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How to Track Lead Forms using Google Tag Manager (Google Ads)

Written by Megan

Understanding Conversion Tracking

Conversion tracking is an essential part of any successful Google Ads campaign. Without it, you simply can’t track the success of your advertising efforts. Running a PPC campaign without conversion tracking is like sailing a ship without a compass. You might set out with a direction in mind, but without the ability to track your course, you’ll never know if you’re heading towards your destination or drifting off into uncharted waters.

Conversion tracking offers crucial benefits, including the delivery of essential insights, enhancement of targeting and optimization efforts, accurate measurement of ROI, deeper comprehension of customer behavior, and it allows for multi-channel attribution. It enables you to make data-driven decisions and adjust your strategies as necessary.

Today, I’ll guide you through the process of setting up Google Ads conversion tracking on arguably the most common type of conversion action there is – someone submitting a form on your website. I will walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to accurately track form submissions on your website or landing page using Google Tag Manager (GTM).

Prerequisites

In order to set up conversion tracking on your website, there are a few things you need to make sure you have access to:

  • A Google Ads account
  • A Google Tag Manager account
  • Access to your websites backend
    (*For the purpose of this blog post, we are going to assume you have already installed GTM to your website)

Setting Up Google Ads Conversion Actions

The first thing you need to do is set up your Google Ads conversion actions – in other words your “goal” or the action you want visitors to take on your website. For the purpose of this guide, let’s imagine we want to set up conversion tracking on a Contact Us Form on your website.In your Google Ads account, go into your measurement section, and click on Conversions.

Create a New Conversion Action, and in this case we will select “website” for the kind of conversions we want to track.

You then want to select the right settings for your conversion action. The image below is what we like to do, but you can select the options that are best for you. Google will also explain what each of the selections mean.

Once you’ve set up your conversion action, Google will provide you with options for installing your codes. You are going to select “Use Google Tag Manager” where you will then be given the Conversion ID and Conversion Label that we will later be installing into your Google Tag Manager container.

Configuring Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager (GTM) allows you to manage your tags for conversion tracking, site analytics, remarketing, and beyond. With virtually limitless options for monitoring activity across your websites and apps, its user-friendly interface allows for easy updates and modifications to your tags as needed. There are many reasons why we’d suggest using GTM to manage your tracking needs, Analytics Mania describes 14 benefits of using GTM perfectly.

In your GTM account, you are going to start by creating a new container (unless you already have a container set up – skip this step). Click on Create Account, and add the details of your container. Simply add your Account Name, Country, Container Name (typically your website URL), and the Target Platform.

Once your account is set up, we will begin setting up the tag.

Setting up your Tags

In this step we are essentially transferring the conversion action we created in Google ads into GTM.

We need to add two tags, (1) Conversion Linker, and (2) Contact Us Form.

Conversion Linker Tag

On the left sidebar, click on Tags, and then we’re going to click “New”

For Tag Type, Select Conversion Linker

And for the Trigger, select “All Pages”

Done!

Contact Us Form Tag

For the Tag Type, select Google Ads → Google Ads Conversion Tracking

Then copy the Conversion ID and the Conversion Label from Google Ads and paste them into GTM

Setting up your Triggers

For the Trigger, it depends on how your website or landing page is set up after a visitor completes the form. You can test this by filling out your Contact Us form on your website, see whether the form leads to a thank you page with a new URL (ideal option), or if there’s no thank you page (nothing happens when someone hits submit, or if a “thank you” message pops up under the form).

Setting up your Trigger on a Thank You Page:

Click on Triggering → Click on the blue + → Trigger Configuration

We are going to select “Page View” as the trigger type

This Trigger fires on “Some Page Views”

The trigger will fire when the Page Path contains /thank-you (this will be different based on your own thank you page URL)

*Note – the page path is the part of your URL that comes after the domain. For example, www.wsipaidsearch.com/thank-you .

Done!

Setting up your Trigger on a Button Click:

If you do not have a designated Thank You page for your form, which we highly recommend you create for tracking purposes, you can also set up tracking on a button click.

Let’s say the final step of someone filling out your form is clicking on the “Submit” button. And when someone clicks on that button, you want to consider that a conversion.

Click on Triggering → Click on the blue + → Trigger Configuration

We are going to select “Click – All Elements” as the trigger type, and we will fire this trigger on “some clicks”

In the dropdown menu, click on “Choose Built-In Variable” And a list of variables will pop up – look for “click text” and select that. In the box you will write the button text that you are tracking – make sure that the text is identical to the button text (pay attention to cases).

We are also going to add a URL here to make sure we are tracking a button on the correct page. Click on “Page Path” → contains → and then add the part of your URL your page is on. In our case, it is on the contact us page.

Save and name your trigger, and you’re done!

Verifying Your Tags are Firing

Using Tag Manager Preview Mode

Now that you’ve set up your tags and triggers, it is crucial to test your setup to make sure your tags are firing properly. To do this, GTM has a great feature called Tag Manager Preview Mode, where you can simulate filling out the form on your website and it will show you whether or not your tag fires, AKA whether Google Ads will register a conversion.

In the top right corner, click on Preview, and the following box will appear → enter your websites URL.

Once it brings you to your website, find the form you are wanting to track and go through the process of filling out and submitting the form.

When you go back into the GTM tab, you will see whether or not your Tag has fired. In the screenshot below, you can see that the form we tested, a subscribe form, triggered when we submitted the form. If your tag did not fire, it means the set up was done incorrectly, and Google Ads won’t track your conversions.

Finally, make sure to publish your changes!

Concluding Insights on Google Ads Conversion Tracking

As I wrap up this guide on tracking lead forms using Google Tag Manager for Google Ads campaigns, remember that the essence of digital marketing lies in understanding and reacting to the data at our disposal. By following the steps outlined in this article, from setting up your Google Ads conversion actions to configuring and verifying tags in Google Tag Manager, you’re equipping your business with the tools it needs to navigate your PPC advertising with precision and confidence.

With this guide, you’re now ready to set sail towards more successful, data-driven PPC advertising strategies. Remember, the digital landscape is always evolving, and staying ahead requires continuous learning and adaptation. Happy tracking, and here’s to the many conversions that lie ahead!

Feel free to reach out to our team any time with questions you may have. We are always happy to help!

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