Counting conversions

As a business owner, you probably want to measure every sale your customers make. Or you might want to measure only unique sales.

With Conversion Tracking, you have the flexibility to count conversions according to your business needs. For any conversion action, you can choose to count all conversions that happen after a click, or only unique conversions that happen 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:

  • All conversions: With this setting, AdWords counts all conversions (per tracked conversion action) that happen 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 all your conversions. 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.

  • Unique conversions: With this setting, AdWords counts only unique conversions that happen after an 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 unique conversions will show you two conversions: one for each type of conversion action.

You may also want to count only unique conversions for one conversion action and all conversions for another.

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 all conversions, and the lead conversion action to count unique conversions. 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 (all conversions / unique conversions) in your reports.

Example

Your customers make an average of 2.5 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 2.5.

Set up and see data

When you set up Conversion Tracking, you'll reach a "Settings" page 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.

You can change this setting anytime for any of your conversions. (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 at http://adwords.google.com.
  2. Click the Tools tab, then select Conversions.
  3. Click the name of the conversion action you want to edit.
  4. Click the Edit Settings tab.
  5. Select the drop-down menu under "Count" and make your choice.

Conversion counting and bidding strategies

If you use a bid strategy focused on conversions, such as Enhanced CPC or Target CPA, your conversion counting settings will only be used for bidding if your conversion bid metric is set to "Conversions." If you set your conversion bid metric to "Converted clicks," your counting setting won't affect automated bidding because it doesn't change the counting of 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 to "Conversions"
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at http://adwords.google.com.
  2. Click the Tools tab, then select Conversions.
  3. Click the Settings tab.
  4. Click the Edit button.
  5. Next to "Conversion bid metric," select "Conversions."

Changes to conversion counting and column names

We've recently made some changes to conversion reporting. The most notable changes are more flexible conversion counting options and clearer column names in conversion reports. See below for more detailed info about what’s changed.

Changes to column names

"Conversions (1-per-click)" has been renamed "Converted clicks." This new column name is a more accurate representation of what this column actually counts: clicks that result in one or more conversions.

"Conversions (many-per-click)" has been replaced by a new "Conversions" column that has additional functionality. This column will count conversions based on your conversion counting settings ("All conversions" or "Unique conversions").

What happens if you do nothing

If you leave your conversion actions set to count all conversions, your reports will simply have different column names: “Conversions (many-per-click)” will be renamed “Conversions,” “Conversions (1-per-click)” will be renamed “Converted clicks,” and the numbers will look the same as before until you change your settings.

Automated bidding solutions like Conversion Optimizer and eCPC will continue to function as they did previously for both the “Converted clicks” column and the “Conversions” column.

Effect on estimated total and cross-device conversions

Even if you are just tracking a single conversion action and only want to count unique conversions, we recommend paying attention to the “Conversions” column in your reports for any comparisons to estimated conversion data (rather than simply relying on “Converted clicks”). Estimated conversions will reflect your chosen counting method (“All conversions” or “Unique conversions”), so the comparisons between estimated and actual conversions will be more meaningful.

Additionally, if you choose to count unique conversions, the estimated cross-device conversions will also be based on unique conversions instead of all conversions.

Example

Each customer generates an average of two leads on your website. During a day you get 100 unique customers from AdWords and 200 lead conversions. Only 90 are tracked accurately, and 10 convert on a different device.

Previously, your columns would have shown:

  • Conversions (many-per-click): ~180 (90 customers tracked accurately x 2 conversions per customer)
  • Conversions (1-per-click): 90
  • Est. total conv.: 200 (includes cross-device estimates)

If you choose to count unique leads you’ll now see:

  • Conversions: 90
  • Converted clicks: 90
  • Est. total conv.: 100 (includes cross-device estimates)

Note

Cross-device estimates of converted clicks aren’t available.

Updating your reports

Since we've made changes to column names, you'll need to update any saved or downloadable reports. You can do this with a single click from your reports page. You'll see a message about the change with an "Update now" button.

If you're using downloaded reports in other software that relies on the column names, you'll need to update the names in your software before updating your AdWords reports. The old column names in your existing downloadable reports will only be available in AdWords for a limited time.

Keep in mind

  • If you import goals from Google Analytics into AdWords, you can choose whether to count each goal as "All conversions" or "Unique conversions." If you import the same goals into different AdWords accounts, you can choose a different counting setting for each account.
  • App downloads can only be counted as "Unique conversions."
  • The "Converted clicks" column can't be segmented by conversion action, since an ad click can lead to multiple conversion actions.