The Education Industry to Google Ads & Microsoft Conversion Set Up

Table of Contents

Google Tracking Codes

  • There are 4 main conversion types in Google Ads.
  • The most popular type is Website, but we will briefly discuss the others just so you have that knowledge as well.

  • There are several tracking options for Website conversions.
  • The category of the conversion does not affect the way the conversion tracks; it is a reporting tool.
  • Value matters as it effects the revenue and ROAS based columns in Google Ads. For leads, you can assign an arbitrary value or use no value. If you are selling 1 product for only one price, you can use the same value setting. Most ecommerce clients should run different values to properly track the orders that come in.

  • Count affects how Google deals with several conversions coming from a single click. “Every” will count each conversion, while “One” will only count a single unique conversion from that click.
  • Conversion window changes how long a click will be tracked for a resulting conversion. We usually see 30-60 days as the most popular.
  • “View-through” changes how long an impression will be tracked for a resulting conversion. This is only viewable in a certain section of Google Ads.

  • “Include in ‘Conversions’ “ is one of the most important settings. Leaving this checked means that conversions will be tracked in the base “conversion” column of Google Ads. Leaving it unchecked will still count the data in the “All Conversion” set of columns.
  • Only the main conversion goal should leave this option checked. Having secondary conversions, like add to cart tracking, phone calls, etc. gives an additional optimization option for the campaigns without affecting the main data point.
  • The second check box is Google’s way of turning on eCPC in a location where it does not belong.

  • At this point, you can receive the code for self installation or email the info to the site developer for implementation.
  • You can switch the code between HTML and AMP (accelerated mobile page). AMP is a mobile page that runs simple code and loads very quickly and cannot run standard tracking codes.
  • Below you will see two codes, one labeled the “global site tag” and one labeled the “event snippet.” The global site tag needs to be placed on every page on the site, as it tracks for remarketing and sets cookies on your visitors.
  • The event snippet code should be applied only at the point where you consider a user to have converted. For page load, that would generally be the thank you or confirmation page, whereas for click, it can be a submit email button for example.

  • Using the implement with GTM option gives you a shorter list of instructions and no code. We will go over implementation in the GTM section.

  • Under app tracking, you can use Firebase (google app dev), Google Play or other Third Party trackers to load your data.
  • The main points you need to know for app tracking are that you need a registered app and that you can track both installs and specific app events or purchases.
  • You can use different actions for different funnel steps.

  • Utilizing call tracking on desktop is the trickiest of call tracking setups. The settings are all the same, and you still get a global site tag to install on the site, with the addition of a Phone Snippet.
  • The phone snippet changes the number the user sees with a Google forwarding number, which Google can then track.
  • As a note, you need to create a call extension with a Google forwarding number and apply the extension to the campaign you are tracking in order for the tracking to work properly.

  • Tracking calls to a mobile site has the same setting set-up as the other call tracking conversions, aside from one difference.
  • In addition to the global site tag, you get a code to put on any page where the phone number appears. Since you can click numbers on mobile, this tracks phone number clicks.
  • Note – the phone number on the site needs an onclick attribute for this to track properly.

  • The last option is Importing conversion tracking, which we will dive into later.

Bing Tracking Codes

  • Bing tracking is a bit more limited in capacity, but also simpler to set up.
  • Similar to the Global Site Tag, you get a UET tag that gets places on all pages on the site.

  • Bing lets you track using different methods just like Google. Duration and pages viewed per visit are self explanatory.
  • Destination URL is the most used conversion method. Instead of placing code on the conversion page, you tell Bing what the url of the page is. Revenue value, count, and conversion window operate the same as Google.
  • Note – Bing does not have a count in “conversions” feature.

  • Event tracking requires you to specify custom events, which will then require adding a custom event to the site code. Bing does not generate a code for you here.
  • With conversion values, you have to edit the code as well.

  • App install tracking requires an APP ID, but is otherwise relatively straightforward.

URL Auto Tagging

  • URL Auto tagging is a setting that exists in both Google and Bing Ads.
  • In Google, it can be found under account settings, and in Bing it can be found in the shared library under URL Options.
  • To put it simply, this option will append an additional identifier to the end of the click URL – this option does not automatically add campaign name, kw, etc. into the URL.

GCLID + MSCLKID

  • The identifiers that are appended are called GCLID in Google, and MSCLKID in Bing. These are strings of numbers and letters.
  • The MSCLKID and GCLID are both used for offline conversion tracking. In addition, the GCLID allows very specific data to get passed into GA. This is why you can get data about time on page, pages per session for specific Google Ads Campaigns, KW, but not necessarily for Bing Ads clicks.
  • Minute GA details and Importing Conversions are both important uses of these click IDs, but we will focus on the importing of Offline conversions.

Offline Conversion Importing

  • Importing offline conversions is an extremely useful feature, especially when it comes to lead gen clients with important backend conversion data.
  • Importing offline conversions is an extremely useful feature, especially when it comes to lead gen clients with important backend conversion data.

Getting Started

  • As previously discussed, the first step in implementing offline conversion imports is creating a conversion action using Google or Bing’s offline import conversion action.
  • You also need to have a discussion with the client about tracking the GCLIDs and MSCLKIDs that come into their system. This data needs to be collected either through a third party CRM or very specific setup through site code and Google Analytics. It is important to note that GCLIDs are case sensitive, so make sure your client knows that when sending over information. A report of users’ site entrance URL’s is sufficient since they will contain the values we need.

What Data Do You Need?

There are 3-5 main data points for offline conversions:

The 3 that are required are

  • The click ID
  • The time of conversion – you may choose either use the conversion time or site enter time depending on the scenario
  • The conversion name – this is the conversion in the getting started section

The 2 optional ones are

  • Conversion value – if you are tracking ecommerce offline or applying values to leads (perhaps value of the client, etc.)
  • Conversion currency – if you are using conversion value specify the currency

Data Templates

  • The Google import template can be found here http://www.gstatic.com/conversiontracking/conversion-import-template.xls
  • The Bing import template can be found here http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink?LinkId=852166
  • The templates are almost identical besides the name of column “A”
  • Note that the Parameter:TimeZone needs to be filled in based on the time zone of the data.
  • Multiple time zone formats are accepted. For New York, use either
    • Parameters:TimeZone=America/New_York;
    • Parameters:TimeZone=-0500
  • For conversion time I have found the easiest way to set up the data is to be using a custom format on Excel. If you copy the example below, you should get a result that is accepted by both Google and Bing.

Uploading the Data – Bing

Offline Conversions – Tips and Caveats

Google

  • I usually use imports as supplemental data, though I would prefer not to rely on them for my only source of optimizations. This can be done if data gets imported daily or even hourly.
  • For use as supplemental data, remember not to check the Count in “conversions” box.
  • In order to see data, you will have to include all conversion columns and then segment by conversion action.

Bing

  • Unfortunately, Bing currently does not have the ability to not include a conversion in the conversion columns, nor do they have an all conversion column set.
  • I would only use Bing imports when you have to for the above reason, and only when data will be used to optimize. Otherwise, you end up double counting and skewing information.
  • Bing is reportedly planning to roll this out eventually, but no time line has been given.

Testing Conversion Tracking

Tracking Templates Overview + Uses

  • Tracking templates can be used for several purposes
  • The main uses are:
    • Enhancing Google Analytics segments
    • Passing important information to back end data
    • Passing third party analytics tracking information
  • Tracking templates can be implemented on the account, campaign, ad group, ad, and kw level. The most granular template will be applied if multiple are used. Tracking templates can also be applied to sitelinks.
  • Templates set on the account, campaign and ad group level are best because changing URL options at those levels does not require re-submitting ads for approval.
  • Tracking template is a custom defined template that will alter the final landing page URL.
  • Final URL suffix lets you append information to the URL without having to set up a whole template.
  • Custom parameter let you define additional information that can be linked to your campaigns, ad groups, etc.

UTM + Custom Parameters

  • Custom parameters allow you to add information that you can use in your tracking templates.
  • All you need to use them is a name and a value.
  • Potential uses include targeting strategy, gender strategy, etc. This can be a useful source of added data when you don’t want to load up long campaign names and look at data through back end tracking.

  • What is a UTM
    • UTM is an Urchin Tracking Module, basically a fancy name for the set of 5 parameters that are tracked by marketing campaigns
    • The 5 parameters are: Source, Medium, Campaign, Term and Content
  • UTMs are supported by default through Google Analytics, meaning you don’t have to use any further back end data to gather information.

ValueTrack Parameters

  • ValueTrack parameters are a type of URL Parameter that are contained within {} braces.
  • When an ad is clicked, the parameter gets replaced with data from Bing or Google ads.
  • It is possible to use if statements in combination with ValueTrack parameters, sending different data for different ad types, devices, etc.
  • A list of all ValueTrack parameters can be found here: https://www.karooya.com/blog/list-of-all-valuetrack-parameters-in-google-adwords/

Basic Setup

  • The most basic setup for tracking templates is done via appending additional info manually using the tracking template.
  • The {lpurl} parameter grabs the KW or ad level final URL. This is a required parameter when using a tracking template.
  • This is also the same as using the suffix option.

  • Applying more parameters yields longer URLs. Using the test option in Google, you can see if your templates work properly and which attributes are pulled from a campaign.
  • The test on the right was done on a display campaign, so several parameters are left blank.
  • The final URL for this example is: http://www.example.com/?utm_network=&utm_campaign=100000000&utm_adgroup=0000000000&utm_content=0000000000&utm_feeditem=&utm_matchtype=&utm_keyword=&utm_device=c&utm_source=google&utm_keywordid=&utm_medium=cpc
  • Of course, most of these don’t get naturally pulled into analytics.

  • You can use your custom parameters similarly to the templates shown here:

Complex Setup

  • You can use third party tracking sources via tracking templates.
  • Most third party trackers will have information on how to set these up, but the tracking template redirects the user, which allows the third party tracker to gain data collection and cookies.
  • In this scenario, tracking is set up to allow for in app tracking to an iOS app.

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