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GA4 and Google Ads enhanced conversions tracking setup guide

Updated
Jul 10, 2024
Published
Jul 4, 2024

Accurate conversion tracking is crucial for optimizing campaigns and maximizing ROI in digital marketing. Google Analytics and Google Ads now offer enhanced conversions tracking, delivering deeper insights and more precise data on user behavior and conversions. 

In this article we dive deep in the enhanced conversions setup process, including best practices, tips and latest updates from Google.

Enhanced Conversions Overview

Unlike traditional tracking methods, which may miss conversions due to browser restrictions or privacy settings, enhanced conversions use first-party data and privacy-safe methods to ensure that every interaction is captured. This leads to a more complete and accurate picture of your marketing performance.

Enhanced conversions work by securely hashing user data, such as email addresses or phone numbers, which are then matched with Google’s data to track conversions more effectively. 

The key benefits of enhanced conversions include improved measurement accuracy, better attribution, and more effective optimization of marketing campaigns. By capturing more conversion data, you can better understand which channels and strategies are driving results, leading to more informed decision-making and higher ROI.

Use cases

Let’s discuss how enhanced conversions can be applied to different types of campaigns, such as lead generation, e-commerce, and hotel campaigns:

  • For lead generation, enhanced conversions can track form submissions more accurately, ensuring that all potential customer interactions are captured, even if users have opted out of third-party cookies.
  • For e-commerce campaigns, you can track purchases by linking online and offline data, giving a complete view of the customer journey from initial visit to final sale.
  • Hotel campaigns benefit by accurately capturing booking data, allowing you to see which channels drive the most reservations and optimize your strategies accordingly. 

How to set up enhanced conversions in Google Analytics 4

1. Open your GA4 property and on the left click on “Admin”.  Go to “Data Streams”.

How to set up enhanced conversions in Google Analytics 4

2. Choose your web data stream and scroll down to “Google tag”. Then click on “Configure tag settings”.

How to set up enhanced conversions in Google Analytics 4

3. Scroll down to “Allow user-provided data capabilities”.

How to set up enhanced conversions in Google Analytics 4

4. Toggle on the “Automatically detect user-provided data”. 

(Recommendation). Always be mindful of privacy laws and regulations like GDPR or CCPA. Make sure you have consent from users to collect and use their data, especially for Enhanced Conversions.

(Recommendation for linking GA4 with Google Ads). Link your GA4 property with your Google Ads account to leverage Enhanced Conversion data in your ad campaigns.

5. Select your preferred method for setting up user-provided data collection in Tag Manager:

  • Automatic collection: Google Analytics scans your web pages for email address patterns, excluding phone numbers and addresses. To enhance this feature, we recommend supplementing it with the following options. Learn more here: Google Analytics Support.
  • Manual configuration: choose the types of user-provided data you want to collect, like email addresses or phone numbers. For each data type, specify how you want to identify it on the page—either using a CSS selector or a global JavaScript variable. This method offers more precision than automatic detection but is less reliable than adding a code snippet to your website. If you frequently update your website's code, especially the formatting or CSS selectors on the collection page, consider adding a code snippet for better reliability. Learn more about this option here.
  • Code: insert JavaScript code into your web pages to collect email addresses, phone numbers, names, and addresses. Afterward, configure the user_data parameter for each event on the page. Learn more about this option here.

For detailed guidance and information, you can refer to the full article on the Google Analytics Help page.

A few updates of July 2024:

  • Enhanced Data Collection in GA4: set up user-provided data and leverage features like Enhanced Conversions in GA4, first-party data demo & interests reporting, and future GA4-powered customer lists in Google Ads. This setup won't affect your user or event-level
  • Enhanced Conversions for Leads via sGTM: now available through server-side Google Tag Manager (sGTM), Enhanced Conversions for Leads helps you measure offline interactions, such as purchases or closed leads, without relying solely on fragile identifiers like GCLIDs, which browsers increasingly strip out. Setting up EC for Leads via sGTM gives you more control over user data sent to Google and reduces the code running on your website pages.
  • Enhanced Conversions for Hotel Campaigns: enhanced conversions now support reporting for Hotel Campaigns, filling gaps caused by the absence of third-party cookies or browser limitations. Previously, Hotel Campaigns and EC were not integrated. EC bidding support for Hotel Campaigns will be introduced later this year.

How to set up enhanced conversions in Google Ads

1. Enable Enhanced Conversions in Google Ads.

Log in to your Google Ads account, navigate to Tools & Settings → Conversions → check Turn on enhanced conversions.

2. Configure User-Provided Data variable in web GTM and add it to GA4 tag settings. 

In web GTM, create a Data Layer Variable to capture user data (such as email, phone number, and address). Then, create a User-Provided Data Variable and associate it with the captured data​.

How to set up enhanced conversions in Google Ads
How to set up enhanced conversions in Google Ads

3. Set Up Conversion Tracking Tag.

 In the GTM server container, create a new Google Ads Conversion Tracking tag, and trigger it based on the desired conversion events​. Tag will automatically parse user data form GA4 requests. 

And that’s it! No additional changes or modifications were made to the Google Ads Conversion Tracking setup.

Common questions about enhanced conversion tracking

1. How to check if enhanced conversion is being fired correctly on server-side? Because on the client-side, it’s necessary to check for the em parameter.

You may check the event data tab in the server container preview - you should see your user data there. It will be parsed by the Google tags automatically. You may also check an outgoing hit that is sent from the sGTM and you should see user data there as well, but you should expect it to be hashed already.

2. Will an enhanced conversion error appear for “Add to Cart” conversions in Google Ads when new users add items to their cart without logging in?

Yes, there will be an error if you do not send any user data with this event. So if you want to have as clean dashboard as possible - enable enhanced conversions only for events where you always have user data, like purchase, lead etc.

3. Is sharing user data directly in the Data Layer GDPR compliant? Doesn't it need to be hashed?

User data is hashed when sent to Google. Data Layer is an on-site object and is not subject to regulations directly.

Conclusion

Enhanced conversion tracking in Google Analytics and Google Ads represents a significant advancement in digital marketing. By offering more precise data and insights, this feature can help you optimize your campaigns and achieve higher ROI. 

The ability to accurately track and measure conversions will be crucial for staying competitive and making informed marketing decisions. 

We’ve provided an overview of enhanced conversions, explored various use cases across different campaign types, and offered step-by-step guides for setting up enhanced conversions in both Google Analytics 4 and Google Ads. We hope you find this article helpful. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to contact us

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