As many of you probably noticed, AdWords has announced a change to the way they calculate conversions. It’s caused a lot of confusion among SEM/PPC professionals, as the announcement was quite vague and didn’t really talk about why this is happening.
In brief, this is what’s going on:
- Auto-tagging will now store a cookie in a new Google Analytics cookie on your website and if you link your AdWords and Analytics accounts, the AdWords conversion tracking will be able to use the GCLID from the Google Analytics cookie.
- Google will begin modeling conversions and adding those modeled conversions into the regular conversions column, similar to how it used to create estimated conversions in the past.
Why would Google do this? Don’t we want specific, one-to-one click to conversion behaviour in our measurements?
To account for these conversions while still respecting user privacy in-browser, Google will use statistical modelling to estimate website conversions that can’t be measured from Safari and will include them in your AdWords reporting.
Google confirms that this model will only be deployed for conversions that cannot be measured. Any other conversion will be measured as usual. This includes conversions from Google Analytics, so if your AdWords is linked to Google Analytics, it’s likely that no modeling will be necessary.
There will be no segmentation or way of separating the modeled conversions within the Conversions column.
The change is taking place now and in the next month or so will happen automatically.
What does this mean for our clients?
We recognize that it is possible for modelled conversions to over-report rather than under-report. So while we have confidence in Google’s statistical modelling, we plan to observe closely and prep for sudden increases in reported conversions. There isn’t enough detailed information to forecast farther on things like impact to CPA or automated bids, but we do expect to monitor fluctuations in total conversions measured and total paid traffic from Safari.
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