We all know the importance of data but what is even more important is that the data you are tracking is correct. Your PPC success hinges on not only the numbers in your account but also that the numbers you are seeing are correct.
So what happens when you launch a new landing page and things are not tracking correctly, what can you do? Did you inherit an account and things aren’t looking quite right? In order to pinpoint the issue, there are a series of steps you can go through to try and fix the problem and get back on track.
1. Try submitting a test and make sure your form is working correctly. This is a crucial step anytime you change something in your account that impacts tracking – always submit a test lead to be sure it is working. This seems basic, but it is a step that is often overlooked. Once you load the URLs into your PPC account, click through the process yourself. After you do, confirm that the lead or conversion is showing up in not only the PPC system but also in the client’s system. Did the submission go through fine but you don’t see a lead in your PPC accounts? Move on down the list to try one of the other suggestions. If the lead does not show up in the client’s system, then you need to work with them to trouble shoot URLs along with other possible issues.
2. If your PPC accounts are not tracking conversions correctly, check the page code. Pull the conversion tracking code from Google, Yahoo and MSN (see below on where to find the code) and make sure that the code is on the conversion page. Make sure that not only every piece of the code is there (I have seen some CMS systems cut off part of the code), but also that it is placed appropriately and is on the correct page. Depending on your conversion process, the page the code is added may vary but often it is the thank you or similar page after the person hits “submit”.
To find the conversion code in Google, go to the reporting tab and drop down to “Conversions”. Make sure there is a Conversion tag set up, if not, you will need to create one. If you need the code for an existing conversion, click on the action name and then click on the “code” tab. There you should find the tracking code about halfway down the page. If sending the code to developers or clients, it is best to copy and paste this into a text file rather than in the body of an email so you can be sure nothing is lost during the send.
From the Administration tab, click on “Analytics” in the sub-menu. If you have already activated the tracking, you will see the option you chose and the tracking code at the bottom of the page. If you have not activated tracking, choose either Conversion Only Analytics or Full Analytics (descriptions of each on the page) and once the option is set, you should see the code at the bottom.
Once logged into an account, click on any campaign. At the top of the page, click on the link for “change settings”. In the upper-right hand corner there is a “Track Conversions” option, be sure this is checked and in order to get the actual code, click on “show code”. Although you access it at the campaign level, the same code applies for all campaigns so you will only need to pull it from one campaign.
3. If using MSN, make sure conversion tracking is activated for all campaigns. While Google and Yahoo allow you to activate conversion tracking at the account level, MSN requires you to activate for every single campaign. Recently added a campaign? If you didn’t mark the check box you won’t track anything. From your MSN account, click on a campaign and then click on “change settings”. Make sure the check box in the upper-right hand corner labeled Track Conversions is checked and that the code is added onto the conversion page.
4. Check your URLs and be sure tracking parameters are correct. If the issue is that leads are not going into the client’s system correctly, make sure any required tracking parameters have been added to all URLs and they are inserted correctly. One character difference can mean nothing will track.
5. Conversion tracking isn’t always immediate. Know that if you have been going through this process and you corrected the issue with one of the steps above, it might take a few hours before you start seeing the data. Don’t give up if it is not an immediate correction – fix one thing, check back in an hour or two and see if you are starting to get conversion data. If not, try something else.
6. Tracking with Google Analytics. Make sure you are consistent with your data by setting up conversion goals in Google Analytics as well. If you do this when you first get an account, this will allow you to often still see the data you need if for some reason your search engines aren’t tracking correctly. Keep in mind though, that if you change your conversion page you will also need to update your goals in analytics as well. The other piece to analytics tracking is to make sure you are tagging all of your URLs with the correct parameters to get the data you need into the system. As this is a more complicated process, I am not going to go into the details of this today, but PPC Hero does have another post on URL tagging and tracking in Google Analytics if you want to know more.
Tracking conversions correctly can be a challenging process for all involved, but what good is data if it isn’t the correct data – make sure you are getting everything you need right from the start.