Conversion tracking is crucial to ensuring that a PPC campaign is tracking results that matter to businesses, such as form submissions or purchases. Inaccurate conversion data can lead to faulty reporting and misinformed optimization decisions.
Whether setting up conversion tracking for a new campaign or auditing an existing setup, take the time to avoid these common mistakes.
Inaccurate Conversion URLs
When inputting a URL to track as a goal, a discrepancy as small as a single character can prevent proper conversion tracking. For instance, you may add a slash at the end, while the actual URL doesn’t include a slash. Copy and paste URLs in order to avoid making mistakes.
Also, pay attention to the matching rule selected for the destination URL. If you select Equals to, Google Analytics will ONLY match hits to URLs precisely matching what you’ve inputted. Be aware that some sites may append parameters to the end of the “Thank You” URL (for instance, to identify a user in an automated marketing platform). For instance, if you’ve defined the destination URL as /thanks, and a user ends up on /thanks?user=12345, that user would be counted if you’d selected Begins with but not if you’d chosen Equals to.
Tracking the Wrong Pages
If you log into AdWords and see that every single click resulted in a conversion, either you’re the greatest marketer on earth, or the numbers are too good to be true. Unfortunately, the latter option is most likely the case.
Whether resulting from miscommunication, a careless web support team, or faulty Google Tag Manager rules, a misplaced conversion pixel can quickly wreak havoc with numbers in your account. For instance, an AdWords pixel may be placed on the landing page instead of the Thank You page, counting everyone who visits as a lead.
Tracking Engagement as Conversions
Google Analytics offers the option to track goals based on the duration of visit or pages/session. While these certainly are valuable metrics to analyze, they don’t equate to leads or sales. In general, avoid using these metrics as goals and instead track form submissions, purchases, downloads, or other events that correlate with users taking direct action.
A report showing a 50% conversion rate, with half of users spending 5 minutes or more on your site, may look great on paper. However, if only 1% of those users are taking action beyond browsing the site, the end result is much lower, and you have work to do to capture users as leads.
Addressing Faulty Historical Conversion Data
So, you’ve identified inaccurate conversions tracked in the past. How can you be sure to work from the most accurate data moving forward?
First, as an obvious step, make sure you address the problem to track accurate data moving forward. Update wrong URLs, adjust tracking code placement, delete useless conversions, and add any new conversion goals necessary. Test to ensure that you are indeed tracking the proper pages and actions.
Next, identify the time period when conversion tracking was tracked improperly. It may have been that way from the start, or a faulty conversion goal may have been introduced six months ago. Make a note of the date range, and exclude the data from that period when doing analysis on conversion performance.
Finally, communicate a clear process for all involved in conversion setup, including web developers, analytics team members, and PPC managers. Ensure that everyone understands common pitfalls and their role in ensuring accurate configurations.
What other errors have you encountered in conversion tracking, and what tips to you have for addressing them? Share in the comments below!