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The ABC of Google Adverts Errors

Creating and optimizing a Google Ads account is both an art and a science. Every marketer has their own style and techniques when it comes to setting up, managing and optimizing their account. However, there are some basic components of a Google Ads account that, if you misunderstand them, will result in errors and a wasted marketing budget. Think of it as the ABC of a Google Ad account.

Google Ads error

The ABCs are so basic that they are easy for anyone to understand and review, regardless of their experience with Google Ads. At the same time, misinterpreting just one of these essential components is a sure sign of poor account management and is likely to uncover dozens of other issues.

When it comes to Google Ads, the ABC stands for:

  • A – Automation
  • B – Broad keywords
  • C – Conversion Tracking

In the first part of our series on ABC errors with Google Ads, I will show you exactly how you can check the conversion tracking of your account and fix problems. Even though it is a third letter in alphabetical order, the conversion tracking must first be checked when analyzing an account. Let's start by defining a conversion and what it means before we move on to more complex concepts.

Conversion Tracking

What is a "conversion"?

Essentially, a "conversion" is an action by a visitor to your website that adds value to your business. The most basic types of conversions are:

  • Sales – If you are an e-commerce company, define a conversion as a purchase on your website.
  • Lead – If you generate leads, someone who fills out a form on your website and provides you with contact information is considered a valuable conversion.

Why conversions matter

Conversions are fundamental and necessary to optimize Google Ads accounts. By monitoring conversions, you can see the return on your investment. These results also give you a clear direction if you want to know what you need to optimize in your account.

Suppose you invested $ 500, which ultimately resulted in 5 conversions (sales or leads). This shows you that your cost per conversion was $ 100. Next, you need to assess whether the sale or lead for your company was worth $ 100 or more. Then you can start pulling the hundreds of levers in Google Ads to optimize what you want to pay for each conversion.

That’s why Google Ads is so powerful and has so much potential. An optimized account is fine-tuned to give you the results you want at the price you think is worth. If you achieve this balance, you can use Google Ads correctly and you can grow your online business and increase profits.

Conversion Tracking Techniques

How Conversions Are Tracked

How does Google know who clicks on an ad and who then makes a purchase or fills out a form? Here is a basic explanation of how this tracking works:

  1. Someone does a search on and clicks on an ad
  2. By clicking on an ad, Google marks its browser as someone who clicked on an ad
    1. Google uses a so-called "cookie" for this.
    2. Think of it as a postage stamp that you would get at a party.
  3. Depending on your website if the visitor
    1. When you make a purchase, you will be taken to a page that says "Order Confirmation".
    2. Fill out a form and reach a page that reads "Thank you".
  4. As a Google Ads user, you define a "conversion" by notifying Google that a page on your website that is referred to as an "order confirmation" or "thank you" will be counted as a conversion and added to the conversion. Google Ads Conversion report.

It's really that simple. You’ve set up your Google ads to tell Google that someone who reaches a particular page on your website has taken a valuable action and should be recorded as a conversion.

Event Conversion Tracking

While recording a visit to a particular page is the most basic form of conversion tracking, you can also set up Event Conversion Tracking. An "event" is defined as a specific action that someone has taken on your website. For example, click a specific button, watch a video, or even download a white paper.

This is simply another way to mark an action as a conversion for Google tracking purposes.

Systems that define the conversion

The two systems you can use to set up these conversions are:

  1. Google Ads – In the "Conversion" section you create a new conversion. The site generates a small code that you insert on your "order confirmation" or "thank you" page.
  2. Google Analytics – This is Google’s free web analytics service that you can integrate into your website and track all visitors to your website, their actions, behaviors, and more.

Conversion Tracking Problems

Tracking several different conversions

In theory, you can mark any desired customer action as a conversion. In addition, you are not limited to tracking one type of conversion at a time. You can track many different types of conversions and import them all into Google Ads.

It is important that most Google Ads accounts are insufficient when defining the correct conversion. For example, suppose you define a conversion as someone who reaches your order confirmation page. This means that he made a purchase. Great, you can now analyze your Google ads:

  • Costs – "Costs" column
  • Conversions – "Conversions" column
  • Costs per sale – "Costs / Conv." Column

But what if you also define a conversion as an event where someone downloads a catalog of your products? Now the number in the conversion column is increased by 1 for each "sale" or "catalog download".

If you invested $ 500 in Google Ads and made 5 conversions, it is not clear whether you made 5 sales or 5 catalog downloads, or a combination of the two. This makes it difficult to calculate the value of your investment.

Incorrect tracking setup

Fortunately, there is a special way to set up each conversion type so that you can view more accurate data. Please note that incorrect setup will result in the conversion numbers shown in Google Ads also being incorrect.

For example, a sale made on your website can show up as three conversions in Google Ads. Or, in the end, you could record anyone who is currently visiting the "Contact Us" page as a conversion – even if they haven't actually submitted their information.

If your conversions are wrong, you’re flying blind and it’s impossible to optimize your account.

Multiple import of the same conversion

I often see people using Google Ads and Google Analytics to track the same conversion. So when a sale is made on the website, two or more sales will appear in the conversion column. While this may seem like Google Ads is performing well, investing in Google Ads is actually half or less of the value than is displayed.

Short calls

Google Ads has an option to track phone calls in your company. Without going into the technical details of how it works, Google basically tracks every call to your company and how long it lasts. This is known as a "calls from ads" conversion.

In the conversion settings for calls from ads, you can select the length of a call that you consider valuable or that you would classify as "conversion". The default setting for this is 60 seconds. Anyone who stays in touch with you for a full minute is likely relevant to your business and offers some value.

What I see often is the "Call Length" option, which is set to 5 or 10 seconds. That is, if you sell furniture and someone calls you and asks you for a pizza and you tell them that they have the wrong number, their call will be tracked as a conversion.

Review and fix conversion tracking

The most basic way to think about successful conversion tracking is to reflect real-world circumstances. In other words, the conversions and value you see in Google Ads must match those you see in your actual business.

Compare Google Ads with the real world

A basic check you can do to assess the health of your Google Ads account is to roughly compare the conversion reports with what you already know about your business.

If you’re generating leads on your website, check yesterday’s conversions and see if it’s roughly what you know about your business. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it needs to be close enough to make sense.

If you have an ecommerce website, compare the number of sales made to the conversions shown in Google Ads. When Google Ads tracks the "Conversion Value" column, compare it to your earnings over the same period.

For example, if you see 10 conversions for yesterday and you know you only have 2 or 25, 10 clearly doesn't reflect reality. Depending on the volume of your company, you can view yesterday, the last 7 days or the last 30 days. The goal is to check whether the conversions in Google Ads reflect your business results.

Review the breakdown of different conversions.

Most people don’t know that there is an option to see how many conversions you got from each type if you’re tracking more than one conversion type in Google Ads. The best way to see this is:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account and click "All Campaigns".
    1. You should see the table with all of your campaigns.
  2. Click Segment à Conversions à Conversion Action
  3. This shows you the name of each conversion that has produced results in that period
    1. Make sure that everything that is persecuted makes sense to you.
    2. Use this detailed breakdown to understand why your conversion tracking is wrong.

Conclusion – Google Ads Error

Google Ads is data-driven. With conversion tracking, you can track every cent invested and the exact value you get back from that investment. Without conversion tracking, you don't know which strategies and campaigns work and which don't. At best, you could throw money into the drain or play.

When I check an account, I first check conversion tracking. I ask potential customers whether the numbers reflect business reality. If this is not the case, the Google Ads account cannot be optimized. They either try to optimize based on wrong data, or they don't even have tracking and they only guess.

Is tracking your Google ads true to your company's reality? If not, ask the person who manages the account how they have an idea for optimization … and be ready to see fancy tap dances.

Make sure your Google Ads tracking is correct. This is the first thing your account should set up to get the most out of Google Ads and run successful campaigns that drive conversions and growth.



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