Search Funnels and Conversion Analysis

By Kaitlyn Smeland Dhanaliwala | Sep 30, 2010
More Articles by Kaitlyn

Earlier this year, Google AdWords released a reporting feature on search funnels.  This feature allows advertisers to see the search queries which assisted in an eventual conversion.

For campaigns which have conversion tracking installed, a conversion is attributed to the ad and keyword which brought in the last click just before the converting action.  However, it is possible that the converting user had already conducted a number of other searches within the previous 30 days, seeing the advertiser’s ad or perhaps even clicking through to get more information.  Search funnels give a little more insight into the overall path the user took to reach conversion.

For example, let’s say the top-converting keyword in the AdWords account of a digital camera manufacturer is “BrandABC digital camera D250″  A user searching on that phrase would obviously be familiar with the brand and model number of a specific camera.  The high conversion rate makes sense; someone having done that level of research may be closer to the end of the buying cycle than someone searching on a more generic term like “top digital cameras.”

In fact, let’s say that the keyword “top digital cameras” gets a much lower conversion rate in our fictional AdWords account.  Before we decide whether to bid it down, pause it, or test a new landing page for it, Search Funnels can help give a more complete picture of the true value of the keyword.


To review your account’s Search Funnel data, click on the “Reporting” tab in your AdWords account.  Select “Conversions.”  In the right-hand pane of the screen, click on “Search Funnels.”

search funnels interface

There are a few reports of particular interest here:

1.  Assist Clicks and Impressions. See the keywords which resulted in more assisted-click conversions than last-click conversions.  You can also see the keywords who registered impressions (no initial clicks) which eventually resulted in a conversion from another search query within 30 days later.

2. Top Paths. This report shows whether keywords assisting in conversions under other keywords are located in separate campaigns or ad groups.  This report will also show exactly which keywords assisted exactly which other keywords.

3. Path Length. This report tells advertisers the number of conversions which required 1, 2, 3, 4, or more assists beforehand.  This will give an overview of generally how many visits or impressions it takes users before they are actually convert.  This might give some measure of the level of investment and education required for the product or industry.

4.  Time Lag. How long does it take most users to convert after they first see your ad?  Do they come back the next day?  Two days later?  How long is the consideration process?

This information can be particularly useful for larger-spending campaigns which invest in generic terms that suggest searchers are at the very beginning of the buying cycle.  For high-investment products that typically require significant education, these broader terms will likely provide the most assists.  Take advantage of Search Funnels to get the full picture.

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