Setup Enhanced Conversions to Improve Conversion Tracking

Enhanced conversions are a new method to measure performance in Google Ads. Find out all there is to know about it in our blog.

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How to Setup Enhanced Conversions to Improve Conversion Tracking

Now more than ever online privacy is a big deal. In fact, it has been building towards this for a number of years now.
There has been mounting pressure for tech companies to operate in a way that favours privacy and their consumers & customers.
A new Google technology that is set to replace third-party cookies - Privacy Sandbox - will be deployed in late 2022 and will redefine how digital marketers use platforms such as Google Tag Manager and Google Ads Global Site.
In the meantime, the tech giant has launched a new tracking feature called Enhanced Conversions; which will offer more in-depth conversion tracking that utilises first-party data while being mindful of user privacy.

What are Google Ads Enhanced Conversions?

The sole objective of enhanced conversions is to improve the accuracy of conversion tracking in a way that places emphasis on protecting user privacy.

This is achieved by using first-party data that’s securely hashed using an algorithm called SHA256.

With respect to Google Ads, hashing the first-party data before sending it to the ad platform improves privacy because it turns personal customer data into hashed text.

This is similar to Facebook’s ‘Advanced Matching’ whereby the Pixel captures and sends hashed data, along with conversion actions, to Facebook.

This increases the level of accurate conversion data afforded to advertisers which benefits optimisation and overall campaign performance.

How Enhanced Conversions Work

Now that we’ve shared with you what Enhanced Conversions for Google Ads are, we thought it would be helpful to explain how they work.

  1. Someone searches for personalised gifts for women on Google, and they click on an ad for women’s clothing online retailer. They are doing this when signed into their Google account
  2. On the clothing website, they view various web pages that include dresses they might like. They exit the website but return later to make their purchase
  3. Once they clicked on the ad and visited the website, their email address was hashed and sent to Google. When they completed their purchase, their email address was once again hashed and sent to Google
  4. This data is then matched with the conversion events that have been set up in the Google Ads account. In this example, page view and purchase conversion events were all recorded as conversions
  5. These conversions will be attributed back to the original ad that the user interacted with, affording the business valuable performance data and accurately ensuring their advertising efforts aren’t for naught

How it Works: Google Tag Manager and Global Site Tag

So far we’ve established that enhanced conversions essentially work by sending first-party conversion data such as email, name, home address, and phone number.

Conversion tracking can improve reporting, attribution, and optimization by providing a clearer picture of how campaigns are performing.

Regardless if you are using Google Tag Manager or Google Ads Global Site Tag, enhanced conversion tracking will require some minor changes to your existing tagging configuration.

  • Google Tag Manager - allows you to easily add tracking codes and measurement tags to a website. Best of all - it’s free!
  • Global Site Tag - this allows you to send event data to your Google Ads account along with other relevant Google platforms. Rather than have multiple site tags for these platforms, you can a Global Site Tag

Manually Setting Up Enhanced Conversions

Before we discuss setting up enhanced conversions for Google Ads using either Global Site Tag or Google Tag Manager, Google recommends the following:

  • That you’re aware of the URL pages that occur after a conversion takes place (if any) and how the conversion is triggered
  • Ensure that the first-party customer data is available on the page or pages where the conversion occurs
  • You’re aware of how conversion tracking works on your website, and you (or a developer) are able to make changes to the code when necessary
  • You’ve read and agreed to Google’s terms and conditions pertaining to enhanced conversions

Method 1 - Google Tag Manager

  • Sign into your Google Ads account and in the top right corner, click on Tools, and under Measurement, click on Conversions.
  • Find and select the existing conversion you would like to set up enhanced conversions for. If you haven’t set up this conversion, you will need to do so first.
  • At the bottom of the enhance conversions section, click turn on on enhanced conversions
  • Read the compliance statement, agree to it, and click on Check URL to check your website for a Google Tag
  • As you have used Google Tag Manager to set up conversion tracking, you’ll need to use GTM to set up enhanced conversions too

Method 2 - Coding

Using CSS selectors

One of the easiest ways to implement enhanced conversions is through CSS selector variables. Typically, no coding is required as long as there’s first-party customer data on the conversion page. However, if you are regularly updating or changing the code on your website, then we’d recommend implementing enhanced conversions with JavaScript instead. If first-party conversions are possible, enhanced conversions will also need to be set up with JavaScript variables.

Using JavaScript

As long as customer data can be identified as global JavaScript variables on your conversion page, enhanced conversions for Google Ads can be achieved with JavaScript variables.If possible, we’d recommend using this method if first-party data needs to flow through from a previous page in your conversion funnel.

Why It’s Important to Validate Implementation

Regardless of the tracking code or tags you’ve implemented on your website, it’s important to validate these to ensure everything is working correctly.

The most common way of validating this is through Google Tag Manager; which can be done prior to implementation.

  • Save any changes made to your website through Google Tag Manager, but then click Preview in the top right-hand corner
  • A small box will pop up where you can input your website URL where the tag has been implemented. It is important to know that it doesn’t have to the conversion page URL as you can navigate through to this from whichever URL you have chosen
  • Alternatively, you will be directed straight to the tag assistant window tab where you can input your website URL and click connect
  • Either way, you can confirm whether or not your enhanced conversion tag has fired correctly, by reviewing the Tags section. If setup correctly, you should the tag with the same name as the tag you used in Google Tag Manager
  • Our recommendation is to click on each tag and review the variables with the goal of confirming that each enhanced conversion variable has been processed properly. Regardless of which method you have used, you should see the variables exactly how you set them up
  • And, finally, 72 hours after you have implemented your specific enhanced conversions, head over to Google Ads and run a tag diagnostics report
  • This will give you a completely holistic approach to validating your implementation and ensuring everything is working correctly

Conversion tracking can improve reporting, attribution, and optimization by providing a clearer picture of how campaigns are performing.


Once enhanced conversions have been set up, there will be a new status in the Status column of your Google Ads account. 

Please note, it takes approximately 75 days for enhanced conversions to become fully integrated with your Google Ads reports - so have some patience! Until this happens, you’ll see Recording in the status column. The good news is that Google will let you know once it has become fully integrated.

Once they have become fully integrated into your Google Ads account, you’re able to hover over the status to see the level of impact your enhanced conversions have had on your data.

Essentially, the main benefit of using enhanced conversions is to provide increased robust conversion tracking. The flow-on effect is that this will improve reporting, better attribute conversions, and provide more data-driven optimisation. In short, your data and results will be far more accurate.

If first-party conversions are possible, enhanced conversions will also need to be set up with JavaScript variables. As long as customer data can be identified as global JavaScript variables on your conversion page, enhanced conversions for Google Ads can be achieved with JavaScript variables.

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