A Comprehensive Guide on Begin Checkout Conversion Tracking on Google Ads and Shopify

by ShahzadaAliHassan - 1st January 2024


Google Ads Dynamic Marketing stands out for its ability to utilize e-commerce event data, such as item details, IDs, and names, to create targeted and efficient marketing strategies. By the end of this guide, you'll understand how to set up these conversion tags and send dynamic parameters back to Google Ads.

In the digital marketplace, understanding and optimizing the customer journey is essential. Tracking begin checkout conversions stands as a pivotal metric in this journey. This blog post delves into the importance of this tracking and provides a step-by-step guide to set it up using Google Tag Manager (GTM) on Shopify.

Importance of Tracking Begin Checkout Conversions.

Here's why tracking them is crucial:

  1. Understanding Customer Behavior: It helps identify at what stage potential customers are dropping off and what might be causing it.
  2. Optimizing Marketing Strategies: Tailoring marketing efforts becomes more precise, focusing on nudging these customers towards completing their purchase.
  3. Improving User Experience: Insights from tracking can lead to enhancing the checkout process, making it more efficient and user-friendly.
  4. Data-Driven Decision Making: It provides concrete data to base business decisions on, rather than relying on assumptions or general market trends.

Section 1: Setting Up Google Tag Manager on Shopify

To begin tracking, the first step is integrating Google Tag Manager with your Shopify store:

  1. Access GTM Account: Log into your GTM account and note your container ID.
  2. Implement GTM Snippets:
    • Go to your Shopify admin, navigate to Online Store > Themes.
    • In the theme editor, find the <head> and <body> tags.
    • Insert the GTM head snippet below the opening <head> tag and the body snippet immediately after the opening <body> tag.
  3. Verify the Integration:
    • Use GTM's 'Preview' mode to confirm that the container is firing correctly across all Shopify pages.

Section 2: Enhancing Shopify with Begin Checkout Data Layer Integration for Google Tag Manager

This section is crafted for those aiming to deepen their data capture during the "custom_begin_checkout" event on Shopify. It guides on integrating the dataLayer object with Google Tag Manager (GTM). The primary objective is to dispatch a custom_begin_checkout event each time a shopper engages with the Begin Checkout button on a Shopify cart page.

Initializing the Head DataLayer

The provided script ensures the initialization of the dataLayer array if it hasn't occurred yet. It checks whether the current page template aligns with a 'product' page and subsequently activates a specified snippet named 'datalayer-checkout' across all pages.

Crafting the Checkout DataLayer Script

This script plays a crucial role in enriching the dataLayer object with essential product details at the point of a Begin Checkout Event on the Cart page:

  1. Verification Log: It outputs a confirmation message ensuring the script is active.
  2. Gathering Cart and Product Information: Pulls data from Shopify's cart and reformats it to suit Google's ecommerce tracking needs.
  3. Determining Cart's Total Value: Calculates the aggregate value of cart items.
  4. Event Listener for Begin Checkout: After page load completion, it identifies checkout buttons and, upon each click, refreshes the dataLayer ecommerce data, followed by injecting updated ecommerce information for GTM tracking.

Implementing the Theme DataLayer Code

This segment of code activates the head-datalayer snippet. Depending on your Shopify theme's configuration, this is typically where the head datalayer code is positioned. Incorporate this within the GTM Body Code.

Procedural Steps for Integrating DataLayer Code Snippets in Shopify:

  1. Backup Your Theme: Always secure a backup of your current theme as a precaution.
  2. Theme File Access:
    • Sign in to the Shopify Admin interface.
    • Navigate to Online Store > Themes.
    • Under your active theme, select "Edit code" from the "Actions" menu.
  3. Incorporate Head DataLayer Code:
    • Locate theme.liquid and add the "Head DataLayer Code" within the <head> tags.
  4. Integrate Checkout DataLayer Code:
    • Opt for "Add a new snippet" as per your Shopify version's instructions.
    • Name the snippet datalayer-checkout.liquid.
    • Embed the "Checkout DataLayer Code" in this newly created file.
    • Ensure to save your changes.
  5. Apply Theme DataLayer Code:
    • Choose an appropriate location within the <head> tags in theme.liquid.
    • Insert the "Theme DataLayer Code" in the chosen spot.
    • Save all modifications.
  6. Conduct a Test:
    • Visit a Cart page on your Shopify store and engage the Begin Checkout button.
    • Utilize the browser's developer console to confirm that the custom_begin_checkout event is activated and that the dataLayer holds accurate product details.

Custom event prefixes like 'custom_begin_checkout' are used to prevent potential conflicts with other integrations or plugins that might employ standard event names.

Section 3: Setting Up Conversion Actions in Google Ads

Establishing conversion actions in Google Ads is crucial for tracking the 'begin_checkout' event effectively. This step involves:

  1. Creating Conversion Actions: Navigate to the 'Conversions' section under 'Goals' in your Google Ads account. Here, you will set up a new conversion action specifically for the 'begin checkout' event.
  2. Defining Conversion Parameters: Choose 'Website' as the conversion source. Input your website URL and follow the prompts to configure the conversion action details, including naming it and setting value parameters.
  3. Acquiring Conversion IDs: Once the setup is complete, Google Ads will provide conversion IDs and labels. These are essential for integrating with Google Tag Manager.

Section 4: Configuring Remarketing Tag in GTM

After setting up conversion actions in Google Ads, the next step is to configure the remarketing tag in Google Tag Manager:

  1. Data Layer Variables: Create variables in GTM that correspond to the dynamic information of the conversion event, like value, currency, and items array.
  2. Custom Triggers: Develop a custom trigger in GTM that activates when the 'begin_checkout' event occurs.
  3. Remarketing Tag Setup: In GTM, create a new Google Ads Remarketing Tag. Ensure it uses the conversion ID and label from Google Ads. Set up the tag to fire based on the custom trigger you created.

Section 5: Finalizing the Setup and Testing

Finalizing and testing are critical to ensure everything is set up correctly:

  1. Testing the Configuration: Use GTM’s preview mode to test the entire setup. Confirm that the 'begin_checkout' event triggers the remarketing tag correctly.
  2. Publishing Changes in GTM: After thorough testing, publish the changes in GTM to make your setup live.
  3. Monitoring Performance: In Google Ads, monitor the performance of your new conversion action. Initially, it may display as inactive, but it should start showing data as users begin checking out on your Shopify store.


Setting up and tracking 'begin checkout' conversions is a game-changer for e-commerce businesses using Shopify and Google Ads. This process allows for precise tracking of customer behaviors at a critical point in their purchasing journey. By following the outlined steps to set up Google Tag Manager, integrating data layer scripts on Shopify, configuring conversion actions in Google Ads, and creating remarketing tags in GTM, businesses can gain invaluable insights. These insights not only enhance understanding of customer actions but also empower the optimization of marketing strategies and improvement of overall user experience. Remember, the key to success in e-commerce lies in the ability to adapt and leverage data-driven insights effectively.