You’ve invested a lot of time and money into your website so that it can attract new customers and generate leads and sales for your business. But do you know if it’s paying off? How much revenue has your website generated for you in the past week, month, or even year? If you are able to answer this, congratulations, you likely have conversion tracking set up. If not, this post is for you.
Conversion tracking is crucial to understanding how well your website is working for you. Below, I will explain what it is, how it works, and why it’s so important. Subsequent posts provide instructions to set up GA4 conversion tracking.
What is a Conversion
Let’s start with what a conversion actually is. Simply put, a conversion is Google’s way of saying “people doing what you want them to do on your website.”
For example, on an e-commerce website, a conversion would be when a customer places an order. On a lead generation website, a conversion can be completing a contact form, clicking on a phone number to call you, opening an online chat session, or clicking an email button to send you a message.
Each of these actions are conversions for your business through your website.
Why is Conversion Tracking so Important?
There’s a famous marketing expression you may have heard: “I know half my marketing is working; I just don’t know which half.” (John Wannamaker, July 11, 1838 – December 12, 1922)
You don’t have to guess with conversion tracking
Thankfully, the website tracking software we have today takes that guesswork away and gives you a clear picture of your website data, so you can see exactly which advertising and traffic sources are generating sales.
That information is captured by two free products working together on your website: Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager.
Google Analytics is free website tracking software that can tell you where your website traffic comes from, which devices people are using when they visit your website, what buttons they click, which pages they view, and a lot more.
Using the data from Google Analytics will allow you to make informed decisions about your online marketing programs, because you’ll be able to see what’s working and what isn’t.
Although Google Analytics is a very useful and powerful tool, it’s not perfect on its own. It’s built to record clicks, page views, and many other actions visitors take on your website, but it isn’t good at providing specific information about what the actions actually mean. For example, if a phone number is clicked, Google Analytics will tell you there was a click, but not that it was on the phone number. For this information, you need to also set up tags.
Google Analytics Plays Tag with Website Assets
Simply put, tags are pieces of code with filing instructions for Google Analytics. When any action, or asset, you want to track on your website is given a tag, you’re telling Google Analytics exactly what the action is, and in turn, Google Analytics can give you concrete data on how often those actions were taken on your site.
Tagging Website Assets Drives Conversion Tracking
Tags provide instructions to Google Analytics on how you want the click data stored. But it hasn’t always been easy.
It used to be a lot more technical to configure tags, because it involved inserting code directly into the website’s html code. As a result, tagging consumed a lot of web developers’ time because each individual asset required a tag. For example, if your website displayed your phone number in 10 different places, you would need to configure 10 tags. This also applied to each appearance of videos, forms, and any other valuable asset on your site.
Too many tags can make the website run much slower. It’s a little like running a 100-meter dash with a sack of potatoes tied to your ankles.
Google Tag Manager – the Conversion Tracker’s Best Friend
Google Tag Manager is a powerful and versatile free product that allows you to track just about anything on your site without the added bloat of injected code. It’s also a lot easier to set up and use.
Once it’s installed on each of your website pages, Google Tag Manager lets you create tags that capture click data from every asset you configure. This data is sent to your Google Analytics, so it can be read in a way that makes sense. For example, you will know a specific phone number was clicked or a form completed.
Instructions on how to configure Google Tag Manager to capture specific data about clicks on individual assets is covered in another post.
When Google recommends you raise your budget remember you have other options.
At some point in your Google Ads campaign, you will likely get a recommendation from Google to ‘raise your budget.’ Google sends this message when, under your current budget, your ads stop showing before the end of the day and your are missing opportunities.
In my experience, following the ‘raise your budget’ recommendation can work well, even if you only raise the budget a portion of what Google suggests.
It’s hard to raise your budget
But let’s face it: if you have a modest advertising budget raising a campaign budget might be a bridge too far. So what then? Don’t worry, there are several alternatives you can try.
Do nothing – leave your budget alone and let the campaign run
There is always the option to do nothing and leave your budget as it is. After all, it may be all you can afford. Remember, a Google recommendation is just that. You are not required to follow it.
Work the cost side of the equation
Your budget is how much money you are making available, but that is only one side of the equation. The other side is where you incur costs, keywords, locations, etc. Taking a closer look at these elements may help you find the money pits—high cost items that are not delivering corresponding conversions—so you can save money instead of spending more.
Is broad match too broad – Look for the ‘Money Pit’ keywords
‘Money pit’ keywords are high cost, low conversion keywords. You can find them in your Search Keywords report (under keywords) and sort from highest to lowest cost. Your most expensive keyword should be returning conversions / leads.
Video: How to navigate the Search Terms Report:
Check the match type for the keyword. If it is phrase or broad match, head over to the Search Terms report [link to case study / demo] (also under keywords) and see what search terms the keyword is generating. Terms that are related to your business and have sufficient volume you may choose to convert them to positive keywords. You may find some new keywords that will have a lower CPC (Cost Per Click) than the search keyword.
Consider if some related terms should be deployed as new keywords to trigger your ads.
Determine if the expensive (money pit) keyword is worth keeping based on its cost, its conversions, and if it pulls search terms related to your business.
I have seen cases where broad match keywords find lots of search terms that get turned into keywords. If you can convert enough of these search terms into keywords, pause the original keyword and use phrase or exact match on the new keywords.
The video below is a case study on taking actions from the Search Terms Report.
Negative keywords are budget positives
Negative keywords tell Google when not to show your ads. Search terms unrelated to your business should be converted to negative keywords. If you find search terms unrelated to your business, convert them to negative keywords within the search terms report, or add negative keywords directly to the campaign list as in the video below:
Location Location Location…. Maybe not
Location sells real estate, but it may not be working for your campaign. Is there a high cost, low conversion location in your campaign? Check and remove if necessary.
Examine your location settings. Is there a location consuming money but not returning sales? If so, consider removing that location.
Which devices are converting… and which ones aren’t?
Check your results by device types. Is there a device type that’s lagging in performance and perhaps not as valuable as the others? Consider a negative bid adjustment.
Check your bidding & bid adjustments
Is your bid too high?
Check your bid adjustments. If you have applied bid adjustments, consider their results.
Bid adjustments can be helpful in getting your ads to show more frequently, but it’s important to make sure they are generating value. Examine your bid adjustments across devices, locations, hours, and days to ensure they are working.
Consider all your options to before you raise your budget
The next time Google suggests you raise your budget, consider your alternatives. They may just work better for you than following Google’s suggestion.
My clients are often surprised to find out I will not work with more than one of the same type of business in the same city.
What Works for You Won’t Get Used Against You
This is an issue I feel very strongly about, and there’s a solid reason behind it: What has worked really well for you can easily work against you, especially when it’s the same person managing both sides.
One per industry rational – I know your profitable keywords & messages
When I’m managing a client’s Google Ads account, I discover the most profitable keywords, marketing messages and website strategies for their type of business.
While larger agencies can assign competing accounts to different team members and might keep the data separate and not share information, I run an owner-operated business with a team of one: me. I can’t compartmentalize competing accounts, and since I don’t want to use the same information to go against what’s working for one loyal client to benefit another, I refuse to work with competing businesses.
How it all started
This policy started with two dentists in Denver, Colorado. I had been working with one dentist there for more than a year, and we had seen a lot of success through his Google Ads account, when a second dentist in that city called to ask if I could manage his Google Ads account as well.
I quickly realized that all the ideas I was going to implement on the second dentist’s account were things I had done successfully with the first dentist. This didn’t sit right with me, because I would literally be using everything I had learned about the first dentist against him.
A few days after I emailed the second dentist to let him know why I could not work with him, the first dentist reached out and told me the two of them are friends, and that they exchange information all the time. He was okay with me working with the second dentist.
Your competitive edge is for you and your business
Most of the time however, it does not work out like this. Competing businesses want to know they have an edge over each other, and not sharing their Google Ads manager is a key part of this.
Loyal to my Clients
Since then, I have refused to work with anyone in the same industry as any of my existing clients. I am passionate about getting the right keywords, ads and website pages to work cohesively to increase sales and conversions for my clients. But I’m even more passionate about staying loyal to my clients, and not using their information against them.
So, you can rest assured that if Bird’s Eye Marketing manages your Google Advertising account, I will not work for your competitors. You will be the only one.
Medical terms on your website may trigger disapproved medical ads status. here’s what you can do.
Two of my clients—a dental office and a medical doctor’s office—were flagged for having terms like ‘Nitrous Oxide’ and ‘Botox’ on their websites.
Your medical office may offer procedures that require the use of specific terminology that can get your Google Ads disapproved.
Disapproved medical ads may show with a ‘restricted’ status.
Once Google flags and disapproves your medical ads, it will restrict or altogether stop showing your ads. In either case, your ads become less effective and your impressions, clicks, and other important metrics will decline.
At this point, you have two choices:
Remove the offending terms completely from your website, which is not practical or recommended because these terms show what your business offers.
Get certified by Google as a licensed provider.
When I began researching how to remove the restrictive flags from my customer’s Google Ads, I found a lot of comments in the chat forums about how difficult the process is, and how ‘Google is not helpful’ when it comes to getting a business medically certified. However, I experienced the opposite. By following Google’s procedures, I was able to quickly and smoothly certify my clients’ websites.
How to get the medical restrictive flags lifted from your Google Ads
Google wants to be assured that you are licensed to offer the medical services mentioned on your website. To give them this assurance, you need to get Google to certify your website as a licensed provider of medical services.
What you need before you start your application:
A copy of your license from your governing body.
A link to your governing body that shows you as a licensed practitioner.
If you are an agency acting on behalf of a medical practitioner, you will need a letter authorizing you to represent the medical business. This letter must be on the medical client’s letterhead. Google provides a link to a letter you can copy.
You will notice the form is biased towards pharmaceuticals over medical offices. As a medical practitioner office, you will need to apply as a ‘Pharmacy’ on the first question.
Agency or Not Agency
If you are applying on your own behalf, answer ‘no’ to this question.
If you are an agency acting on behalf of a medical clinic trying to fix disapproved medical ads, you will need to provide a letter authorizing you to represent the medical business. Click on the link for the sample letter and copy it. Complete the letter, then have your client print or scan it on their letterhead. Then, upload the signed letter as per the instructions.
In this same space, upload a copy of your practitioner license.
Rest of the form
Complete the rest of the form with your name, address, etc. as requested.
The last question
This is where you need the link to your professional governing body. The link you provide Google should go directly to the medical practitioner’s profile; Google will not search a governing body’s website for a name.
Once you submit the form, Google may take a few days to reply. If your submission meets their criteria, Google will put a medical certification on your website so your ads are no longer restricted.
If you are having trouble with your healthcare advertising, why not get a free consultation from Bird’s Eye Marketing.
Digital Mainstreet is a free government program that helps small and home-based businesses grow, promote and sell online.
There are a lot of obstacles small and home-based business owners face when it comes to adopting digital tools and technology, including time, money, and lack of tech savvy. A new program aims to help.
Digital Mainstreet is a free, government-run program that targets small and home-based business that want to increase their online presence.
When a small business is accepted into the program, it will be assigned an advisor. This is an experienced digital expert who will help the business owner build strategies and assess the businesses’ needs. Advisors are paid through the program, and each business gets up to six hours of its advisor’s time at no charge.
Any work recommended by the advisor, including building an online store, website, or social media page, is done by recent graduates under the supervision of experienced professionals. The grads get valuable hands-on experience, and entrepreneurs get a a digital platform to grow their businesses online. Talk about a win-win!
Here are some Digital Mainstreet success stories I know about:
My kids’ hair salon had an e-commerce website built so they could sell haircare products online;
A home-based artist had a full website built to promote paintings online;
An addiction not-for-profit is getting a whole new website and Google Ads training;
A local restaurant is putting their menu online and introducing take-out service; and
A psychotherapist’s Facebook page is being redesigned and she is getting social media training.