Google ads can be a great way to attract more visitors to your ControlShift site and solicit new campaigns from not-yet-identified supporters. Often running Google ads will be one of a multi-prong strategy to increase engagement on the site. We recommend approaching Google Ads in that way – as one of a series of tools in your toolbox, along with things like rolling recruitment emails, building partnerships, etc., to drive petition growth.
Setting up your Google Ads campaign will involve two steps: creating the ads themselves and configuring your site to send conversion data to Google Ads to track completions. Before getting started, consider what action you want to count as a successful conversion. Is it a user landing on the petition creation page, completing a specific field of the petition creation flow, or fully launching a new petition? Your decision of what conversion event to track will change the way your ads are configured.
Before creating your ads, you'll need to set up conversion tracking. This can be accomplished using tools like Segment or Google Tag Manager (GTM). For this example, we've set up tracking using GTM.
Starting in your Google Ads account, click Tools and Settings then choose Conversions and click New Conversion Action.
On this page, choose Website and enter your ControlShift domain. From here, we see two options: to add page load as a conversion action or add a conversion action manually. In our testing, adding the code manually was most successful (even when tracking page view conversions). Entering your conversion action manually also allows you to view the Google Tag Manager tracking code for the conversion event. After selecting manual, enter your goal/action optimization and conversion name.(For the conversion name, we used the dataLayer event name, but you can choose the name that is most useful for you.) Then click to Save and Continue. On the next page you'll see information about adding tracking information to your site. Because we're configuring tracking via Google Tag Manager, we chose the Use Google Tag Manager option. You'll need the conversion ID and the alphanumeric code below your Conversion Name for the next step, so keep this page open.
Now that we've set the initial conversion goal in Google Ads, it's time to configure it in Google Tag Manager (GTM). GTM has two main sections: Tags and Triggers. Triggers are the action that happens on the ControlShift side (e.g. a field is filled, a page is viewed, a petition is launched, etc.). Tags are what happens after the Trigger is fired (e.g. the page view is set to Google Analytics, the petition launch is sent as a conversion to Google Ads, the field being filled is tracked by Facebook Pixel). To get your ad tracking working correctly, you'll need to add two new Tags to your GTM account: the Tag for the conversion goal that you just created in Google Ads and the Conversion Linker Tag.
Tip: If you haven't already connected your ControlShift platform to Google Tag Manager, please do so now. To set up the connection, go to your org admin homepage > Settings > Integrations > Google Tag Manager and enter your Container ID.
To add the Conversion Linker Tag, which is required for all GTM to Ads connections, go to your GTM workspace > Tags > New.
Give the tag a name, click into the Tag Configuration section, and choose the pre-built Conversion Linker option. Then check the Enable linking on all page URLs option and ensure that the tag is configured to fire Once per event.
Next, click into the Triggering section and choose the pre-built All Pages option.
Now that you've added the Conversion Linker Tag, you can add the new tag for the conversion that you configured in Google Ads. Go to your GTM workspace > Tags > New.
Give the tag a name, click into the Tag Configuration section, and choose the pre-built Google Ads Conversion Tracker. You should see that the tag is already connected to the newly-added Conversion Linker. Then enter the Conversion ID and Conversion Label that was shown when you added the conversion in Google Ads.
Next, click into the Trigger section. Your steps here will depend on what sort of conversion action you set up in your Google Ads account. For this example, we used the "user completed and launched petition" as our conversion action, so the steps that follow are specific to that conversion. You may have different steps depending on what action you're optimizing for.
To add a trigger for a "user completed and launched their petition" event, click into the Trigger section and click the + to add a new trigger.
There are a set of custom events that ControlShift automatically tracks and emits. This includes Petition Launched, as well as things like: Signed Petition, Event Created, and Saw Share Modal Step. The full list of automatically tracked events is available in this help center.
Because Petition Launched is one of those automatic events, after adding a name for my trigger (in this case, we'll use "Petition Launched"), I can choose the Custom Event trigger type. I can then enter Petition Launched for the Event name.
Tip: When using a ControlShift custom event name as a trigger, make sure that you match the custom event name exactly or the trigger will not fire
Next select the option to fire the trigger on Some Custom Events, and then use Event Name - Contains - [name of the ControlShift custom event].
Click to Save and your new trigger will be added and automatically associated with your in-progress tag.
When you've added tags for your conversion(s), click the Preview button.
This should allow you to test that the tags and triggers are configured correctly. In particular, it can be helpful to go through the series of steps that you expect to cause your conversion tag to fire and then confirm that the debugger shows those tags being active.
If your tag is shown as not being fired, clicking it can provide more details about why the action you took didn't lead to the tag being fired.
When you're done, return to your Google Tag Manager dashboard and click to Submit. This will publish your changes and make your new tags live.
If you return to your Google Ads dashboard, conversions that were previously Unverified will now be listed as No recent conversions.
Once your conversions are configured appropriately, you can complete your ads setup. To get started, log into GTM, and then navigate to the Campaigns page and click to create a new campaign (+).
On the new campaign page, you'll be asked to choose a campaign objective. From here, select Leads. In the Conversion Goals section, you should see the conversion action that you configured earlier. If other, unrelated goals are shown in this section, you can remove them before proceeding. Then click to Continue. Next, choose your Campaign Type. The Search ad option is popular option. If you choose the Search ad option, then choose the Lead form submissions sub option, name your campaign, and Continue.
The next step is to enter the specifics for your ads campaign, including your max daily budget, bidding focus, etc. Follow the ads wizard to complete your ad setup. Once you've finished configuring your ads, send them for approval, and you can get started.
You may also be interested in checking out our tips to drive petition creation or our deep dive into search optimizations.
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