can discover the true impact in the assisted conversions view. If you are optimizing your AdWords account, and only looking at the the conversion data in AdWords, you may be pausing or removing keywords/ad groups that have a positive impact in generating revenue. If you use the AdWords tracking code, you won’t have this problem because the code doesn’t consider other sources.

Try It Out

Take some time to consider what is written in this article. Looking at the data from different angles helps you gain greater insight into what is happening. By doing so, you may be able to “plug some holes” in your campaign or learn that an area of your campaign is performing better than what you thought.



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