When I first started working in Paid Search, I thought enabling conversion tracking was pretty simple: just place a code, test, and you are ready to rock and roll. I've learned in my past 3 years at SEER that sometimes that sentiment can prove to be true, but often conversion tracking isn't that easy especially when something goes wrong.
Frustrated with the lack of blogs on this topic, I wanted to compile a troubleshooting checklist to help anyone experiencing tracking issues.
Scenario:One of my clients was receiving more leads than I was seeing in the Adwords interface
AdWords attributes conversions to the day the initial click occurred and not when the conversion action takes place (PPC hero has a great blog on conversion attribution). Therefore, Search Funnels was one of the first places I checked. More specifically, I looked at the Time Lag reports to see if that was a possible explanation.
Conversions – Webpages
Scenario: A client stopped receiving leads even though they were still tracking in Adwords
After looking into Conversions-Webpages I saw that conversions were occurring on two different webpages which coincided with the timing of when the client's tracking dropped off. Since conversions should only occur on one webpage, I was able to alert my client to the problem and have their developer fix it quickly.
Scenario: Our test conversion wasn't showing in Google Analytics
Our team uses the Google Analytics Opt-Out Browser Add-On to help avoid skewing our clients’ numbers. While it's a great add-on, it makes running a conversion test nearly impossible: having it enabled will prevent your test conversions from coming through properly even if everything is functioning correctly. Once we disabled the add-on, we re-tested and saw our conversion come through.
Side note - The new Google Analytics has a new feature that allows users to test verifying goals.
Is Your Code There?
Scenario: Our test conversion didn't come through
You might be wondering why I've put this in here, but it's very easy for a client to accidently place code in the wrong place. For reference, the code should go in the body of the confirmation page. One way to quickly rule this out is to check the page source (CTRL & U).
Is Your Code Correct?
Scenario: One of my clients was receiving more leads than I was seeing in the Adwords interface
In February 2013 Google changed their AdWords code so users wouldn't need to select “HTTP” or “HTTPs” during set up. This change should not have affected 99% of users who used the old code, but my client was a part of the remaining 1% because of a previous HTTP vs. HTTPS problem. Updating to the new code resolved our issue.
Because these codes are extremely sensitive simple errors such as extra spaces or misspellings can be enough to throw things off.
As mentioned above, I recommend referencing the page source to make sure the code in the Adwords interface is identical to the one placed on the webpage.
Google Analytics has tons of information you can look into when conversion tracking goes haywire. You can check out landing pages and visits, verify against goals, and so much more.
Google & Bing Support
Google and Bing have a great team of conversion tracking specialists who can help users with most conversion tracking issues.
Last but certainly not least, your client is key to accurate conversion tracking. Good communication with your client can help you prevent conversion tracking issues and also help you resolve them should they occur.
While this might not resolve all of your conversion tracking nightmares, I hope this lists helps you rule some items out. If you've experienced any conversion tracking issues not listed, please feel free to share them and your solutions in the comments below.
Happy Tracking Everyone!