Primary & Secondary Conversions on Google Ads

Learn what primary & secondary conversions are to get the best out of your Google Ads experience.

Primary & Secondary Conversions on Google Ads

Google has brought a new concept to conversion tracking called Primary & Secondary Conversion Actions.

To put it simply, this setting allows you to separate the conversions that play a role on Ads Optimizations from the ones that are there just for reporting purposes.

As an example, if you are a Shopify merchant, you would want your Ads to be optimized for Purchase Conversions - but not for Newsletter Subscriptions. However, you would still want to have Newsletter Subscriptions as a conversion on your reports, and you would also want to know how your Ads align with this goal. That’s where you should use the conversion actions: You should choose the Purchase event as a primary action and Newsletter Subscriptions as a secondary action.

This is how Google explains:

"Action optimization indicates how the conversion action is used toward your conversion goals. Primary conversion actions are used for optimizing your bid strategy when their corresponding conversion goal is selected for a campaign. They’re also reported in the 'Conversions' column. Secondary conversion actions are used solely for observation purposes, and are only reported in the 'All conversions' column even when the corresponding goal is used.”

Best-Practices for Shopify Merchants

Here are the best standard practices for Shopify merchants. You can use this setup unless you have unique business goals and conversion models:

  • Set your main Google Ads Conversion (Purchase) with Analyzify (through GTM) - and mark it as a primary conversion.
  • Import your Google Analytics 4 "Purchase" event (that comes through Analyzify) as a conversion and mark it as a secondary conversion.
  • Import your native Universal Analytics "Purchase" event as a conversion and mark it as a secondary conversion as well.

In this way, you will have one main conversion for purchase, and two backup conversions (that come through Google Analytics) as backup.

We have observed that Analyzify’s conversion tracking works better than all the others. Though of course, you are free to compare their data and choose the more accurate one as your primary conversion.

Just make sure to choose only ONE primary conversion for the purchase event. Depending on your business goals and purchase volume, you can also choose "Add-to-Cart" and "Initiate Checkout" events as Primary conversions.

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