BFO PPC Pitfalls and Solutions

Conversion tracking is the key to understanding how your digital marketing account is performing. It moves you from knowing that someone clicked an ad to understanding which forms, buttons or even sales followed the click. In the third article of our Paid Search Pitfalls and Solutions series, we’re diving into conversion tracking to understand how some advertisers miss a chance to get the most out of their paid search data.

Conversion tracking isn’t exactly new, but some advertisers still fall into the trap of looking at conversions all together, as if all conversions are worth the same amount. The problem with this approach is that most of the time, different conversions are worth very different amounts. A vacation rental client of ours is measuring calls, “book now” button clicks, chats, and rental bookings. It shouldn’t surprise you that earning a booking or call is far more valuable to the business than someone navigating deeper into the website. If we were to look at total conversions, cost per conversion, and conversion rate for the entire account, we would miss key insights about performance by treating all conversions as worth “one” in the total conversions.

A better approach would be to place much more emphasis on campaigns, ads, or keywords driving more of the activities the client values. For that same vacation rental client, we chose to continuously increase bids and budgets for the keywords driving the most calls and bookings, not just total conversions. The optimizations went so well that the client reached a 100% rental occupancy rate for the first time in their history!

If you’re onboard with why segmenting conversions is important, let’s take a look at how it’s actually done in the AdWords interface:

Segmenting by Conversion Name

Go to “Segment > Conversions > Conversion Name” to see your conversions separated by each individual conversion action.

Segment Conversions - BFO

From this view, you can see conversions, cost per conversion, and conversion rate segmented by conversion for each campaign, ad, or keyword (depending on which tab you’re in). To view totals for all of Search, Display, or Video, you can view this information in aggregate by scrolling to the bottom of the table and clicking the plus sign to the right of the word “Search” (see below).

Total Search Button - BFOThe example above is fairly intuitive in theory but is often overlooked in practice. With so many optimizations and reporting tasks that come up in a day, it’s just faster to look at total conversions. The problem is, this scenario can lead to a disconnect between you and your client if you are reporting a 20% increase in conversions but are told by the client how much call volume has dropped since the previous month. Driving early-funnel conversions will help you reach your conversion total goals, but at the end of the day, it’s helping clients reach their business goals that matter most.

Segmenting by Conversion Category

To take it one step further, let’s look at a conversion segmentation strategy that I almost never see employed: Conversion Categories. For our vacation rental client, there were 4 different button clicks considered “High-Value Actions:” 2 different call conversions, a chat conversion, and a booking confirmation. Analyzing each ad and keyword with 7 different conversion actions is unwieldy, causing even people who know about conversion segmenting to ignore it.

The key is creating conversion categories under “Tools > Conversions” and clicking into the link for a conversion name.

Tools Conversions - BFO

Call Conversion - BFOClick “edit settings” and click “Category” to select between Lead, Purchase/Sale, Sign-Up, or Other. For our client, we grouped the button clicks and chat conversions into the “Other” category, the calls into the “Lead” category, and our booking into the “Purchase/Sale” category. Now instead of analyzing everything by 7 different conversion types, we can segment the data by only 3 categories. Just go to “Segment > Conversions > Conversion Category” and view data for each of your defined categories.

There are other ways to segment conversion data, such as using the Dimensions tab or pulling an Excel report and selecting a segment. Another great but overlooked option is to return to “Tools > Conversions” to opt each conversion in or out of the “Include in Conversions” option. If you have a ton of conversions but want to be able to monitor the key conversions easily, set them to “yes” and the rest to “no”. Now, you can pull in the Conversions and All Conversions columns as 2 separate groups of conversion to report on and the cost per All Conversion and All Conversion Rate columns, too. This approach allows you to have a lot of conversion data stored, but focus on a small subset of those conversions more regularly.

Include in Conversions - BFONo matter how you do it, segmenting conversions is important and knowing these useful approaches can help you avoid the “total conversion” pitfall. For more paid search pitfalls, check out our BlogFacebook, and Linkedin pages to catch new pitfalls each week. Like the way we think? Contact Us here to work with us or visit our Careers Page to browse open positions.