Advertising TechnologyAnalytics & TestingSearch Marketing

How to Make the Most of New AdWords Conversion Reporting

Which would you prefer: The attention-grabbing digital ad that attracts 1,000 website visits? Or the slow-performing one that’s received just 12 clicks so far?

It’s a trick question. The answer is neither.

At least, not until you know how many of those visitors converted.

A super-targeted ad resulting in a dozen qualified conversion actions would be ten times more valuable than the one that attracts hundreds of unqualified visitors who don’t convert. In a world where every click costs money, conversions are key. After all, what’s the point of paying for advertising if it doesn’t result in qualified traffic that might generate some revenue in return?

That’s the reasoning behind Google’s latest change to the AdWords drag-and-drop report editor. New conversion tracking columns give marketers more control over how data is displayed so you can see what’s really working.


What’s changing with AdWords Conversion Reporting?

A new Conversions column is replacing Conversions for optimization. This new column displays data for all conversion actions with the optimization setting set to “on.”

Meanwhile, an All Conversions column is replacing Estimated total conversions. This column shows data for all conversions—whether you’ve turned optimization on or off.

What do AdWords Conversion Reporting changes mean for you?

If you see a big swing in your AdWords conversions, don’t panic. You probably just need to make a few adjustments so your reports match Google’s changing definition of conversions. This will ultimately make it easier to concentrate on macro conversions that make your business money.

The conversion reporting changes will happen automatically, but there are a few steps you should take to ensure your data is delivered in a smooth and seamless way:

  1. Adjust your settings for macro and micro conversions

If you haven’t already, determine exactly what counts as a macro conversion for your business. These typically have a direct impact on your company’s revenue and involve actual purchases or an intent to buy. Paid subscriptions, free trial signups and demo requests could all count as macro conversions.

To ensure those revenue-generating conversions show up in the correct Conversions column, check each one to make sure it’s set to be optimized: Select the conversion you want to edit, then click Edit settings > Optimization and make sure it’s set it to on.

Likewise, you should turn the optimization setting off for any micro conversions—such as signing up for an email newsletter or following you on social media. These conversions will still be reported, along with all macro conversions, in the All Conversions column.

  1. Update filters.

If you saved filters that reference or use conversions to make calculations, check to make sure these still work properly. For example: If you’ve set some micro conversions to off, you may need to change filters to use the new “Conversions” column so there’s no interruption in reporting.

Google Adwords Campaign Filter
  1. Update automated rules.

If you use automated rules or custom columns to track conversions, review and update your settings to ensure they continue to work as expected. Again, you’ll want to use the new Conversions column to ensure these rules continue to tell you when an ad’s impacting your business’s bottom line. If you use scripts to automate routine tasks, you’ll want to check the code and ensure anything referred to as a conversion is updated to reflect the change.

To summarize: Google’s latest changes to AdWords reporting will make it easier to track the data that matters most to your business. All you need to do is take a few quick steps to ensure your columns, filters and rules are customized to correctly reflect the changes.

Amanda West-Bookwalter

Amanda West-Bookwalter is the Digital Media Marketing Specialist at Formstack, responsible for implementing and scaling digital advertising strategies for the technology company. Prior to joining the Formstack team, Amanda served in a senior account management role for a pay-per-click management company and has spoken at multiple online marketing conferences, including HeroConf, SMX East, and SES Denver.

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