Media spend in the online space has almost become a necessity in recent years. Search engine optimisation is highly effective in driving long term traffic, however, business results are required sooner and without a 12 month wait. Google Adwords is an effective method in targeting online individuals utilising the Google platforms, such as Google Search and any website or app that is making use of the Google Display Network.

How Does it Work?

Google Adwords is an advertising system that allows advertisers to bid on select keywords and targeting in order to have the adverts they create appear on a users device. Adverts are matched to the keywords you are targeting, and each click on an advert has a cost, that can range from R5 to R100 per click, depending on the competitiveness of that specific keyword. Google makes its money by the amount charged per click, and it is interesting to note that the top 4 most targeted keywords account for 97% of Googles total revenue! So be aware if you are targeting any of the following: Insurance, Loans, Mortgage, Attorney.

The first step in the process is to identify your objective, and have a clear understanding of what needs to be achieved. Some digital objectives cannot be fulfilled by online media, so there needs to be a clear match between what can be achieved and the objective that needs to be met. Your objective will dictate the type of advert and the method of delivery.

Types of Adverts:

Types of Google Adwords Conversions

Once you have setup the campaign, selected your targeting, created your adverts and specified your budget delivery, the next BIG step is to determine what conversion tracking you are going to implement. The beauty of digital advertising is that everything is measurable and trackable. Every view, action and conversion can be measured- which provides valuable insight and information to the marketing team, should you have the know-how of what to look for and how to interpret the data. *Note, these methods of tracking apply when a user has clicked one of your adverts and is directed to your desired platform.

Google Adwords provides 4 main conversion tracking methods, namely; Website actions, App installs and in-App actions, Phone Calls and imported data. We have broken these down and provided objectives and examples of how they can be utilised.

For the sake of this article, I will be using ‘Nike Shoes’ as an example item and search term.

1. Website Conversions

A user browses the Nike store, but does not purchase anything. Later that day, they go online again and are targeted with a Display advert with the exact shoe they were looking at. They click the advert and are directed back to the page of the shoe they were interested in, and decide to purchase the item.

This method of advertising is called re-marketing and makes use of the data a website obtains when a user browses a website.

From the interaction post the advert click, website conversion tracking can measure the user landing on the product page, adding an item to cart and final payment.

Website tracking is extremely valuable in measuring activity and sales and allows a business to accurately determine if the adverts they are running are generating sales.


Trigger specific goals a user is required to complete on a website- such as a contact form

Track sales and financial acquisition of product / service

Measure interaction a user has with the website

Accurately measure the amount of leads is being generate through your website

2. App Conversions

Nike launches a new fitness App that tracks your everyday activity and provides the information it obtains in an easy to understand infographic. They have an existing userbase, but would like to attract new users, regardless of the foot ware they own.

They make use of Googles Universal App campaigns and App conversion tracking to measure the interaction between users viewing the adverts, through to downloads. So when a user searches the Play Store for a fitness App, their App is displayed at the top of the results page and has a higher chance of being selected.

The App conversion tracking will measure the number of downloads and key types of activity within the App. If one of the goals is to log in every day for 7 days, the conversion tracking will trigger once a user has fulfilled this goal.


Drive App downloads

Encourage engagement within an app

Utilise existing apps to promote your marketing message

3. Phone Conversions

Nike opens a new store in Johannesburg that offers over-the-phone assistance for shoe related queries. They want to encourage people to call in, but would also like to track the amount of calls in order to calculate the monetary return.

They run search adverts with an option of click to call. Each click on the phone number is considered to be an action, however, they cannot consider it an accurate conversion unless the phone call lasts longer than 20 seconds, as anything shorter could be considered a ‘wrong number’ dial. They set a 20 second conversion goal, and all calls longer than this are considered to be conversions.


Measure how many phone calls come from adverts and your website

Track the call length obtained from the phone call

Contribute towards the calculation of an accurate ROI from your adverts

4. Import Conversions

Nike implements a GCLID code on the telephone number for their new store on their website. Each time a user clicks this telephone number in order to call it, a unique code is attached to the user.

When this user visits the store, makes a purchase and signs up to a loyalty program, the information gathered from this user, along with the GCLID, is added to a spreadsheet and uploaded back into Adwords. Google will then contribute the sale to the campaign as a conversion and provide the financial ROI obtained.


  • You would like to track a conversion that happens offline, but your Adwords may contribute to the sale/acquisition.
  • Measure interactions beyond the website

Is there a conversion method that speaks to your objective? We can help.