On Google’s New “Estimated Total Conversions”

First of all, here are some statistics provided by Google to be aware of:

80% of consumers use multiple devices

84% of consumers start shopping on one device and finish on another

90% of people use multiple screens sequentially to accomplish a task over time

40 million calls directly from Google ads each month

Google is implementing a new conversion counting format that takes cross-device user actions & split attribution conversions into consideration. What this means is that instead of counting just the conversions that occur on the same device as a paid ad click, Google is now counting non-traditional conversion pathways as well. This results not only in increased conversions, but also in a more comprehensive understanding of how users are converting on your site.

Ex: For every 100 conversions that travel sites saw on mobile, there were an additional 33 conversions that had started on mobile but converted on desktop, and weren’t being counted in the traditional conversions metric.

Thus accounting for cross device purchase paths is a boon to any advertiser’s marketing & analytics plan.

Estimated Total Conversions combine traditional conversions (including mobile direct-from-ad calls), estimated cross-device conversions, and calls from desktops & tablets. These figures are calculated using a large sample of data from users who are signed-in to Google accounts, historic data specific to ad groups & tied to account/device/location performance. Google requires any data it utilizes in its estimation to be statistically significant, and will only count & attribute conversions it is ‘confident’ about.

New segmentation options available in AdWords give greater insights into conversions occurring on an account. In the AdWords UI, several new column options are now available to add:

There are a few restrictions & requirements to taking advantage of this new feature:

–  Est. Total Conv. are only applied to Google Search campaigns, not Display or Partners.

–  Est. Total Conv. are only available at Ad Group & Campaign level, not Keyword level

–  You must look back further than a couple weeks for most accurate Est. Conv. data

–  The furthest look back point is August 2013 (as it is a new feature)

–  You must use AdWords Conversion Tracking

–  Your account must have recorded at least 50 tracked conversions each day

Given that users’ online paths to purchase are growing increasingly complex, incorporating Est. Total Conv. & Est. Cross-Device Conv. into your advertising strategy & analysis is essential. These new data points paint a more comprehensive picture of how users convert and how many conversions are being attributed to your account(s). Taking advantage of the new columns/segmentations features in AdWords will provide new insights into your marketing campaigns, and allow you to plan/strategize/optimize in a more competitive fashion.

I firmly believe that paying attention to Estimated Total Conversions & Estimated Cross-Device Conversions is an integral part of reaching more mobile shoppers, making better bid adjustments, and spending advertising budgets more efficiently. If you haven’t added these columns to your AdWords view yet, I’d recommend doing so right away! Start tracking mobile initiated cross device activity, consider mobile specific ad copy creation, note which keywords assist cross-device conversions, and which landing pages promote/hinder conversions. The face of digital advertising is changing every day and acknowledging the role of mobile and multi-device use in conversion pathways is crucial.

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