Online Marketing Blog

How To Track Conversions Without a Thank You Page

Not all conversions and not all websites are created equally. Sometimes, your website or what you class as a conversion doesn’t fit neatly into the box that Google thinks most conversions fall into. Sometimes you need to get creative in how you tell AdWords and Google Analytics that a conversion has occurred. This article will detail three ways in which you can trigger a conversion with AdWords and Google Analytics when you don’t have the luxury of a thank you or receipt page.

There are three relatively simple ways to trigger AdWords conversions without a thankyou/receipt page. These are using Google Tag Manager, Using Google Analytics (in a roundabout way) and by manually coding the conversion into your web page code. Before we attempt any of these though, it’s important that the conversion in AdWords is set up correctly first.

Setting up a new conversion in AdWords

You need to create a new conversion in AdWords. In order to do this, log in to AdWords, go to your account and select “Conversions” from the “Tools” dropdown menu in the top navigation.

Click the red “+ Conversion” button to create a new conversion.

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On the next screen enter the conversion name, select “Webpage” and click “Save and continue”. On the next screen select the details you want to use and click “Save and continue” at the bottom.

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On the next screen under “Who makes changes to the code on your website?” select “I make changes to the code”. The code will appear in a textarea. We’ll need the “google_conversion_id” and “google_conversion_label” values for our examples.

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Now we’re ready to rock. Once this is done, pick the method you’d like to use to trigger this conversion from 1, 2 or 3 below.

1) Using GTM V2 and auto event tracking

Log in to Google Tag Manager and open your v2 account.

First you have to go to the “Variables” section in the left sidebar and enable the built-in variables for the type of events you want to track. For our examples we’ll need “Click ID” under “Clicks” and “Form ID” under “Forms”, but you can enable them all if you need them in the future.

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In the below examples we’ll set up tracking for a link click and for a form submission.
In the examples we’ll use a link with an id selector “trackLink” and a form with id “trackForm”.
The html markup for the link will look like this:

<a href="/next-page-path" id="trackLink">Track Conversion</a>

And for the form like this:

<form id="trackForm">

On the “Overview” page create a new tag, choose “Google AdWords”.

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Choose the “Adwords Conversion Tracking” tag type.

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For link tracking: Under “What triggers this tag to fire?” select “Click” “Add filters” “Some Clicks”
For form tracking: Under “What triggers this tag to fire?” select “Form” “Add filters” “Some Forms”

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For link tracking: From the dropdowns select “Click ID” “equals” “trackLink”
For form tracking: From the dropdowns select “Form ID” “equals” “trackForm”

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For link tracking: Name your trigger, we named it “Conversion Click” and select “Link Click” under “Trigger Type”. If you want to track clicks on a non-link element select “Click” here instead.
For form tracking: Name your trigger, we named it “Conversion Submit”

You have two options here that you can check:

“Wait for tags” – this delays opening of links until all tags have fired or the specified timeout has elapsed, it decreases the chance you’ll miss some hits
“Check Validation” – the tags are only fired upon a successful form submission

Here you can set filters to specify when the trigger we created should listen for click events.

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Click “Continue” and enter your conversion tracking code details into the fields.

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Finally click “Create Tag” at the bottom of the page.
Publish your changes. You should begin seeing conversions in your AdWords account within hours.

2) Using GA virtual Pageviews and importing them into AdWords.

a.) jQuery solution

On your webpage the markup for the link you want to track the markup should look like this:

<a href="/next-page-path" id="trackLink">Track Conversion</a>

(you need to have the jQuery library included in your page for this to work)

Create a new tag, this time choose “Custom HTML Tag”.

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Under “What triggers this tag to fire?” select “More” then “New” “Custom Event”

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Under “Add filters” “Event name to match” type in “gtm.dom”. This will get your tag triggered when the DOM is ready
Select “All Events” and click “Continue”.
You can set up additional filters to trigger the tag only on selected pages for example, if you want to do this choose “Some Events” and set up the conditions you want.

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Name your trigger, I named it “Gtm dom” and click “Create Trigger”.
You’re ready to continue with setting up your custom html tag for generating a virtual pageview.

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Name your tag, I named it “VPV Clicks”

Add the code below to the HTML textarea:

<script>
$("#trackLink").on("click", function(){
   dataLayer.push({
      'event':'sendVPV', 'vpv':'/conversion-click'
   });
});
</script>

#trackLink is the ID of the element that I need to generate a virtual pageview when clicked.

When the element with ID #trackLink is clicked, two variables will be pushed into the data layer:

‘event’:’sendVPV’
‘vpv’:’/conversion-click

We’ll use the event “sendVPV” to trigger the analytics tag that will record the virtual pageview and we’ll use the vpv variable for recording the virtual page path.
We need to set up an Universal Analytics tag that will be triggered when the element with ID #trackLink is clicked and it will track the virtual pageview.

b.) javaScript solution

On your webpage the markup for the link you want to track the markup should look like this:

<a href="/next-page-path" onclick="dataLayer.push({'event':'sendVPV','vpv':'/conversion-click'});">Track Conversion</a>

After choosing either solution a. or b. above we need to set up a tracking tag for the virtual pageview.

On the GTM overview screen click “Create Tag”.
Create a new Universal Analytics tag, pageview type.

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This tag will be fired on the event “sendVPV” that is generated when our element is clicked.
We need to set up the trigger. Under “What triggers this tag to fire?” select “More” then “New” and “Custom Event”
Under “Add filters” “Event name to match” type in the event we created in the previous step “sendVPV”

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Optionally you can set up additional filters here too by selecting “Some Events”.
Click “Continue” and name your new trigger, I named it “Send VPV”

You are ready to continue setting up your Universal Analytics tag. Name your tag, I named it “Track VPV”
Enter your GA Tracking ID.

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Leave track type on “Page View”. Click “More settings” -> “Basic Configuration” and click the + icon next to the “Document Path” field.
If you are using GTM V2 click “More settings” -> “Fields to Set” and under “Field Name” click the field and select “Page” from the dropdown list, then click the + icon next to the “Value” field.
We need to set up a variable for reading the document path from the data layer. Select “New Variable” from the bottom of the list. Select the “Data Layer Variable” type, enter “vpv” as the variable name and “vpv” as the Data Layer Variable name (as we defined it in the JavaScript Snippet) Click “Create Variable” and it’s ready.

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Click “Create Tag” and your Universal Analytics tag fro tracking virtual pageviews are ready.

Publish the changes.

Now we need to set up a goal in Google Analytics.
Go to your Google Analytics account, select your proeprty and click Admin -> Goals
Click “New Goal”. Select a template if you want to start with a pre-filled configuration or select “Custom”

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Click “Next step”.

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Name your Goal and select “Destination” as Type.

Click “Next step”.
In the destination field type in your virtual page path, “/conversion-click” as we defined it above.

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If you want to assign a monetary value to the conversion, enter it to the optional “Value” field.

Click “Save Goal”

Now we are set up our goal based on the virtual pageview we’ve created and we are ready to import the goals to AdWords as conversions.

In order to import the goals we need to do the following:

– To link our Google Analyitcs and AdWords accounts
– To enable Data Sharing with other products in the Google Analytics account
– To turn ON auto tagging in the AdWords account

Once the above is done we need to do the steps below:

1. After linking the accounts wait about 1 hour for the data to be ready. Then in AdWords go to “Tools” -> “Conversions”. There will be a message that you’ve goals ready to be imported.
2. Click “Import from Google Analytics”
3. Select the goal you want to import from the list
4. Select “Import” at the bottom

3) Manually coding the “button” to trigger the AdWords conversion.

Add the code below to the <head> section of the page you want to track conversions on.

<script>
function adwTrack() {
   var img = new Image(1,1);
   img.src = "https://www.googleadservices.com/pagead/conversion/XXXXXXXXXX/?value=1.00&amp;currency_code=EUR&amp;label=XXXXXXXXXX&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0";
}
</script>

Just replace the XXX… with your actual conversion id and label.

Then call the adwTrack() function we created above in your link’s onclick event:

<a href="#" onclick="adwTrack();">Track This</a>

So there you have it. While these methods are no means the only methods to track conversions without a thank you or receipt page, they do represent a few of the easiest ways to do it. Sometimes it’s not always possible to modify your site or CMS code and sometimes it’s not always possible to even edit your site at all. Hopefully, these solutions have covered all possible scenarios. If you’d like for us to add a method specific to your situation, let us know in the comments section below so we can add it to the list and hopefully someone else will get some value from it. If you’ve any questions on how these are implemented, please feel free to ask in the comments section too. Finally, if you found this useful, we’d really appreciate if you could give us a like or a share on the post.


  1. Niamh Derbhlin Says:
    April 24th, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Great post. The tag manager way of doing it is a little bit overkill for me but he last option worked a treat. I just had to switch out of the visual editor in WordPress and was able to oddly the link and image code to trigger it.

    With the new adwords tag verification, it spotted it immediately. The k a million for this. Very helpful.

  2. Lior Says:
    May 11th, 2015 at 7:59 am

    There is no “More settings” => “Basic Configuration” => “Document Path” in the new version of Tag Manager. What do we do?

  3. Arnold Majlath Says:
    May 14th, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Hi Lior,
    For GTM V2 click “More settings” -> “Fields to Set” and under “Field Name” click the field and select “Page” from the dropdown list. I’ve added the details to the article.

  4. Gerry Downey Says:
    June 7th, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Very informative post Dave cheers it’s very well explained and will save me a bunch of time thanks bookmarked.

  5. Alan Neale Says:
    July 13th, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Exactly what i’m looking for Dave. Cheers mate!

  6. Nev Rodda Says:
    August 9th, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    Awesome stuff Dave :) As you know quality content is always King!

  7. Nate Balcom Says:
    February 10th, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Great post. I can’t wait to try this out. I’ve never seen this before. Simply brilliant.

  8. Liam Loughney - Bidmark Says:
    April 15th, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Just having this issue with a client now. Historically we would tag the conversion page, or create a conversion page. But this client is unable to use them options so this is what we are looking into at the moment – fingers crossed it wont take long now! Thanks for the informative post.