Google Ads (AdWords) Call Tracking with Google Tag Manager

If you’re running Google Ads (AdWords) in Australia where Googles Call Tracking is available then this instruction will help you. There are a couple of scenarios where this article will be extremely useful. If you are installing call tracking for the first time using Google Tag Manager (GTM) then we will make this as easy as possible to follow. If you already have call tracking installed, there have been a few versions over the past couple of years and we have recently discovered that our existing tags which were firing in Google Tag Manager, while firing, were not doing the job and Google Ads identified as inactive.

What You Need to Install Call Tracking

Google Ads Account – Getting to the stage of implementing call tracking means that you would already have set up your account and have established your campaigns.

Google Tag Manager – This is one of the most useful tools in the industry which allows you to insert codes onto a website especially useful for tasks like this.

Installing Call Tracking with Google Tag Manager

Step 1 – Google Ads – Set Up Conversion Tracking

In Your Google Ads account, go to Tools > Conversions.

Google Ads - Go To Conversions

Click on the blue + button at the top left to add a new conversion Google Ads - Add New Conversion Action

Then select ‘Phone Calls’

Google Ads - Add Call Tracking

In this scenario we will select ‘Calls to a phone number on your website’. Click Continue. On the next screen, it’s quite follow your nose so fill in the blanks and click ‘Create & Continue’.

[Pro Tip: Call Length – defaults to 60 seconds so if your average call is much less than that then adjust to a lower value or more if necessary]

Now that you have created your conversion action, you have some options to choose from. Choose ‘Use Google Tag Manager’

When you select this option, you will then be provided on the same screen with a ‘Conversion ID’ and a ‘Conversion Label’. These are the two key pieces of information you need so keep this screen handy for the time being but we will now switch over to Google Tag Manager in another browser window.

Step 2 – Google Tag Manager – Create New Tag

I’m not going to include as many images for this section of instructions. Those using Tag Manager will generally have a handle of how GTM works. If you need some more guidance then feel free to reach out.

Create a New Tag

Name your tag then in ‘Tag Configuration’ is where you select ‘Google Ads Calls from Website Conversion’. This is a new option which has only been recently been introduced. [Note: You will need to scroll down to find this one, it’s not grouped with the rest as you would expect]

Now you will set up your tag configuration. Firstly you will enter your displayed phone number which appears on your website. Care! Input the number as it appears on your website. Here you will need to simply copy and paste the Conversion ID and Conversion Label from your Google Ads account. 

For triggering, in general you can select ‘All Pages’. For those who are tracking specific actions on specific pages this is where GTM is such a great tool because you have so much control over where you want the code to fire.

[Note: If you have previously had call tracking installed then you can pause your existing call tracking tag or remove it altogether]

You can then either publish your changes or set GTM to preview mode to check that your tag is firing correctly first before implementing.

Step 3 – Google Ads – Complete Conversion Action & Setup New Call Extension

It’s not over just yet but we are almost there. Go back to your Google Ads window and complete the conversion setup by simply clicking ‘next’ then ‘done’. You will now see the new conversion action there in the list. It will take up to a few hours to confirm that the tag is verified and active.

Go back to your main screen where you can view all of your campaigns. Then go to ‘Ads & extensions’ then go to the ‘Extensions’ tab.

Create a new Call Extension – you will need to create a new call extension. From what we understand this is important as the new tag will not necessarily feed back to the old call extensions for tracking purposes. Creating a new extension and selecting ‘Create New’ rather than ‘use existing’ is recommended.

Hit ‘Save’ and you’re done!

It will take a few hours for Google Ads to confirm that the tag is active. With the code installed on the website, we can go back and check that call tracking is on the website with Google Tag Assistant.

Google Tag Assistant - Website Call Metrics
Website Call Metrics is working 🙂

Summary – How To Implement Google Ads Call Tracking with Google Tag Manager

  1. Google Ads – Create Conversion Action for Call Tracking
  2. Google Tag Manager – Create new Tag using ‘Google Ads Calls from Website Conversion’ already in GTM with required conversion tracking label and ID from Google Ads. Assign where you want this tag to fire (e.g. All Pages).
  3. Google Ads – Create a new call extension.
  4. Check and Test

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