Thursday, 25 March 2010

Google provides more data on AdWords conversions

The Google AdWords blog has announced a new reporting feature for the conversion tracking function, allowing advertisers to gain a greater insight into the behaviour of searches prior to the point of conversion. Called AdWords Search Funnels, this new range of reports is gradually being rolled out to advertiser accounts and can be accessed from the Conversions section of the Reports menu.

Currently, the conversions that are tracked in AdWords - such as sales, contact enquiries, newsletter sign-ups etc - are attributed to the last advert and keyword someone clicks before making a conversion. As online advertisers are now trying to identify the 'attribution' of a conversion over a possible series of previous actions through a search engine or website, the existing conversion data is limited since it hides the fact that many customers perform multiple searches before finally converting.

The new AdWords Search Funnels should help advertisers to see the full picture by giving them a better insight into the ads their customers have interacted with during their shopping process. This is done through a new set of reports that describe the ad click and impression behaviour on Google that leads up to a conversion. In addition to the existing Top Conversions report, the Search Funnels reporting area consist of 7 reports including Assisted Conversions, First and Last Click Analysis, Time Lag, and Path Length.

The reports mirror the layout of Google Analytics, although AdWords advertisers don't have to use Analytics to view this data. By showing which ads customers clicked on before ultimately converting, Search Funnels give advertisers a more complete picture of the value of their keywords, ad groups and campaigns. The blog post provides a typical example of how this might work for a hypothetical company using AdWords.

This is a significant development by Google AdWords and extremely beneficial to advertisers to enable them to understand their conversion process more accurately. It also lays down a challenge to Yahoo!/Bing with their PPC service, to match this sort of tracking and reporting in their current systems and the new ones they are likely to be developing together.

NB: Search Funnel data is currently limited to search ads showing on Google.com, for ad impressions and clicks within 30 days of the conversion. However, this is likely to be expanded to all advertisers and versions of Google in the future once the reporting service comes out of beta.

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