Using Google Adwords Across a Domain and Subdomain

We recently worked with a client who has a website that feeds leads to a separate Ruby on Rails app. The website was set up on a proper domain like “”. The Rails app was set up on a subdomain like “”. Keep in mind that these websites are on separate domains and separate servers, but we wanted to track the success of our client’s Adwords campaigns from start to finish.

Tracking Separate Servers

Simplified Adwords Explanation

Simplified Adwords Explanation

Adwords works by placing a tracking cookie on the visitors computer once the ad is clicked. The cookie resides on the visitor’s computer and is valid for a set period of time. 

This cookie also allows for tracking across multiple servers because it’s not relying on a domain name or session to record a conversion. Another reason Adwords uses a cookie is because a person may click an ad which sends them to the website, and not complete the conversion right away. 

In our client’s case, the visitors usually:

  1. view a pricing page on “”
  2. sign up for an account on “”
  3. then leave their computer to collect data using a physical device the client sells
  4. after they’ve collected that data, they would come back to the computer to upload their data on “”
  5. then purchase a visual data package on “”

We set up multiple conversion points and since most of their website visitors will not be completing the final conversion right away, we set this client’s Adwords to track conversions for up to 30 days.

Keep in mind that it takes up to 48 hours for a conversion to be recorded, so you will likely not see your conversions report in right away.

Testing Adwords using Chrome Incognito Mode

As a sidenote, many users have started using Google Chrome’s incognito mode when browsing.

Part of the purpose of incognito mode is to not leave cookies on the computer. So, if you test your Adwords conversion points while in Incognito mode, they won’t report in as conversions. Chrome even warns about this when you open a new incognito window.

Incognito mode doesn't record cookies graphic

Incognito mode doesn’t record cookies.

If you need help with Google Adwords or unique website setups, please get in touch!

Get Free Website Advice

Receive specific website tasks to do once per month to make your website more successful.

Subscribe via RSS