Why and How to Enable Cross-Account Conversion Tracking

May 22, 2019
Instructions and reasons to set up cross-conversion tracking:

Imagine you were asked if it is possible to use only one code snippet to track conversions across multiple advertiser accounts. You’d know to answer “yes” from theory and from what you’d want the answer to be. But in the back of your mind your practical experience would be whispering something like “yeah right, that just never happens.”

You wouldn’t be the first SEM marketer, nor would you be alone thinking that. I, for one, have seen many convoluted (sometimes erroneous) conversion setups that hurt more than they help when it comes to understanding the important actions prospects take across multiple advertising accounts to arrive to one purchase.

All that confusion comes to an end with an important and yes, brave, action of simplifying tracking across accounts by using Analytics Goal Conversions or a few lines of Google Ads code to be inserted in your websites instead of the many outdated snippets you likely forgotten you still have on the website. The beauty is in the fact that this can be done to track performance across two Google advertising accounts or hundreds of them.

As an advertiser you can set conversions in the Manager (MCC) account, enable them to track across all child accounts in that MCC, and almost instantly (something like 30 days or less) gain a much clearer understanding of how much your accounts help each other convert a customer. As a result, your holistic view of the business would improve exponentially. The customer’s path to purchase also becomes a lot easier to understand.

Industries and sectors using cross-account conversion tracking:

This applies to all verticals with more than one product line or retail service locations. Automakers usually discover that many of their same brand and different brand model campaigns contribute to each other’s conversions. Typically no one knows exactly what car model or year they are going to end up buying, that evolves as they research. Healthcare providers with multiple locations realize that many of their closest locations contribute to each other’s conversions. Healthcare manufacturers get an opportunity to marvel at the amount of cross-sales that happens between their numerous product lines. Hotel chains like cross-account conversion too. The list can go on and on.

By using cross-account tracking businesses gain visibility into what’s helping convert a customer. Often times they also learn what’s not helping.

Four simple steps to enable cross-account conversion tracking:
  1. 1. If you are planning to track conversions through the Google Ads tag, create a conversion action that will track across accounts in your MCC aka Manager Account. If you are planning to use Google Analytics for conversion tracking, import conversions from Analytics into your MCC instead. In the latter scenario, there is no need to install separate code as long as your UA code has been updated within the last few years to the “universal” tag. There are arguments for and against using the Analytics’ over Google Ads tracking, enough for their own blog post.
  2. 2. Add the Google Ads snippet to any/all conversion pages across any/all website domains you own. Skip this step if you are using Google Analytics goal completions as conversions.
  3. 3. Make sure you applied conversion action in the MCC to your child accounts by selecting “This manager” when logged into your MCC:
  4. 4. Remove old Google Ads tags from your website (if Using the Google Ads code) after your conversion window elapsed

Keep in mind that once you apply manager-level conversions to child accounts, your individual account-level conversions cannot be used any more. They aren’t removed, and they can be used again if you turn off the cross-account actions later.

Performing these simple steps will also allow to control conversion tracking control at the main level even if you have various agencies managing your accounts. Managed accounts (and those who have access to them) won’t be able to make changes to the manager-level conversion tracking.

Read more about the intricacies of conversion tracking as it applies to various use cases:

Using MCC-level tracking here: link to the last post (April #2)

How google ads counts conversions from YouTube

Google Analytics Goals as Conversions in Google Ads

Understanding TrueView for Action Conversion Attribution

Google’s Pay for Conversions Option: What You Need to Know