Did you know that nearly 70% of all PPC traffic isn’t properly tracked? Shocking, right?

Actually, I made that up. But could you imagine if that was true? It’s thoughts like that which keep me up at night.

Now that I may or may not have your undivided attention, I would like to take a moment to talk about the always important, yet often frustrating, conversion tracking. To be clear, I won’t be so much talking about how to set up conversion tracking, however, you can get info on that from Hanapin’s guide, Conversion Tracking for PPC Managers [The Basics].

What Is Conversion Tracking?

I’ll start by giving the by-the-book definition, as defined by Google, “Conversion tracking is a free tool that shows you what happens after a customer interacts with your ads – whether they purchased a product, signed up for a newsletter, called your business, or downloaded your app.”

Essentially, when a user interacts with one of our ads and completes an action which we have previously indicated to be valuable, these users are tracked and called conversions. So long as we have conversion tracking properly set up in our accounts, we can track these users and see how they interact with our brands, obtaining data and insights Mad Men era marketers only ever dreamed of having.

Naturally, as marketers, this is incredibly valuable information to have at our disposal. And while ‘conversion tracking’, in a sense, exists in all types of marketing and advertising, the level of accuracy and granular data we have access to now in digital marketing is unparalleled. It’s for this reason, among a few others, why I believe ppc is the most valuable marketing channel, as we have the ability to view the customer journey in its entirety.

Why You Need Conversion Tracking

Historically, there has always been some type of data gap present in marketing, meaning marketers and brand managers were always hungry for valuable insights which they didn’t have the means to obtain, at least, accurately.

For example, questions like, “What do the customer demographics look like? Are these new or returning customers? Which campaigns and channels produce the most leads for us? Where is our greatest ROI/ROAS?” were difficult to obtain answers to and always had to be taken with a grain of salt.

However, proper conversion tracking via PPC advertising channels gives us the answers to those questions, and many others, in a timely manner. The best part is most ppc platforms will take that data and automatically turn it into audience profiles for us, helping to paint an even better picture of who our customer is.

Even if you only use conversion tracking in the most basic way, you’ll still be able to make better informed decisions about your ad spend. Who doesn’t want that?

Types of Conversion Tracking

There are many different types of conversion tracking, but they can all pretty much be broken out into 5 main groups. According to Google, the conversion tracking process works a little differently for each conversion source, but for each type besides offline conversions, it tends to fall into one of these categories:

  • Website actions: Purchases, sign-ups, and pretty much any other action that customers complete on your website. If you can place a conversion code on your website, you can track nearly anything.
  • Phone calls: Calls which occur directly from our ads. Calls to a phone number on our website. Clicks on a phone number on your mobile site. You can even designate a phone call to only count as a conversion if it surpasses a certain call duration, meaning accidental calls and wrong number can be kept out of our data.
  • App installs and in-app actions: Installs of your Android or iOS apps, and purchases or other activity within those apps.
  • Import: Customer activity that begins online but finishes offline, such as when a customer clicks an ad and submits a contact form online, and later signs a contract in your physical place of business.
  • Local actions: Actions that are counted whenever people interact with an ad that’s specific to a physical location or store.

Here’s an example of the types of conversions we here at Hanapin use within our accounts:

Having distinct conversion events set up within our accounts allows us to optimize our ad spend by analyzing where most of our leads are coming from and how many of them there are. Not only that, but we can see which keywords, ads, ad groups, and campaigns are best at driving these valuable customer actions. We can even see how many customers may be interacting with our ads on one device or browser and converting elsewhere.


Hopefully, after reading this, you have a better understanding of why conversion tracking in digital marketing, as a whole, is so important. It’s what makes digital marketing so unique.

I know, it can be a pain to set up conversion tracking and make sure it’s working properly, but I can assure you that it’s in your best interest to do so. Without conversion tracking, your digital marketing and ppc efforts could potentially be a black hole that sucks up time, money and energy, offering little to nothing in return.