Understanding Google’s New Conversion Tracking Names

Google recently rolled out a new way for advertisers to count and optimize conversions within AdWords. Previously, the two primary methods for tracking conversions were “Conversions (one-per-click)”, and “Conversions (many-per-click)”. One-per-click conversions were traditionally used for lead-generation advertisers who were interested in generating unique leads, and less interested in counting multiple conversion actions from the same website visitor. Many-per-click conversions, on the other hand, were more widely used for e-commerce sites interested in counting multiple conversions (i.e., more than one purchase) that occurred from a single ad click.

This week Google updated these conversion tracking functions. One-per-click conversions are now called “Converted Clicks”, and many-per-click conversions are now called simply “Conversions”. For some, this will simply mean an update on the names of the columns in your reports. This is especially true for lead generation advertisers, who won’t notice much of a change other than in the wording of their reports (Converted Clicks is essentially just a new, more accurate name for one-per-click conversions). This function will still track conversions within your conversion window based on the user’s initial click.

The new Conversions however, allow a more segmented way for advertisers to track their conversion data. This tracking function allows advertisers the ability to segment their conversions between “All Conversions” and “Unique Conversions”, allowing for more accurate conversion tracking. The All Conversions setting will allow advertisers to count each individual conversion action as its own conversion. Unique Conversions will count only the clicks that ultimately lead to conversions, providing a sample of unique visitors. 

Conversions can be segmented to provide better insights into your campaigns.

For example, if a user emails two items to a friend, and downloads two PDF files from your site, this will be counted as two unique conversions, one for the emails, and one for the downloads. This offers a nice middle ground in conversion tracking, between the old one-per-click and many-per-click conversions.

Another helpful feature associated with Conversions is the ability to import goals from Google Analytics, and apply these updated conversion tracking settings to the goals. This is a great tool for e-commerce sites with particularly long sales cycles, who still need a finite way to track user engagement, but who don’t necessarily convert a ton of sales in a given month. With these new rollouts, Google is also allowing advertisers the freedom to adjust conversion settings individually between multiple accounts.

Another recent conversion tracking update from Google is the ability to adjust the window of time in which a conversion will be attributed to a given ad click. The default remains 30 days, meaning if a user converts within 30 days of clicking your ad, a conversion will be counted. Now you can shorten that window to as short as 1 day or as long as 90 days. Advertisers are encouraged to review their analytics data and the conversion lag report to understand their typical conversion window before adjusting this setting. If you shorten the window to less than 30 days, you’ll track fewer conversions because you’re excluding users who do not convert immediately after the ad click. The general rule of thumb is, the higher priced your product or service, the longer attribution window you’ll want to set (i.e., high consideration purchases take longer than low priced, low consideration purchases). 

Advertisers can set their conversion window to allow for more accurate reporting.

We also recommend that you edit the advanced settings to de-dupe your view through conversions from search conversions, and shorten the cookie window to 1-3 days (the default is 30 days, but we think it’s unlikely anyone can remember seeing a banner ad much longer than 1 day and thus it’s not fair to give view through credit up to 30 full days).

While these updates may take a little time to get used to, their increased segmentation ability and adjustability allow for better optimization, which is always welcome among advertisers.