Arbitrary or remote conversions with Google Adwords

I’ve been investigating whether or not you can fire conversion into Googles AdWords platform remotely. I’d like to send in a conversion event when I get a conversion from a keyword via a source that isn’t a webpage. Google supplies you with a chunk of javascript which you can drop onto any page on your site (or attach, via javascript, to an event, such as an onClick or whatnot) and, when fired, sends a conversion into AdWords.

This is assuming the user has clicked on a PPC keyword first and converted in the same session, if they haven’t you’re shit out of luck.

In my context, a user will land on a page and call a number. I can trace the fact the number has been called and I want to fire a conversion into AdWords, except I can’t, because I’m not that user. I have tried dropping the javascript onto a hidden page on the site and remotely calling that, I’ve even tried just calling the image src of the <noscript> image. I’ve done this via a browser and also via curl. None of it works.

Because I don’t have the users’ cookie.

This, in my opinion, is a massive oversight on Googles part. I’m spending (well, I’m not, but a user with an AdWords account might) a lot of money to have my keywords shown and, unless my service is something you can purchase or convert online, I have no way of tracking the efficiency of those keywords. Fail Google, fail.

Google never explicitly says that I can’t do this, but they don’t explicitly say I can either. Searching for the answer on Google (or Bing, in case Google are cheekily hiding the info) turns up nada, except people bemoaning the fact that they also cannot do it.

One of the things I have found people talking about is PayPals IPN (Instant Payment Notification), basically, when a user purchases something via PayPal, when the money is actually debited from the users account, PayPal sends an event to an IPN URL, which is a page on your site, which, after confirming the call is from PayPal, can use a bunch of data to store the fact your user has paid on your own site. This is useful because often, people won’t click back to your site from PayPal once they’ve made the purchase, so, if you do something fancy on the confirmation page, you might lost up to 30% of your confirmation page visitors.

This is the page that Google want you to put your conversion code on. A page that may lost up to 30% of it’s traffic from leakage at PayPal.

Sucks right? Nothing you can do about it.

C’mon Google, give us an API or something we can poke conversions into AdWords with!

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