How A Google Ad Agency Installs Google Ads Call Tracking Using Tag Manager

Published: August 31, 2021

Tayler Christensen


If you run a service-based business, and you run Google Ads, there is a high likelihood that you are looking for people to call your business due to seeing your ad. However, it can be hard to accurately attribute phone calls to your ads without the help of expensive call tracking software. Our Google Ads agency has a solution to help track phone calls coming from your ads.

If you’re using Google Tag Manager, you have probably found some workarounds, including tracking phone number link clicks. However, the obvious limitation here is that not everyone clicks on the phone number. Some people just copy the number down for later or punch it directly into their phone. How do you track those phone calls? Again, it seems like the only answer is to invest in some call-tracking software that uses forwarding numbers to track every single call that comes through your website, clicked or dialed.

However, that isn’t entirely true. Google Ads phone call conversions offer number swapping/call forwarding numbers natively. It takes some coding know-how to use them unless you are using Google Tag Manager.

Note: The number swap feature we will be installing will only work for users who arrive on your site by clicking on a Google Ad. All other users will see your actual number, and there is no tracking for these users. So how do you use Google Tag Manager to set up Google Ads call tracking on your site? Here’s how:

Getting Started with Call Tracking for Google Ads Using Tag Manager

First things first, we will assume that you already have Google Tag Manager installed on your website. If you do not already have tag manager installed, refer to Google’s documentation on how to install it.

Create the Google Ads Call Conversion

  1. In your Google Ads account, navigate to your conversion actions (Tools & Setting > Measurement > Conversions).
  2. Click on the button plus button for Google ads agency call tracking in the top left corner and choose “Phone calls”
  3. In the list of options that appear, choose “Calls to a phone number on your website” add a phone number to your website through Google ds
  4. Customize the name, value, and count as you see fit.
  5. When you get to the “Phone Numbers” section, there are two fields to consider: Destination Number, and Display Number. In many cases, these fields will hold the same phone number if your actual business number is on your site. However, this can be useful if you have an 800 number on your site, which you would place in the Display number field.
    • A note here: in both cases, make sure you input your display number exactly as it appears on your website (including the format) or the number swap won’t work.
  6. Edit the conversion triggering options as you see fit. example of editing trigger events on your Google ad account
  7. Click “Create and Continue”
  8. Click “Use Google Tag Manager”
  9. You will be given the Conversion ID and the Conversion Label. Leave this window open and open a new tab.

Create the Conversion Linker Tag

If you already have the conversion linker tag installed, you can skip to the next section

  1. In Tag Manager, click “Add a new tag” and change the name so that you know this is the conversion linker tag. At BrandCraft, we use “Gads – Conversion Linker.”
  2. Click on “Tag Configuration” and in the Tag Type list, select “Conversion Linker”
  3. This tag requires no configuration, so click on “Triggering” and then click on the “All Pages” trigger.
  4. Click Save

Create the Phone Call Conversion Tracking Tag in Tag Manager

  1. Make sure that you have the conversion linker tag in place.
  2. In Tag Manager, click “Add a new tag” and change the title. As an example, a Google Ads Agency like BrandCraft might use something like this: Gads – Conversion Tracking – Phone Calls.
  3. Next, choose your tag type. Click on “Tag Configuration.”
    • If you’ve used Tag Manager for Google Ads Conversion Tracking before, DO NOT choose the “Google Ads Conversion Tracking” tag type.
  4. In the Tag Type list, scroll down, or use the search function to find the “Google Ads Calls from Website Conversion” tag type, and select it.
  5. Add the phone number that is currently displayed on your website in the first field, again making sure that what you type here is exactly how it appears on your website formatting and all.
  6. Copy and paste the Conversion ID from the Google Ads tab into the second field
  7. Copy and paste the Conversion Label from the Google Ads Tab into the last field.
  8. Click on “Triggering” and choose “All Pages” and click “Save” in the top right corner.
    • If you only want your trigger to fire on certain pages, you may need to create a custom page view trigger for those pages. example of trigger certain events to fire on certain pages in Tag manager
  9. Click on “Submit” in the top right corner, give the new version a name like “Added phone call conversion tracking for Google Ads” and then click “Publish”

Finish Setting up your Conversion in Google Ads

Once you’ve published your Tag, go back to your Google Ads tab, and click “Next” and then “Done” to finish creating your Google Ads Conversion.

Test your new Google Ads Phone Call Conversion Tracking Tag

  1. Click on “Preview”
  2. In the new tab, paste in the URL of your website and click “Connect”
  3. A new tab will open with your website, and a pop-up in the bottom right corner will let you know that the tag assistant is connected.
  4. In the tag assistant tab, make sure that the new tag has fired
  5. You won’t be able to see your phone number change like this. Instead, you will need to go click on one of your own ads to see your phone number changed to the Google tracking phone number.
  6. However, there is a way to check to make sure the tag works. To do this, copy the following: #google-wcc-debug
  7. In the tab that your website is in, paste the above text at the end of your URL and press enter.
  8. Another modal will pop up on your bottom left. Click “Force.”
  9. If your tag is working properly, you should see the phone number on your site change to 9999999999.

BrandCraft is a Google Ads Agency

If you are looking for an ad agency that is also a Google Partner, BrandCraft is here to help! We have expertise in Google Ads, as wells as conversion tracking, so that you know exactly how your ad dollars impact your bottom line. For more information on how we can help your business grow, contact us for a free consultation.

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