Enhance Your PPC Conversion Rate by Reviewing Your Conversion Funnel

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The reasons a user will abandon your conversion/sales funnel are endless, unfortunately. Today,  I’ll explore one case where not only did our online leads decrease but offline leads (phone calls) decreased too. And I had to find out what was going on and some possible solutions.

I am working with a client who sells high-end, custom office furniture. Over the past few weeks our conversion rate has been down so I started analyzing our ad texts, keywords, bids, ad positions, search query reports, and the other usual suspects that could cause my performance to fluctuate.

After running numerous reports within our paid search campaigns we didn’t discover any major performance problems. Our impressions, clicks and click-through rate all remained steady. There were not any specific campaigns, ad groups or keywords that were well below the others. Also, our bounce rate, pages-per-visitor, and time-on-site stats had actually increased. Overall, conversion rate was down and there was no smoking gun in our paid search campaign to blame.

Of course, we conducted ad text optimizations, we adjusted bids accordingly for keywords have historically under-performed. So, we were able to make some changes in or to optimize the account. But I was thinking that there was something else going on.

I was reviewing our lead reports and noticed that online leads and inbound calls were down, and their decline was parallel. This lead me to believe there was an issue that was on a more macro level. After talking with the client, he had mentioned that this time of year may lend itself to users who are conducting more research for these products, rather than actually taking action (but it was just a gut feeling).

I set out within Analytics to see if this is true. Keep in mind, I’m still looking into this issue, but I thought I’d share my findings thus far and maybe it will help you to get a new perspective on your conversion funnel.

Within Google Analytics I reviewed our exit pages from our contact form. Basically, I wanted to see if someone hit our contact form, where did they end up after that (instead of converting)? Here is sampling of my findings thus far (see below).

So, what are you looking at here? In the red box is my lead confirmation page (“/thankyou.php”). I noticed that the  number of people who went from the contact form to the confirmation page decreased by 8%. However, the number of people who are going to all of our other products (that are included in the navigation) have gone up. See below:


This initial report was telling me a few things:

  1. That gut feeling may be right. People were leaving the contact form in order to view other products. This could mean that they are not ready to make the commitment and take that next step (i.e contact my client for a quote).
  2. Also, this indicates that perhaps we need to review our contact form in order to gain user’s attention faster and at a deeper level, and provide more reasons for them to convert right now.
  3. During this time frame, inbound calls also went down. This could also indicate the users are doing more shopping than buying as well.

We have not exhausted our analysis and there other strategies we are reviewing in order to get our conversion rate back up. But this is a start. We still have much work to do!

What can you take away from this?

  • Seasonality can play a big roll in your PPC performance.
  • If there isn’t a smoking gun in your PPC campaign, review your website to see if something has shifted.
  • When your conversion rate is down, it’s always a good idea to review your abandonment rate within your analytics tracking (it helps to set up goals in Google Analytics). This can show where people are dropping off and how you might be able to pick them back up again.


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  • Filipe G. Reis

    Very nice post, Joe. Its always interesting to see how external factors like sasonality can affect badly a campaign, even when its fully optimized.

    Following the articles here on PCC Hero, i noticed the huge number of tests that you guys run on every little detail of your campaigns. I’ve always had this doubt: How is the best way to store and follow changes that have been made? For example, do you run reports every day in campaign, groups and keyword level and always consult this to compare the new changes?


  • Keith Lovgren

    I enjoyed this article. Thanks for posting it.

    I’ve found in my own limited experience that about 30-40% of conversions are not recorded by the website optimizer. I have to rely on the clients with regard to actual conversions.

    At times, this can be spotty. Office managers change and I don’t have an accurate count. Can you offer any tips or advice about getting the conversion count from phone inquiries without fully relying on the client?

  • http://www.pcchero.com Joe

    @Filipe: Thanks! And this is an interesting question you pose about testing. I think it depends on the test itself as to how you monitor its performance/outcome. Really, it comes down to sample size in order to determine a statistically valid result. If you are testing campaigns/keywords/ads within an account that generates a high volume of traffic, then you may need to monitor your tests everyday. If your campaign is more moderate, then you can check your tests less frequently. However, you need to determine the proper interval so that you can determine the results quickly while monitoring the test closely so that if something should tank (or performer terribly) you can remove it quickly.

    @Keith: Actually, we track phone leads with another software package, and we record online lead completion with AdWords and Google Analytics. If you’re having trouble tying your phone leads to Analytics, you may want try asking an Analytics Rep to see what kind of response you can get.

  • Keith Lovgren

    Thanks, Joe. I appreciate the tip.

  • Filipe G. Reis

    Joe, thank you for the nice tip about monitoring all the changes and the results. Talking about documenting and saving all the test, do you recommend, for example, a simple spreadsheet or the ‘historical changes’ in the adwords interface seems to be enough to check them later when its necessary?

  • Chloe Shlosberg

    Hi, I was just wondering how you can track phone leads. Thanks!