How to Make New AdWords Conversion Reporting Work for You
Website visits and ad clicks don't matter if you aren't scoring conversions. But how do you know if you're targeting the right audience to get the desired conversions?
Ads are meant to produce traffic, which is meant to convert into revenue. For this reason, it's much more valuable to bring in a smaller, qualified audience than it is to attract millions of unqualified visitors. If only there was a way for marketers to know exactly what's working when optimizing content and messaging for the right audience …
Well, there is.
Google recently made a change to the AdWords drag-and-drop report editor to make conversion tracking a little easier. Marketers now have more power over the way data is displayed with new conversion-tracking columns. This gives you easy access to the data you really need in order to see what's driving conversions. Once you know what's working, you can adapt your advertising plan to line up with those successful tactics.
What specific changes will you see?
"Conversions for optimization" will turn into a "Conversions" column. This new column will expose data for all conversion actions that have optimization set to "on." Similarly, "Estimated total conversions" will turn into an "All Conversions" column. This new column will show data for all conversion actions, regardless of their optimization setting.
Lastly, "Estimated cross-device conversions" will turn into a "Cross-device conversions" column. Data for these conversions will also show up in your "All Conversions" column.
Why does this matter?
You may see a fluctuation in your conversion numbers due to the way Google has modified its definition of the term. It's easy to stabilize this flux — and calm your marketing team — by making a few small changes to your reports.
Although the conversion reporting changes will happen automatically, you can follow these simple steps to make sure you receive your data in a way that works best for you and your goals:
1. Define conversion types and customize accordingly. The conversion reporting updates make it easier to separate macro conversions from micro conversions. However, "macro" may mean something different to you than it does to someone else. That's why it's important to clearly define macro and micro conversions according to your company's goals.
Once you distinguish between macro and micro conversion actions, make sure your macro conversions appear in the correct column with three clicks: Edit settings > Optimization > "On."
Make sure micro conversions don't get mixed into your macro conversions data with three more clicks: Edit setting > Optimization > "Off." Don't worry about the micro conversions being set to "off." They will still show up in your "All Conversions" column, along with your macro conversions.
2. Review your filter settings. Filters are a great way to hone your specific content and messaging, as they let you organize data by what's most important to your business. Update any previously set conversion filters when making changes to the reporting columns. Doing so will ensure your conversions are reported appropriately.
3. Modify your automated rules. Automated rules and custom columns are great tools for understanding your audience and updating your account accordingly. These features may be altered with the conversion reporting changes, so be sure to check that your settings are correct.
If you're interested in customizing your data control to automate common actions and communicate with external data, it's likely you're using scripts. Also remember to update anything deemed a "conversion" in scripts code to keep it functioning properly.
Will anything else change?
There are several tools associated with conversion tracking, including cross-account conversion tracking, phone call conversion tracking and attribute reports. These features have no updates as of now. The updates to conversion-tracking columns shouldn't affect these tools either.
What's the benefit for my business?
Once you update your columns, filters and rules, data tracking will be much smoother with the new AdWords changes. You'll be able to better customize your "Conversions" column, letting you optimize your data for specific goals and audiences. This will help you understand your target audience and the tactics working to make them convert, ultimately impacting your bottom line.
Related story: Cracking the Conversion Equation