AdWords Conversion Tracking: BIG Changes.


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Perhaps one of the biggest changes since the Enhanced Campaigns announcement, which seems like ages ago. Come to think of it, AdWords changes in the past year have been blowing my mind. From the Ad Rank calculation change, to the color scheme switcheroo and now a change in conversion tracking? Touché, AdWords, touché.

If you haven’t read it already, check out the AdWords blog post from Tuesday which also has a video and an infographic for you visual folks out there.

What you need to know:

  • The Conversions (1-per-click) has been renamed to Converted Clicks
    • The new column is supposed to be a more accurate representation of what the column counts: clicks that result in one or more conversions
    • Essentially, unique customers. If a customer makes two purchases after clicking on an ad, AdWords counts this as one Converted Click
  • The Conversions (many-per-click) has been replaced by Conversions
    • This column now has additional functionality and will count conversions based on the conversion counting settings that you select (visuals to be provided shortly)
    • Essentially, this counts total conversions or sales + unique leads. Using the example from above, if the searcher makes two purchases after clicking on an ad, that counts as two Conversions (sales, in this case)

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You can add flexible conversion tracking on the Conversions page. If you add a new conversion, on the Settings option, you’ll see a dropdown for next to CountThen, you can select either All conversions or Unique conversions.

flexible conversion tracking

If you select All conversions, you will still have access to unique conversions because of the Converted Clicks  column. Note, however, that current AdWords goals cannot be changed from All conversions to Unique conversions.

This change also has some implications on bidding if you are using the Target CPA or Enhanced CPC bidding model.  If your bidding strategy focuses on conversions, your conversion counting settings will only be used for bidding if your conversion bid metrics is set to Conversions.” In order to change your conversion bid metric, go to the Conversions page > Settings and decide on whether or not you want to choose Converted clicks or Conversions. This setting applies across all AdWords goals and cannot be defined at the campaign level.

enhanced cpc bidding


The last place (that I know of for now, at least) where you’ll notice settings changes is on the Settings tab for each campaign. If you select Enhanced CPC it will tell you that it’s based on your current conversion bid metrics setting and whether or not it’s Converted clicks or Conversions:

conversion bid metric setting

If you import your goals from GA, this change won’t affect you quite as much as those who only have AdWords conversion goals. Your decisions will be based entirely on account conversions and goals. Personally, I would recommend that new goals are always opted into “All conversions” because you will still get unique conversions in the reporting columns.

As with all AdWords changes jury’s out on how this will change the game or our daily operations. What do you think about this change? Love it? Hate it? Still confused? Let’s hear what you have to say!

Alyssa is a former LunaMetrician and contributor to our blog.

  • Thanks for this clear explanation of the changes! I think the Converted Clicks function is great for B2B advertisers that collect leads. If a person downloads multiple whitepapers (or one whitepaper multiple times) it should count as one conversion… so this provides some good talking points with clients who are concerned about this.

  • Great information, Alyssa. One thing that I think you missed, that your readers may find valuable, is to understand that the more conversions you set up in your AdWords account, or import from Analytics, the muddier the result. Because all are rolled up as “Conversions” now, when looking at a campaign in the AdWords UI, folks may get a false sense of conversion data if they have multiple defined. Recently ran into this with a client who was tracking calls from ads using Call Extensions as well as a web form completion. All the sudden, they say a big jump and could not tell why until they ran a report and added a segment to show conversion name. then they were able to identify that calls from ads was being combined with web forms and this caused a big headache for everyone!

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