How to Configure AdWords Tracking in Google Tag Manager

At the core of any Google AdWords account strategy lies a foundation of solid conversion tracking to determine how well ads are generating revenue beyond the click. However, getting conversion tags in place involves adding Javascript code to the site, requiring backend website access or a developer who can edit the site. Unfortunately, in many organizations, waiting on a developer to add the proper codes to a site can take days or sometimes weeks.

Thankfully, Google Tag Manager (GTM) offers a simplified solution that allows anyone to set up tracking tags without needing to access a website’s backend or understand code. Once a single GTM container code has been placed across a site, anyone can add tracking codes for AdWords (and many other platforms) through the interface.

In this article, we’ll cover setting up AdWords remarketing and conversion codes.

AdWords Remarketing Tracking

1.) From the Overview screen of your GTM container, select “New” to create a tag.

2.) Give your tag a descriptive name and click within the Tag Configuration section to choose a tag type. From here, select “AdWords Remarketing.”

3.) Now, find your remarketing tag within your AdWords account (Shared Library > Audiences > Tag Details). Here, you can find your Tracking ID to copy and paste into GTM’s Conversion ID field.

4.) Next, click within the Triggering section to choose a trigger, which indicates where your tag will fire. In most cases, the AdWords remarketing tag should fire across an entire site, so we’ll select All Pages. Now, save the tag.

5.) Finally, be aware any edits you make in GTM won’t be deployed live until you click the Submit button in the upper right. If you’re creating multiple tags or making several changes, you can apply these changes together by waiting to click Submit until done with your configuration work. You’ll also need publishing access to GTM or else you won’t be able to finalize your changes.

Next, we’ll cover setting up an AdWords conversion tag.

AdWords Conversion Tracking

Create a new tag using steps one and two above and select AdWords Conversion Tracking as the tag type.

1.) Now, you’ll need to copy two items from the conversion tag code:

  • The string after var google_conversion_id = goes into the “Conversion ID” box
  • The string after var google_conversion_label = goes into the “Conversion Label” box

2.) Next, click within the Triggering section to select your trigger for where the conversion tag should appear. From here, click the plus symbol in the upper right to create a new trigger.

3.) Now, use the fields to define your trigger. In this example, we’re targeting page views that contain “thank-you” to track form submissions that land people on a Thank You page. Of course, the precise setup will vary from site to site and the type of conversion you’ll want to track. For more on configuring form tracking (including instances in which a form does not take people to a unique Thank You page), see this article.

4.) Finally, save your tag, and don’t forget to publish it live with the Submit button! If you’d like to check your configuration before making it live, you can use the Preview option to see if tags are indeed firing properly.

Tag, You’re It!

Now, it’s your turn to start adding tags through Google Tag Manager, if you haven’t yet done so. You’ll find this solution simple and quick for bypassing development processes and needing to access website code. GTM allows you to get AdWords tracking in place efficiently, so you can get campaigns off the ground more effectively.

Do you use Google Tag Manager or have questions about using GTM? We’d love to hear your tips or questions in the comments!