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Paid Search KPIs and Conversion Tracking

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Key performance indicators

There are three key performance indicators you need to monitor.


Conversions are those valuable actions that users take on your site like buying something or filling in a form. The success can be measured in the number of conversions generated at a particular cost. So this determines your ROI, and campaign KPIs can be set around, generally, conversions because they are the closest thing to aligning search with the business objective that we can find. So conversions are a really important metric to consider.


Now, another key performance indicator that we can use to measure the success of a campaign would be something like awareness. So, if we do a lot of wider searches, broad searches, do we get our brand name out there? Can that be attributed to things like increases, then, in brand searches?

Brand searches

So, if people are more aware of our product and then, indeed, more aware of our brand, does our brand search increase? Because that, as a baseline understanding for how well known our product is within the market is a very good measuring tool to determine success. And KPIs, like everything, are essential for always and continually measuring the success of a campaign from inception to the ongoing process.

They're indeed the end of that particular campaign.

Conversion tracking

We're going to begin in our campaign measurement section with conversion tracking.

So what type of conversion are you going to measure?

  • Is it the number of leads you've generated?
  • Is it the number of purchases that have gone through the website from a click?
  • Is it number of phone calls that were generated through AdWords?
  • Is it number of downloads of a particular brochure or item?

Is that going to be your measurement of success? So you need to understand what a conversion is. What is that valuable action that can be taken on the site that you can measure? Can you then link back to or attribute to a click and therefore a cost, because you know what the cost of that click was?

Track different actions

AdWords gives you four broad conversion options when you're setting up conversion tracking in AdWords.


You've got conversions on the website, such as a purchase or a contact to team, and so on. So the way website stuff works is if there's a "thank you" page or a purchase complete page, you put a piece of code on that page and when that page shows, that page will only ever show after someone submits a contact request and will say, "Thank you for your request."

So once that page shows, we know a conversion has happened and we know that that conversion came from an AdWords click. So we can attribute one to the other. Often, that would happen with ecommerce tracking. After you make a purchase, it will say, "Thank you for your purchase." Whenever that page shows, the AdWords tag will fire and then we will know that, therefore, this valuable action has been taken on the website.

The most common conversion type is website conversions. But not everything is website.


Because of mobile phone usage and certainly app installs and different things like that are an important metric for different advertisers, you can also track the number of app installs from your AdWords for mobile search.

Phone calls

Likewise, with mobile search, people do make calls directly from the mobile device and you can measure that and track that in terms of length and area code and different things using Google's call forwarding option which is part of the call extension set up.

You'll be guided through that process, so that is something that is very straightforward to set up. It's call forwarding and that will give you indications of call length and, therefore, the value of that particular call. Now you won't be able to hear the call itself, and there's a number of identifiers that are taken away, but it is a valuable indicator for the number of phone calls generated from an AdWords click.


The fourth option is a more advanced option. This is taking conversions from maybe you're CRN or something like that that might have an AdWords integration and importing them into AdWords. Now, this is a highly advanced method and unless you're a fairly advanced advertiser with CRN capabilities or, indeed, capabilities to link directly to the AdWords API, it can be tricky to justify the amount of expense needed to use that particular conversion type.

Add conversion tracking

With website conversions, you add a piece of code to what's called the "thank you" page or, if it's an ecommerce transaction, to the purchase complete page. Every time that page shows, the code is loaded and once the code is loaded, that sends a signal back to AdWords that has all the details around what click drove that particular action, you know, the time, the location, all of those different campaign settings.

And you can see, with a good bit of clarity, the number of clicks and what clicks and, indeed, what keywords have driven certain valuable conversions on your site and when. And the way you do it is you set up your conversions in the main menu in the top right-hand corner of AdWords.

It will guide you through the process. You can choose what type of conversion it is, whether it's a lead or a sale, and you can assign a value to that conversion and you can count, kind of, only unique conversions. Then you are given a piece of code and once that piece of code is given to you, you send it to your web developer or, indeed, if you have access to the website yourself, you can add that piece of code to the "thank you" page, to the purchase complete page, and once that is added, then your conversion tracking is set up.

In a couple of hours, if you're a highly trafficked website, or a couple of days, just go back in and make sure that conversions are indeed being tracked. And Google will tell you if they aren't, and it's a very effective way of just measuring the success of your campaign.

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Please note that the module slides are designed to work in collaboration with the module transcript document. It is recommended that you use both resources simultaneously.

Digital Marketing Resources:

Cathal Melinn

Cathal Melinn is a well-known digital marketing director, commercial analyst, and ecommerce specialist with over 15 years’ experience.

Cathal is a respected international conference speaker, course lecturer, and digital trainer. He specialises in driving complete understanding from students across a number of digital marketing disciplines including: paid and organic search (PPC and SEO), analytics, strategy and planning, social media, reporting, and optimisition.  Cathal works with digital professionals in over 80 countries and teaches at all levels of experience from beginner to advanced.

Alongside his training and course work, Cathal runs his own digital marketing agency and is considered an analytics and revenue generating guru - at enterprise level. He has extensive local and international experience working with top B2B and B2C brands across multiple industries.

Over his career, Cathal has worked client-Side, in digital marketing agencies and media owners with brands including HSBC, Amazon, Apple, Red Bull, Dell, Vodafone, Compare the Market, Aer Lingus, and Expedia.

He can be reached on LinkedIn here.

The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful. While relevant to this module, you will not be assessed on this content.

You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library


    Paid Search (PPC) with Google Ads
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    Skills Expert

    This module begins with the fundamentals of paid search and demonstrates how to implement and manage paid search campaigns using Google Ads. It explains the key concepts underpinning bid auctions, how to manage paid advertising budgets, and how to optimize paid search campaigns. It also covers conversion tracking and how to measure and report on the performance of paid search campaigns using Google Analytics and Google Search Console.