Are you advertising on Google AdWords? If so, do you understand the difference in how conversions are reported? For anyone unfamiliar with Google’s online search engine advertising platform Google AdWords, you can visit this link for a quick overview: http://www.google.com/adwords
Google updated how conversions are reported in AdWords in late February 2014. Conversions (1 per-click) became Converted Clicks, and Conversions (many-per-click) changed to just Conversions. To break it down, Conversions (1 per-click), now Converted Clicks, seeks only to report on the individual number of conversions actions, while Conversions, the old (many-per-click) reports on the total number of purchases. A quick example is this, a user visits your site by clicking an ad, and purchases two products. Google would report that transaction as one Converted Click, and two Conversions.
What does this mean? Well, first we need to explore what conversions are
A conversion can be anything from someone signing up for an e-mail newsletter, filling out a contact or appointment form, an online sale, and even phone calls can all be counted as conversions. What comes next is assigning a value to each of those conversions if not directly related to measureable sales and revenue.
How does this apply to my business?
For example, you may determine that 5% of your e-mail subscribers make an online purchase once a month. If you can determine an average order or sale value, you can begin to forecast out future sales as well as partially attribute those sales and revenue to advertising dollars spent to capture those new e-mail subscribers.
All of this can primarily be done using the Google AdWords integration with Google Analytics. As long as your website has Google Analytics (GA) code on all pages of the site, creating custom goals is fairly straightforward. However, this is all provided you have a Confirmation and/or Thank You pages created, which are then set as the end goal URL to register a conversion in Analytics.
The next scenario that requires some additional knowledge would be setting up goals to capture conversions where actual sales and revenue are involved. At this stage you are looking into having some custom code written and implemented on-site in addition to goal creation with-in Google Analytics. After all code is written and implemented, you would want to perform test transactions to ensure both sales and revenue were being captured and properly reporting.
A Real World Example: Selling Coffee Online
A client who sells coffee online directly via their own website may have a customer come to the site and purchase one item, or they may end up purchasing 3 packages of coffee. If both of those scenarios occur, we need to know how that would be reported in Google AdWords.
We can be running ads on Google for our client, and a user clicks on the search ad, puts one item into the cart and makes a purchase. In this instance Google would report one converted click, and one conversion. Now, for the alternative scenario that same user clicks the search ad, and buys two packages of Wallenford Estate Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee in addition to one other type of coffee. Google would reported that as one converted click, but three total conversions. Again, this is all predicated on having custom tracking goals coded on-site with corresponding goals set-up in Google Analytics reporting correctly.
Even traditional brick and mortar businesses, as well as sales that occur over the phone can be tied back into Paid Media. To really close the sales loop and give proper attribution to paid advertising automatic data connections can be created to report back on in-store and phone sales.
How does that work?
Starting with tracking phone call sales, the first step would be using a 3rd party vendor to purchase a trackable number. It should be noted that Google AdWords does provide a free call-forwarding trackable number to use in Search ads. Unfortunately, as soon as a user visits the website all phone call tracking is lost, thus a 3rd party solution is always best budgets permitting.
Now that you have generated a trackable phone number that connects to the main contact/sales line we can begin to work on tracking phone calls from that number to online advertising, more specifically advertising clicks that generated phone calls and sales.
Just like e-commerce online conversion tracking, some custom code will be required to be placed on-site usually in the header or footer tags, as well as possible span tags around any places the phone number appears on-site. If any of this sounds foreign and simply, “Does Not Make Sense”, don’t worry any developer or analytics implementation expert can easily decipher the instructions provided by these companies, and direct online and phone support is readily available for complex issues.
Back to tracking all that money!
So we now have a trackable number, with conversion tracking in place and conversion goals created. In a basic scenario you could do percentage estimates of phone call sales closed and average sale value. Going a step forward for advanced solutions, you can work with the end-client and have them to input a series of codes and actual revenue via the telephone number pad, which is then all transmitted digitally back into the system where specific Ad campaigns, ads, and search keywords can be assigned that sale and report the revenue generated.
Manual solutions exist where this is not possible or for the in-store scenario, customer phone number and sales data can be formatted and uploaded to match against Paid Advertising traffic. If you are seeking a custom advertising solution or already advertising online and could use some help, request a Free Consultation and find out how Cardinal can help you grow your business.