Until recently, we have been unable to quantify the value of non-brand keyword activity as effectively as we would have liked to. This is due to the fact that most tracking systems use a "last touch" attribution model by default, meaning that a conversion will be associated with the most recent campaign.
Yet visitor path analysis, visits to purchase data, etc, will often show us that visitors often make multiple visits to a site, often coming from more than one source (i.e. referrer, paid search, organic, etc) in completing the conversion process.
This is of course much more likely for those sites that tend to have a longer buying cycle, with shoppers comparing offers, researching the market, etc. The table below shows that in the case of this advertiser for example; 31.36% of conversions occur after 1 day, with almost 15% of conversion completing in over 12 days from the initial visit. This indicates that what is initially say, PPC traffic- may well convert from another source or from brand related terms, and if a conversion is completed on these terms, they will be credited.
The value and contribution of non-brand terms is often a topic of discussion and frequently an issue of contention! Thankfully to help the situation, Google has listened to our concerns and the sharper eyed amongst you will have noticed the new ‘Search Funnel Reports' addition within Google AdWords.
So what does this data tell us exactly?
Well, as mentioned above- for a long time we have known that non-brand contribution to conversions has been understated as the ‘last-click' conversion is, more often than not, on brand terms for many advertisers. This means that the brand terms take the credit, when in reality; non-brand terms did the initial fishing and captured that particular visitor- meaning they deserve some credit, right?
Previously, to credit non-brand campaign activity for sales that were perhaps finally made on a brand related return visit, we could to an extent use the utm_nooveerride=1 tag on destination URL's for Google Analytics, but now, if you have AdWords conversion tracking, we can get assisted conversion data within the AdWords interface- hooray!
What does it mean?
This means that we can now apportion, at least some of the credit for a conversion to non-brand terms. Some recent analysis has shown that one of our clients was experiencing a brand to non-brand split of 80-20% in terms of sales. With the assisted conversion data, we are now able to at least partially credit a further 20% of sales to non-brand terms, as these terms captured the initial visit. This obviously makes a huge difference and has really helped to highlight the value of non-brand keyword activity.
Where do I find this data?
The assisted conversion data is one of 8 search funnels that provide greater insight into your conversion activity. These features that can be found under the ‘Reporting' >> ‘Conversions' >> ‘Search funnels' tab within your AdWords account.
The table below shows how big an impact this has had on some campaigns, meaning that this may well be game-changing for those advertisers that can now attribute significant numbers of assisted conversions to non-brand campaign activity.
As marketers and advertisers it is very important we apply an attribution formula to this data as it is clear that the interactions that visitors have with sites, and how they move through the conversion process is rather complex.
The question is- how much value do we attribute to the campaign, ad group and keyword that assisted the conversion? Many advertisers are attributing a percentage to each of the converting sources but what seems appropriate is subjective and will vary between advertisers so...
...let the debate begin!