How to send Conversions to Google Ads?
7min • Jan 19, 2024
We have already discussed in various blog articles how the disappearance of third-party cookies has significantly impacted customer acquisition costs. This impact is currently estimated at 20% and could potentially reach 50% by the end of 2024.
In response to this challenge, almost all advertising platforms have developed new solutions known as Conversion APIs. These APIs facilitate the sharing of lead and customer event data. However, being relatively recent, the implementation of these APIs is often complex.
If you want to learn everything about conversion APIs, especially Google Ads' Enhanced Conversions, this guide is made for you!
The imminent end of 3rd party cookies
Why it’s important to send conversions
Conversion events are among the most critical signals for ad platform algorithms to optimize the performance of your advertising campaigns. By sending your conversions, Google Ads can measure results more precisely and enable better-performing bids and more effective attribution tracking. Conversion APIs are essential tools for capturing the entire lifecycle of leads and customers.
Without precise conversion tracking, algorithms lack the necessary information to target effectively, leading to potentially unnecessary expenses.
A typical example is sponsored content displayed to existing customers:
A user searches for "party dress" on the internet and browses through the results proposed by Google.
She clicks on a sponsored link and makes a purchase a few hours later. She receives a confirmation email a few minutes later.
A few days later, she wants to follow her order. She types the name of the brand into her search engine. A sponsored link is displayed as the first result, and she clicks on it.
Since the person had clicked on the site link the first time, Google Ads continued to perceive her as a high-potential customer. The platform continued to target her, even though she had already converted.
💡 To address this issue, one solution is to send the list of recent customers and exclude them from current acquisition campaigns.
Google Ads Enables Advanced Tracking of Online and Offline Conversions
To improve campaign performance, Google Ads offers "Enhanced Conversions" for both web and leads.
Enhanced Conversions for web is suitable for advertisers with online activities who want to track events occurring on their website. This solution allows the sending of first-party data (such as email, phone number, first name/last name, etc.) when a user converts. It improves the measurement of online conversions.
Conversions are directly sent server-side, enabling the retrieval of conversions that may not have been measurable otherwise (due to regulatory restrictions or third-party cookie limitations), improving the quality of transmitted data and consequently, bids.
This illustration from Google explains how Enhanced Conversions for web works
However, in many cases, you don't just track interactions with your customers on your website. Conversions are often spread across different sources and available in different tools:
Events qualifying a lead in the CRM (such as calls)
Product usage events in your backends
Engagement events in your analytics tool
In-store purchase or phone call events in your databases
Whenever an advertiser also has offline activities or multiple data sources, it is beneficial to implement Enhanced Conversions for leads. Similar to Enhanced Conversions for web, it allows sending first-party data to Google for specific events that did not occur on the website, improving the quality of information available on a contact.
This solution optimizes campaigns based on the most interesting events for you, regardless of where they occur.
This illustration from Google explains how Enhanced Conversions for Leads works
In general, Enhanced Conversions provides more precise and comprehensive data, enabling the creation of more segmented audiences for more targeted marketing campaigns.
How to Achieve a Perfect Implementation of Enhanced Conversions?
1. Choose the Events to Send to Google Ads
The customer acquisition funnel generally consists of multiple stages, from product (or service) discovery to purchase. As the customer progresses through the journey, the buying intent increases.
It is essential to implement Enhanced Conversions for events that have the most value for you and on which you want to optimize your campaigns.
Take the example of a B2B company using Google Ads to drive traffic to its form page. The company has defined criteria to score these leads. Only 20% of the obtained leads are genuinely interesting to them.
To improve performance, the company wants to transition from lead management to "qualified" lead management (with a score higher than x). To achieve this, they just need to send events that transform a lead into a "qualified" lead via Enhanced Conversions. Google Ads' algorithm will then optimize campaigns to reach more qualified leads (even if it means reducing the number of "generic" leads).
It's exactly the use case we implemented with Nexity!
Note that bottom-funnel events are generally the most important for Google Ads, whether they occur online or "offline."
2. Collect events on the Server
Once your funnel is defined, it is crucial to ensure that you can collect these events directly from your servers (to overcome limitations due to third-party cookies).
For offline events, make sure to collect and centralize them in a "single source of truth" (often, a data warehouse) frequently according to your use cases.
Regardless of the event type, it is essential to ensure that you collect first-party data, such as email or phone number, allowing Google Ads to recognize profiles on its platform.
💡 Google accepts multiple identifiers, but the best matching rates are achieved through email addresses.
3. Choose the Appropriate Integration Solution
Whether it is Google Enhanced Conversions for web or for leads, several implementation methods are possible.
Firstly, there are Google's integrated solutions, such as GTM or tags, which handle both server-side data collection and subsequent sharing with Google. These solutions are limited and generally allow tracking of online conversions (including lead tracking).
We recommend using Google APIs, providing more flexibility and covering a broader range of data sources.
To use this integration method, it is advisable to centralize all conversion data in a single source of truth upfront. For this purpose, we recommend using a cloud data warehouse such as BigQuery or Snowflake. This source allows standardizing customer journeys by integrating online and offline data, enriched by CRM data (external id, Country, City, etc.).
💡 Note that gclid does not need to be transmitted for leads because tracking is based on information already collected by Google about these individuals.
⚠️ Attention: If you send web conversions, ensure that your conversion IDs are identical between your tags on your site and your API for matching to occur.
4. Monitor Implementation Quality
Once Google Enhanced Conversions APIs are implemented for chosen events, it is crucial to monitor the quality of API data and the matching rate. By examining the conversion diagnostics, you can see what is well done and what could be improved. By downloading the complete error and warning report, you can correct the implementation and iterate to achieve better results.
Example of available statistics to monitor Enhanced Conversions implementation
Subsequently, your SEA (Search Engine Advertising) strategy should be optimized until the conversion value exceeds the campaign's ROAS (Return on Ad Spend).
Why and How to Act Now?
The disappearance of third-party cookies is imminent, and addressing its impact is vital for businesses with an online activity to prevent soaring costs. Advertisers who quickly adopt these new technologies across all advertising platforms will have a sustainable competitive advantage.
If you haven't yet considered how Google Enhanced Conversions and other conversion APIs could benefit your business, now is the time. If you want to learn more about our approach, feel free to contact us.