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6 Tips for Effective Bid Management in a World of Automated Bidding

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6 Tips for Effective Bid Management in a World of Automated Bidding

If automated bidding strategies are handling my bids for me, do I even need to pay attention to bidding? It’s pretty easy to ask this question, given the rise of automated bidding strategies (and automation in Google Ads in general).

The short, emphatic answer is YES.

The longer answer is still the same YES, but with a number of nuanced ideas about how and why you should pay attention and regularly check in on your bidding strategies.

So with that, here are my suggestions for managing your bidding strategies in the world of automated bidding.

Bid management tips in a world of automation

Before we dive into the tips, a quick refresher on bidding for those who need it:

When running Google Ads (or any PPC campaign, for that matter) there are a number of approaches you can take in how much you bid, based on how much budget you have, how fast or slow you want to spend it, what your objective is, the campaign’s performance, and more. This is your “bidding strategy.”

The tips below are going to help you in understanding the role you will manually play in setting, adjusting, and managing your bids in a world where automated bidding predominates.

1. Start by tracking everything properly

I cannot stress this enough: without proper tracking, automated bidding strategies won’t generate the performance you want. If you’re optimizing for anything aside from traffic, it’s imperative that you have conversion tracking, and in some cases revenue tracking, set up on your site and that you have all of your primary goals focused on those outcomes. Ok, with that PSA out of the way…

google ads conversion tracking - example of conversion screen that shows the status column

2. Choosing the right strategy

Once you have all of your conversions tracked properly, the next critical step is to choose the right bid strategy for your goals. Depending on the goals of your campaigns, different bid strategies might be a good fit while others could be a big miss.

For example, if you’re trying to sell products online, you might be able to leverage anything from Manual CPC, to Enhanced CPC, all the way through to Target CPA or Target ROAS.

If you’re trying to generate leads online, however, you may be able to use the first three, but unless you’re working with some solid CRM data, you likely aren’t going to see the benefit from Target ROAS bidding.

what is target roas - google ads bidding strategies chart

Some tips:

  • Do your research. There are plenty of help articles, blog posts, and videos out there to help you understand what each bidding strategy does to make sure you’re starting with the right one.
  • Make sure you have enough data to support this bid strategy decision. Although Google says otherwise, in my opinion, you really should have SOME level of conversion data in the account before you start utilizing strategies focused on conversions or cost per conversion. This ensures the bidding algorithm will have some insights to start with and won’t be starting completely from scratch.

If you don’t have that traction to start, it might be best for you to use Manual or Enhanced CPC to start, potentially even Maximize Clicks, then shift to another strategy later on. (We’ll talk more about changing strategies later in this post.)

3. Use the levers you have

Depending on which bid strategies you use, Google gives you a decent amount of control to help influence the performance of your campaigns.

For Impression Share bidding, you get to choose whether you’re targeting all Impressions, Top of Page, or Absolute Top of Page and then the percentage you have in mind.

google ads bid management tips - target impression share bidding

The Maximize Clicks strategy can be great to drive volume, but if you’re trying to keep your CPCs down, you can leverage the Max CPC bid limit in the settings section.

google ads bid management tips - maximize clicks

The same goes for Target CPA and Target ROAS within the Maximize Conversions and Maximize Revenue bidding strategies. You get to decide what goals you want your campaigns to shoot for. You don’t have to only stick with Google’s limits. But that opens up a new can of worms… we’ll get to that after a brief note about levers you might not have.

4. Be aware of the levers you don’t have

One of the things I love about Manual or Enhanced CPC bidding is the number of controls you’re given to adjust bids. For real, there are so many bid modifiers in a manual campaign:

  • Time of day
  • Day of week
  • Audiences
  • Location
  • Device
  • Demographics

Each of these lets you bid up or down on a percentage basis to get more or less aggressive on any specific subset of your audience.

But with automated bid strategies, the vast majority of these are removed. All of those decisions are left to the machines and calculated in real time.

For those of you naysayers, I understand that Google still lets you type in a number into the bid modifier field for audiences on a Target CPA campaign, but the algorithm is ignoring it.

Here is the only set of bid modifiers that work with any given bidding strategy. So when you’re determining what strategies make the most sense for you, take into account the levers you want/need to be able to use to optimize your campaigns and how your choice of bidding strategy will impact that control.

google ads bid management tips - bid adjustments

Image source

5. Understand how your limits impact performance

Setting a Target CPA (cost per action) is a great way to control costs in Google Ads. I personally use this strategy in most of my lead generation accounts because we know what a lead needs to cost for us to be profitable.

With this level of machine learning, many advertisers get excited to consistently pull back on CPA targets, lowering them regularly to bring costs down. But setting Target CPA goals that are too restrictive can backfire.

If your CPA goals are too low, Google will struggle to gain a foothold that meets your performance goals and will start to restrict ad impressions. This lowers your overall number of impressions, clicks, and eventually conversions. In my experience, once this gets too low, your CPA also spikes, doing the exact opposite of what you want.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you loosen or raise your CPA target to a higher amount, Google usually gets more aggressive and shows your ad more often, typically increasing volume and costs. While that might sound a little worrying, I’ve seen many cases where increasing the Target CPA simply gave Google more data to work with and our actual CPA actually went down.

Now it might sound like I’m using this section to convince you to increase your Target CPA goals and spend more money. But that’s not quite right. My point is more for you to make sure you’re not being TOO restrictive, then test incremental adjustments up or down based on your performance and volume goals to see what works in your account. You may be surprised that the actual impact of your changes might go against your first instinct.

6. Know when to change or test new strategies

Similar to choosing the right option to start, it’s also important for you to pay attention and know when you might benefit from a bid strategy change.

  • Are you not seeing the performance you want and changing the controls isn’t working?
  • Did your overall marketing objective change for that campaign?
  • Have you reached a new data threshold and can now upgrade from Maximize Conversions to Target ROAS?
  • Or did your data flow slow enough to where you might need to downgrade?

Regular reviews of your bidding strategies don’t always need to be robust and intense for you to determine whether it might be time to change.

You also don’t have to make the change at the first sign of distress or opportunity. Try setting up a Google Ads Campaign Experiment to see which strategy performs best (here’s a tutorial video on campaign experiments to help you out!).

google ads campaign experiments

You can even do this with nuances within a single bid strategy. Maybe you’re curious if increasing your ROAS target will help you be more efficient without sacrificing volume. Why not test it? Create a duplicated campaign, set your changes up to sync from one to the other, and change the ROAS target on your experiment to see how it does.

Stay in control of your bids in Google Ads

While automated bidding strategies might have taken over many of the optimizations that we advertisers used to make, that doesn’t mean that we can be completely tuned out. Whether it’s starting off on the right foot, using the available controls, or knowing when to test or change strategies, there’s plenty of influence you can still have to make sure you’re getting the most from your account.

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Account-Level Negative Keywords Now Available in Google Ads: What You Need to Know

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Account-Level Negative Keywords Now Available in Google Ads: What You Need to Know

While we’re all striving for different business and marketing goals with our PPC campaigns, we do all have one thing in common: to get the highest return on our investment. And there are a number of ways to facilitate that—one of which is through negative keywords.

And just recently, Google announced that account-level negative keywords are now available globally.

 

So what are they, what’s changing, and what does it mean? Read on to find out!

Quick refresher: What are negative keywords?

The PPC community includes advertisers of all levels, so before we dive into the announcement, let’s do a quick refresher on negative keywords. We do have a definitive guide to negative keywords which you are welcome to delve into, but we’ll cover the basics here:

When you create a Google Ads search campaign, you have to tell Google which keywords you are targeting/bidding on. These represent the queries that users type into the search bar that you want your ads to appear for. So if I’m selling box springs, I might target the keyword box spring and my ad might appear for queries like affordable box spring or box spring twin.

Conversely, negative keywords are the terms that you don’t want your ads to appear for. So if I only sell box springs, I might set mattresses as a negative keyword; or if the campaign is only for twin box springs, I’d want to add king box spring, queen box spring, etc. as negatives.

negative keyword match types in google ads

Image source

Negative keywords are important as they help your ads to appear only for the most relevant searches, which improves click-through rate and conversion rate and saves you from wasted spend.

What are account-level negative keywords?

You’ve always been able to create negative keyword lists for each of your campaigns. In account structure terms, this is called the “campaign level” and now, you can also set them at the account level. This means that if you have one term you want to set as a negative for all of your campaigns, instead of adding it to each individual negative keyword list in each campaign, you can just add it once at the account level and it will be applied across all campaigns.

What campaign types does it apply to?

When you set an account-level negative keyword, it will apply to all eligible search and shopping campaign types, which includes Search, Performance Max, Shopping, Smart Shopping, Smart, and Local campaigns (get a refresher on all Google Ads campaign types here).

In fact, negative keywords for Performance Max campaigns are account-level only, as noted by Jon Kagan in a recent #PPCChat:

Robert Brady responded saying this seems to encourage a second Google Ads account for PMax:

Julie Bacchini brought up the same idea in a separate thread, calling it “laughable” and ineffective.

A1.1:

I am not currently running any PMax campaigns in Google Ads, but their whole “we have solved brand terms” solution – letting you add account level brand negatives is laughable.

It neither addresses the issue advertisers have nor solves it.https://twitter.com/hashtag/PPCChat?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#PPCChat

— Julie F Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon) https://twitter.com/NeptuneMoon/status/1620470621380526080?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>January 31, 2023

 

How to add account-level negative keywords

To add account level negative keywords in Google Ads, go to Account Settings > Negative keywords. Click the plus button and enter them in.

account settings - account level negative keywords in google ads

For more help with managing your keyword lists in Google Ads, here are some additional resources:



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What the Big Tech Layoffs Mean for SMBs & PPC: 8 Key Takeaways

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What the Big Tech Layoffs Mean for SMBs & PPC: 8 Key Takeaways

Unless you live under a rock (I can say that because I’ve been known to camp out under a pebble or two), there’s no doubt that you’ve been hearing about one thing in the news lately:

Big Tech layoffs.

Microsoft, Google, Amazon.

It even has its own hashtag #layoffs2023.

Mass layoffs of any kind are unsettling no matter how applicable they are to you, but as a small business owner or marketer, you may have some concerns. Yes, this is “Big” Tech, but does this or will this have any implications for small businesses? Many of these companies are also ad platforms, so will this have any impact on PPC?

I’ve taken a dive into the story from this angle to provide you with some key takeaways. Read on to learn:

  • What’s happening in Big Tech?
  • Why are all these layoffs happening?
  • What does it mean for online advertising and small businesses?

What’s happening in Big Tech?

In January of 2023 we saw more layoffs in the Big Tech sector than in any month since the pandemic. To put things in perspective, there were 159,684 tech job cuts in 2022, but in January of 2023 alone, we saw 68,502. That’s more than 43% of what we saw in all of last year.

big tech layoffs 2022 vs 2023

Companies that have conducted mass layoffs in January and recent months include Google, Microsoft, Informatica Salesforce, Amazon, SAP, IBM, Spotify, Wayfair, Coinbase, and Vox Media.

As mentioned earlier, mass layoffs innately are concerning, but the reason why this situation is of particular interest is that not only is it unexpected, but it’s also being called one of the worst contractions in the industry’s history.

And it’s also a little peculiar when you look at it in relation to the labor market. As The Atlantic writer Derek Thompson points out:

  • During the 2010s, the labor market was weak but the tech sector was growing.
  • During the pandemic, the economy had a “flash freeze depression” while tech took off.
  • Today, the labor market is strong but tech is “bleeding.”

So what’s going on here?

Why are all these layoffs happening?

There are multiple factors at play, which Derek’s article does a great job covering. Here’s the rundown:

The expected tech “acceleration” from the pandemic turned out to really just be a “bubble.”

Tech companies, consumers, and investors alike all subscribed to the notion that the surge in remote work, ecommerce, and other online platforms during the pandemic put us on the fast track to the 2030s. But this has not been the case. We never made it there; we’re still just on our way and we’re settling back into the same speed of travel as in 2019. As a result, all of that expansion and investing now is in excess. Hence the contraction.

Inflation caused an advertising slump

Keep in mind that many of these tech companies—Google, Meta, Amazon, etc.— are also advertising platforms. And with inflation reaching its highest levels in 40 years in 2022, many businesses pulled back on advertising as this is often one of the first areas to see cuts during a shaky economy—not to mention the fact that advertising costs increased along with everything else.

Companies are preparing and adjusting

For some companies, the layoffs are happening also as a proactive measure. While inflation appears to be on the mend (it has dropped from 9% to 6.5%), economists, and therefore businesses and consumers are still wary of a recession. If these companies want to maintain profitability and to send the right message to shareholders, they need to prepare for businesses and consumers to continue cutting back on spend even in the new year—which means cutting back on spending themselves.

Of course there are spinoff theories and schools of thought, but these are the core reasons you’ll find woven throughout any coverage on the matter.

What does it mean for small businesses and PPC?

Alright, so now that you have a grasp on what’s happening and why, let’s talk about what this means for small businesses and PPC according to news articles, last week’s PPC chat discussion, and the very PPC experts who contribute to our blog! Here are some key takeaways that feel particularly pertinent:

1. Big tech is not at risk

“Revenue decline” doesn’t necessarily mean that any of these businesses are failing or on their way out. Remember, these aren’t just businesses, they are behemoths. And as Tech Reporter Bobby Allyn’s NPR article cited earlier states, while these changes are historic, they’re still small on a percentage basis.

These companies are still massively wealthy and Big Tech has been on a strong growth trajectory for the past ten years. Microsoft alone made $198 billion in revenue in 2022.

microsoft annual revenue

Image source

These measures aren’t a sign that they’re on the brink of disappearance, but rather course correction in accordance with the post-pandemic story as it unfolds, to get back on that growth trajectory.

2. This is only temporary; digital advertising will still grow

Given the above, it’s not surprising that many PPCers feel this is only temporary and aren’t concerned about there being a further economic downturn or ripple effect on small businesses or advertising in general.

Take digital marketing strategist, author, and speaker Anders Hjorth’s Tweet in #PPCChat, for example:

We also asked Brett McHale, founder of Empiric Marketing, LLC and regular WordStream contributor for his take on the matter and he shared the same sentiment:

“We have seen economic downturns and mass layoff lead to eventual booms/bubbles—what comes to mind is the 2008 economic crisis that eventually gave way to the tech boom of the 2010s. I’m not necessarily saying that is what is going to happen now, just that these economic situations tend to have a cyclical nature to them.”

It’s worth noting also that no one expressed concerns about any one platform in particular other than Twitter, for obvious reasons.

3. It could open up new opportunities

Another perspective that many PPC influencers and practitioners share is that with so many talented people out of work and with time on their hands, there is potential for new opportunities or movements to happen. Paid search manager Sarah Steman Tweeted in #PPCChat:

Mark Irvine, Director of Paid Media at Search Lab Digital and regular WordStream contributor (and former Streamer!), shared this viewpoint:

“The biggest piece to think of is that there are tens of thousands of people with top-quality talent reentering the industry who have years of experience working with large numbers of clients and varied budgets. They’re also well-versed in their former company’s tools and features and have unique insight into the industry from their past roles that many of us don’t have exposure to.”

4. We may see more small consultancies open up

Brett also sees new opportunities arising, more small consultancies in particular:

“I can see many talented professionals in the space making the transition from big brands to independent contract work. Taking on a W2 employee is a massive risk for a company whereas a 1099 employee is a much lower risk, both financially and legally. Talented folks who have lost their jobs might source their talent to multiple companies to create several sources of income for themselves and handle their own health benefits under their own LLCs. “

Navah Hopkins, Brand Evangelist at Optmyzr, regular WordStream contributor (and also former Streamer!) Navah Hopkins expressed the same:

“On a personal note, I often questioned whether I made a mistake not going for one of the big brands. When the layoffs happened, it cemented for me and many other digital marketers like me that we can thrive without “big brand safety.” I’m excited to see the rise of consultants and taking lessons learned to verticals that didn’t have access to the amazing talent now on the market.”

5. Agencies and large resellers have the most to gain

Another outcome we may see, Mark pointed out, is an influx of new talent to agencies and resellers.  Here’s what he had to say:

“Agencies and large resellers likely have the most to gain from this shuffle. Compared to small businesses, they’re in the best position to attract this new talent that has experience working across a large portfolio of clients. Additionally, Google’s most recent announcement is that of reembracing its partners, specifically resellers to enable more advertisers to grow on their platforms.”

google's turn to resellers

Resellers mentioned in the article include Accenture, Interactive, Incubeta, Jellyfish, and Media.Monks.

6. Advertisers need to be on guard

One potential concern that many PPCers agreed on was that with revenue in greater focus, ad platforms may start pushing features and upsells more so than genuinely helping advertisers succeed. This wouldn’t be a novel concept by any means (Google Ads automation anyone?), but it will be important to be extra vigilant, especially if you’re a beginner advertiser.

PPC influencer Robert Brady expresses this concern in his Tweet:

He also followed that up with:

And I feel like reps will be even more insistent on pushing features that help the platform and not advertisers. @robert_brady

Mark shared the same viewpoint:

“I’m going to be increasingly skeptical of new products released over the next ~120 days. Layoff rounds right before an earnings call is not coincidental. Product announcements aren’t coincidental either. There’s still lots of great teams at these companies that are making great things, but following a round of layoffs, a product manager isn’t going to boldly recommend that they push back their new anticipated tool for another quarter or two because it’s not ready. Implicit or not, many teams will feel the pressure to produce “quickly now” rather than “correctly later.” I would be extra skeptical of anything announced or anticipated before big days for their investors in April or July. Looking at you, GA4.”

7. Be prepared for outages and/or gaps in support

Another concern is that we could see a degradation in customer support or more outages. In fact, Google Ads was out for three hours on January 23.

Many agree that support is already lacking so this could be a pain point. Navah notes that these brands will be under higher scrutiny:

“The brands doing the letting go will be under more scrutiny than ever before. I suspect true return on investment with any of these platforms (Google, Microsoft, Amazon), as well as less patience for substandard service will be the main themes of higher churn for their customers. Many of us noted that it was odd Google Ads went down hours after the layoffs, and instances like these might become more common, and the industry will have less patience for it.”

8. Moderation and policy enforcement could suffer as well

Mark comments on this final concern (as if ad disapprovals weren’t already a pain point):

Unfortunately, I agree that traditional “cost centers” like customer support are going to be pulled from first. Particularly given the recent successes in AI like ChatGPT, it’s increasingly tempting to push AI in these areas.

However, I’m also worried that there’s temptation to pull away from areas like moderation or policy enforcement. Google has increasingly automated its policy enforcement over the past few years, to poorer results, and I imagine this will continue.

Twitter sets a dangerous precedent in eliminating its moderation teams and I think that lowered bar makes for poor incentives for other tech giants to dedicate resources to important non-revenue generating teams.”

headlines about twitter eliminating moderator staff

While I hope that companies continue to reinvest in their values, even things ensuring advertisers only pay for quality traffic and filter out invalid traffic are troubling. When no one is watching, are these tech companies going to improve or maintain their standards, or are they going to be tempted to water down that wine and charge advertisers for more traffic to influence their bottom line?”

So what’s the verdict?

If you haven’t been quite sure about how what’s going on with all of these Big Tech layoffs, my hope is that this article has demystified some of that for you. And as far as how you should be feeling, I’d say that a little concern is good, but panic? Not necessary. The experts and veterans in the industry aren’t taking any drastic measures. The idea is, as Ashton Clarke Tweeted to “help clients keep a level head and maintain stability.”

So long as you stay on top of the storyline, keep an eye on your metrics, and make PPC decisions based on data, not automated recommendations, your account and performance will stay in good shape!



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Why (& How) to Set Up Conversion Paths in Google Analytics (Successfully!)

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Why (& How) to Set Up Conversion Paths in Google Analytics (Successfully!)

Tracking your customer’s conversion paths helps you understand the journey your customers take before converting. Knowing this journey is critical as it shows you the areas to focus on to increase and accelerate conversions.

So what exactly are conversion paths and how do you track them? Keep reading to learn how to create successful conversion paths in Google Analytics so you can generate more leads and sales.

Table of contents

What is a conversion path in Google Analytics?

A conversion path is a series of actions a new website visitor takes before completing a desired action on your site, also known as a conversion. This action can be a form fill, a button click, a purchase, and more.

For example, suppose one of the goals on your website is to generate leads through an ebook. In that case, a conversion path will illustrate a connected channel of clicks that website visitors take to submit their contact information.

Here’s an illustration of some common conversion paths:

Image source

Conversion paths typically include a landing page, content offer, and a call to action button. You can also include thank you pages in your path.

Why are conversion paths important?

If you want to improve conversion on your website, you need to know what’s leading to those conversions. And since customers often take several actions before converting, it’s important to know the ins and outs of those behaviors.

Let’s dive deeper into some of the reasons why tracking conversion paths is so important for creating and maintaining a marketing action plan.

  • Know what’s working and what’s not. Knowing the behavioral paths of your leads and customers helps you to identify which campaigns and touchpoints are working so you can focus your budget and resources accordingly. For instance, you may notice that more of your users’ conversion paths start from PPC ads than your social ads so you can allocate more budget to PPC to boost your sales.
  • Identify bottlenecks in your funnel. Conversion paths help you to see where there are leaks in your funnel. For instance, you can see if there’s a drop-off for a particular offer, perhaps due to a bug, a tracking issue, or because an improvement is needed (such as to be more mobile-friendly, to have fewer fields, etc.)
  • Better understand your audience. You can also get insights into factors like location, income status, and gender to get a better feel for your target audience. For instance, you may notice a high cart abandonment rate among users in a particular location. You can look to see if the issue is a lack of localized payment methods, which you can improve on to better customer experience and boost conversion rates as a result.
  • Simplify campaign reporting. Finally, clear conversion paths allow you to easily gather metrics across channels, which helps you analyze your cross-channel marketing performance more accurately and boost your ROI.

How to set up conversion paths in Google Analytics

Now that you know the importance of conversion paths, it’s time to dive into how to set them up successfully in Google Ads and Google Analytics.

1. Set up your conversion tracking

To make use of conversion paths in Google Analytics, you of course need to establish what your conversions are. Depending on what marketing strategies you’re using, you can do this through Google Ads conversion tracking and/or through Google Analytics goal setup.

In Google Ads:

  • Go to Tools and settings > Measurement > Conversions
  • Click on +New Conversion Action.
  • Click on the Website
  • Input your website’s URL
  • Click on Scan

google ads conversion tracking setup

Next, you’ll set up your Google Tag, as shown below, then input the tag name and select the destination accounts.

conversion paths - google ads google tag

Set up your goals

You’ll also need to set up goals in Google Analytics. With GA4, this setup will be different, but for now, here’s what it looks like in Universal Analytics.

Click Admin on the bottom left corner.

Click on Goals

google analytics conversion path goals

After that, click on the custom option to set a new goal and add your goal description and details. Your description entails a name and goal type, as shown below.

google analytics conversion paths goal setup

Though there are four key types of Google Analytics goals you can choose from, your desired conversion action will determine your goal type.

  • Duration: These track how long users stay on your site before leaving, which you can use to track engagement.
  • Destination: These goals track when a particular page loads on your site as a way to track a conversion. For example the thank you page that triggers after an email newsletter signup or a thank you for your order page.
  • Pages per visit: These goals track the number of pages web visitors navigate before leaving your site—which can also be a helpful SEO metric.
  • Events: These goals track user interactions that Google does not typically record, like PDF downloads, button clicks, outbound link clicks, or even downloading a pricing quote for businesses like VoIP service providers.

After filling in your goal details, click on the value button to set your goal’s monetary value (we show you how to set conversion values here). Click “verify” and save.

Set up an attribution project

To use the conversion path report in Google Analytics, you must first create an Attribution project. Go to Explore> Conversion Paths, and then follow the prompts to set up your project.

google analytics new attribution project

Once you have your project set up, you can now create a conversion segment.

Create a conversion segment

Go to Conversions » Multi-Channel Funnels » Top Conversion Paths. Then click on Conversion Segments.
conversion paths google analytics - top conversion paths

Click on Create New Conversion Segment. The new segment can define your users from a particular geographic location, who buy a particular line of products, etc.

Define and name the new conversion segment. This ensures that your Google Analytics and your Data Studio show the same reports.

Click Apply then Save

Doing this will create a new conversion segment and also apply the segment to your conversion path report.

Now you’re ready to go!

Understanding the Top Conversion Paths report

With your conversion paths set up, you can now use the Multi-Channel Funnels report in Google Analytics to better understand your marketing attribution. This report will show you which channels contributed to a conversion on your site, such as organic, direct, paid, referral, and more.

To view these paths, go to Conversions » Multi-Channel Funnels » Top Conversion Paths
google analytics top conversion paths report

Pro tip: Set the date range to the last three months. Remember, the time lag to conversion can run into days or weeks, so set your date range for at least the last three months. This is also often enough time to gain actionable data.

Understanding the Assisted Conversions report

Within the same tab in Google Analytics is another attribution modeling tool called the Assisted Conversions report.  Assisted conversions for a given channel are all the channels that assisted or led to conversion but weren’t the final interaction.

For instance, say a user scans a QR code for app download but decides not to download the app immediately. Later, they download the app through a link on your social media. While the social link tap is considered the last-click conversion, your QR code played the assisted conversion role which may not be accounted for by the conversion metrics.

The flowchart below illustrates assisted interactions further.

google analytics assisted conversions

Image source

It’s important that you understand assisted conversions to identify marketing channels that introduce customers to your product. Then you can tailor your marketing strategies to ensure you attract quality leads from these channels and boost your conversion rates.

By understanding assisted conversions, you can also attribute values to paths and clicks in the line that made way for the final conversion, such as referral links, ads, etc., as shown in the report below.

google analytics assisted conversions report

Doing this not only helps you understand the role of various assisted conversion channels but also goes beyond the last-click conversion to provide a clear picture of your campaign performance and the general customer journey.

Get your conversion paths set up today

Conversion paths in Google Analytics enable you to track user activity on your site and analyze your campaign’s performance, giving you insight into the best performing marketing channels. These insights then help you to allocate your resources accordingly and identify optimizations to boost your conversion rates.

About the author

David Pagotto is the Founder and Managing Director of SIXGUN, a digital marketing agency based in Melbourne. He has been involved in digital marketing for over 10 years, helping organizations get more customers, more reach, and more impact.

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