Are you missing important data by misunderstanding conversion data in AdWords?

In this post, we’ll show you the 3 most common AdWords journeys and how the data you see in Google Analytics and Google AdWords conversion tracking might not be telling you the whole story.

Forbes Insights and Synchrony Financial conducted a survey of 250 retailers looking for an omnichannel shopping experience. Although this is a report into American buying cycles, there is a lot of similarity to that we would expect to see in the UK market.

According to their research, 46% of customers prefer to research online and then buy in store. This table also shows that 82% of customers do research online but only 36% of those will buy online.

research graph

The risk by not fully understanding your customers’ omnichannel journey is that you are judging 82% of your traffic with only 36% of the tracked results. Actually, this figure is probably a lot lower if you are using the default (use “Last click”) attribution model for tracking AdWords conversions. If this is the case, what you are tracking is still not showing you what you are expecting.

These are 3 example potential journeys of a customer researching and then purchasing a TV.

user journeys

User 1. Single Purchase Session

(Most commonly tracking method)
A single session from a search term results in a single session with a sale that is directly and singularly attributed to it.

What is reported –  this term [LCD TVs] spent £10, resulted in 10 clicks and generated 1 sale, so the calculated CPA would be £10 and the conversion rate would be 10%.

Cost of sale – £10.

User 2. Multi Session

The user starts researching to find the products that meet their requirements with a relatively simple query probably with a high cost per click. Once they found the product they wish to purchase they change to a price type search to find the best retailer, Finally at the end of their price / delivery / service comparison search they come back to their prefered brand with a brand search and then the purchase. Most companies will track the sale against this final term in the journey and ignore everything else.

last click

What is reported
(“Last click”  selected) – the keywords “Johns TV store” spent £5, generated 20 clicks and 1 sale. Conversion rate is 5% and CPA is £5.

What is not reported

[LCD TVs] spent £10 in this period (assume no other sales)
“JVC LT-32C LED TV” spent £5 in the same period  (assume no other sales)
“Johns TV store” spent £5 in the same period  (assume no other sales)

Actual cost of sale £20 vs reported CPA of £5.

What might be concluded

This is very common and if you are looking at data and having the conversation that all of your revenue comes from brand search and nothing else, this is probably affecting you. The keywords that are not attributed any revenue have budgets reduced or are paused. This affects bottom-line profit as future researching, educated customers don’t discover “Johns TV store” in their buying cycle.  Reducing the research spend could have a direct result on the bottom line total site revenue generation. Forbes estimate that around 36% of customers would follow this type of journey.

What you should do

Working with the Blue Thirst team, we can build different revenue attribution models that can more accurately allow you to assign and reword the steps of the buying cycle.

User 3. Multi Session Followed by Offline Conversion

What is reported – If you are not tracking store visits, then nothing is reported

[LCD TVs] spent £10 in this period (assume no other sales)
“JVC LT-32C LED TV” spent £5 in the same period  (assume no other sales)

£15 spend with no conversions.

What can be reported

What you should do

This type of reporting is not available in every account as there are some key requirements that you need to meet to get access to this data. Blue Thirst is a Google Premier partner that can guide you through the process and make your AdWords accounts smarter.

Contact us for more details to upgrade your PPC performance