Nov 27

If you’re like us you have a slew of different ad campaigns running at any given time- newsletters, pay-per-click, stumbleupon, download directories, sponsored banner ads, auto-responders, etc. Tracking conversions means being able to identify the visitors to your site who ultimately complete the desired action and know which avenue brought them to you (and it’s useless to experiment across ad channels if you don’t track which ones are working). You can roll your own home-grown mechanism to track conversions but if you have a Google Adwords account, you already have access to their cross-channel conversion tracking system which will do this for you. Here’s how you can take advantage of it:

  1. Signup for an adwords account if you don’t have one already.
  2. You’ll need to add the conversion tracking code snippet to the thank you page on your site that the visitor sees when he/she completes the intended action on your site. Follow the instructions here to set it up.
  3. Next you’ll create a new cross channel tracking campaign for one of your ad channels- let’s do it for your newsletter first. What may be confusing is that even though we’re in your adwords account, adwords could be one channel you can use this to track all your ad initiatives). Follow their 3-step wizard for specifying the details of this newsletter-specific campaign and get the landing page code and the tracking URL.
  4. Put the landing page code snippet in your header or footer so it’s on every page of your site (you only need to do this once and it works across all channels that you track).
  5. Lastly, look at the newsletter-specific tracking URL and grab just the part that says:
    ?gad=xxxxxxxxxxxx” and append that to any links coming from your newsletter. Rinse and repeat for each ad campaign you have running so that they all get a unique tracking URL.

You’re now collecting data on how each campaign is doing and you’ll know exactly which ones are performing well and which ones suck. You can see from our data below that we have a spread of 0% – 38% effectiveness depending on the particular channel – that’s critical info to know if you’re spending thousands on ads! Minor improvements in conversion can translate to huge savings in adspend as I explained here. Happy conversion tracking!


5 Responses to “Using cross-channel conversion tracking to understand your advertising”

  1. techguy says:

    What did you consider a conversion? Was it a purchase or just a request for information?

  2. sean says:

    this is what’s confusing- for the cross-channel tracking a conversion constitutes a download. For the adwords conversion tracking (which is under the adwords tab) a conversion is an actual sale.


  3. Aris says:

    Hi, I tried the adwords cross-channel. I see that you are mentioning that the “landing page” code should be present in ALL website pages (through header or footer for example). Isn’t this unnecessary? Or maybe wrong, as it will consider all pages as “landing” pages?


  4. sean says:

    that tracking code needs to be present on any pages you link to where you want to test conversion. If it’s only one page, you can of course manually insert it in the body of that page. I put it in the footer so I don’t need to remember to do it for multiple products and that seems to have worked well.


  5. Matt says:

    Is cross-channel tracking necessary if you’re tagging your links in google analytics? Is messing with conversion codes at all necessary?

    Just wondering since we finally dove into using GA for our clients when we previously just used Google’s Adwords conversion tracking.

    Are there benefits to doing both?

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