AdWords Changes The Definition Of Conversions For Reporting & Columns

Greg Finn on
  • Categories: Channel: SEM, Google, Google: AdWords
  • Attention, marketers: You may see a significant drop in “conversions” starting in mid-October. Don’t panic. It’s not you, it’s Google. AdWords is changing the definition of “conversions” for their columns and fantastic new Report Editor. Thankfully, you won’t have much to do, except adjust your reporting accordingly.

    Traditionally, the “Conversions” column and report would show any conversion action that was set up. With the new change from Google, the “Conversions” column will not show all conversions; instead, it will only show the conversions that have optimization selected.

    Let’s take a step back for a minute. Each conversion added to AdWords is either given an “on” or an “off” as to whether it should be used when optimizing for conversions. Those conversions would still show in the conversion column and reports.

    For example, a paid e-book download conversion may have optimize for conversions “on” while a contact form fill may be “off.” The old reporting would count all conversions and would be able to show the conversion name through segmentation. If a user only wanted to view the conversions with optimization on (in this case, the download), they’d use the “Conv. (opt.)” column or segment the main Conversions view. With this new change, “Conversions” becomes what “Conv. (opt.)” was, and a new report type, “All Conversions,” has been created that becomes what “Estimated Total Conversions” was. No longer will non-optimized conversions show as a conversion.

    To put it simply, the changes look like this:

    Why This Is Important

    Many clients use handfuls of conversions that aren’t optimized for (like freemium sign-ups and email sign-ups) that would count in the conversion reports. These will no longer do so. If you have specific rules, filters and scripts working off of “conversions,” you’ll want to make changes. Not only will this change “conversions,” but it also will by proxy change other columns like “conversion rate.”

    Other changes include the removal of the following columns:

    • Estimated cross-device conversions (“Est. cross-device conv.”): This will now show in the “Cross-device conversions” column.

    The overall goal of this change from AdWords was to make it “more intuitive, giving you more control over the data [shown].” In the near future, however, this will be a headache and a calorie burner for advertisers with conversions set with optimization off.

    For more information, see the Google+ post and support article.

    About The Author

    Greg Finn
    Greg Finn is the Director of Marketing for Cypress North, a company that provides world-class social media and search marketing services and web & application development. He has been in the Internet marketing industry for 10+ years and specializes in Digital Marketing. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.