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» Google Adwords, Paid Search in General, Web Analytics » Should We Take Google’s “View-Through” Conversion Tracking Seriously?

Should We Take Google’s “View-Through” Conversion Tracking Seriously?


So what is your opinion of Google’s “View-Through” Conversion Tracking? Well, after reading a few blog posts on the subject, the first thing that came into my mind was “how do I effectively convince a client that we should measure this?“. Google interprets these conversions based on our eyes and not with our clicks? Are they trying to monetize something to keep people spending on the Content Network?  Well, after reading up on this, I get more clarification but many more questions. Let’s discuss…

In a Nutshell: Google tracks visitors/users through the Adsense cookie only when a visitor may have seen a Display Ad on that web page. Again, this is not tracking clicks, just our eyeballs. So, it’s an invisible conversion. Also, this only works for Display Ads (sorry Text Ads) and it only tracks up to 30 days. So if the visitor happens to make a purchase by any other method (direct, organic, etc…) Google is attributing this conversion back to the Content Network so you can keep spending more and more money.

What does Google say? According to Google, “View-through conversion tracking provides you with additional information related to the value of your display campaigns on the Google Content Network. This feature provides a measure of the number of online conversions that happened within 30 days after a user saw, but did not click, a display ad on one of the sites on the Google Content Network. You can use View-through conversion tracking to better measure return on investment (ROI) for your display campaigns and optimize your campaigns based on how users are responding to your display ads.”

Here’s the biggest problem. Client Adoption as a viable conversion metric.

I find it very difficult to convince a client or a CMO to take these “View Through” Conversions seriously, because it is/was not originally included in most PPC based CPA metrics (ie ROAS% thresholds in which the agency/client agreement were based on). In fact, Google makes it clear that all View-Through Conversions are NOT TRACKED in Google Analytics and NOT COMPATIBLE with Goals in Google Analytics neither. Hmmn, so were trusting our ad dollars to a 30 day cookie where even their own Analytics cannot track it.

So, this now opens up a can of worms for the PPC Guru because it creates an Attribution problem where even though overall sales might be better, PPC is not getting the credit it deserves. I know it sounds like Google is trying to help identify attribution, but it’s not realistic enough YET.

In Conclusion:

Unless there is more available data to measure, I would not take Google’s View-Through Conversion metric seriously. In hindsight, it’s pretty cool, snazzy and a good way to get more advertisers to spend more money on the Content Network. However, if the PPC guru’s bottom-line is based on actual and measurable conversions, I would stay away from it.

Filed under: Google Adwords, Paid Search in General, Web Analytics · Tags: , , , , , , , ,

One Response to "Should We Take Google’s “View-Through” Conversion Tracking Seriously?"

  1. Stephane says:

    Hi Greg, we typically recommend that clients take view-through conversion metrics with a “pinch of salt”. At the very least, advertisers should tweak their view-through conversion window and de-dupe with search. We recently published an article on the subject here: http://www.onlinemarketr.com/blog/403/view-through-conversions-fact-or-fiction/

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