There are three easy ways to measure “form fill” conversions in Google AdWords and Google Analytics, and I wanted to lay them out in a simple blog post for anyone who, like we do, lives or dies by conversions.

Before I lay out three methods for tracking form fill conversions, I wanted to quickly define what a form fill conversion is. Essentially, a “form fill conversion” is a conversion that is counted every time a form is filled out on a website. If your goal is to generate inbound leads for a sales team, then you likely need to have several landing pages that are optimized to generate “form fills” from potential customers who your sales team will then follow up with. (You can read more about the different types of conversions, starting with form fills, at this blog post here.)

Without further ado, here are three ways to measure form fill conversions:

  1. Javascript on a “Thank You” Page. The first way to track form fill conversions is via a “thank-you” page The “thank-you” page is method is often abbreviated “TY” and it refers to the page that someone sees after they click “submit” on a form — they are re-directed to a page that says something like, “Thank you for downloading this report,” or “thank you for requesting a quote,” and you simply need to install javascript that tracks all the people who see the TY page. You can generate the javascript within AdWords — this is the most common way to setup conversion tracking in AdWords.
  2. A Destination-URL Goal in Google Analytics. The second way to track form fill conversions is via a “destination URL goal” in Google Analytics, which you then “import” into Google AdWords. This is very similar to the first method above in that you need a “thank-you” page in order to set a destination-URL goal — if you are not able to edit the javascript directly on a website for your client, then you may have an easier time setting up a destination URL goal to track AdWords conversions. Furthermore, the advantage to using a Destination-URL goal in Google Analytics is that you will also be able to track conversions made from other sources in addition to AdWords conversions. It is a good idea to setup redundant conversion tracking via methods #1 and #2 in order to see if there is a discrepancy in the number of conversions recorded by each.
  3. Event Tracking Button Goals. This is similar to method #2, in that it involves creating a goal in Google Analytics and then importing it into AdWords. It is very easy to setup if you have access to a Google Analytics account and if you event tracking is already in place. If event tracking is not setup, then you will need to add a bit of javascript to the buttons, but for some landing pages, it is easier to setup javascript on buttons then it is to setup a “thank-you” page redirect.
  4. Advanced Segments in Google Analytics. This is really a fall back method that is NOT a true replacement for any of the conversion tracking methods listed above. The problem with this method is that it cannot be used to import results into AdWords, and so you can’t capture as much data with advanced segments. But, if you are struggling to get the other methods setup and working (and you also have an established “thank-you” page), it is a great idea to create a segment that captures only traffic that hits your “thank-you” page, and then if you look at your Google Analytics source/medium report, you will see all source mediums that sent traffic that ultimately converted. Again, this isn’t a long-term solution, but it is a great way to view the data from another angle. Another great thing to know about this is that advanced segments are the only tactic that you can use that will provide “historical data” — in other words, the three methods listed above will only track data moving forward. But, if you create an advanced segment, you can see any conversions that would have taken place for the entire lifetime of the thank-you page.

As you can probably imagine, option #1 may be great for one client, whereas option #3 may be ideal for another client. And even though option #4 is not a viable standalone solution, it has an advantage that none of the other three methods provide.

The big problem with all three methods is that they all depend on javascript to some extent, and javascript sometimes misfires, some users may have javascript disabled, and there are perhaps other reasons why some conversions will go unrecorded.

But despite the flaws of any and all of the conversion tracking methods above, it is absolutely essential that you setup form-fill conversion tracking to measure success as best as possible for your clients, so I hope this post is helpful to you as you understand your options.

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