AdWords Conversion Tracking Chaos: You Are Not Alone
- January 18, 2016
Let me take a wild guess: You have no idea how to map your conversion tracking data inside of Google AdWords to the actual orders in your CRM. Don’t feel bad. You’re not alone.
I have a unique view into this problem. My work for Infusionsoft on their Accelerators as the Analytics/PPC expert allowed me to see a lot of analytics accounts for businesses of all sizes. And my role as CEO at Wicked Reports gives me the chance to work with bad-ass sophisticated marketers and see all their data flow.
This has added up to conversion tracking stats for over 100 companies. Almost every company is marketing smartly with split-testing of multiple offers and sales pages.
Here’s the surprise: I have yet to see a perfectly mapped total conversion number between Google Analytics, AdWords, Facebook and the CRM over any significant period of time.
A Simplified Example
This example will help you understand:
Let’s say I run a company named XYZvitamins.com selling osteoporosis supplements. I want to track conversions to SalesThankYouPage.html only. We sell a lot of products, but this is the only thank you page for sales on our site (or you have a few thank you pages for dozens of products, it’s easier to look at it this way)
I set this URL up as my conversion URL inside AdWords using the usual default settings.
My conversion window looks like this:
My conversion count looks like this:
I sell a lot of products, so I realize that I’m in a pickle in terms of understanding much a conversion is worth unless I have a programmer to code in every situation:
How do these conversion settings play into my customers, and how I can map a conversion to my CRM?
Examining One Customer
Let’s take a look at a customer. A diligent 65-year old-woman named “Amanda” is looking for an osteoporosis cure. She is very web savvy and takes the following steps toward her purchase:
- August 2nd: Amanda is on her favorite mommy blog, presidentmommy.com, and sees a picture on the sidebar. That picture is a display ad from XYZVitamins.com, She does not click on it.
- August 3rd: On Facebook Amanda clicks on an ad for a free sample of XYZvitamins.com. She opts in for the sample.
- August 4th: Amanda stays off the Interne. The grandkids are in town for an overnight.
- August 5th: Amanda is on a site called NaturalHealth.com, sees an ad for XYZVitamins.com, but does not click on it.
- August 6th: Amanda gets an email from XYZVitamins.com, clicks and makes a purchase. She ends up at SalesThankYouPage.html
Assuming you have the settings I mentioned above and will discuss in a minute, which ad gets the attribution?
All of them!
The AdWords Display Ad on presidentmommy.com gets a view-through conversion for the placement on presidentmommy.com, and for the targeting of “mom blogs.”
The AdWords display ad on NaturalHealth.com gets a view-through conversion even though it was not clicked on. This is called a view-through conversion.
All this conversion tracking attribution takes place even though Facebook got the optin and the email was the actual conversion step!
Google AdWords Conversion Settings
Taking another look at the Google AdWords Conversion Settings:
The above settings say that as long as someone is on a page where your display ad gets an impression, and that same user does not click on any other AdWords ads, the display ad gets a “view-through” conversion.
The conversion window also says that if someone clicks on an AdWords ad, and 29 days later buys from any other way that hits a conversion URL setup in AdWords conversion tracking, it will count as a conversion for the AdWord clicks 29 days ago.
Now let’s look at counts:
Let’s say someone clicks on an AdWord ad, and then 10 days later purchases from you. Two days later you email them a killer offer and they click and buy on that one. Then five days later that person goes to your site and makes a third purchase. The AdWord ad gets three conversions.
I do understand and agree that many times a person needs a lot of exposure to a brand to make a purchase. But to extrapolate that idea into the concept that every ad the person has seen within 30 days gets a credited conversion, well, I’m not down with that.
New Lead Lifetime Value
The over-counting of conversions could be preserved if you take the time to have distinct thank you pages for all your different funnels. This seems easy to anyone that isn’t running four funnels minimum with split-testing on those funnels. Then it gets difficult.
You can still receive many valuable insights into conversion paths with Google AdWords/Analytics reporting if you read up on the attribution modeling options, experiment with conversion windows, and get really in bed with the Google AdWords/Analytics reporting.
But for any attempt to track an individual ad conversion to the actual order in your CRM…you need to rely on Wicked Reports.
In the scenario above, Wicked Reports would attribute new lead lifetime value (New Lead LTV in the reports) to the Facebook ad. The email would get the sale and the amount of the sale from your CRM would tell us the immediate conversion value.
“I started my ecommerce business out of my condo in 2011 and struggled for years to generate any traction from advertising. I could never tell what was working and what wasn’t. But everything changed once I got Wicked Reports installed in my business. Now I make decisions based on data instead of hunches. Wicked Reports allowed us to grow our business to $4 million with only 4 employees! And in the last 90 days, we’ve made over $200k from spending $30k on Facebook ads alone. Wicked Reports helps us increase our conversion rates, lower acquisition cost and double the ROI on our online marketing efforts!”
“Because of Wicked Reports we were able to cut spend in half for re-engagement and doubled customer acquisition and it was super profitable. Most effective month ever! ”
“Since we started using Wicked Reports, we’ve gotten much deeper insight into how our many marketing campaigns are performing, all the way down to ROI on each campaign and ad. Wicked Reports saves us both time and money, and we’re happy to recommend them and their team to anyone that’s spending money on digital advertising. It's a game changer for any serious small business. ”