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AdWords Click Attribution: New PPC Reports Shed Light on Conversion Attribution

By — March 31st, 2010

It has always been tough to get the full picture of what drives potential customers to visit a website. Even with expensive and complex web analytics packages, conversion and click attribution has been difficult. Recently, Google has taken a step toward providing AdWords users more in depth information regarding the impression and click behavior leading up to a conversion.

Within the next several weeks, Google will be rolling out what they call the Search Funnel Reports (beta). In the past, this information was only available to SEM agencies, like Nina Hale Inc, by request from their Google reps. This will allow AdWords users to see which ads and keywords assisted in bringing in conversions. The premise behind these new reports, is that people generally start their search with broad, non-branded queries, and often end with product specific branded queries. So even though the final conversion is only attributed to the last click (the last ad that was clicked on), there were likely other keywords, higher up in the search funnel, which assisted in the conversion.
 
There are two types of reports that are included in this Search Funnel beta – click-assisted conversions and impression-assisted conversions. Here is a brief explanation, of the information that each provides:
  • Click-assisted conversions: someone types in search query A “red shoes”, clicks on the corresponding AdWords ad from Shoe Warehouse, but does not convert. Later, this same person types in search query B “Shoe Warehouse”, clicks through the corresponding AdWords ad and converts. In this situation, the conversion will be attributed to the branded keyword associated with search query B, however, the new report will show a click-assisted conversion for search query A too.
  • Impression-assisted conversions: someone types in search query A “red shoes”, the corresponding AdWords ad is served, the person presumably sees it but does not click through. Later, this same person types in search query B “Shoe Warehouse”, clicks through the corresponding AdWords ad and converts. Like in the previous situation, the conversion will be attributed to search query B, but the new report will also show an impression-assisted conversion for search query A.
 
At Nina Hale, Inc. we have used this information to shed more light on the performance of non-branded campaigns for several of our ecommerce clients. Generally marketers assume branded keywords convert much better than non-branded keywords, but this new information demonstrates we can’t take conversion data at face value. There is much more going on in the search process – the broader non-branded terms are assisting the specific branded terms to convert.
 

 

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