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Using Assisted Conversions in Google Analytics to Boost PPC Performance

Measuring the Adwords goal conversions for your different campaigns is usually the ABCs of optimizing any PPC account.

The campaigns with the most conversions receive the highest budgets and bids are increased for keywords with many conversions at a good CPA.
On the flip side, keywords and campaigns with high CPAs are lowered and eventually paused.

However, an analysis based on these conversion figures alone, can actually be quite misleading and damaging.
If you take a deeper dive inside the advanced reports offered by Google Analytics, you will find that quite often, campaigns that look terrible in Adwords are actually the very campaigns responsible for bringing all of the conversions.

Google Analytics

It is common to find that Remarketing and Branded Campaigns constantly outperform all of the other search campaigns.
Why is this? Remarketing only targets users who have been on your site (or on specific pages on your site).
Therefore, these users know exactly what to expect when clicking through to your website, the clicks are cheaper relative to search campaigns and they convert at a higher rate.
The same is typically true with Branded traffic.

On the flip side, there are the many search campaigns that target keywords which fall higher up in the decision making funnel.
These campaigns may show up as underperforming or downright unprofitable (it doesn’t matter whether you are running a lead generation campaign or an ecommerce campaign).
However, in many cases, these may actually be the very campaigns driving the conversions to the Branded and Remarketing Campaigns.

How can this be? Why don’t I see this conversion data in Adwords?

To understand the reason for this, one must understand how Google Adwords counts conversions.
By default, Adwords assigns the conversion to the last Adwords click in the 30 day period before the conversion occurred.
For example, if a user clicks on a search ad but does not immediately convert and later converts via a remarketing campaign, Google Adwords gives the conversion to your remarketing campaign.
This is despite the fact that if it were not for your search campaign, this user would have never come to your website in the 1st place!

Using the Assisted Conversions Report

To better understand how your search campaigns are performing in conjunction with your Remarketing and Branded Campaigns it is important to analyze the first click conversions via the Model Comparison Tool in Google Analytics.
This report can be viewed under the Conversions tab and the Assisted Conversions subtab.
If a user clicks on one of your campaigns at any point before converting, your campaign is credited with an assisted click.
Not all assisted clicks are created equal though.
As the main goal is typically to bring new traffic that will eventually convert, it is best to look at the First Interaction Analysis report.
This report only gives credit to a campaign for an assisted click if the campaign was the first click that initially brought this user to the website.

Once you run the report for the desired time period, click on the paid search tab to see your paid traffic segmented by source/medium.
Next, select campaigns as a secondary source in order to view your traffic by the individual campaigns.
In this example, you can see that the specific campaign has only 3 last click conversions.
However, the first click conversion report shows that in actuality, the campaign was responsible for 2x the amount of conversions.

Assisted Conversions

Far too often, PPC keywords, ad groups and campaigns are closed because they never reach this level of analysis.
It is extremely important to incorporate First Click Conversion analysis into everyday optimization.
If not, you may actually be inadvertently closing your top performers during routine optimization.


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