How to Test and Debug Call Conversions Tracking on AdWords

This post is also available in: Italian

An useful, appreciated and yet improvable feature on Adwords is the call conversions tracking through forwarding numbers.

This feature allows to track customers who effectively reach our landing page and call our numbers, triggering a conversion. Implementation is somehow simple, but it almost never works on the first try. Number replacement fails, or tracker doesn’t work.

Problem is – Adwords doesn’t provide us with any testing or debugging tools within the platform, to verify if everything is working properly.
While it’s easy to check if the number replacement script is up and running just a few hours after its implementation…

… we actually don’t have other ways to check if it’s effectively working (in a nutshell: if the ‘real’ phone number is replaced by the forwarding number dynamically provided by Google through the script).

Let’s read some documentation:

It can take up to an hour for your ads to be enabled for this conversion action. If you’d like to make sure it’s working, you can do a search that brings up your ad, then click the ad to visit your website (you’ll be charged for the click). Your regular phone number should now be replaced with a Google forwarding number.
If you’re doing repeated tests, delete the “gwcm” cookie from your browser before clicking on an ad again.

Slow, boring, not cheap: Google suggest us to simulate a query on google, find our ads, pay for the click and check which number appears. If it doesn’t work, check if everything is properly set and repeat the test. What if it’s night-time and my ads are paused? MADNESS.

A not-so-well-documented Chrome feature help us a bit on this: adding #google-wcc-debug  at the end of our landing page URL (e.g. we’ll find a small, nice debug window on the bottom left corner.

This windows will show if the auto-replacement script has been triggered, what happened, and even force an additional number replacement to be sure that implementation is 101% correct. Straight, simple, elegant. I love it. This screenshot shows an effectively updated number. Clicling on ‘Force’ will replace the triggered number with a numeric string (e.g 999999999).

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