Tracking Revenue in Google AdWords

Sometimes you don’t need to use a limousine to get somewhere when a bicycle will do the trick.

… and sometimes you just might not have an advanced analytics tool and your only options are AdWords and Google Analytics.  I was setting up some basic revenue tracking for a low impact project of mine and I was amazed at the lack of instruction in the help center on how to track variable shopping cart revenues, namely revenue that is generated from a sales action that does not have a static value.  So I thought I’d take a few minutes and lay out instructions here.

First, you need to name your action and specify how the lead will be classified.  The name you choose is unimportant but you must make sure you designate the action as a purchase/sale out of the dropbox.

Next you will come to the code generation page.  When tracking a lead or a page view you usually just skip this page as no custom values need to be assigned, but here we need to take special note of the revenue box.  For static actions (such as an account subscription for $9.99 or any other action that has the same value created for each instance) you  can simply type in the price of the action.  Here we would be telling Google that every time we convert we generated $9.99 in total revenue – easy.

When the amount differs by size of sale or number of objects sold we need to use a custom variable that is designated with the controls output of you (or your advertiser’s) shopping cart. Assuming you aren’t a development wizard you’d have to dig around a bit for this value or ask your developer.  TotalCost or TotalValue are two pretty common ones found in aspx and php.

When running reports remember to check off whatever value metrics make the most sense for you.  It is undeniably powerful to be able to see how much revenue specific keywords have generated for your program, so I like to start there.

… and thats all!  You have successfully set up revenue tracking in AdWords and made your PPC campaigns just a little bit more transparent.

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