How To Implement Google Ads Remarketing Tags and Server-Side Tracking for Shopify via GTM

Elevar powers your data layer and server-side tracking needed to connect Google Ads and Shopify.

intermediate Implementation Difficulty
How To Implement Google Ads Remarketing Tags and Server-Side Tracking for Shopify via GTM

Integration Specs

  • Channel Accuracy Monitoring
  • Requires Elevar Data Layer
  • GTM server-side client customizable
  • Chrome Extension

  • GTM Server-Side
  • GTM Web Container

What's Included

Events

What customer events are tracked in this integration

  • Pageview
  • Product View
  • Add To Cart
  • Search
  • Listing Page
  • Purchase
  • Base Tag

Customer Parameters

What customer parameters are tracked in this integration

  • first name
  • last name
  • phone number
  • e-mail
  • address
  • city
  • state
  • state code
  • zip
  • country
  • country code
  • customer id
  • customer status
  • order id
  • line items

Step 1: Overview

As of Q2 2022 Google Ads does not have the same server-side conversion tracking setup that Facebook, TikTok, or other channels have with their Conversion API (aka “CAPI”).

They currently support Google Ads conversion tags that run through GTM server-side containers only.

Google Ads does not deduplicate between client-side and server-side events so you will have to run this conversion in parallel with your client-side conversion or replace your client-side conversion.

Here are a few examples of customers that we’ve tested Google Ads server side conversion tracking with.

Customer # 1: 25% Increase in Tracked Conversions

In the example below, “Test Purchase” is our server side conversion event compared to the pre-existing Shopify thank you page conversion event.

google-ads-server-side-1

Customer # 2: 16% Increase in Tracked Conversions

In the example below, you’re looking at 30 days after going live with the Purchase (GTM Server) conversion running in parallel to the pre-existing purchase conversion set up in the GTM web container.

This view is looking at the previous 7 days.

google-ads-server-side-2

These are both significant increases in tracked conversions.

Step 2: Create New Google Ads Conversion

Inside of Google Ads, create a new conversion to run in parallel with your existing conversion.

The reason we suggest this is:

  1. Your existing conversion has history associated to it and is “dialed in” in terms of performance
  2. Whenever we’re making a big change we like to run the change in parallel (if possible) so our customers can make an informed decision and not have the what if the old way was better thoughts

When creating this new conversion be sure to set the “Include in Conversions” to No so you don’t duplicate reporting:

google-ads-server-side-2create-new-conversion

Step 3: Verify Data Layer Version

Inside of your Elevar dashboard, navigate to Data Layer and confirm you are on at least version 2.16 or higher:

elevar-dl-version

Step 4: Import Pre-Built Container to GTM Web Container

Inside your Elevar account navigate to Pre-Built Tags and download Google Ads Server Side Data container:

googleads-to-ssocontainer

After importing to your Web Container then you need to update/verify two variables:

  1. If you already have GA4 tags with a base configuration tag then you will need to use a separate GA4 base container ID (or use a dummy ID). Using two base GA4 tags in parallel will cause issues.
  2. Your Server Side Container URL

You can find your server side container URL here:

ssl-url

Step 5: Import Pre-Built Container to GTM Server Container

Now move to your server side container for GTM and download this Pre-Built Container:

google-ads-ss-contianer-data

Then navigate to your GTM server side container and import & merge with your existing container.

After importing you’ll need to update your Conversion ID and Conversion Label from your Google Ads conversion you created in Step 1.

Grab these values:

conversion id and label

And enter them here:

google-ads-ss-converison

Step 6: Enable Enhanced Conversions

Google Ads has a new advanced matching feature to help better match conversions with clicks (or views).

You might see a recommendation in your Google Ads account like this:

enhanced-conversion-google-ads

Of you’ll see it within your Google Ads conversion setting.

It’s fairly easy to enable in your server-side tag:

  1. You’ll be prompted to confirm the setup in GTM.
    select option tags-1
  2. Navigate to your GTM Server Container > Tags and look for the “Google Ads Purchase Conversion”, check the “Include User-Provided data” option
    SS Ads tags
  3. Publish the changes!
  4. Navigate to your GTM Web Container > Tags and look for the “GA4 Base Tag Configuration – Server Container”, check the “Include User-Provided data” option, and add the variable.
    GA4 baseYou’ll need to configure the User-Provided Data Variable as shown below.
    Screen Shot 2021-09-28 at 8.52.46 AM

Step 7: Publish and Compare Results

Once you’re ready publish changes in your GTM web and server containers.

We recommend waiting at least 14-30 days to allow for the new conversion created to collect enough data within your attribution lookback window period.

 

Step 1: Overview

In this fully revamped guide we show the following:

  1. How to implement dynamic remarketing tags for Google Ads
  2. How to implement conversion tracking for Google Ads
  3. How to audit your product parameter data

After you’ve imported our GTM data layer containers for Shopify you’ll have Google Ads tags that enable:

  1. Dynamic product remarketing
  2. Conversion tracking

Here’s an example of the tags that come with our base contain implementations:

googleadstags

Step 2: Install Data Layer to Your Store

In order to deploy Google Ads remarketing and conversion tracking via Google Tag Manager tags, you need to have a data layer implemented on your Shopify store that pushes customer, product, and order data that Google Ads tags require.

installdatalayer

If you don’t have a data layer for your Shopify store yet, then you can utilize Elevar’s data layer for Shopify. It’s a 1-click installation into your theme.

Step 3: Download Container for GTM

Inside of your Elevar account, go to Pre Built Tags > Google Ads.

Update your Google Ads Conversion ID in the tag settings shown below.

download-google-ads

If you aren’t sure where to find the Conversion ID then follow these steps inside of your Google Ads account:

Go to Tools > Audience Manager:

 

Then go to Google Ads Tag > Details:

 

Then copy the value shown here:

adwordsconversionid

 

Step 4: Import Container to GTM

Next up, go to your Google Tag Manager container > Admin > Import.

import-container-gtm

Be sure to select Merge container, not overwrite.

Once you’ve imported, verify your Pixel ID variable is accurate.

Step 5: Update Google Ads Purchase Conversion Tag

Here is the Google Ads Transaction tag in GTM that you just imported that needs your specific Google Ads Conversion Label updated:

Screen Shot 2020-12-02 at 10.16.54 PM

 

Here is where you can find this in Google Ads:

Go to “Conversions” and either create a new conversion or go to your existing purchase conversion action.

purchase conversion

Once you click into the purchase conversion and scroll down to the tag setup then you’ll see the conversion label similar to what’s shown in the image above.

Then just copy and paste the conversion label to the above into the Google Ads Conversion Tag in GTM.

Step 6: Enable Enhanced Conversions

Google Ads has a new advanced matching feature to help better match conversions with clicks (or views).

You might see a recommendation in your Google Ads account like this:

enhanced-conversion-google-ads

Of you’ll see it within your Google Ads conversion setting.

It’s fairly easy to enable on your account:

Option 1:

  1. Follow the instructions on the Google Ads conversion tag that will walk you through a setup process here:
    Screen Shot 2021-07-23 at 5.22.10 PM
  2. Enter your Store URL:
    1ac14113-98ff-4cab-99fe-fc4e92618e82

Then you’ll get through either of the steps below:

  1. Select “Automatic Setup” > then hit “Save”
    enhanced conversion setup
    In automatic setup, information entered by your customers in the selected field types on your website (for example, user email in a purchase form) will be automatically sent to Google. This data will be matched with Google data to improve your conversion measurement.Note: When using the automatic setup for the first time, Google first reviews your web traffic to check if your web page has the relevant information for this setup option to work. The review may take up to a week and Google will notify you once it is complete.

Option 2 (Client-Side):

  1. You’ll be prompted to confirm the setup in GTM.
    select option tags-1
    Most of the time the field won’t be visible inside of a Google Ads tag in GTM for a few days. Once it’s enabled on your account you’ll see this on your Google Ads Conversion tag:
    Screen Shot 2021-09-28 at 8.44.05 AM

Note: Please keep in mind that Google shares that it can take up to 5 days for this feature to be unlocked in your GTM container after enabling in Google Ads. If the feature is still not showing in GTM then you’ll need to contact the Google Team to whitelist your GTM account. We’ve found good success in emailing:

[email protected]

2. You’ll need to set up a custom variable in GTM. It’ll look like the below:

Screen Shot 2021-09-28 at 8.52.46 AM

Note: The “User-Provided data” variable will only show once the feature is enabled.

3. Then connect enable the “user-provided data” option in your Google Ads Conversion Tag and associate it with your new Enhanced Conversion Data variable you created:

Finished Enhanced Conversion Setup

Step 7: QA & Publish

Once you begin testing with GTM in preview mode.

You should see tags that fire on the frontend of your site with data populating.

Here is a product pageview example:

Screen Shot 2020-12-02 at 10.19.29 PM

If you previously had Google Ads scripts/app or remarketing tags setup then you will need to remove these to prevent duplicate tags from sending data (e.g., Google Shopping App).

We typically see Google Ads implemented in a few different ways:

  • Hard-coded in the Shopify theme
  • Utilizing the native Google Shopping App
  • Older tags created in GTM accounts

It’s best to check for yourself to be safe.

When all is good then publish your tags in GTM

Step 8: Validate Google Ads Remarketing Data Is Collecting

There are two ways to validate that remarketing tags exist and are sending data:

  1. Use the GA Tag Assistant across major pages to confirm data is sent:
    • Home, collection, product, cart, checkout, purchase
  2. View Google Ads tag source data inside of Google Ads account

Below are examples of valid Google Remarketing Tags look like in GA Tag Assistant.

Example using data layer data from Elevar:

gadselevar

 

Example using old, non-Elevar GTM parameters (but still work)

gadsold

You will not be able to validate if the id or ecomm_prodid are the right values (i.e. SKU, product ID) from the GA tag assistant. This must be done inside Google Ads.

How to validate remarketing tag data inside of Google Ads:

Go to Google Ads > Tools > Shared Library > Audience Manager and you should see Google Ads and Google Analytics data sources. If you don’t see Google Ads (or it’s 0) then the tag is not collecting data.

From here you should get a general sense of health.

Here is example of account with errors (see the 2 issues)
Screen Shot 2020-12-02 at 10.23.38 PM
Here is example without errors
google_ads_without_errors

If your account has errors then you’ll see the details of these errors on the next screen after clicking details.

The majority of the time it’s due to product ID in tag doesn’t match product ID in merchant center.

Example of ID mismatch warnings:

google_ads_with_errors

If there are mismatch warnings like this then you need to update the tags to send the right product ID. It will be easier to change this vs changing the merchant center IDs.

Your steps to do this are:

  • Inside Google Ads go to Overview (top left) > Product Groups > then click on any product which will bring up a screen where you can view the product ID

See product image example in Google Ads:

Screen Shot 2021-01-08 at 6.35.30 AM

  • If you are unsure if it’s SKU, product ID, or variant ID then go to the product URL in browser and add .json to the URL. Then input the value from Google Ads and search for it in browser. Voila.

Things to watch out for when matching IDs:

  • Lower/upper casing in your tags and product feed. Shopify_US_ is not the same as shopify_us when matching data in a tag to product feed
  • Internationalization for product feeds in different countries

What Elevar Parameter Data Looks Like

Here is an example of parameter data that comes through in our remarketing tags

Screen_Shot_2020-11-04_at_12.00.42_PM

At the minimum we should be sending:

  • id or ecomm_prodid
  • ecomm_pagetype or similar
  • value or ecomm_totalvalue or similar

You can click into the parameters to view more details on them and see what is being sent.

These parameters are pre-configured in GTM Suite tags. If you are using another method – like hard coding in theme or Google Shopping App – then they might be slightly different.

Compatible Data Sources

Data Layer

Complete data layer for Google Tag Manager including all native events and variables for Shopify.
Learn More

Shopify Webhooks

Used for our server-side integrations for 100% purchase capture rate.
Learn More

FAQs

View common integration questions