Search Funnels in AdWords Show Value for Every Click

AdWords search funnels reporting was originally released in beta in 2010. It’s been available since then living quietly in the conversion section of the accounts of advertisers who have enabled conversion tracking.

Recently, this set of reporting was super-sized with greater visibility, help documentation, and data integration into multiple account views. Now advertisers can view search funnel data in columns alongside other important metrics to greater inform optimizations.

Why Search Funnels are Valuable

Conversions in AdWords get attributed to the keyword that the searcher last clicked on. However, there is more of a process that takes place that includes a number of queries, paths, and timing – all of which help to guide the consumer along to the conversion and therefore add value to the PPC account.

Advertisers know that multiple searches occur before a consumer finally converts. This report shows more detail behind series of steps consumers will take before completing a conversion.

This data demonstrates there is value across keywords, exposing those keywords that have “assisted” with the conversions, but maybe were not the last click.

For example:

  • Someone searching for [waterproof work boots] clicked but didn’t covert = assisted click
  • Someone searching for [sale on work boots] was served ad, but didn’t click = assisted impression
  • Someone searching for [main street shoes] clicked and converted = last click gets the credit

Types of Reporting

  • Top Paths: Four reports showing common paths of clicks and/or impressions that took place up to the final conversion. This data can be viewed by clicks, impressions, query paths, and transitions.
  • Assists: Shows clicks and impressions that led to, but were not actually the final conversion.
  • Timing: Shows how much time is involved in the process up to the conversion and how many touches occurred beforehand.
  • First and last clicks: Keywords that were literally the first click in the process and the last click that converted. The type of keywords used for these will provide insight on searcher behavior at the beginning and of the process.

Assist information is available from the campaign level down to the keywords level. Conversion tracking must be activated to get this insightful data.

How to Get Started



  1. Once you log in, go the ‘Tools and Analysis’ tab.
  2. Select Conversions.
  3. Select Search Funnels on the lower left.

Incorporating data columns:


  1. From the campaign, ad group, ads, or keywords tabs.
  2. Select Columns drop-down.
  3. Select Search Funnels.
  4. Click to add the metrics you want to see.

About the author

Lisa Raehsler is the founder and principal strategist at Big Click Co. , an online advertising company and Google AdWords Certified Partner, specializing in strategy and management of SEM and PPC for search engines, display, retargeting, and social media ad campaigns. More than just passionate about search, Lisa has led strategy on dozens of PPC accounts and puts her experience into practice every day as a thought leader in integrating clients' search campaigns with ecommerce websites, behavioral targeting strategies, and web analytics.

In addition to agency work, she has led successful online marketing programs at Thomson Reuters in search marketing, merchandising, and ecommerce strategies at the enterprise level.

Lisa frequently lends her expertise to the search industry through organizational involvement, speaking, and writing. She has participated extensively in the local interactive community, as well as at national search engine marketing conferences. Lisa's recent speaking engagements include SES, OMS, MIMA, HeroConf, and SMX conferences, as well as numerous private and public training engagements. As a columnist for ClickZ, she writes on the topic of paid search. She holds a BA in Economics from Valparaiso University and is a Google AdWords Certified Partner.