Search Funnels reports and conversion data

Once you've set up Conversion Tracking, you'll have access to a handy set of reports about your conversions (those important actions your customers take on your website, such as a purchase or email sign up).

These reports are called Search Funnels. "Search", of course, refers to people searching on Google. "Funnels" refers to the series of steps your customers take before completing a conversion. Think of it as a passage (or funnel) through which your customer reaches the conversion.

Search Funnels can give you more detailed information about ads, clicks, and other elements that are part of your online campaign. This gives you a better sense of your customers and, ultimately, the effectiveness of the ads and keywords that you've created.

We'll tell you where to find Search Funnels reports and what they can tell you below.

Find reports

Guided tour: Search Funnel reports

Click the "Show me how" button below to go to your account and be guided through your Search Funnels reports. Or, you can read the instructions below.



Show me how

Find your conversion tracking reports
  1. Click the Tools and Analysis tab in your AdWords account, and select "Conversions".
  2. On the left-hand side of the page, click the Search Funnels link.
  3. You'll now see a series of reports that you can click on to learn more about your clicks and conversions.
Add conversion data information to tables on your Campaigns tab
  1. On the Campaigns tab, look to the table below and click the Columns button.
  2. There, you'll see data that you can add to your data table. Select the boxes of the data you'd like to include.

Reports and data

Besides the Overview and Top Conversions report that you'll see on the Search Funnels page, you'll also find several more detailed types of reports. Conversion reports are based on many-per-click conversions unless stated otherwise. These include the following:

  • Reports on customer search patterns
    This report, known as Top Paths, shows you the most common paths that your customers take to complete a conversion. It provides this information based on the ads that were shown or clicked, or both, before a conversion took place. Within this report, there are four more specific reports. Click the links below to learn about each one: Top Paths (Clicks) report

    This report shows the sequence of keywords that customers clicked before completing a conversion, and how frequently that sequence happened.

    For example, the fourth row of this Top Paths (Clicks) report shows that there were 24 conversions in which the customer first clicked on an ad for the keyword "interesting blogs to read", then an ad for the keyword "read blogs", and then an ad for "funny blogs to read", before completing a conversion. This report is available at campaign, ad group and keyword levels.

    Top Paths (Impressions) report

    This report shows the numerous related keywords customers searched with before completing a conversion. It also shows the sequence of keywords where your ads appeared for customers as they searched, regardless of whether they clicked.

    For example, the top row of this Top Paths (Impressions) report shows that there were 199 conversions in which the customer first searched and saw an ad for the keyword "funny blogs", then searched again and saw an ad for the same keyword before completing a conversion. For each of these paths, the customer could have clicked on either ad, or both. This report is available at campaign, ad group, and keyword levels.

    To protect people's privacy, this report is cut off at a frequency of 10 or fewer conversions.
    Top Paths (Query Paths) report

    This report shows actual customer searches. This is different to Keyword Paths in Search Funnels, which reflect the keywords that were matched by the customer's search.

    For example, this report shows that 9 customers searched for "famous blogs" twice before converting.

    Query Paths will only reflect clicked search ads, not search impressions. A small number of conversions - where certain data couldn't be detected - may be filtered from the Query Paths report.

    Top Paths (Transitions) report

    This report also shows paths, but collapses any keywords that were repeated along the way. This is useful for seeing conversion paths that consist of different keywords and how customers move between keywords.

    For example, the top row of this Top Paths (Transitions) report shows that there were 30 conversions where the customer first searched and clicked on an ad for the keyword "funny blogs" one or more times, then searched and clicked on an ad for the keyword "funny blog" one or more times before converting. This report is available at keyword, ad group and campaign levels.

  • Reports based on different attribution models
    An attribution model is the rule, or set of rules, that determines how credit for conversions is assigned to steps on conversion paths. Click the link below to learn more about the Attribution Modelling Tool: Search Funnels Attribution Modelling Tool

    The Search Funnels Attribution Modelling Tool offers five models for assigning value to the keywords, ad groups and campaigns that lead to conversions.

    Most advertisers measure the success of their online advertising on a "last click" basis. This means that they give all credit for a conversion to the last-clicked keyword, which is low in the funnel. But the path to a conversion is complex. On that path, customers can interact with many different AdWords ads. Giving the last click full credit for a conversion results in missed opportunities to influence customers higher in the funnel.

    By recognising the value of upper-funnel keywords, you can drive more customers through the funnel and generate more conversions as a result.

    The attribution models included in the Search Funnels Attribution Modelling Tool are:

    Last Click model Last click: Gives all credit for the conversion to the last-clicked keyword

    First Click model icon First click: Gives all credit for the conversion to the first-clicked keyword

    Linear model icon Linear: Distributes the credit for the conversion equally across all clicks on the path

    Time Decay model icon Time decay: Gives more credit to clicks that happened closer in time to the conversion

    Position Based model icon Position-based: Gives 40% of credit to both the first- and last-clicked keyword, with the remaining 20% spread out across the other clicks on the path

    Example

    You own the Hotel Paulina in Florence, Italy. A customer finds your site by clicking on your AdWords ads after performing all of these searches: "hotel tuscany", "hotel florence", "3 star hotel florence" and then "3 star hotel paulina florence". She makes a reservation after clicking on your ad that appeared with "3 star hotel paulina florence".

    • In the "Last Click" attribution model, the last keyword, "3 star hotel paulina florence", would receive 100% of the credit for the conversion.
    • In the "First Click" attribution model, the first keyword, "hotel tuscany", would receive 100% of the credit for the conversion.
    • In the "Linear" attribution model, each keyword would share equal credit (25% each) for the conversion.
    • In the "Time Decay" attribution model, the keyword "3 star hotel paulina florence", would receive the most credit because it was searched for closest to the conversion. The "hotel tuscany" search would receive the least credit since it was earliest.
    • In the "Position-based" attribution model, "hotel tuscany" and "3 star hotel paulina florence" would each receive 40% credit, while "hotel florence" and "3 star hotel florence" would each receive 10% credit.

    You can compare up to three different attribution models at once. To find keywords, ad groups or campaigns that are undervalued on a last-click basis, start by comparing two different models.

    • Compare the “Last click” model to the “First click” model to identify undervalued keywords that are starting customers down the conversion path. This is particularly valuable if you’re looking to drive more new customers to your website.
    • Compare the “Last click” model to the “Linear” model to identify undervalued keywords that are assisting customers all along the conversion path. This is particularly valuable if you want to stay in touch with customers throughout their purchase process.

    To access the Search Funnels Attribution Modelling Tool, follow these steps:

    1. Sign into your AdWords account.
    2. Click the Tools and Analysis tab, then select Conversions.
    3. On the left-hand side of the page, click the Search Funnels link.
    4. Click Attribution Modelling at the bottom of the left-hand navigation menu.
    5. Select the dimension for which you want to view attribution models: Campaign, Ad Group or Keyword
    6. Click Last Click model Last Click to change the attribution model you want to see, or click Select model to add another model to compare with "Last Click." You can search for specific keywords, ad groups or campaigns from the search box above the table.

    For My Client Centre accounts, follow these steps:

    1. Sign into your AdWords My Client Centre account.
    2. On the left-hand side of the page, click Conversions. Under the “Conversions” menu, click Search funnels.
    3. Follow steps 4 through 6 above.
  • Reports on assist clicks, assist impressions, and assisted conversions
    Often, the "last click" before a conversion gets all the credit. But there are also little helpers that might've also guided your customers towards that conversion. Specifically, these are:
    • Assist clicks: All the clicks leading up to a conversion - except for the last click - for each keyword.
    • Assist impressions: Ads that showed but weren't clicked by a customer as they searched.

    The Assist Clicks and Impressions report identifies these little helpers, so that you can see how useful they are to your campaigns. Click the link below to see more details about this report:

    Assist Clicks and Impressions report

    This report shows you the assist clicks and impressions that might have helped users get to that last click before they purchased your product or signed up for your newsletter.

    It also show you ratios for assist click/last click and assist impressions/last clicks. These ratios further help identify keywords that otherwise might not be noticed if you only looked at last clicks.

    This report is based on one-per-click conversions.

    Example

    You own a spa for dogs, and you're running an online campaign. One of your keywords, "free paw massage", gets a lot of last clicks before customers finally buy for their pooches. Another one of your keywords, "dog pampering", doesn't get a lot of last clicks. But then you look at an Assist Analysis report and see that this keyword brings a lot of customers to your website, people who like to browse around for a bit before purchasing your services. Because of this, you invest more in "dog pampering", which brings even more traffic to your site.

    The best way to confirm the assist value of a keyword is by testing it to see if increased investment yields improved ROI.

    Assisted Conversions report

    Although similar to the "assist clicks" report, the "assisted conversions" report has some important distinctions. Rather than looking at how many assist clicks or impressions your advertising provided, these tabs show the number of conversions your advertising assisted.

    For example, if a customer clicked on two ads for the keyword "merchandise" before later clicking on an ad for the keyword "store" and converting, this would have counted as two "assist clicks" but only one "assisted conversion".

    This report is a great resource to identify quickly which keywords are helping to drive the most conversions. You may find that some keywords are the last click for very few conversions, but actually assisted many conversions. In those instances you may choose to test increasing investment for these keywords to see whether you can drive more conversions for your business.

    Include Assist Data in your core reports

    Since assist and assisted-conversion data is most useful when considered alongside the rest of your performance data, we've made this information available within your keyword, adgroup, campaign and ad reports. Statistics such as assist clicks, assist impressions, and assisted-conversions can give you a more complete picture of the value of your individual keywords. To include this data in your core reports, simply navigate back to one of these tabs, click "customise columns", and look for the Search Funnels category on the left-hand side of the column customisation drop down menu. By integrating this information directly into your reports, you can more easily make targeted decisions based not only on conventional metrics like average cost-per-click (CPC), click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate, but also based on the value your keywords contribute throughout the entire search experience.

    Keep in mind, if Conversion Tracking is currently enabled, but you aren’t seeing data in these columns, it could be that there’s no data for the date range you’ve selected. (This data is not available for dates prior to 1 May, 2011).

  • Reports on first and last clicks
    First click is a good way to find what keywords introduce customers to your site, while last click helps you see what completed the conversion. Think of these as different salespeople in a department store: one salesperson might be the person who first spoke to the customer, while another salesperson closed the deal.
  • Reports on timing
    These reports can give you a sense of the steps your customers take or the pages they visit as they complete a conversion. This process is often called a funnel, which leads to a conversion or business goal. These reports can also give you a sense for how long a funnel takes.

Click the links below to learn more about each report:

Path Length

This report gives you a high-level look at the steps your customers take or pages that they look at on their way to completing a conversion.

Here's one that focuses on clicks:

This shows that most of your conversions happen after multiple clicks, which tells you that there might be some opportunities to refine your keywords and ads. Keep in mind, this report only reflects the keywords and ads in your account, so if these paths of clicks seem shorter than you might expect, that's why.

You can also use the Path Length report to look at impressions. For example, you can see whether most conversions happen after the customer searches multiple times or the first time that he or she sees your ad.

Time Lag

As you probably guessed, this report has to do with time. Specifically, it's how much time it takes for a customer to complete a conversion after the following:

  • The first impression of a display ad
  • Their first click on your website
  • Their last click on your website

Overall, there's a lot of great data and information to glean from your AdWords account. Because it might take some time to remember all of it, click the link below for a cheat sheet on the terms that we've mentioned here.

Conversion terminology cheat sheet
  • Assist Clicks: Any search ad click that happened prior to the "last click" before a conversion.
  • Assisted Conversions: The number of conversions that were assisted by a particular campaign, ad group or keyword. Assisted conversions don't include last click conversions.
  • Assist Clicks / Last Clicks: The ratio of assist clicks / last clicks for a particular campaign, ad group or keyword.
  • Assist Impressions: Any search ad impression that wasn't clicked and happened prior to a conversion.
  • Assist Impressions / Last Clicks: The ratio of assist impressions / last clicks for a particular campaign, ad group or keyword.
  • Attribution: Assigning value to the different interactions on a customer’s conversion path.
  • Last Clicks: Any search ad click that happened just before a conversion.
  • Last Click Conversions: The number of conversions that had a particular campaign, ad group or keyword as the immediately preceding search ad click.
  • Path Length (Impressions): The total number of search ad impressions that preceded a conversion. These could have been clicked or not clicked.
  • Path Length (Clicks): The total number of search ad clicks, including the "last click," that preceded a conversion.
  • Time Lag (from first impression): The total amount of time from when the viewer first sees one of your search ads (clicked or un-clicked) until conversion.
  • Time Lag (from first click): The total amount of time from when the user first clicks on one of your search ads until conversion.
  • Time Lag (from last click): The total amount of time from when the "last click" happened, until conversion. There can be significant lag from last click, as AdWords will count a conversion happening after the last click within your conversion window.
  • Top Paths (Clicks): Describes the sequence of search ad clicks leading up to conversion. Can be at the keyword, ad group, and campaign level.
  • Top Paths (Impressions): Describes the sequence of search ad impressions leading up to conversion. Can be at the keyword, ad group and campaign level.
  • Top Paths (Clicks, Transition Only): Collapses consecutive "repeat clicks" on a conversion path.
  • Top Paths (Impressions, Transition Only): Collapses consecutive "repeat impressions" on a conversion path.

View-through conversion data

A View-through Conversion happens when a customer sees an image or rich media ad, then later completes a conversion on your site. This is different from a Click-through Conversion, which happens when a customer had previously clicked on an ad (such as on the Google Search or the Google Display Network) and then completed a conversion on your site.

Keep in mind

View-through conversions automatically exclude conversions from people who’ve also clicked your Search ads.

Benefits of view-through conversions

View-through conversions is a helpful way to track the value of your display ad campaigns on the Google Display Network. That's because it measures the conversions where a customer saw -- but didn't click -- a display ad on the Google Display Network before completing a conversion. In turn, this can help determine the best places to advertise.

Review view-through conversions

To review your view-through conversion settings for a particular conversion action, follow these steps:

  1. Sign into your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Tools and Analysis tab, then select conversions.
  3. Click the conversion you'd like to edit, then click the Advanced tab.
  4. Adjust the view-through conversion window.

Low conversion data

Sometimes, conversion numbers are lower than you might expect on your reports. This can happen for a few reasons. Here are the most common ones:

  • Conversions are counted within your chosen conversion window.
    AdWords Conversion Tracking only records conversions that happen within your chosen conversion window after an AdWords ad is clicked. So, if your customer completes a conversion after that time, it's not recorded.
  • Customer disabled cookie
    If a customer disabled cookies in her web browser before visiting your website, or blocks Google's conversion tracking cookie, we can't record her conversions – there's no cookie to record the information.
  • Customer didn't get to your site through Google
    If a customer reached your site through a search engine other than Google, his conversions won't be recorded.

Tips

  • You can select between 30 (default), 60 and 90 days of history data leading up to a conversion using the conversion history window. For any time span you select, you’ll be able to see the search ad impressions and clicks within that time period prior to a conversion. The information will be included in each Search Funnels report, with the option to toggle between time spans.
  • You can compare Display Network conversion and search conversion rates in your reports down to the ad group level.
  • Pausing your campaign or capping your budget can cut off potential customers who're in the middle of researching your products.
  • If you know customers are visiting multiple times before conversion, consider re-engaging these repeat visitors -- say, with targeted website content or a discount.

Next step

See how to optimise your conversions.