The PPC world was recently informed by Google that the “Converted Clicks” metric in AdWords will soon be retired within the platform. In its stead will remain the now-customizable “Conversions” metric, which is generally capable of delivering the same information after a few minor adjustments. Although the platform change should have little to no negative impact for members of the PPC community, there seems to be a clear lack of enthusiasm in discussion and reports of the announcement.
AdWords first allowed users to segment conversion data (one-per-click vs. many-per-click) in early 2014, touting it as a way for marketers to access conversion types most closely aligned with their goals. For instance, ecommerce clients could examine the Conversions metric to see how many transactions were completed, while lead-gen clients could analyze Converted Clicks to understand how many people were engaging with their product or service. Since that time, most companies have come to favor one metric or the other, according to their specific business model. It makes sense, then, that Google is opting to combine the two views and permit users to select which they consider most valuable as a “Conversion.”
For those individuals or agencies currently basing strategy on Converted Clicks, this announcement might seem like a blow. Well, fear not! With a few simple steps, you can adjust your settings and ensure that the data in your “Conversions” column is exactly what you want to see. It will be inconvenient if you manage multiple accounts or have a wide variety of lead sources to account for, but rest assured that all hope is not lost. For others more fortunate who are already using the Conversions metric (with either every or one counting), the platform changes will have no impact.
One subset of companies that may be negatively affected by this change is comprised of businesses or accounts that currently consider both one-per-click (unique leads) and many-per-click conversions (transactions) in their strategy and optimizations. An example of this is shown in Google’s own introduction of Flexible Conversion Counting from 2014:
The ability to control count type per specific conversion action will still solve many of these issues. It does require, however, that the advertiser clearly defines lead sources. In other words, if a marketer wants to know how many purchases were made and how many unique buyers were led to make a purchase, he or she would have to create two separate conversion actions and examine each accordingly.
Beyond the requisite setting changes, the transition away from Converted Clicks will be largely painless, and in many ways useful. The Conversions column is compatible with several features that Converted Clicks was not, including:
- Attribution modeling
- Cross-device and in-store conversions
- Specified conversion values
- Opt-in or -out status for conversion actions
Notably, all cross-device conversions will be automatically included in the Conversions column, starting September 6th, and all Target CPA or Enhanced CPC bidding will use “Conversions” as the primary bid metric, beginning September 21st.