In today's digital age, businesses rely heavily on data to make informed decisions and optimize their online presence. Two powerful tools that play a pivotal role in this process are Google Ads and Google Analytics 4 (GA4). While both platforms provide valuable insights individually, the real magic happens when you start tracking events across both of them. In this blog post, we'll delve into what types of events you can track across Google Ads and GA4, and why doing so offers a multitude of benefits for your digital marketing efforts.
Types of Events to Track
Conversion tracking in Google Ads allows you to monitor actions that matter most to your business, such as form submissions, purchases, or sign-ups. It enables you to attribute specific actions to your ad campaigns, keywords, and ad groups. The value of tracking each of these is to be able to measure profitability of campaigns and your spend invested towards each of them. This will help you become more efficient (so you can pause overspending and poor performing campaigns/keywords) and this data will help scale in a smart way when you're ready for that. Below are a few examples of conversion event types that you can track:
- Website Purchases: This is one of the most common conversion events. It tracks when a user completes a purchase on your website after clicking on your Google Ads. You can specify the value of each purchase to calculate the return on ad spend (ROAS).
- Lead Form Submissions: If your goal is to generate leads, you can track when users submit contact forms or request quotes on your website. This helps you measure how many users take a desired action after clicking on your ads.
- Phone Calls: Google Ads allows you to count phone calls from your ads as conversions, whether they are initiated by clicking on a call extension or using a tracked phone number on your website. You can use a tool like CallTracking Metrics or CallRail to help you track specifically what source a lead came from.
- App Installs: If you have a mobile app, you can track app installs as a conversion event. This helps you measure the success of your app promotion campaigns and optimize your app's visibility.
- App Actions: Beyond app installs, you can track specific in-app actions such as sign-ups, purchases, or level completions as conversion events. This provides deeper insights into user engagement with your app.
- Video Engagement: For video ad campaigns, you can track various video engagement metrics as conversion events. These may include video views, quartile views (25%, 50%, 75%, 100% completion), and clicks on video CTAs.
- Store Visits: If you have physical store locations and use local campaigns, you can track store visits as conversions. Google Ads estimates visits to your physical locations based on user interactions with your ads and location history.
- Downloadable Content: If you offer downloadable content like eBooks, whitepapers, or software, you can track downloads as conversion events. This helps gauge the success of content marketing campaigns.
- Subscriptions and Sign-Ups: If your website offers subscription services or memberships, you can track conversions when users sign up or subscribe to your platform.
- Custom Events: Google Ads provides flexibility to track custom events based on specific user interactions that are valuable to your business. These could include interactions like video interactions, PDF downloads, or engagement with specific on-site elements. Using a tool like Google Tag Manager will make your life easier in launching multiple custom event.
- Offline Conversions: If you collect data on offline conversions (e.g., in-store purchases), you can import this data into Google Ads to attribute conversions to your online advertising efforts.
- Cross-device Conversions: Google Ads can track conversions that occur across multiple devices, helping you understand how users move between devices before completing a conversion.
I highly recommend setting up Google Tag Manager on your website. It's one piece of code that gets placed on your website, that then will help you easily deploy other lines of code and tracking pixels/events, like the one's I mentioned above. Many clients will track not just one conversion event. You can also use Google Tag Manager to set up Google Analytics 4 which will help you track user sessions and other value information. Also remember that, all events you track in Google Ads, you should also be tracking in Google Analytics 4(GA4).
Google Analytics 4 (GA4):
GA4 is event-centric, meaning you can track virtually any user interaction as an event. GA4 tracks page views by default. However, you can further customize page view tracking to capture specific interactions, such as button clicks or form submissions, on a particular page. This also includes interactions like video views, downloads, scroll depth, and more. You have complete flexibility to define custom events tailored to your website or app's goals. If you have an online store, GA4 can track e-commerce events, including product views, add to cart, and purchase events. This data can be invaluable for understanding customer behavior and optimizing your sales funnel.
- Page Views: While this is a standard metric in web analytics, GA4 allows you to track page views as events, which can be useful for segmenting and analyzing user interactions on specific pages of your site.
- E-commerce Events & Purchases: If you have an online store, GA4 can track various e-commerce events, such as product views, add to cart, initiate checkout, and purchase events. These help you understand your customers' buying journey and revenue generated from specific products.
- Form Submissions: Tracking form submissions, such as contact forms, lead generation forms, or signup forms, allows you to measure the effectiveness of your lead generation efforts.
- Scroll Tracking: You can track user scroll depth to understand how far users scroll down a page. This helps identify the most engaging content and potential drop-off points.
- Video Engagement: GA4 enables you to track video-related events, including video views, pauses, completions, and interactions with video players. This is especially valuable if you have video content on your site.
- File Downloads: If you offer downloadable content like PDFs, ebooks, or software, you can track downloads as conversion events to gauge the success of your content marketing efforts.
- Button Clicks: Tracking button clicks, such as "Buy Now" buttons, "Learn More" buttons, or "Subscribe" buttons, helps you monitor user interactions with important calls to action.
- Outbound Links: You can track when users click on external links that lead to other websites. This is useful for understanding user navigation patterns and referral traffic.
- Custom Events: GA4 offers flexibility in tracking custom events based on specific user interactions that align with your business goals. These could include interactions with unique on-site features, user-generated content, or custom interactions tied to specific user journeys.
- Cross-domain Tracking: If your website spans multiple domains or subdomains, GA4 can help you track user interactions and conversions seamlessly across them.
- Engagement Events: Beyond specific conversion actions, you can track engagement events like time spent on page, sessions per user, and bounce rate to assess user engagement and site performance.
- Site Searches: If your website has a search function, GA4 allows you to track user searches and analyze what users are looking for on your site.
- User Sign-ups and Logins: Track user registrations and logins as conversion events, especially if you have a membership-based site or app.
- Error Tracking: You can monitor error events, such as 404 page not found errors, to identify and address issues that may disrupt the user experience.
- User-generated Content: Track events related to user-generated content, such as comments, reviews, or forum posts, to gauge user engagement and the impact of user contributions.
All of these events and conversion actions can be tracked back to different marketing sources such as organic, direct, referral, paid, and more. This will then allow you to monitor which efforts are leading to the actions you want users to take, it will give you insight into funnels and buttons, content and more that support in user journeys!
Benefits of Tracking Events Across Both Platforms
- Holistic Insights: By tracking events in both Google Ads and GA4, you get a more comprehensive view of your marketing efforts. You can see how ads drive users to your website and what actions they take once they arrive. This holistic perspective is essential for making data-driven decisions.
- Attribution Clarity: Combining data from Google Ads and GA4 allows you to attribute conversions accurately. You can see the complete customer journey, from the initial ad click to the final conversion, helping you allocate your marketing budget effectively.
- Campaign Optimization: With detailed event tracking, you can optimize your ad campaigns at a granular level. Identify which keywords, ads, or audiences generate the most valuable actions on your site, enabling you to fine-tune your targeting and messaging.
- User Behavior Understanding: GA4 excels in tracking user interactions within your website or app. This data helps you understand how users engage with your content and whether they encounter any obstacles in their journey, allowing you to make improvements accordingly.
- Audience Segmentation: By integrating event data, you can create highly specific audience segments in Google Ads. Target users who have taken specific actions on your website, such as viewing product pages but not making a purchase, with tailored ad campaigns.
- ROI Optimization: Tracking events across both platforms facilitates better Return on Investment (ROI) analysis. You can determine which ad campaigns generate the highest ROI by considering both ad spend and the value of the actions tracked.
In conclusion, tracking events across Google Ads and Google Analytics 4 is a game-changer for businesses aiming to maximize their digital marketing efforts. The synergy between these platforms provides a holistic view of your marketing performance, empowers you to make data-driven decisions, and ultimately helps you achieve your business goals more efficiently. In an era where data rules supreme, leveraging these tools to their full potential is a strategic imperative for any digital marketer.
This post information goes beyond marketing as! For example Perhaps user experiences (by CX team) or product sites go live. How can you inspire your team and other departments to work together to track events for company wide decision making? For more information on this contact DDM Generation