Many online marketing analytics experts have been quick to accuse search engines of stealing all the glory, due to using a "last click" attribution methodology used in free conversion tracking tools. In brief, "last click" methodologies attribute the conversion (sale or lead) to the last action that the user did when they visited the site. More often than not, search engines deliver the last click before a user purchases.
Today, Google announced a product development for AdWords which promises to redress the balance of conversion attribution.
Last click conversion measurement methodologies have a tendency to cause a two-fold effect on the way companies optimize their Web site and their paid search spending:
First, Web site owners often disable their paid search keywords that seemingly "don't convert" and optimize their sites for a much smaller set of keywords under the false impression that they are the most important.
Second, Web site owners fail to calculate or attribute to any of their non-search marketing activities, such as online display ads, content syndication to other blogs, TV and print advertising campaigns.
As many have online marketing experts have asked, "Why should search get all the credit?"
Google AdWords' latest product announcement introduces search funnels to your account. Earlier, I got a glimpse of some of the new reports:
- Path Length Reports: Displays insights such as "X percent of your conversions come from users who saw more than Y ad impressions."
- Top Paths (clicks): Displays insights such as "X percent of your conversions came from users who clicked on your ads Y or more times."
- Top Paths (impressions): Displays insights such as "X percent of your conversions came from users who saw your ad impressions Y or more times."
- Assisted Conversions: Displays a keyword research path that shows all the keywords that deliver no conversions, but later led to the user searching using a different word (such as your brand name) and then converted.
Clearly, these new reports will enable every Webmaster to get stuck into optimizing their Web sites for new customer personas - one of the hottest topics at SES New York this year.
I got a chance to speak to Sissie Hsiao, Senior Product Manager from Google to get her take on why understanding the conversion path is important to search marketers. In an eloquent analogy, she likened deleting keywords that don't convert as being similar to taking the non-scoring players off your basketball team. All of those players who are passing and defending are still valuable, even if they aren't slam dunking the ball in the net.
Follow the link for full details and a video intro of AdWords Search Funnels.