Google Ads Conversion Tracking with Cart Data

  • 6 min read

Ecommerce merchants who have shopping campaigns in Google Ads can now see new types of data relating to users’ shopping carts. This data can be used to glean valuable insights into your exact profit, your products, and your users.

At the start of 2020, it is still in beta and the exact name Google will go with seems unclear. Various documentation refers to the feature as Google Ads Conversion Tracking with Cart Data though there’s hints it may also be Google Ads Conversion Tracking with Basket Data.

Table of Contents

What Conversion Tracking Means for Merchants

How To Set Up Conversion Reporting With Basket Data

Testing Basket Data

What’s New?

What Does The New Conversion Tracking  Mean For Advertisers?

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What Conversion Tracking Means for Merchants

“Conversion” can mean several different things depending on the context. In this case, conversions refer to the portion of visitors to a store or website who go on to make a purchase. The Google Ads conversion tracking (GACT) tool provides transaction and revenue data on purchases.

Cart data adds another layer of information on top of each conversion. Advertisers are able to see what items are purchased via ad clicks, which products convert better, what items are top sellers, and what profit was made.

With the standard GACT tracking, if you had segmented out product groups in your shopping campaign, the most you could know is what product was clicked on and how much revenue came from the purchase. Now with cart data, it can reveal what product was purchased even if it was different to the SKU clicked on in the shopping ad.

If you provide the cost_of_goods_sold field in your shopping feed, you can also see the profit. Using this data gives merchants a much better idea of how profitable their shopping campaigns are, which in turn helps them optimise campaigns even further.

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How To Set Up Conversion Reporting With Basket Data

During the process of setting up conversions with cart data, you will have the opportunity to submit basket data and measure a number of metrics relating to your Shopping Ads.

Before you can submit your basket information, you need to either install Google Tag Manager or use Google’s global site tags. Google’s Tag Manager makes managing tags for your site easier. Rather than having to manually add and update tags on your website, you can do it through Google Tag Manager. GTM will automatically output properly formatted tags for you to use.

To set up your conversion with cart data, you first need to get the standard conversion tracking code for a purchase:

  1. Sign in to Google Ads.

  2. Click the tools icon in the top right.

  3. Select “Measurement” from the drop-down menu and then click on the “Conversions” option.

  4. Choose the conversion action that you want to use, or create your own custom action.

  5. Either install the global site tag on your website or install Google Tag Manager and use that.

Once you have the standard code, you will need to send a purchase event (as only this can generate basket data) that contains 7 other parameters:

Parameters 1-3 Items: an array of 3 pieces of item information which is, items.price, and items.quantity

Parameter 4. discount: the discount, if any, amount in an integer

Parameter 5. aw_merchant_id: the Google Merchant Center ID

Parameter 6. aw_feed_country: the country of the feed in your Google Merchant Center

Parameter 7. aw_feed_language: the language of the feed in your Google Merchant Center

Here is an example of the full output of a Google Ads Conversion Tracking with Cart Data triggered on a successful purchase:


<script type="text/javascript">

gtag('event', 'purchase', {

“send_to": "AW-1111111/xxxxxxx",

"transaction_id": "100000",

"value": 109.97,

"currency": "USD",

"discount": 5,

"aw_merchant_id": 1234567,

"aw_feed_country": "US",

"aw_feed_language": "EN",

"items": [{ "id": "PRO-ABC", "quantity": 1, "price": 50.97 }, { "id": "PRO-XYZ", "quantity": 2, "price": 24.5 }]

}); /* ]]> */



On top of the tracking code adjustment, you should make a feed adjustment by including your cost of goods sold (COGS) value in your shopping feed. You can add the cost_of_goods_sold feed if you want to use the data to calculate profit margins.

Shopify as of the end of 2018, provides the “Cost per item” field on all product pages, which DataFeedWatch is able to download. If your Shopify DataFeedWatch app hasn’t been updated since 2019, you can update it by clicking on the app to give it permissions to access this cost data. From there, in DataFeedWatch for your Google Shopping channel, you map the cost_of_goods_sold field to Shopify’s “Cost per item”:


You will find it under the ‘Optional Fields’ section.

A robust Google Analytics reporting software allows advertisers to track and analyze various metrics, including average cart size, average order value, revenue, and gross profit. By leveraging these insights, advertisers can better understand their product range, identify profitable opportunities, and optimize their Google Ads Shopping campaigns.

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Testing Basket Data

If you are able to create test orders, you can check the parameters you have set:

  1. Open your website in Chrome and press Ctrl+Shift+I to bring up the ‘Inspect Element’ feature. At the bottom of the screen, you will see the DevTools window.
  2. From here, select the ‘Network’ option.
  3. Complete your test order as normal. (Rather than doing a test purchase, as it can sometimes be difficult depending what platform you use, I like to trigger any page with the conversion tracking with cart data code filled out. The result is the same as long as the variables are provided.)
  4. Once you have submitted your test order, you can search for the request with your conversion data by searching for “/conversion”. There should be some additional parameters included in your query string. For example:

mid: 1234567

fcntr: US 

flng: EN 

dscnt: 5 

bttype: purchase 

item: (50.97*1*PRO-ABC**)(24.5*2*PRO-XYZ**)

What each of these parameters equate to in the tracking code:

mid = aw_merchant_id

fcntr = aw_feed_country 

flng =  aw_feed_language 

dscnt = discount 

bttype = event type 

item = items (the array) maps to (items.price * items.quantity *

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What’s New?

Merchants who deploy Google Ads Shopping campaigns can see a range of metrics relating to cart data in the standard interface. These metrics include:

  • Orders: Measures the number of sales that are attributable to advertising clicks.
  • Average cart size: The sum total of all the items your shoppers place in their carts, divided by the number of total orders made. A higher than average cart size indicates users love to bundle other products when clicking on the product or category of products. This can drive your product bundling insights and offers.
  • Average order value: The total revenue you generate from users clicking on your ads, divided by the number of orders attributable to ad clicks.
  • Cost of goods sold: The sum total of all the costs associated with producing the products that you sell. You may break out products with a COGS relatively high to their revenue into their own campaign so that you can more easily customize a bid strategy to make it profitable. Products with a low COGS selling well can be encouraged to scale with their own campaign and budget.
  • Revenue: The amount of income you receive that is attributable to advertising clicks.
  • Gross profit: The total value of all the transactions you have generated through ad clicks, minus your cost of goods sold. In moments of tight cash flow, the business will want to avoid pushing products hard that have low profit margins. You will be able to clearly see what products and product groups led to the most profit. For high profit categories, you may be able to bid more aggressively than a single ROAS goal.

Here’s an example of the new metrics for a client of ours. Note that the amounts won’t add up exactly as the client is updating the COGS for hundreds of products:


With this additional data, merchants can get a better feel for which of their products are driving the most transactions and which parts of their inventory are the most profitable. While it’s important to avoid overloading on data and keep focused on the metrics that matter the most, these new metrics are filling in the gaps in Google’s previous approach and are worthwhile additions to their data gathering. It will become the new ecommerce standard for shopping campaigns.

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What Does The New Conversion Tracking  Mean For Advertisers?

Whenever Google makes a significant change to its infrastructure and algorithms, it has a habit of not communicating things very well. As a result, many website owners miss out on new capabilities and tools simply because they don't realise that they are there. Fortunately, with this update, it is quite hard to miss the new metrics that Google enables you to measure and track.

On the surface of it, or if you are still quite new to conversion tracking and Google advertising campaigns in general, the addition of new metrics might not seem like a big deal. However, there are some important advantages available to advertisers able to capitalise on these new capabilities.

A Better Understanding Of Profits And Costs

In business, it is always important to know where your money is going. It is relatively easy to stay on top of your costs and profitability when you are a small business. However, as your business and product range grows, and your supply chains become more complex, it is easy to lose track of this important data.

The new metrics that Google is offering enable you to get a clearer picture of how profitable your campaigns are, and how you can optimise them to enhance profitability.

Gain A Better Understanding Of Your Product Range

You can also use cart data to see how often a user clicks on one product and ends up buying another one. With this kind of insight, you might find out that some of your apparently less fruitful products are actually augmenting the sales of your most profitable products.

The more familiar you are with your product range, the easier it will be for you to sell them to other people. With the new cart data that Google provides, you can gain important insights into which of your products are driving your profits and which are driving the sales of other products. Of course, it will also reveal which products are the weak link in your line-up and provide you with some insights about what you can replace them with.

The better you understand your product range and your customer’s relationship with it, the easier it is to make the right decisions with your marketing.

For further insider secrets to make your Google Shopping campaigns profitable, you can download your free copy of Google Shopping for Shopify: The Definitive Guide.

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