Why conversion tracking for search marketing is a no-brainer

Search marketing is a complicated process. But attribution can make it a little clearer. By assigning value to every conversion and tracking where these conversions originate, you can identify which aspects of your search marketing are most effective.
And when you want to make improvements to your search marketing efforts, you need the data to inform your decisions. Through A/B testing and optimisation, you can determine which elements on a page help to influence and boost conversions.

What is conversion tracking?

Conversion tracking typically takes place in your analytics software. A conversion might mean different things for different websites. For an eCommerce site, a conversion would be completing a successful checkout process, but adding an item to a cart might also have lesser value.
For an enquiry-based website, a conversion might include filling in a contact form, requesting a callback, or clicking on a phone number from a mobile website.
Conversion tracking involves defining the end goal of your website and then tracking every user who completes this action. This information can help you to see which search marketing activities are driving high-intent traffic to your website. And by high-intent, we mean the users that are most likely to become a customer.

How do I set up conversion tracking?

Conversion tracking takes place in your Analytics software, usually Google Analytics. Once you have Google Analytics set up, you need to determine what to count as a conversion. These are some examples you could consider:

  • A user adds an item to their shopping cart
  • A user makes an online purchase
  • A user signs up to your mailing list
  • A user requests a call-back
  • A user submits a contact form
  • A user subscribes to your YouTube channel
  • A user clicks on a phone number from a mobile device

You can follow instructions here for setting up conversion tracking in Google Analytics.
You can have multiple goals and assign a value to each goal. With an eCommerce site, the value would simply be the total of the transaction. But with a service-based website, you have to do a few more calculations to determine the value of a conversion.
Start by looking at the value of your website enquiries from the past 6 months. If you offer a one-off service, you need the average order value. If you offer a reoccurring service, you need to know the average lifetime value of a new customer.
And remember, not every enquiry will turn into a customer. Your sales team will need to pick up enquiries and then convert them. So you also need to know the percentage of enquiries that turn into customers.

Conversion tracking example

Imagine you are an architect. Your website receives an average of 5,000 hits per month and 100 enquiries. Of these enquiries, 5 become customers. And the average lifetime value of a new customer is £10,000.
Your website conversion rate would 2%
Your sales conversion rate would be 5%
And the average value of an enquiry would be £500
While £500 is a lot lower than your average order value, this is because only one in 20 enquiries will become a customer.

Why is conversion tracking essential for search marketing?

Search marketing makes up many different channels, including PPC and SEO. In an average month, you might be running PPC ads, creating new website content, building links to your site, or improving your existing website. This might lead to a spike in traffic and enquiries from different sources.
With conversion tracking in place, you can see which channels are most successful. So if you’re writing incredible blog content, it’s ranking, driving traffic and then driving enquiries, you know that you’re on to a winning strategy.
To sum up, tracking conversions for your marketing activities help to keep your spending and activities accountable. If you’re plunging spend into PPC ads and not seeing a return on your investment, you can redirect this marketing budget towards activities that drive results.