Have you ever gone into your PPC account, found a keyword that isn’t showing conversion numbers that are up to par and then make the decision to delete it? If so, you may have cost yourself some business because of what is called “conversion attribution.” This is the process of applying the value of a conversion to those channels which may have contributed to the result.
Up until now, no matter how many ads were seen or clicks were performed by a specific person with your PPC keywords and ads, only one was given the full credit…the last one. The flaw with this is that it applies a “one night stand” philosophy of attribution to all customers. Attributing all the value of a conversion to the last keyword and ad assumes that every customer converted on the first experience that they had with your ad and website. Since we know the shopping funnel doesn’t work that way most of the time, this is a mistake in attribution.
Let’s say 500 separate searchers used the query “office chair,” saw your ad, clicked on it and didn’t convert. Then, say that 50 of those searchers later performed the query “leather office chair” because they had decided that is the kind of office chair they wanted after analyzing their choices; which included helpful information and a nice product on your website. 10 of those searchers decide that your chair is the one they want and your website is the one they want to buy it from.
Up until now, the keyword “leather office chair” and the ad associated with it has received all of the credit for these conversions. But the truth is that your website helped the searcher come to their decision that they wanted leather through the query “office chair” because it met them earlier in the buying process and helped them along in their decision-making process.
So, here’s where the problem lies. You would go into your account and see these stats…
Clicks = 500, Conversions = 0, Conversion Rate = 0%
leather office chair
Clicks = 50, Conversions = 10, Conversion Rate = 20%
…and you might decide to delete “office chair.” If you did, you wouldn’t necessarily lose out on all 10 conversions because the searcher might accomplish their research, search on “leather office chair” and still choose your ad and convert on your website. But, without the influence of the prior query and subsequent click, would all 10 convert? Of course not. Therefore in the above scenario, deleting “office chair” would cost you conversions on “leather office chair.”
So, if you’ve done this in the past with your keywords, it may be time to revisit your keyword list and add back some of those keywords that you’ve deleted that contributed to conversions on your site although it didn’t show up in the stats.
But, things are being done about this. Google AdWords just added what is called “Search Funnel Reports” to the Conversion section of AdWords. It looks like its just in the bigger spend accounts as of right now in its “beta” form, but these reports allow you to practice better attribution with your keywords and ads by revealing which ones are contributing to conversions. Click on the link above to check out a video about it.