By Niyi Duro-Emanuel

The brand new AdWords search funnel reports are the latest tool offering from Google for paid search marketers and has now been rolled out over the last couple of weeks or so. Search funnel reports essentially provide a more detailed view of conversion data that previously only showed the last click a buyer went through that resulted in a purchase on your site.

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A key feature of the funnel is the report which shows each search term that assisted in a conversion, either through clicks or impressions. The data will outline the path any given buyer takes that ends with a conversion on your site.

Consider the following scenario of a buyer in the market for a new TV:

  • The buyer starts with the search term “37 inch hd tv" which triggers your ad that is then clicked. The buyer has a look around the site but does not commit to a purchase and continues to research.
  • 24 hours later the buyer searches “sony 37 inch HD tv" which triggers an impression but no clicks on the ad.
  • Finally two days later the buyer searches for “sony kdl37s550″ which results in a click on the ad and a conversion on your site.

Previously conversion data would show only “sony kdl37s550" as being the sole contributor to the conversion, but with the new Adwords search funnel the keywords “37inch hd tv" and “sony 37 inch HD tv" will register as a click assisted conversion and impression assisted conversion respectively. Using this data, advertisers can now more accurately weigh the importance of keywords that generate impressions and/or clicks that do not lead to conversions. One very good use of this data would be for those campaigns that rely heavily on brand terms converting; advertisers can now see clearly what other keywords in the campaign are contributing to the conversions.

The funnel is easily manipulated to take this even further with the first and last click analysis options. Each keyword can be evaluated to see the proportion of times it acted as a first click conversion, last click conversion and assisted click conversion.

This new “assist" data that Google is providing us does not have any effect on the quality scores of the keywords in the campaign. So those non-converting assist keywords that can now be identified as valuable to your campaign don't get an extra boost in the quality score stakes for providing the pass that leads to the score. This probably means higher cost per clicks on these keywords as advertisers get wise to their value.

Quite handily this information is available with different levels of specificity from campaign down to keyword level.

The reports show various other interesting metrics like the average amount of clicks or impressions that lead to a conversion in your campaign (Path length) and the average time it takes for a conversion to occur (Time Lag). This will allow advertisers to better understand the behaviour of consumers within their particular market. So if I know that customers searching for my products tend to take an average of a week to convert, I might want to start a seasonal promotion on Adwords a couple of weeks earlier than usual. This average time lag can be calculated based on the first time an impression was registered on your ad and either the first or last time the ad was clicked on.

The funnels have started to appear on our accounts, so once it has been put through its paces by our elite group of PPC geeks, we will give you an update. At first glance all things certainly point to 2 thumbs up!

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