Understand the Performance of your Adwords Campaign

Understand the Performance of your Adwords Campaign pixelwork

Understand the Performance of your Adwords Campaign

While you can control the team you hire, it's harder to find clients, bosses, and stakeholders who understand all the ins and outs of PPC as well as you do. This can lead to questions about campaign performance when conversions don't seem to be tracked correctly, which in turn can lead to thorny situations where jobs may be on the line.

A client's questions about some confusing aspect of AdWords must be answered correctly if you want to look like the PPC rock star that you are.

Here are some common conversion questions we are frequently asked and their answers.

Why was I reported fewer conversions than I see?
The first confusing situation we encounter is when a client uses our reporting engine to share account performance. A few days after the report is automatically delivered, the customer calls and complains that the number of conversions in the report doesn't match what they see in AdWords.

Stun your response and they'll think you don't know what you're doing, but you respond well and go a long way toward building trust with the customer.

Why conversion data may be disabled

AdWords allows you to set a conversion window to select how long to track conversions after a click or interaction, usually set at 30 days.

This means that the data associated with a click can change up to 30 days after it occurs. A click that happened last month can cause your conversion count to increase, as long as it's within the active conversion window.

Metrics such as clicks, cost, and impressions tend not to change much once they are reported, but conversions, conversion value, cost per acquisition (CPA), and other conversion-related metrics remain relevant afterward. of the date the click occurred.

You can set up a conversion window so you can track conversions that take a few days to happen in AdWords.

Some people mistakenly believe that AdWords reports a conversion on the day it happens. That would be true in Google Analytics, but remember that AdWords reporting revolves around clicks, while Analytics revolves around actions on a site.

It may seem like a small difference, but it has a big impact on what happens to your conversion data. Analytics will track a conversion on the day it happens, regardless of previous touchpoints you had.

In AdWords, on the other hand, a conversion is added to reports on the day of the last interaction, assuming you're using a last-click attribution model.

Therefore, unless you send reports where the last included date is before your conversion window, clicks may still have a conversion window open, and the associated conversion data may still change.

In practice, if you want to avoid this confusion, you should send reports that do not include clicks from the last 30 days. This is not a practical solution, as clients usually want reports as soon as the month ends.

If you want to get a better idea of ​​how many conversions occur after you run a report, check out the “days to conversion” segment in the AdWords interface.

Aren't attribution models just a money grab by Google?
So now your client understands what fractional conversion numbers are, but wants to know why attribution models matter. Isn't it just a way for Google or the agency to extract more advertising budget without improving performance?

The answer to that is complex. At some basic level, a better attribution model is a way for Google to continue getting a lot of money from advertisers, but the full answer also discusses why this would happen.

Google wins more advertisers by providing a better idea of ​​how ads contribute to business goals. If they can correlate ad spend with real-life sales and conversions, then yes, they will continue to spend money with Google.

This should only be done because it makes business sense and advertisers are satisfied with that performance.

New attribution models are important because they attempt to answer the complex question of what is the real value of online advertising.

User behavior is dynamic and requires advanced ways to measure how each touchpoint contributes to the ultimate goal of getting a conversion. Simply looking at the last click is no longer good enough.

Explaining attribution to non-digital sellers

This concept makes sense to us as online marketers, but we still have to explain it to customers who may be resistant, so let's use a simple example of a car dealership that leaves digital technology out of the equation.

A last-click attribution model would be like saying that people visit a dealership because they see the sign next to the entrance. Because the sign drives people to the showroom, the dealership decides to invest more in making the sign larger and more eye-catching, while reducing its budget for all other marketing activities.

Shortly after, the poster grows more and more, but the sales do not. What happened?

They missed the fact that most people drive to a dealership because they have been influenced by television commercials and magazine ads. If the dealership did not invest anything in those channels, no one would visit the dealership, no matter how beautiful the dealership's sign was.

Now let's look at the example of the car dealership in the digital world and see what would happen if they stuck with last-click attribution while their competitors start experimenting with more comprehensive models.

By relying on last-click attribution to track conversions and using that data to manage bidding, you may begin to lower bids for keywords that were used at the beginning of the decision process.

General keywords like “safer SUVs” would get low bids because it's not what users click on right before contacting a dealership. By undervaluing these initial touchpoints, competitors can launch remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA), dynamic remarketing, and data-driven bidding strategies.

Competitors capture a user's attention early and stay engaged with them through a variety of marketing technologies. Keywords that used to immediately precede a lead see a drop in volume and the dealership sells fewer cars.

The ideal attribution model also looks for offline touchpoints and includes lifetime value, but it can still be harder to track.

Procter & Gamble (P&G) decreased their digital advertising budget by an estimated $200 million in 2017 because they felt their money was better spent elsewhere. That type of measurement is complex, but that doesn't mean we should stay stuck with the way conversions have been measured in AdWords since they first launched conversion tracking.


Conversions are the lifeblood of any business, so it's no wonder customers panic if they feel like their account managers aren't tracking things correctly. One of the most important aspects of online advertising is that it is highly measurable, allowing you to use granular targeting to get stellar results.