A conversion in Google Ads is when a user performs some specified action after clicking an ad or viewing a Display Network ad, such as purchasing a product, installing a mobile app, or signing up for an email list.

Conversion tracking provides key insights into users' actions after viewing or clicking an ad. You can keep track of users who call, buy a product, install a mobile app, and more.

Conversion actions

To measure conversions, you set up a ConversionAction for the type of conversion action you want to track. For instance, an online purchase and a phone call require different conversion actions.

Most conversion actions also require additional steps on your part to track them. For instance, tracking conversion actions on your website requires creation of a ConversionAction with the ConversionActionType set as WEBPAGE and a code snippet called a tag that you add to the conversion page on your website.

Note that the Source related to calls in the Google Ads UI (Phone number clicks, Calls from ads, and Calls from websites) are each mapped to a different ConversionActionType in Google Ads API:

  • Phone number clicks corresponds to CLICK_TO_CALL
  • Calls from ads corresponds to AD_CALL
  • Calls from websites corresponds to WEBSITE_CALL

Phone call conversions

Tracking phone calls from call extensions requires a ConversionAction with a type of AD_CALL. These use a Google forwarding number and specify the conversion action in the phone call extension's FeedItem. In the Google Ads UI, this type of conversion is called Calls from ads.

A call is reported as a conversion if it lasts longer than a specified duration. The default is 60 seconds.

Website call conversions

A WEBSITE_CALL conversion action type maps to Calls from a website in the Google Ads UI.

Unlike AD_CALL, this tracker requires event_snippet and global_site_tag to be added to your website to retrieve the dynamic Google forwarding number for call tracking on numbers listed on your website. In addition, you must set up a call extension and attach it to the campaign or ad groups whose website calls you want to track.

Website conversions

The ConversionAction encompasses several types of website conversions, distinguished within the API by the type field in TagSnippet.

The table below shows the equivalent API parameters to use for each Source in the Google Ads UI:

Tracking Code Type Google Ads UI Source
CLICK_TO_CALL Phone number clicks
--- Analytics

Website and Phone number clicks conversions require the event_snippet (which should be placed on web pages that indicate a conversion action such as a checkout confirmation or lead submission page) and global_site_tag (which must be installed on every page of your website). You can retrieve both of these attributes with ConversionActionService.

The CLICK_TO_CALL type differs from AD_CALL type in ConversionAction.type in that it does not track actual phone calls. Instead, it tracks only clicks on a phone number from a mobile device. This is useful when you're unable to use a Google forwarding number for tracking actual phone calls.

App conversions

ConversionActionType covers both mobile app installs and in-app actions for Android. The table below shows the equivalent API parameters to use for each Source in the Google Ads UI:

Conversion Action Type Google Ads UI Source
GOOGLE_PLAY_DOWNLOAD Android app install (first open)
GOOGLE_PLAY_IN_APP_PURCHASE Android in-app action

SKAdNetwork conversions

For advertisers that run iOS App Campaigns, and have implemented SKAdNetwork, it's possible to access SKAdNetwork data provided to Google at the Customer and Campaign level using the below resources:

Report field Description
metrics.sk_ad_network_conversions The number of conversions reported by Apple. This metric can only be segmented by any combination of segments.sk_ad_network_conversion_value and date-related segments.
segments.sk_ad_network_conversion_value The value of a conversion reported by Apple. This segment cannot be applied to any metric other than metrics.sk_ad_network_conversions, and it can only be combined with date-related segments.

Offline conversions

Conversion actions can be used to upload offline click or call conversions into Google Ads by setting the conversion action type to UPLOAD_CLICKS or UPLOAD_CALLS.

Additional conversion types

There are several types of conversion actions that cannot be created using the Google Ads API, but you can still retrieve their performance metrics in reports and, in some cases, modify some of their attributes.

Cross-account conversion tracking

If you're using cross-account conversion tracking, the ConversionActionService returns the following conversion actions:

  1. All conversion actions defined by the manager account used by the account for cross-account conversion tracking.
  2. All conversion actions on which the customer has accrued stats, including system-defined actions, and actions owned by the manager even if that manager unlinks subsequently.
  3. All actions the customer has defined in their own account, including Analytics goals and transactions created in linked Google Analytics profiles. This includes actions not imported into Google Ads, which will have a status of HIDDEN and can only be imported using the Google Ads UI.

You can set up and query cross-account conversion actions using the API, but you must opt in your accounts to cross-account conversion tracking from the manager account. Consult this help center article for more information.

Conversion value rules

Conversion value rules let you define rules for adjusting the values of your conversions based on various dimensions.

Effective conversion account

You can check an account's conversion tracking setup by issuing the following query with GoogleAdsService.searchStream:

FROM customer

If a returned cross_account_conversion_tracking_id has a non-zero value, then the account is using cross-account conversion tracking and the effective conversion account is a manager of this account.

If cross_account_conversion_tracking_id is not set or is zero, then the account is not using cross-account conversion tracking and the effective conversion account is the Google Ads account.

To verify that conversion tracking is enabled for an account:

  • If conversion_tracking_id is a non-zero value, then conversion tracking is enabled.
  • Otherwise, create at least one ConversionAction to enable conversion tracking.