Important changes to AdWords conversion tracking

Working in Google AdWords is rather like sitting at the wheel of a car. It’s an unusual car too, because you can’t see anything at all out of the front windscreen.

AdWords management

AdWords – Like driving through the rear view mirror…

Instead, you have to drive using only your rear view mirror. You have to decide where to drive (and how quickly) based on historical information like:

  • The search query data you have accumulated
  • The conversion data you have built up

Conversion tracking used to be as simple as adding a bit of code to the ‘thank you’ pages of your website, and presto – a ‘conversions’ column would appear in your account!

Things however, are no longer so clear cut.

Why the AdWords interface changes so damn often…

The AdWords interface changes and develops in a complexity cycle. It gets more complicated, as sophisticated AdWords users demand more complex features.

What was once just ‘conversions’ split into ‘conversions 1 per click’, and ‘conversions many per click’. Then ‘view through conversions’ came along. Then we had phone call conversions. And ‘conversion funnels’. We now have conversion import, cross device conversions and cross browser conversions!

Phew! – The car dashboard sure got a little complicated! It’s now like driving while looking only out of our rear view mirror, as well as tuning the radio, programming sat-nav, and adjusting the air-con.

The other side of the complexity cycle comes when Google realise they have alienated 95% of AdWords users, who have no idea what any of this extra stuff means. So Google simplify the interface, and remove some of the complexity they created.

Hence this week, we have flexible conversions in AdWords. ‘1 per click’ conversions have been renamed ‘converted clicks’. And ‘many per click’ conversions have been renamed ‘conversions’.

All rejoice!

A drunken look at Flexible Conversion Counting

‘Converted clicks’ are unique conversions from a single click. Let’s say for example I click on your ad late at night, after drinking coffee, red bull and whisky. I make three separate transactions, download 17 brochures, and watch three webinars. That’s a ‘1’, in the converted clicks column.

Look at the ‘conversions’ column however, and you’ll see a whopping 23 conversions!

Which isn’t entirely helpful, because the transactions are more valuable to you than the brochure downloads.

What you can now do, is tell Google to report every transaction that happens from a single click as a conversion. But also tell Google to only count one conversion per brochure download, and one conversion per webinar viewing.

That brings the conversion number down to 5; which better reflects the value my late night whisky-fuelled visit brought to your business.

Free Webinar: Thursday 6th March

I’m holding a free webinar on Thursday 6th January, explaining these changes in more depth. It’ll be an hour at most, and there will be a recording too if you can’t make it live. Full details about the AdWords conversion tracking webinar here.

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