Many authors on the Envato marketplaces use Google Ads. I’ve been an author at CodeCanyon for almost 10 years and I’ve seen more authors fail than succeed. The secret to success with Google Ads in my opinion is to have a product which people want and that they search Google for, and to have an unlimited budget on your campaigns. I’m not joking, having no budget is a critical concept. Think about it – if you know that for every $100 spent on Google Ads you earn $120, why do you need a budget limit?
This is why conversion tracking is critical and in this blog post I will explain how to set it up. It’s not the most straightforward process and it took me many months of trial and error to get it just right.
Tracking conversions is super easy if you sell through your own website, but on a marketplace it’s a completely different story.
- You can’t put a code snippet on the “thank you” page (the final page of the purchase), because Envato doesn’t let you do that, obviously.
- You can’t send traffic directly to the marketplace (themeforest.net for example). First of all it’s against the referral agreement, and secondly, as this forum topic quotes, Envato will simply outbid you.
- And because of the above, you need to send visitors to your landing page first, and from there they have to visit the marketplace to complete the purchase.
- As if it wasn’t complicated enough, many buyers go through PayPal and then come back to the marketplace to finish the checkout.
Bottom like, it’s a mess. Follow the steps that I’m about to show you and you won’t have to figure everything out by yourself. In the end I will explain in detail what we did.
You have to be an elite author
Unfortunately all of this won’t work, unless you’ve hit that coveted $75,000 in sales. Only then you are able to link your Google Analytics account to your marketplace account, which is the first step of the process.
Link Google Analytics to your Envato account
Open your Google Analytics account, create a new property and name it CodeCanyon. Then go to Tracking Info / Tracking Code and copy your Tracking ID, which will look something like this – UA-12345678-9.
Then in the View settings (on the right of the Property settings) click Ecommerce Settings and Enable Ecommerce.
Finally head over to your Envato profile, go to Settings / Author Tools / Google Analytics and paste your Tracking ID there.
Now you should start seeing traffic and sales data appear in your Google Analytics. Pretty cool!
Link Google Ads to Google Analytics
From the Property settings in Google Analytics, click Google Ads linking. Click + New Link Group and select your Google Ads account, then the CodeCanyon view and finish the process.
Add PayPal to the referral exclusion list
A really important thing (and the least obvious) is to exclude PayPal as a referral. This means that if someone completes a purchase through PayPal, it will still show up in your Analytics, but it won’t be as a referral and the system will properly attribute this transaction to your ad campaign. In my experience more than half of the transactions happen through PayPal, so it’s a really big deal to get this done. Otherwise many conversions will not be recorded and you might think your campaign isn’t profitable, which might not be the case.
Anyways… open Property Settings / Tracking Info / Referral Exclusion List and add paypal.com to the list of excluded domains.
Google Ads conversion tracking
Now we have to tell Google Ads what is a conversion and how much is it worth. Open Tools / Measurement / Conversions and click the + button to add a new conversion.
On the first step choose Import and click Google Analytics.
On the next screen you should see a list of goals and transactions to import. There should be only one item in that list, named Transactions (CodeCanyon View) or something similar. Choose it and your settings should looks like this:
Notice the Attribution Model setting, it’s important.
Landing page code snippet
Get the snippet from this pastebin and place it in a .js file on your website.
Flow chart of the conversion process
We are done as far as setting things up and linking stuff, now let me explain what we did and how the whole thing works.
- User clicks on your ad and lands on your website
- Google Ads automatically attaches a “gclid” parameter to the ad URL. (yourwebsite.com/?gclid=12345689)
- Our script takes the value of this parameter, removes it from the address bar (for aesthetics) and stores it in a cookie.
- Our script also attaches this parameter to all <a> tag links leading to the Envato marketplace. For example:
Also, if the user leaves now and days later comes back to your site, the cookie that our script set will still be there. Which means the “gclid” parameter will still get attached, as if they had clicked on one of your ads.
- User clicks a link on your website, which points to the Envato marketplace.
- User arrives on the Envato marketplace website. Because the link will have a “gclid” parameter, the Google Analytics code on Envato’s site will know from which campaign this visitor came (your campaign). This will show in your Google Analytics too!
- User purchases one of your items and the transaction is automagically attributed to your ad campaign.
Note that if the user leaves the marketplace before making the purchase (for example to approve the transaction on PayPal) and then comes back to complete it, the transaction will not be attributed to you. Instead you will see it in your Google Analytics as a transaction from a referral (in this example – paypal.com).
But! Because we added paypal.com to the referral exclusion list, this is not an issue for us!
It’s still worth mentioning that if the user goes to another website (not PayPal) and then comes back to make a purchase, it won’t be attributed to you. Envato doesn’t keep those “gclid” parameters, like we do on our landing page.
- The transaction shows up in your Google Ads account as a “conversion”. By comparing the Cost to the Conversion Value in Google Ads we will know if our campaign is profitable or not, and that’s what it all comes down to.
Welcome to Wonderland 🥳
Now the fun begins. Managing a PPC campaign is a science on its own, and the payoff can be game changing. Starting from the landing page design, analytics, visitor behavior patterns, performance optimization, then moving to keyword research, bidding strategies, ad groups, actual ads… the rabbit hole goes deep.
Fortunately, you can get away with learning 20% of it to get 80% of the effect (sort of). If you are like me, you’d want to focus on what you do best – great products that people buy, which got you to be an Elite author in the first place, right?
By far your most important asset is the landing page. It has to convert. ClickFunnels is one of the best landing page builders out there. They have a 14 day free trial, so it’s risk free 🔥
Secondly, a well structured video course will save you a lot of time in the long run. Here are a few that I’ve seen and helped me a lot: