PPC Lead Generation Conversion Tracking: 4 Tips for Accurate Counting

originalLead generation accounts are their own unique challenge. Unlike ecommerce accounts where each conversion point adds revenue, lead generation can actually be the opposite. Each point of contact can add value, but only if executed well. If you’re constantly getting phone calls or lead forms from the same person, your stats in your account might look promising, but are each of those conversions actually adding value? Maybe not. Below are five things to keep in mind when managing your lead generation accounts for maximum valuable leads.

1) Track Unique Instead of All Conversions

In early 2014, Google implemented their Unique vs All Conversions setting in AdWords. At that point, and still today, the default setting for all new conversion actions in AdWords is All Conversions. But this might not be a best practice for lead generation.

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In the image above, “All” is further described by saying “if one ad click leads to three purchases, that will count as three conversions.” While this might be great if you’re selling socks, this isn’t good for your account if you are gathering lead information.

Let’s say your website has one conversion action (as many lead gen sites these days do): Contact Us. Your success point is gathering the name, email, and phone number of a person interested in your business so you can contact them later. They click on your ad, come to the site, fill out the form, viola. A lead. But if that person comes back and fills out the form again, do you get the same value as the first time they filled out the form? No. You already have that contact point.

This is where Unique conversion tracking comes in. “Unique” conversions are tracked as follows: “if one ad click leads to three purchases, that will count as one conversion.” This is the setting best suited for lead generation. Although one person might fill out your lead form multiple times, you’ll only see and optimize on one shown in the interface.

2) Separate Call Conversion Actions

Increasingly I’m seeing new lead gen accounts lumping their phone calls and online conversions in one conversion bucket. These can be noticed in a couple ways:

1. Segmenting by Conversion Name (or Action) in your account view:

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2. Looking at the Conversions tab in the Tools drop down in your top navigation:

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Either way, counting these calls as conversions can really muddy your conversion data. In some accounts, phone calls are more valuable than online conversions. In others, it’s the other way around. Either way, they need to be handled differently on your back end. An online form fill allows you to fill your lead funnel and respond when you’re ready. Generating phone calls is only really valuable when you have someone to answer the phone. Without an immediate response, you may lose your audiences interest.

Long story short, phone calls tracked from your call extensions are best kept in the Phone Calls column of your account and out of Converted Clicks simply because they need to be optimized differently. You won’t need to segment by conversion type when monitoring performance. You’ll be able to see, at a glance, if a click resulted in a form fill or phone call and optimize accordingly.

3) Track Calls from Landing Pages

Taking the previous section a bit further, don’t forget about calls from your landing pages. It’s common to see a business that’s tracking online leads and calls from call extensions and attributing them to PPC. But phone calls coming from landing pages are sent to the main call center phone line and aren’t attributed to any channel. There’s basically one big bucket of leads that aren’t being tracked to ANY channel.

This is a problem very simply solved by putting a bit of effort into your phone tracking system. One option is to get a bit sophisticated with hardline phone numbers you’re using and groups of landing pages segmented by channel, but this can get very messy, very quick.

A second option is the use the relatively new dynamic phone call tracking feature of Google AdWords.

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This is an option in the new conversion type creation process under phone calls. To take advantage, you’ll have to add a snippet of code to your website and Google will begin serving Google forwarding numbers on your landing page and tracking those calls to your account (pretty much the same way they do with call extensions). The downside here is that you’ll only see this benefit in your AdWords account. (Read more here.)

By far the most comprehensive solution is a phone tracking system. Phone tracking software can be a powerful tool that can help track not only PPC calls, but calls from all other unique channels in your marketing efforts. The drawback here can be cost, but I’ve found as long as you’re frugal with your numbers, the benefits can outweigh the costs.

4) Exclude Previous Converters via RLSA

As I mentioned earlier, most lead gen accounts do not benefit from hearing from the same person twice. Luckily, remarketing lists make it easy for us to prevent converters from costing us money again. By creating a remarketing list for those users who have converted on your site, you can easily then exclude those users from your regular campaigns. This will help you avoid spending money converting the same user twice and will allow you to preserve your budget for those net new users. Simply add your list of converters as a negative audience in your campaigns to keep them from seeing your ads.

Bonus: Target Previous Converters with Next Funnel Step

Although it makes sense to exclude previous converters from your regular search campaigns, that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be beneficial to keep them thinking of you. Whether through search or display, there are many benefits that can come from serving ads to users who have already converted. By targeting your remarketing list of converters separately, you can easily control message and budget to make sure you’re 1) offering them the information they need 2) only potentially gathering MORE information from them rather than getting the same info twice and 3) able to control budget or campaign status easily without impacting your other campaigns.

Lead generation PPC accounts certainly don’t require a rocket science degree, but there are some pieces to keep in mind when trying to maximize your account.

What other tactics do you find beneficial when managing a lead generation account vs an ecommerce account? Share with us in the comments!