November 7, 2019

How to Track Live Chat in Google Ads and Google Analytics

This is a guest post by Matt Burke of ZillaMetrics, a law firm marketing agency that focuses on driving results with PPC, Content Marketing, and SEO.

If you ever wanted to know how to integrate with Google Tag Manager, so you can track Live Chat conversions in Google Ads and Google Analytics, this article will show you exactly how, step by step.

In the age of Google, we’ve all grown accustomed to instant answers. We live in a world where we can ask Alexa or Siri whatever we want and get an answer without even touching a computer or a phone.

But if all your website offers is an answer “within 24 hours,” you’re almost certainly handing off potential clients to law firms with 24/7 answering services and live chat. There is no question about that.

In crisis mode, people want answers. There is an urgency behind every request, and if your firm receives a form submission, it’s a good assumption that same email has been fired off to a handful of other firms in the area. 

People price shop. The “second opinion” decision paralysis is real. A lead coming in as a form submission is not twiddling their thumbs waiting for your response. They are contacting your competitors.

Whoever responds the fastest, gets the client. did a study on this. They found that 35 - 50% of sales went to whoever made first contact:

“We found that if a company can respond to a lead within 5 minutes of it being generated, versus waiting even 30 minutes, the odds of contacting the person at that company are 100 times higher. More importantly, if a company responds in the same 5 minutes, the odds of  qualifying that person are 21 times higher.” — Ken Krogue

While the study was focused on B2B, the same rule applies to any business.

Here’s the clincher: this study was seven years ago. In seven years, I don’t think our ability to have patience has increased. I would actually argue the exact opposite. This is why having someone answering the phones immediately can do wonders for converting leads to clients. 

Live chat is another essential tool for your practice. Not everyone wants to pick up the phone. Most of our daily conversations occur through text. Having a similar option on your site allows potential clients to reach out in a way that is simple, fast, and immediate.

The numbers speak for themselves.

In the screenshots below you’ll see the conversion boost we saw in Google Ads after adding live chat to campaigns targeting Traffic Ticket and DUI leads. 

The results were extraordinary (literally 10x). 

Note: While we typically do see an increase in conversions with live chat, we were surprised ourselves with the amount of leads coming into Lexicata for these campaigns.

People want fast answers and live chat makes that possible.

When a potential client gets an immediate response, it sets the tone for the engagement and communicates that your firm is available and responsive. 

It also allows your firm to develop processes so chat operators can easily book consultations with qualified prospects and filter out the people who are not the right fit. This is especially important for solo practitioners who are already dealing with the time constraints of managing a firm by themselves. The time you get back is critical to scaling your firm beyond yourself.

Why Live Chat is important

Google Ads is not cheap for lawyers, so every potential lead needs to be acted on quickly and taken through the intake process as efficiently as possible. The faster you can engage with potential clients, the faster you’ll have new clients.

If you are spending money on Google Ads, tracking conversions is critical to optimizing your budget and making sure Google receives the data it needs to optimize your account for conversions.

Even if you are not using Google Ads, tracking Live Chat conversions in Google Analytics allows you to understand how each marketing channel performs, which will help you prioritize your marketing efforts. 

For example, if you are tracking conversions within Google Analytics correctly, you will be able to see how many people used Live Chat:

  • after searching for a lawyer in Google or another search engine;
  • after clicking a link from a social media site;
  • after coming to your site directly;
  • after being referred from another website. 

If you are not tracking Live Chat conversions in Google Ads and Google Analytics right now then you are missing critical data. Did you know this data can be used to optimize your marketing budget and enable you to understand the true cost of a lead?

What gets measured, gets managed, so here’s how to do it.

How to integrate Chat with Google Tag Manager (GTM)

1. The first thing you will need to do is install Google Tag Manager on your website. You can find the instructions here. Google Tag Manager should be installed on every page of your website. 

2. After Google Tag Manager is installed, you’ll need to set up Google Analytics within Tag Manager. All you need to do is follow these instructions.

3. You’ll now need to decide how you want to track your Goals. This is a slightly technical integration that requires you to create a Trigger within Google Tag Manager that will fire after an Event. has the following Google Tag Manager enabled Events:

  • SMITHAI_CHAT-widget_opened
  • SMITHAI_CHAT-widget_closed
  • SMITHAI_CHAT-signup_complete
  • SMITHAI_CHAT-conversation_started
  • SMITHAI_CHAT-message_sent
  • SMITHAI_CHAT-offline_message_sent

You can track as many as you like, but the best option is to record the conversion once you have received contact information and the chat has started.

For the purposes of this tutorial, we will track when the conversation starts, which means the lead has already submitted their information and has now engaged with the chat for the first time.

You will first need to create a new tag in Google Tag Manager.

  1. Create a new tag called GA - Live Chat
  2. For Tag Type, select Google Analytics Universal Analytics
  3. For Track Type, select Event
  4. For Category, put Live Chat
  5. For Action, put Chat Started

The Google Analytics Settings you select should correspond to the Google Analytics tracking ID you are using on your website.

Next, create a Trigger within Google Tag Manager.

  1. Name your Trigger Event - Chat Started
  2. For Trigger Type, select Custom Event
  3. For Event name, use SMITHAI_CHAT-conversation_started

Once again, the Google Analytics Settings you select should correspond to the Google Analytics tracking ID you are using on your website.

Now, publish your Google Tag Manager container and open up Google Analytics. 

How to track your Chats in Google Analytics (GA)

In Google Analytics, go to Admin by clicking the gear icon on the bottom left hand corner. 

The next few steps are pretty simple.

  1. Under Goal setup, click Custom
  2. Under Goal description, select Event and name the Goal
  3. Under Goal details, enter Live Chat under Category

Once complete, it should look like the following:

You’ve now setup Live Chat conversion tracking for using Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics.

What you’ll want to do next is test that your Goal is working correctly.

To do this, go to Real Time in Google Analytics. You can find it on the left hand menu panel. 

Open up the Conversions window. Now, go to your website and start a chat. If you set everything up correctly, you’ll be able to see a conversion appear in Google Analytics.

You have now integrated Google Analytics with using Google Tag Manager. Next, in order to track conversions in Google Ads, you’re going to want to import this Goal into Google Ads.

How to track conversions in Google Ads

This part is the easiest part. All you need to do is click the wrench icon on the top navigation bar within Google Ads and navigate to Conversions under the Measurement column in the dropdown. 

Click the blue + sign and select Import.

Select Google Analytics.

On the following screen you will be able to import your Goals. You should count Live Chats as true conversions, so when you configure your conversion actions, it should look like the following:

Unless you changed the name of your Google Analytics view, your view name will likely say “All Website Data”. This is the default naming convention in Google Analytics. As long as all of the other values match the screenshot above, you’ve completed the integration.


The cost of Google Ads can be expensive for law firms. The average cost per click (CPC) can easily be upwards of $20 per click, depending on what type of law you practice. 

Part of managing your firm is understanding what you can expect to get back for each marketing dollar you spend. If you have not taken the time to instrument analytics correctly on your site, but you’re spending money on Google Ads, you’re not seeing the full picture.

If you have taken the time to make sure all of your PPC advertising is being tracked correctly, you are armed with the data needed to optimize your marketing efforts and make better decisions.

Integrating Tag Manager, Google Analytics, and Google Ads enables you to know exactly what keywords are resulting in chats, calls, and form submissions. All of this data is trackable and, once setup, you have a clear picture into your digital marketing efforts. Knowing what works allows you to focus on the marketing channels that perform best, and not waste time and money on the things that are not producing the best results.

If you need help setting up your analytics, or would like a free audit of your Google Ads program, visit ZillaMetrics to get started.

About Matt Burke

Matt Burke is the Founder and CEO of ZillaMetrics, a law firm marketing agency focusing on helping firms scale their practice through Google Ads, Content Marketing, and SEO. Need help with your Analytics? Want a free Google Ads Audit? Get started right here.

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