How To Track Adwords With Google Tag Manager

March 31, 2024

How To Track Adwords With Google Tag Manager | AIA Book in a free 30 minute strategy session

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: nothing really counts in digital marketing unless you track conversions. How else do you truly know how your marketing efforts are doing? Hoping for the best? That never pans out.

And that’s exactly what you should be doing with your Google Adwords efforts: plan, prepare, see how well they’re doing, and adjust. One way to do it is through Google Tag Manager, which is what we’ll focus on in this article.

How to Track Adwords

Your Google Ads account can do a lot of great things, including tracking your conversion actions. So, you created an ad for your business, a user clicks on your ads, gets to your landing page, and then performs an action you want them to – buy, sign-up, download or whatever other types of conversion you need to track.

But to see exactly how many people actually performed this desired action, you need to specifically track the conversions. Some actions can be tracked using Google Analytics Goals, but a conversion tag is really more exact. For instance, you have a tag specifically for tracking how many people clicked on a link – it’s called the conversion linker tag.

You can go to your Adwords account and simply create a tag which will then have to be copied in your website’s HTML (or, if you want to track conversions for a different product, you can follow the instructions on your Google Ads dashboard). You will also need to:

  • Add a Conversion ID and Conversion Label
  • Select the conversion page (the page a user ends up on once they complete the action)

Once you set up the Adwords conversion tracking, you can then view all the data for all your Adwords ads, campaigns, or keywords, and figure out if you’re reaching your goal. It’s like your own extensive data studio. It sounds simple, but it’s possible you’ll also need to use Google Tag Manager.

What Is Google Tag Manager?

Google Tag Manager is Google’s tag management system which allows you to update tags on your website or mobile app.

When installed, the Tag Manager and the website or app start communicating with each other. Then you can start setting up tags, set up triggers to activate these tags or create variables that dictate their activity.

Here’s a quick explanation for these three elements:

  • Tags: conversion code or pixel from third-party tools that tell GTM what to do (like the Google Analytics tracking code, or the Adwords remarketing code);
  • Triggers: they tell the Tag Manager when to do something like, for instance, when a certain link is clicked;
  • Variable: additional information the GTM may need to know to work (like passing a product ID to a conversion tag when someone buys a product).

A combination of these three elements is called a container. The awesome bit about this container is that it can replace all the other manual-codes tag on your website or app, like the ones from Google Analytics and Google Ads, or whatever other third party codes you currently have. You can check this page to see what tags GTM supports.

And while it is a great tool, you may be wondering if it’s worth learning it. Well, truthfully, that depends. If you only have one tag on your website, you can pretty much handle it without the GTM.

However, most of the systems or platforms we use to attract new customers to our website require a tag if we also want to track our efforts. And when you start using the Google Ads tag, the Facebook pixel tag, the Mailchimp tag, and others and add them all manually to your website or app, you can risk overcharging it.

How to Use GTM for Your AdWords

First, you need to go to and set up an account, set up the container, and select the type of project you need it for web, AMP, iOS, Android. Then hit create and you’ve pretty much created your first container!

After that, you will receive the installation code. Snip and copy it into your website’s HTML output, ideally as close to the <head> tag as possible. Then you can create tags, triggers, and variables using the GTM web interface. You can even use the GTM preview mode to make sure your tags, triggers, and variables are working before you make them go live to avoid any missteps.

As an added bonus, you can use the Google Data Studio to create a visual representation of your data and be able to see your performance.

What about the Global Site Tag?

The Tag Manager and the global site tags generally have similar functions, but if you’re trying to decide between the two, here are some differences:

  • GTM allows you to deploy tags both from Google and 3rd party tags;
  • The global site tag is a JavaScript framework you can use to add only Google tags directly to your webpages and does not work for mobile apps.

So it’s really a question of what you need. If you only require Google tags, and not need to add them to mobile apps, then the global site tag may work just fine. But, if you’re also juggling with other tags outside of Google, you can only add them with the Tag Manager.

Work with the top Google Ads Agency

If you read this article and got all kinds of confused, we really don’t blame you. Google Ads, Google Tag Manager, and all these services are very complex, and it can get very hard to navigate through them on your own.

It’s why we’re happy to give you a hand. Contact Australian Internet Advertising today and we’ll show you how to to maximise your Google Ads Campaign!

Billy P.

About The Author

William Polson founded Australian Internet Advertising in 2013 and has over 12 years of experience immersed in Digital Marketing.

With an in-depth level of digital marketing knowledge, William has been sort after by and worked for, many large national brands including Subaru, Blooms The Chemist, and Nova 96.9.

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