Back to Basics: How to measure the value generated by your digital marketing efforts

Samir Kassam, Brayden Kooistra / September 2020

Back to Basics is a Think with Google Canada series where Google experts explore digital marketing best practices.

As e-commerce continues to accelerate in Canada, it’s more important than ever to have a solid understanding of how your digital customers behave while on your website.

Building a strong foundation of online conversion tracking can help marketers understand how much value online media is driving for your business. Conversion tracking allows marketers to see which keywords, ads and campaigns are driving customer actions and conversions, from across a range of digital channels. These customer activities can include website actions like purchases and sign-ups, app installs, or clicks to call from the ad or visits to a contact form.

Conversions are tracked by adding a tag (a snippet of code) to your website or mobile app, which can be done by your website developer or through your website builder dashboard.

There are a few simple steps marketers can take to help draw more insights from their conversion tracking strategy.

Count conversions in the most relevant ways

Select the “count” setting based on your business goal. For example, an e-commerce company may want to count every conversion (because every purchase adds value to your business.) If you are a business focused on leads or sign-ups, you’ll only want to count one conversion (because multiple conversions from the same user are redundant.)

Set a conversion window that makes sense for your business

You can set the conversion to be counted if it occurs up to 90 days after the ad click happens. Set the window in a way that captures the most value based on how long it takes your average customer to convert. For example, if your customers typically take longer to purchase or convert, a longer conversion window like 30, 60 or 90 days is more appropriate. If you have existing conversions you can use the time lag attribution report to see the average time between users ad interactions and conversions.

Ensure functionality across internet browsers

To ensure your conversions are based on a first-party cookie, either use Google’s sitewide tagging solution, gtag.js (also known as the global site tag), or tag your site using Google Tag Manager and ensure you have conversion linker enabled.

Enable “non-last-click” to understand the customer journey

By default, conversions are set to “last-click conversion tracking” (which gives all credit for the conversion to the last-clicked ad and keyword). This undervalues many important consumer touchpoints, so switching to a different model (linear, time decay, position based) or Data Driven Attribution (DDA) will give a more holistic view for attribution. In recent years, DDA models have shown to be the most effective.

Link your Google Analytics account to add more options

Import goals from Google Analytics (any events or interactions users have with your site) to use as conversions in Google Ads. This will allow you to count specific actions on your website as conversions. Examples of this are: did someone visit three or more pages on your website, add a product to the cart, or navigate to the “Find Nearest Store” page?

Consider the reach of offline transactions, too

Once marketers are confident that the value being generated by users online is being captured, the next step is to consider conversions that happen in the real world. These can include:

  • App Conversions: People who clicks an ad to download and/or purchase something on your App (Google Play or iOS)
  • Call conversions: People who click a phone number in a Google ad
  • Store visits: People who click an ad and then visit your store
  • Offline data import: People who click an ad and then convert offline (tracked in a CRM)

Understanding whether or not your digital customers are making purchases after seeing your ads is a key part of digital transformation. Tracking all of your relevant conversions will help you have a clear picture of the value of your digital marketing campaigns, and offer valuable insights to maximize your future marketing efforts.

Back to Basics