27 Sep 2017 Better AdWords goal tracking (thanks to Apple ;-)
There are a couple of important news in how AdWords tracks and reports conversions.
First of all, Google Analytics started to save new cookies (_gac) with AdWords GCLID auto-tagged data in order to comply with new Intelligent Tracking Prevention functionality announced by Apple last June, which could have blocked users tracking in Safari (look for more details in this Search Engine Land post). This means that conversions imported by Analytics will now be more accurate, as the system will have a double check in identifying users who clicked on AdWords ads before converting (using Safari or not). But, most important, if you did not enable auto-tagging in AdWords (active by default) and did not link your account to Analytics, you should do it immediately or you might loose conversions coming from Safari users (more or less 20% of web surfers).
I also hope that this will help in future to track View Through conversions in display campaigns (ie conversions made by users who have seen our ad but did not click on it), which is now the most important limitation in importing conversions from Analytics instead of using the native AdWords goal tracking code (apart from time lag in importing data, of course). Here you will find more details about this: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/7519794.
Second thing. In the coming months conversion columns will automatically be added with “data-driven” conversions, other than the “last AdWords click” model (which is the default and attributes conversion to AdWords when there is at least one click on an ad in the time window considered) and “last non-direct click” (which attributes the conversion to the last channel that led the user to the site, excluding direct visits, which is the default in Analytics). In essence, it should be a more realistic estimate of conversions that other attribution models would have not credited to AdWords.
In my accounts, the data-driven model does not greatly modify conversion numbers, but in campaigns with longer and more complex conversion paths, there may be much more influence on the data. If you want to see what kind of change your conversion data might experience, you can do so in AdWords by displaying a comparison report between the different attribution models (in the new interface, click on the top right hand account settings menu >”Search network attribution”>”Attribution models”). The new model will initially be limited to the search network alone and will not be available for GDN campaigns. Here you can find more details about this: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/7521212
If you are still not tracking/importing conversions in your AdWords account: Shame on you! You cannot call yourself a PPC professional! 😉
Have a look to this post that (I hope) will open your eyes on what you should have already done ages ago: how to track conversions in Analytics to optimize AdWords campaigns
May the ROI be with you 😉