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11% of Survey Respondents Indicate Tracking Conversions is Their Biggest Challenge

Conversion tracking, especially for local businesses, can be a serious challenge that clouds your ability to determine which keywords and campaigns are performing well, and which aren’t.

Not only does the lack of conversion tracking affect your performance scores in Google, it makes the already tough job of crafting an ROI positive campaign even harder. Without conversion tracking how do you know what levers to pull to improve performance?


“When we think about paid search marketing concepts like optimizing budget, scaling while maintaining return on investment, driving more quality prospects and improving quality scores we have to acknowledge that conversion tracking is at the heart of it all. It is a critical part of paid search marketing and needs to be addressed before spending another dollar on the channel.”


So how do you fix this issue? To answer that question we need to break the solution down into two categories to address the differences in local versus non-local businesses.


Non-Local Businesses

In this category we have the ability to sell something or generate a lead online, not requiring any type of in-person visit from the prospect. In this scenario we can utilize Google’s conversion tracking code system to track conversions on the front end. One or more conversion tracking codes can be generated for each type of conversion you want to track. A product sale or lead would be one, a newsletter signup another and contact for more information could be a third. Each conversion carries a value of success, generating an in-market-now lead, sale or marketable record for your prospect database.

Generally speaking the conversion code is placed on the page that loads after the ‘conversion’ takes place. A form confirmation page, a product purchase summary page, a newsletter signup confirmation page etc. Define your goals for each campaign and determine what you conversion types you consider important for your business, then track accordingly. Working with your web site administrator or your content management system to place the tracking code in the proper areas is generally not that difficult. But it’s only the first part of the equation.

Now that we are able to track and get credit for our conversions in Google, we need to focus on being able to track our conversions on the back end. This is where things can get dicey, as every company uses a different combination of shopping carts, CRM systems, marketing automation tools and back end reporting technologies.

Here are some ways that you can be sure you are tracking conversions through the back end of the funnel so you can begin calculating your return on investment.


Product Sales

This is the most difficult since there is no interaction in between the visit and the conversion.

  • If you lack advanced technology and resources and your online volume isn’t crazy you may be able to match up your conversions in Google by day and time with orders coming through your web site.
  • URL parameters offer you a way to carry tracking information through to your shopping cart that can be imported into the customer account after an order. With the right technology you can also ‘tag’ each account with the lead source using this information.


Lead Conversions

Leads are generally easier to identify than product sales. Here are a couple of recommendations to help you track them.

  • Use individual landing pages and individual forms for each lead capture page. When a lead is submitted most forms can be set up to send a copy of the lead to a distribution list with information that identifies which form or landing page it came from. Usually the subject line or content of the email notification will contain the information you need to tag the account, either manually or using automated import.
  • More advanced organizations can also use the URL parameters mentioned above along with automated import of the leads to your CRM that will tag accounts to the proper lead source.


Some Important Notes About Tracking Lead Conversions

  • Do not rely on your sales team to receive leads and input them into the CRM with the proper lead source fields. Their focus in on hitting sales goals, not ensuring we can report on marketing channels.
  • Do monitor and verify incoming leads are being input to your CRM and being actively worked by your sales team.
  • Not all leads convert right away. Even the best lead generation programs that have processes in place to receive and contact a lead immediately will have a high percentage of leads closed due to no contact (or other reasons) but some will reactivate down the line. Be sure both the lead and account are tagged to the proper lead source. As prospects reactivate and a new lead is created in your CRM it’s important to tie those back to proper lead source if they are within your specified period of time. (Usually 90 days. Your mileage may vary)
  • To get a full sense of ROI it is critical to pull reports at the account level to determine the total volume of sales generated. For example, you may want to track follow on sales, lifetime value of a customer, referrals and other segments of your business like other verticals or retention sales you generate from leads that originate from paid search. Put the mechanisms in place needed to demonstrate the full impact of paid search on your businesses growth.


Local Businesses

In addition to some of the standard challenges mentioned above local businesses that need to track in-person sales to online advertising have an even higher mountain to climb. If you are a large retailer with multiple physical locations Google does provide tools to help using a combination of signals like GPS location and Google Street Views to determine a conversion has taken place. Although new, and not perfect, it can certainly help.

Other recommendations include appointment or consultation requests required before the visit, quote requests, call extensions on your ads that track phone call conversions, an incentive that requires printing a coupon or a code that is unique to specific paid search campaigns. The bottom line is, you’ll need to get creative so you know where a prospect came from when they walk through the door and make a purchase.

You can then track the redemption or other mechanisms that allow you to associate the customer with paid search and provide the ability to run the reports you need to get a full sense of your ROI.

The bottom line here is that you need to find ways to track conversions accurately and consistently. Paid search offers a uniquely trackable and repeatable growth mechanism for your business, but only if you put the proper systems in place. Without conversion tracking you’re flying blind., and that’s no way to invest your marketing dollars.


Where Do I Go From Here?

What we’ve covered here is the just the tip of the iceberg. If you are looking for more detailed strategies for tracking conversions on the front and back end of your paid search marketing program consider purchasing our affordable advanced guides. Each is chock full of the tips, tricks and strategies we employ to build successful programs for clients all over the country. Take the lessons we’ve learned and put them into practice to bring your paid search marketing program to the next level.

Think you might need more help? Why not reach out for a consultation with our resident paid search marketing consultants so we can review your specific needs and challenges and provide the solutions you need to move forward.

It is possible to solve your conversion tracking issue, and we are happy to help any way we can.

As a onetime special, we are offering you 25% off of any of our advanced guides if you make your purchase in the next 5 days. Simply use coupon code DIAGNOSTIC25 during checkout.

Solving your conversion tracking issue should be your biggest priority and I hope we’ve helped set you on a path to success.



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