Before diving into the new product, here’s a quick overview of how conversions were tracked until May 2019.
What is conversion tracking
Conversion tracking is a method advertisers use in their Google Ads account to identify and track actions that are valuable to their business. By setting up conversion tracking, advertisers give Google algorithms the information they need to understand account performance.
How the algorithm collects signals
Conversions can be imported from Google Analytics or tracked via the Google Ads pixel. The advertiser can add as many conversion actions as they see fit, regardless of the tracking method. Once the specialist has set conversion actions, Google starts recording them when the user performs one of these actions.
Why does the algorithm need conversion data
While the account collects conversion data, the algorithm learns to recognize signals that indicate that the user is likely to convert. Based on this information, the system optimizes ad serving. Without conversion data, the algorithm will not receive the most important information for the advertiser – how to optimize ad impressions and thereby increase the effectiveness of the campaign.
Conversion tracking is critical to the success of your Google Ads ads. However, the settings had one drawback – the inability to tell Google which conversion action is most important for a specific campaign.
Set up campaign-level conversions to complement automated bidding
Google reports that over 70% of advertisers are now using automated bidding strategies. According to the company representatives, along with innovations in auto strategies, advertisers asked for a more flexible system to achieve business goals. This is how the conversion setting appeared at the campaign level – the ability to track individual conversion actions for each specific campaign.
Features of the innovation
Let’s see how the settings differ at different account levels. Account-level conversion tracking gave the algorithm more general information. Thanks to the innovation, the system has more data on which conversion actions are important for the business, which means more opportunities to optimize ad serving.
Here’s an example from a Wordstream account on Google Ads. The service launched an ad to get users to try the tool. This was the announcement:
Let’s imagine that a user clicks on an ad, gets to the landing page, but then decides to visit other pages of the site and converts by downloading a useful tutorial. If you set up conversions at the account level, the system would register one conversion – the same as if the user had used the trial version. If we set the “Launch Trial” conversion action at the campaign level, the user’s behavior – downloading the tutorial – will not be considered an achievement of the goal. For example, by setting a conversion action at the campaign level, we send success signals to the system only when the user launches a trial version of the tool.
I can give you an example from real life. Suppose I have a goal of running regularly, with a secondary goal of being able to run a marathon. To reach my primary goal, I develop a training program that includes different types of physical activity: yoga, weightlifting, kickboxing, not just running. But to reach my goal of running a marathon, I have to focus on training specifically related to long distance running. That is, different types of physical activity are good, but most of all you need to concentrate directly on running.
How does this relate to conversion tracking? In the process of preparing for a marathon, I do different types of activity, but I regularly track my progress in running. If I start tracking the results of all the activities, I will not be able to determine exactly how prepared I am for the marathon. The same is true for account and campaign level conversions.
Keep in mind that when you switch to campaign-level conversion tracking, you’re likely to see a drop in goal achievement, but your campaign’s priority conversion actions should increase.
How to add a conversion at the campaign level
Go to “Settings” – “Campaign settings” and select the required campaign. Then go to advanced settings and find the item “Conversions” there. Check the “Select conversion actions for this campaign” checkbox.
You will see all the possible conversion actions that you can select.
How it works
The Wordstream team tested the campaign-level conversion setup with the following results:
By setting up conversions at the campaign level, we managed to reduce the CPC by $ 20 (from $ 62 to $ 42).
In the second campaign, the experiment’s performance is not yet better than in the original campaign. But Wordstream continues the experiment and sees a positive trend.
What to expect from the new setup
Here are the most significant changes we’ve seen.
- Ad delivery has slowed down. This happens because the system first needs to collect data. On average, training lasts seven days.
- CPA has increased. As already noted, the system will only register conversions for the selected actions. Therefore, the number of registered conversions will be less, the conversion rate may decrease, and the CPA may increase. But over time, the indicators may level out.
Things to consider when setting up campaign-level conversions.
- Consider the volume of conversions for the selected actions. For the algorithm to learn, it is desirable to maintain a consistently high conversion rate.
- Adjust your rates. As the cost per conversion rises, it may be necessary to temporarily raise bids and then lower rates again when the situation stabilizes.
- Start the experiment first. This is necessary for you to better understand how the setup works.
Don’t rely entirely on the algorithm. Even if you use automated bidding strategies, remember to track and adjust metrics as appropriate.