Everything You Need To Know About PPC Conversion Tracking | PPC Hero

July 31, 2015

Conversions are one of the most powerful metrics PPC advertisers have when it comes to determining the success of their digital advertising programs. However, no two platforms seem to track conversions the same.

The only way to combat this issue is to fully understand how each platform tracks conversions and then use this knowledge to optimize your PPC programs to maximize success. Below we will cover the conversion tracking and implementation basics across several major PPC advertising programs including:

After reading this article, you will be well on your way to becoming a conversion tracking expert.

Conversion Tracking Basics

Conversion Window

The conversion window is the time from when a user clicks on an ad to when they actually convert. Each platform uses a different window, which can impact the number of conversions reported. For example, AdWords cookies expire 90 days after a customer’s click (default window is 30 days) while Analytics uses a cookie that lasts for up to 6 months. AdWords conversions can have a window between 7-90 days. That means if a customer completed a conversion after 91 days, the conversion wouldn’t be recorded in AdWords, but it would still be recorded in Analytics if it occurred within 6 months of the click date.

Attribution Time – Click or Conversion

Attribution time reports when conversions are counted – at the time of the ad click or time of conversion action. For example, AdWords reports conversions from the date and time of the click that led to the successful action. Where Google Analytics tracks conversions from when the conversion goal was completed. When reporting on day of click, your account can have “lagging” conversions as they continue to populate throughout the duration of the conversion window.

AdWords vs Google Analytics Conversion Tracking

Conversion Counting Methods

Google Tag Manager

How It Works: Google Tag Manager is an easy way to place and update conversion tracking pixels for web and mobile sites with minimal HTML experience across many conversion tracking systems including: AdWords, AdRoll, Bing, Google Analytics and many other tracking tags using a custom HTML tag placement.

Implementation: Place a container pixel on each page within your site.

Set-Up: Once you’ve created an account, you can create a Container for each domain to house all of your conversion tags.

Helpful Tips:

Google Analytics Tracking

How it Works: By placing a single snippet of code on every page within your site, Google Analytics allows you to track conversion goals, revenue, events and engagement across devices, domains and channels to maximize total ROI for your online advertising. While implementation can be fairly simple, the data that can be pulled can be very in-depth and useful in optimizing your total online marketing program.

Conversion Window: Up to 6 months

Attribution Time: Day of conversion

Counting Method: Last non-direct click


 Helpful Tips

Google AdWords Conversion Tracking

How It Works: AdWords uses a snippet of code on the final conversion page to track conversions from websites, apps, phone calls and revenue. AdWords also has the ability to import Google Analytics metrics from linked accounts into the interface. Using AdWords conversion data allows you to optimize for conversions and use many of the AdWords conversion data tools including attribution and conversion optimizer.

Conversion Window: 7 to 90 Days, (30 Day default)

Attribution Time: Day of click

Counting Method: Unique conversions (converted clicks), conversions (includes all conversion metrics)


Helpful Tips:

Bing Universal Event Tracking (UET)

How It Works: Bing Universal Event Tracking (UET) allows you track multiple events by placing a single pixel, including:

The new pixel will also be used for Remarketing for Search once it becomes available.

Once you have created goals within Bing’s Universal Event Tracking, Bing will attribute the conversions to the last ad clicked within the conversion period. If no such click is available, Bing will attribute the goal conversion to the “other” category. Preceding clicks on ads within the conversion window of the goal will be deemed as assists.

Conversion Window: Up to 90 days

Attribution Time: Day of click

Counting Method: Once per pixel (tag) or page load. *No option at this time to set-up de-dup parameter option.


Helpful Tips:

Yahoo Gemini Conversion Tracking

How It Works: The Yahoo Gemini platform allows you to track conversion events based on destination URLs and events for mobile and Native searches in the US. Also, when implementing Yahoo Gemini conversion tracking you may be eligible for CPA bidding options.

Conversion Window: 30-day post click

Attribution Time: Post click

Counting Method: Click thru conversions


Helpful Tips:

Facebook Conversion Tracking

How It Works: Facebook conversion tracking allows you to track important actions that people take on your website like registrations or checkouts. Facebook also provides cross-device reporting, which lets you see how people are moving between devices to make conversions across apps and the web. For example, if a customer sees an ad for a product on their mobile phone but decides to buy it later on their desktop computer, you can see that data too.

Conversion Window: 28 day, 7 day, 1 day

Attribution Time: Post click and post view

Counting Method: Click thru conversions

Set Up:

Helpful Tips

How To Check Conversion Tags

Now that we’ve covered the basics of conversion tracking for each of the platforms, the next question that plagues advertisers with minimal HTML or developer experience is how do you know if they are firing correctly and how to fix if they are not?