Monday: PPC Conversion Tracking
Your starter PPC campaign has been running for a few weeks now, and you have prob-
ably already have seen a nice influx of click-throughs. But do you know which, if any,
of these click-throughs has turned into a conversion? For example, let’s say you sell
left-handed guitars. Your PPC reports can tell you the number of people who came to
your site after searching for “left-handed guitars,” and your server logs or sales figures
can tell you how many people purchased a left-handed guitar, but to
two actions requires some additional steps.
Both Google and YSM offer built-in conversion tracking that can connect the
dots. Their systems keep it simple by answering only one question: which PPC click-
throughs turned into conversions for your website?
How it works
To implement the built-in conversion tracking on Google or YSM, you’ll
need to define a page or pages on your site that indicate a conversion has been com-
pleted. Very possibly, this will be your transaction completion page or confirmation
page—it’s wherever you say thank you to your customers for a purchase, download, reg-
istration, or form completion (you did remember to say thank you, didn’t you?). You
will put a tiny piece of code or image (also called a tag or tracking pixel) on that page to
communicate with the PPC system. On Google, you can also assign certain variables like
a dollar amount for conversion value. You will then be able to view information such as
total conversions, conversion rate, and cost per conversion in your admin interface and
Since you already have a PPC account, there is no easier way to monitor con-
versions from your SEO efforts and expenditures! The process requires very little tech-
nical intervention on your part and nothing in the way of server setup.
Google, always wanting a bigger piece of your organization’s pie chart, also makes it
possible for you to track campaigns you’re running on other PPC services. Yahoo!
offers a similar capability, called Marketing Console, for a fee.
As much as you may wish otherwise, your site visitors aren’t going to
march in lockstep through your site from entrance to conversion. Much more likely,
they’ll browse around your site, go to other sites, and then come back minutes, hours,
or weeks later. When they return, they may perform another search or type in your site
URL, or perhaps their web browser will remember your site address and fill in the URL
for them. Whatever the case, you may have lost the link between the original keyword
search and this conversion. Your PPC service may hold onto visitor information for
some period of time, perhaps 30 days, using a cookie. This feature will save you from
losing at least a portion of your wanderers.
Another obvious limitation of the PPC tracking systems is that they only track PPC vis-
itors, not people who came in through organic search results.
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