PPC Chat Streamcap – PPC Conversion Attribution

This week James Svoboda (@Realicity) guest hosted a question set titled “PPC Conversion Attribution.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: Do you show clients keyword search funnel reports? If so, how do you explain their significance?

  • I don’t. Some clients know they exist but no one has ever asked. – Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
  • Dumb question coming up: where do you put together a search funnel report? – Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
    • In the conversions page in AdWords…left hand nav. – Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
  • I show multi-channel funnel reports, to show them that they aren’t paying for nothing if I’m getting goose eggs on other reports. – Heather Cooan
  • Many of our clients rely on our custom monthly reports and not analytics. We do account for multi-channel conversions in those. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • I do show the search funnel reports to account for campaigns effecting each other, like proving search lift from display. – Heather Cooan

Q2: How do you present Google Analytics multi channel funnel reports in conjunction with regular PPC conversion tracking?

  • We segment assisted conversions in reports to show influence, not to represent them as being solely owned by 1 channel. – James Svoboda
  • Again I don’t. Clients do ask for this, but I tend to set them up with a custom grouping etc. rather than integrate into PPC. – Richard Fergie
    • I think being on the agency side, clients tend to rely on us to prove/provide results and attribution. – James Svoboda
  • I usually use them to prove revenue contribution from keywords that appear to be losers. – Heather Cooan
    • Another good point. Clients want to know KPIs involving things like Revenue, attribution is a minor detail to them. – James Svoboda
  • I’ve had too many issues with the MCF reports to be able to use them for reporting. I use them for ideas instead. – Rachael Gerson (@RachaelGerson)
    • Yep. They are a little wonky and need to evolve to be more effective. Maybe Analytics v6? – James Svoboda
  • We rely on segments for paths within a channel, but looking at a multi-channel attribution weighted on when ea channel is engaged. – Chris Kostecki (@chriskos)
  • We report on attributed conversions for clients with low overall sales, ie B2B. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • For some clients we use custom segmentations in MCFs to isolate paid search channels for different models of attribution. – Andrew Baker (@AndrewBaker72)

Q3: How do you explain view-through conversions to clients and their importance (or lack there of)?

  • ‘split’ test client ads with charity ads. Measure difference in view throughs. Simple test, clients get it. – Richard Fergie
  • I don’t think a client has ever asked this of me before. – James Svoboda
  • Impressions <50% Attribution, AOV x % of VTCs – Chris Kostecki
  • Yeah, I don’t talk about view-throughs…not real conversions. I’d rather show touch points cross channel. – Heather Cooan
  • Unlike other attribution I’ve had campaigns performing well w/ view through but not click-conversion. – Richard Fergie
  • I’m constantly speaking to the value of impressions alone in remarketing so show view-through conversions as result. – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)

Q4: How does the 30 day AdWords conversion tracking cookie influence your reporting?

  • I use GA so I get 6 months. – Heather Cooan
  • I think its a good industry standard, i dont remember which ad I clicked on a month a go tho. – Chris Kostecki
  • We use GA, so we don’t report on Adwords conversion data (although we do have it to review). – Melissa Mackey
    • We do monthly reporitng with GA, but are making AdWords decisions based on 30 conversions in AdWords… gap between the 2. – James Svoboda
    • So you are only using last click attribution for conversion reporting? Or do you integrate assisted conversions as well? – Andrew Baker
      • We report on assists as well, so we show both last click and atttributed conv. – Melissa Mackey
        • So what do you see as the advantage of importing GA conversions over AdWords tracking? – Andrew Baker
          • Do NOT like importing GA conversion data. There is 3-day delay, so conversion data is not up to date. ONLY benefit is to retailer or client – one less code install / update they have to do. – Laura Thieme
          • I don’t usually import GA conversion data into AdWords, the only reason to do that is for the conversion history based tools. – Heather Cooan
          • We report across channels, so really it’s easier & consistent to just use GA. It’s not really *better.* – Melissa Mackey
            • Can I just admit that I actually pretty much hate seeing imported GA? Adwords conversion data is pretty spot on. – Laura Thieme 
  • It doesn’t influence our reporting per say, but we only report on what we can stand behind and 30 days can result in 31 day. – James Svoboda
  • Adwords should extend the cookie to 60 days, or allow opt-in for 90 days. Having used both Adwords and Analytics, prefer Adwords conversion anyday, hands down!  – Laura Thieme (@bizwatchlaura)
    • Really, 90 days after a search ppc should get credit? – Chris Kostecki
      • Depends if it is the original touch point. GA is slightly flawed in this regard. – James Svoboda
        • Thats new visitor credit, not sale credit – so much could have happened in that time to influence. – Chris Kostecki
          • Yep. I was just pointing out the limit of using this Free Analytics program. – James Svoboda
      • I think that depends on your bus. For long sales cycles, PPC should get some credit even if not last click. – Melissa Mackey
        •   That’s why 13 month, even 6 month trend reporting is best. – Laura Thieme
        • I agree that it should be credited with something, but its hard to connect two events after so much time has elapsed. – Chris Kostecki
  • Is irritating for weekly reports. Numbers improve after the report is sent. – Richard Fergie
  • I don’t talk about view-throughs…not real conversions. I’d rather show touch points cross channel. – Heather Cooan

Q5: Where does proper conversion attribution fall short in PPC?

  • Not only knowing what channels are in the mix, but where they are in the mix, did social trigger search or vice versa. – Chris Kostecki
  • As of yet I haven’t found a system I like. Possible some vendor black box is doing a good job, but I can’t evaluate that. – Richard Fergie
  • Phone calls and other not-on-the-internet interactions. – Douglas Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
  • Most non-ppc sources to phone calls! – James Svoboda
  • Encourage Non-revenue driving GA goals to NOT be imported into Adwords (in most cases). – Laura Thieme
    • Agree, but sometimes conversions are low, call tracking is sketchy and engagement data is helpful for analysis. – James Svoboda
  • Last Click Attribution Reporting. – Andrew Baker
  • agreed most important non ppc source = phone calls! clients seeing as high as 30% distribution towards phone vs web. – eliteSEM (@eliteSEM)

Q6: How actively do you help clients with conversion attribution and also conversion rate optimization?

  • Always! – Heather Cooan
  • Whenever they trend down. – Chris Kostecki
  • 100% it’s all part & parcel of our PPC Management. I’m glad to say all our clients know what attribution is & how it works. – Andrew Baker
  • Core to what we do. – Douglas Thomas
  • All the time – conversions are how we show that a campaign is working and data needs to be the best we can have! – Timothy Jensen
  • Identifying keywords with high assist value to improve content richness or CTA of assist page. – Chris Gutknecht (@ChrisGutknecht)


More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

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This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; WebRanking SEM Manager in Minneapolis, Minnesota, #PPCChat Streamcap Grabber, SEO Blog Author. Connect with me @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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