How to Track PPC Campaigns

Track Conversions


Track your PPC campaigns.  This post is written for the complete PPC beginner trying to learn what PPC tracking is and why it's important.  Hopefully you already have some kind of website analytics package set up.  If you don't, I'd recommend you set up Google Analytics first before setting up PPC tracking.

 What is PPC tracking?

The Adwords and Bing Ads platforms offer you the ability to create what's known as 'conversion tracking'.  I know that sounds fancy but don't let the words throw you off.  A 'conversion' is nothing more than an action that you want visitors to take.

For example, when visitors show up to your website, what do you want them to do? Call?  Make a purchase?  Fill out a contact form for more information?  These are all actions that can be measured using conversion tracking.  It doesn't cost you anything to set up.  With conversion tracking in place, you will know what keywords are driving your online conversions.  This allows you to bid strategically on the keywords that drive results for your business.

Why Should I track my PPC Campaigns?

To identify keywords that convert and avoid wasting money on keywords that do not convert.  This will save you money.

How does PPC tracking work?

Whenever someone clicks a PPC ad, they get a cookie put on their computer.  This cookie is a tracking device that is used to identify website visitors that clicked on an ad to get to your website.  While on your site, if the user performs an action that you are tracking (sign-up, purchase, form fill), the conversion tracking script and the cookie on the user's machine match up and a conversion is recorded.

You will be able to see conversion data within Adwords and the Bing Ads interface.  This is valuable because overtime you will notice that some keywords drive results and others just drive traffic but no conversions.

Where do I go to within the interface to set up PPC tracking?

For Google Adwords

In the navigation bar, click "Tools and Analysis" > "Conversions"

Conversions Under Tools

Click "New conversion" button

New Conversion

Give your conversion a name.

Conversion Step 1

In the "Conversion category" drop-down, select what type of conversion it is.  For "Page security level", it won't hurt you by selecting https.  If you are an ecommerce site for example, the conversion thankyou page will probably be a secured page indicated by https.  Optionally, if you have a fixed conversion value, you can enter this amount into the "Conversion value" field.  Lastly, I recommend you tick "Don't add a notification to the code generated for my page" because as long as you tell users that they are being tracked in your privacy policy, you should be alright.  If you check "Add a 'Google Site Stats' notification to the code generated for my page", the user will see a conversion notification on the page.

Conversion Step 2

Lastly, tick the radio button that says "I make changes to the code", copy the code, paste it into your thankyou page HTML.

Conversion Step 3

Sometimes it's not as simple as copy/paste.

For example, if you are planning to implement PPC tracking for your WordPress site, you could use the following PHP code:

<?php if (stripos($_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'],'thank-you') == true) { ?>

<!-- Google Code for ##### Conversion Page -->
<script type="text/javascript"></noscript>

<!-- Bing Code for ##### Conversion Page -->
<script type="text/javascript"></noscript>

<?php } ?>

You would edit the 'thank-you' part by changing 'thank-you' to be the page your real thankyou page is at.  Also where it says '<script type="text/javascript"></noscript>' , that part would be replaced by the conversion code given to you from Adwords or Bing Ads.  To make matters more complicated, you would need to put this in your 'page' template or 'post' template depending on whether or not your thankyou page is a 'page' or 'post' type.

You could also use this PHP code for tracking PPC campaigns when using WordPress:

<?php if (is_page('thank-you')) {

<!-- Google Code for ##### Conversion Page -->
<script type="text/javascript"></noscript>

<!-- Bing Code for ##### Conversion Page -->
<script type="text/javascript"></noscript>

<?php } ?>

For Bing Ads

Click "Manage your analytics settings" from the campaigns area

Manage your analytics settings

Click "Create goal" button

Create Goal

Set your settings.  Very similar to Adwords.  I would recommend setting a "Number of days" to 30 for your conversion period.  If this is your first time creating a conversion in Bing Ads, I would keep it simple and give your goal a name, don't worry about adding conversion steps, if you have a constant sales price, then I would edit the "Revenue to track" part where it says "Constant" and that's it.  Just generate the code.

Create Goal Settings

This is how you track PPC campaigns for Adwords and Bing Ads.  For more information on Adwords conversion tracking, visit here.

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