Using Search Funnels to Grow Your Adwords Account

What is the new search funnels feature?

Search Funnels are a set of reports in Adwords that allow you to analyze ad impression and click behavior for campaigns, ad groups and keywords. So why is this important for advertisers? Adwords currently attributes conversions to the last click, but as we all know, few conversions are driven by just one click on one ad. There are usually many touch points with a customer, so the search funnels reports allow us to see the impressions and clicks that lead up to the conversion, which in most cases is just as important as knowing what finally lead to the sale.

What reports are included?

The search funnels reports are found in the Adwords interface under Reporting > Conversions. Click the link on the right hand side of the page, and you will be taken to the Search Funnels section.

Let’s first define the data that you will be accessing from these reports.

First click – The first time one of your ads is clicked.

Last click – The click on an ad that precedes a conversion. All conversions in Adwords are by default attributed to the last click.

Assist click – The click on an ad that precedes the last click.

Assist Impression – When an ad is shown preceding the last click, regardless of whether or not the ad was clicked.

Items to Note:

  • The number of conversions in Adwords will differ from the Search Funnels, because Adwords includes conversion from the Google Content Network, and the Search Funnels do not. They also exclude information on organic results, actual search queries, and competitor keyword information.
  • Cookie settings – search history is currently set at 30 days, and is not yet customizable.

Reports within the Search Funnels

Overview – Show how keywords and campaigns work together to create a conversion. Data is generated from conversion paths, or the sequence of ad clicks & impressions that lead to conversions. As mentioned above, content network, organic and competitive information isn’t provided.

Top Conversions – This report pulls together the various conversion types that you have set up through Adwords conversion tracking.

Assist Clicks & Impressions – This report is helpful when you need data that is not conversion focused. Assisted impressions are when your ad is shown, but not clicked, but these metrics are important in considering how many touch points you have had with the customer. Once again, you can see data for all conversion types together or individually, and you can drill down to the campaign, ad group and keyword levels.

Assisted conversions – This report shows both last click and assisted conversions. The drop down box allows you to view all conversions, or select one particular type. This will come in handy if you have different types of conversions set up (a sign up versus an ecommerce purchase), and you want to see if there is a difference in how each type conversion is reached. This report also gives you the ratio of Assisted conversions to last click conversions, so see below on the details of how to analyze this metric.

First Click & Last Click Analysis – First click and last click analysis reports allow you to focus on conversion paths that began or ended with a specific campaign, ad group or keyword. Once you are on the level you want, you can choose any other report in the drop down (while staying focused on conversions).

  • For example, you can choose the top paths report in drop down. Once you are there, the breadcrumbs will show you that you are in a subset of conversions. You will stay drilled in until clicking on a main navigation report.

Top Paths – Shows most common conversion paths, and how everything works together to create conversions. Choose keyword in the dimension drop down box, and you will see the most common path for keywords. If the same keyword is repeated, it represents two clicks for that keyword that then leads to a conversion. As with the other reports you can also view data on the campaign and ad group level. If you select keyword path (impressions) you will see the sequence of keywords that showed your ads, regardless of whether the ads were clicked or not. This data closely represents the breadth of related keywords people are searching for prior to converting.

Time Lag – This section represents the time it takes customers to convert. If it takes a lot of days before a conversion, you will know that your customers are in the research phase of the buying cycle. However, if conversions come on the first day, and the rest of your research shows that there was only one click and one keyword, you will know that your customers are coming to you on those terms when they are ready to buy. The hours data represents the first 24 hours in hour segments.

Path Length – This report is a high level diagnosis that allows you to see how many clicks it takes to get a conversion, and the type of conversions. As mentioned before, different conversions may take more clicks. You can also see how the value of your various conversion types changes by clicking the value link. The data represented here is the percentage of your revenue that is attributed to paths of different lengths. Additionally, if you change to the impressions view you will see how many times people saw your ads (without clicking) before converting.

The search funnel reports can be overwhelming when you first look at them, but it is important to keep in mind that the additional data that is provided is just one more way we can make educated decisions. Start with the overview reports and familiarize yourself with the broad data like understanding on average how long it takes before your customers convert, and identifying if your campaigns tend to have more assisted or last click conversions. From there you can dive deeper into the data, and ensure that you are benefiting from it, and not just spending time looking at more numbers. Along with the tips above, remember the following:

  • Keywords play three roles in a conversion path. Last click (immediately preceding the conversion), assist click (immediately before the click that leads to the conversion), and assist impression (ad is displayed but not clicked).
  • The ratio of assisted conversions and last click conversions is a quick indicator of whether the keywords serve more in the role of last click or assist click. A value close to zero means they are last click, and a value close to 1 means they are equally an assist and last click. The higher the number, the more they are in the role of an assist click.
  • Some keywords in your Adwords campaigns may not show up in the reports because they only include keywords that play an assist or last click role.
  • Assist clicks & impressions report break out information in same way, but for clicks and impressions instead of conversions.
  • When possible, have FUN with this data. This is great information that will help you grow your accounts, and at the end of the day that’s the main goal, so enjoy getting there!