A PPC expert looks at your conversion ratio as the most powerful metric for your search engine marketing strategies. Your conversion rate is the number of times customers took a desired action after viewing a PPC ad, such as purchasing a product or submitting an email address through your landing page. While conversions are the most important metric to track, each SEM platform tracks this data differently. Before you can achieve paid search success, you need to understand how Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Yahoo Gemini and Google Analytics treat the conversion window, attribution time and conversion counting.
The conversion window is the time period tracked after the customer clicks on a PPC ad. If the customer takes action outside of this conversion window, it won't be tracked properly. Each paid search service has a different conversion window, tracked with cookies. Google Analytics has the longest-lasting cookie at 6 months, while Yahoo Gemini is the shortest at 30 days. Both Bing Ads and Google Adwords offer up to 90-day cookies. It may take some time for your customers to take action after clicking on your ad, which this conversion window accommodates.
The attribution time is the amount of time between a PPC click and an action, where the action is attributed to that particular click. Adwords attributes conversions from the click's date and time, while Analytics looks at when the conversion goal completed. Bing Ads ties attribution to the day of the click, and Gemini handles attribution time post click. Your attribution time is important for correctly understanding which ads lead to a successful conversion, so you can tweak your PPC strategy.
View-through conversion looks at conversions attributed to customers who saw your display ads, but did not click through. These customers may end up taking action later on based on brand awareness by seeing the ad. Clicked conversions refer to the customers who clicked through on your PPC ads, instead of simply looking at the display ads.
Adwords looks at unique conversions, which focuses on converted clicks, as well as all conversion metrics. Google Analytics tracks the last non-direct click prior to the conversion, meaning 100% of the credit for the sale goes to the last channel the customer clicked through before converting. Bing Ads counts either a pixel or page load, depending on the configuration. Yahoo Gemini uses click-through conversions only for conversion counting.
Google Tag Manager
If you or your PPC agency have problems tracking your conversions, tracking pixels offer a way to gain deeper insight into the effectiveness of your paid search ads. With a tracking pixel, you can track where the customer comes from, the pages he interacts with prior to conversion and additional PPC metrics useful for gaining clarity into your conversion rate. Google Tag Manager is a free service for creating these tracking codes, and it's designed to work with Adwords, AdRoll, Bing, Google Analytics, DoubleClick and many others. You use Google Tag Manager by creating a code and inserting it into your web page. It doesn't require significant technical knowledge, which is useful if you're just getting started with website administration.
Whether you're on your own or working with a PPC agency, understanding the finer details of conversion tracking helps you understand this important metric. It's important to know the search ads your customers are clicking through, whether customers are converting from ads they haven't clicked on and how each paid search service counts your conversions.