Google Analytics Tracking Google Ads Conversions with Tag Manager

Article #5 in the Series

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If you have been following through this series of articles on getting enhanced tracking in place, linking your Google Analytics account with other valuable data sources, such as Google Search Console and Google Ads, then you know that having Conversion Goals set in Google Analytics is invaluable in helping make key digital  marketing decision.  Conversion Goals lead to a much stronger understanding of your marketing return on investment.

This article assumes that you already have conversions set up in your Google Ads account.  We will use these conversion actions to also provide the data to Google Analytics (via Google Tag Manager).  You will need to be logged into the Google Account which has admin access to Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Google Ads.

Your first step is to decide what you want to track as a “Conversion”.  In our experience, Conversions represent the most valuable activities performed by visitors to your website.  This includes activities they take to interact with your company via phone, email, or form submissions.  These would typically be referred to as Lead Conversions as by contacting your company, they will be exchanging their personal contact information for product or services information from your company.  This also provides you with the opportunity to sell these contacts your products or services, or continue to contact them, through various methods, to promote your products and services.  At the highest level of Conversion activities would be an ecommerce enabled website where the visitor makes an online purchase.  For this to be a Conversion that we can track and attribute to Google Ads, the website visitor must have arrived on your site via a Google Ad link, then perform the conversion action.


Google Tag Manager to Track Google Ads Conversions

At a minimum we would suggest that you would want to track clicks on phone links, clicks on email links, and form submissions, whether that is a contact form, a product enquiry form, or a quote request form.  In a previous article we described how to use Google Tag Manager to set up Triggers and Tags to send event data to Google analytics when these types of activities occur.  We will now build up this to be able to identify the event also as a Google Ads conversion.  To get started, log into your Google account and open up separate windows in your browser for Google Ads, Google Analytics, and Google Tag Manager.  Next, in Google Tag Manager, go to the workspace and click on Tags.  Then click New and select Conversion Linker. Click Triggering and select All Pages.  Save the Tag. This utility simply improves the data sharing between Google properties. 

Set up the Google Ads Conversion tracker general Tag?

When we set up the event tracking, we used pairs of Triggers and Tags to “push” event data from your website to Google Analytics via Google Tag Manager.  We will now add a set of Tags to do the same, but to attribute the event to the Google Ads traffic source.  We will not need to set up any new Triggers as we can re-use what we already have in place.  Building on the example in the previous article where we set up a Google Analytics event for an Email Link Click, we will make use of the same Email Link Trigger.  We will use a new Tag so that it will send the data as a Google Ads conversion.  In Tags, click new.  Rename the Tag from Untitled Tag to G Ads Email Link Conversion.  For Tag type, select Google Ads Conversion Tracking.  Click on your browser tab for Google Ads and click the Admin Link, go to Conversions, and select the conversion action that matches with the click of an email link.  For installation, click Google Tag Manager.  Copy the Conversion ID.  Click back to the Google Tag Manager browser tab and paste it in the Conversion ID data field.  If you have multiple conversions set up in Google Ads you will also want to copy and paste the Conversion Label.  For the Trigger, choose the same Trigger as you used along with the GA Event Email Link.  Save the Tag.  Repeat this set up process for Phone Link and for Form Submissions, using the Triggers to match with the similar GA Event Tag.

Note: If you have set up different conversion actions in your Google Ads account, you will want to make sure you use the same conversion label when you set up the G Ads Conversion Tag.

When you have set up all the G Ads Conversions to mirror the GA Event Conversions, Publish the GTM container.  What will now happen is when a visitor comes to your website by clicking on a Google Ad, your website will know the traffic source as Google Ads.  If they complete a conversion action on your website, Google Tag Manager will fire the Trigger for that conversion action.  The Trigger will activate the GA Event Tag and the G Ads Conversion Tag, sending an event to Google Analytics and also recording a conversion with Google Ads.  Because we have previously set a Goal in Google Analytics which is matched with the GA Event, it will record that as an occurrence of the Goal and attribute the Goal to the traffic source of Google Analytics.