Counting conversions

As a business owner, you probably want to measure every sale you make. If you're generating leads, too, you might want to track all sales, but only unique leads.

With conversion tracking, you have the flexibility to count conversions according to your business needs. For any conversion action, you can choose to count every conversion that happens after a click, or only one conversion that happens after a click.

These counting choices can give you a better sense of your campaign performance and help you refine your bids.

Counting options

There may be multiple conversion actions you'll want to track because they reflect valuable activity for your business. You can select a different counting method for each conversion action.

To figure out which conversion counting option is best for each conversion action you track, let's take a closer look at the two counting settings:

  • Every conversion: With this setting, AdWords counts every conversion (per tracked conversion action) that happens after an ad click. This is a good choice if you'd like to track and improve your sales.

    Example

    You own a travel booking site used to reserve both hotel rooms and rental cars. You'd like to see how your ads drive each type of booking, so you choose to count every conversion. When someone traveling to Chicago, Denver, and New York books one hotel reservation in each city (three hotel reservations) and rental cars only in Chicago and Denver (two car reservations), this conversion setting will count five conversions.

  • One conversion: With this setting, AdWords counts only one conversion per ad click. This is a good choice if you're not interested in the number of sales, but instead whether or not a certain kind of lead was generated.

    Example

    You run an insurance company that offers home, auto, and life insurance, and measure conversions for each type of policy as a different conversion action. You'd like to see how well your ads drive people to fill out a form on your site requesting information about one or more insurance products.

    You notice people sometimes fill out multiple forms with different values for the same products. If the same person fills out three auto-insurance forms and two home-insurance forms, using one conversion will show you two conversions: one for each conversion action.

You may also want to count one conversion for some conversion actions and every conversion for others.

Example

You run a financial services firm and use AdWords to drive two conversions: sales of online tax software and leads for an in-person consultation service. You notice that people often make multiple purchases of the tax software—perhaps separate purchases for state and federal taxes. However, people also fill multiple lead forms—maybe for different office locations or appointment times.

While you would like to track every sale, you want to track only unique leads. You set the software sales conversion action to count every conversion, and the lead conversion action to count one conversion. If a click on your AdWords ad leads to two sales and two leads, you will see three conversions: one for each sale, and one for the unique lead.

Tip

For each conversion action, you can see the average number of conversions resulting from a click by looking at the repeat rate (every conversion / one conversion) in the "Conversion actions" table. To find this table, click Tools, and select Conversions.

 

Example

Your customers make an average of 1.3 purchases over a 30-day period after they click on your search or display ad. The repeat rate for your "purchase" conversion action will show a value of 1.3.

Set up and see data

When you set up or edit a conversion action, you'll see a "Count" section where you can choose how you'd like to count your conversions within your chosen conversion window. You'll need to repeat the process for every conversion action you wish to track.

Once you've made a choice and your AdWords account starts recording conversions, you'll see these conversions in your campaign data. Keep in mind: If you don't make a choice, AdWords will automatically use the "All conversions" setting.

Note: Default count settings

If you don't make a choice, AdWords will automatically use the default count setting. These defaults vary by conversion source, and are based on how most advertisers want to count that particular kind of conversion:

  • Every conversion is the default for website, in-app actions, clicks on your number on your mobile website, and import conversion actions.
  • One conversion is the default for calls from ads, calls to a phone number on your website, and app install conversion actions. For app installs, you can't edit the count setting, because more than one download of an app from the same click doesn't add value to your business.

You can change this setting anytime for any of your conversion actions. (Just keep in mind that the changes will only apply to future conversions for a particular conversion action, and won't apply to a conversion action's past data.)

See steps to change how you count conversions
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Tools menu, then select Conversions.
  3. Click the name of the conversion action you want to edit.
  4. Click Edit Settings.
  5. Click Count and make your choice.
  6. Click Done, then click Save.

Keep in mind

  • If you import goals from Google Analytics into AdWords, you can choose whether to count each goal as "Every conversion" or "One conversion." If you import the same goals into different AdWords accounts, you can choose a different counting setting for each account.
  • App installs can only be counted as "One conversion."

Conversion counting and bidding strategies

You can customize how you bid for conversions with the following settings:

The "Include in 'Conversions'" setting

For each conversion action, you can choose whether to include its data in your "Conversions" reporting column. The data in this column is used by automated bidding strategies like Target return on ad spend, Enhanced cost-per-click, or Conversion Optimizer. So, you can control which conversions you bid for by choosing whether or not to include each conversion action in your "Conversions" column.

If you uncheck this setting for a conversion action, these conversions will still be counted in your "All conversions" column.

See steps to change your "Include in 'Conversions'" setting
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Tools menu and select Conversions.
  3. In the table, click the name of the conversion action you want to edit.
  4. Click Edit settings.
  5. Click Include in "Conversions."
    • Check the box if you want to include these conversions in your "Conversions" column.
    • Uncheck the box if you don’t want to include these conversions in your "Conversions" column.
  6. Click Done, and then click Save.

The "Include advanced conversions" setting

The “Include advanced conversions” setting lets you include advanced conversion sources, like cross-device conversions, in your “Conversions” column. The data in this column is used by automated bid strategies like target CPA, target ROAS, and ECPC, so using this setting allows you to include cross-device conversions in the conversions you bid for.

If you leave this setting unchecked, you can still see these advanced conversions in your "All conversions" and "Cross-device conversions" columns.

To include advanced conversions, you must set your conversion bid metric to "Conversions," not "Converted clicks."

See steps to change your "Include advanced conversions" setting
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Tools tab and select Conversions.
  3. In the menu on the left, click Settings.
  4. Click Include advanced conversions.
    • Check the box if you want to include cross-device conversions in your "Conversions" column.
    • Uncheck the box if you don't want to include these conversions in your "Conversions" column.
  5. Click Save.

The conversion bid metric setting

The conversion bid metric setting tells AdWords which of the two conversion measurements it should use in an automated bid strategy. The default conversion bid metric is "Conversions" but you can also choose to use "Converted clicks." Learn more about the differences between these two metrics and why "Conversions" is recommended in our article Compare "Conversions" and "Converted clicks."

If you use a bid strategy focused on conversion value, such as Target ROAS, your conversion counting settings will always be used, regardless of your conversion bid metric. Target ROAS optimizes for conversion value, which always uses your conversion counting settings.

See steps to change your conversion bid metric
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Tools menu, then select Conversions.
  3. In the left menu, click Settings.
  4. Click Conversion bid metric and select an option.
  5. Click Save.

Keep in mind

You can't segment the "Converted clicks" column by conversion name or category, because each ad click can lead to multiple conversions. If you were to segment by conversion name, some converted clicks could be counted more than once, and your segmented converted clicks would add up to more than the total.

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