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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Is Adwords conversion tracking accurate?

Im selling a low volume product.For few months i find that i get better sales when running an adwords campaign.
The adwords converts but is costly, there is loss of money on adwords
 ie:total spend on adwords>total income from adwords

The thing is i get profit when i run adwords

ie: Total income>adwords spend

(even though adwords brings minor-med losses).Adwords help me gain customers which i would have never gained otherwise,since the site traffic is poor.

My question is,does adwords track all conversions?Does it miss some and is this contributing to the unrecorded sales on adwords? 

On the months that i dont run adwords the sales are poor and i do not get the income like i used to get when running the non profitable adwords campaign.

Ideas Please?
peter12 Send private email
Friday, August 01, 2014
I have a very similar situation, and I sell to businesses.  I think the reason is this:

User A sees an ad and downloads software.  They like it.  They tell boss/purchasing/etc.

User B (boss/purchasing/etc) now purchases software.  AdWord's tracking cookie is not in User B's browser.

To AdWords, it appears User A did not convert (at least not if you're counting sales), yet it lead to a sale.  AdWords can't track this situation (can anything??)

The above is fairly common for business sales, especially if the software is expensive or used by more than one person.

What we do is consider downloads as conversions.  This works because the person to see the ad is very often the same person that downloads the software.  But it makes an assumption that more downloads means more sales (i.e. there is some fairly consistent percentage of downloaders that will convert).

This can be risky because not all downloaders are the same.  We used to get thousands of downloads from 3rd world countries, yet no sales.  Not sure why they downloaded in the first place (click fraud??).  Anyway, filter out 3rd world countries, or at least pay attention.
Doug Send private email
Friday, August 01, 2014
My experience is that downloads is not the measure you want.
As last step of the setup I open an intro web page (a version of the normal into page, but now with adwords code on it). I found that only one out of 10 (!) downloads actually passed to setup. Disappointing as that may be, it gives more honest idea of  conversions and shows sites that give many clicks but never convert, so you can kick them out.
Mark Uildriks Send private email
Saturday, August 02, 2014
Adwords tracks a conversion when someone clicks on your ad and then triggers the conversion goal:

-using the same browser on the same computer as the AdWords click
-within 30 days
-assuming cookies are enabled

So it definitely isn't 100% accurate. It should always be under reported.

If you aren't able to meaningfully track sales conversions (because they don't typically happen in 30 days on the same computer as the ad click), try to pick a good surrogate e.g. a completed install and first run for downloadable software, as mentioned above by Mark. Then extrapolate from this to the number of sales (e.g. using analytics data), as suggested above by Doug.
Andy Brice Send private email
Saturday, August 02, 2014
Thanks for the replies.
My software is purchased 95% by small business/Business owners,so i hope the reason will be the one you have suggested.
I think i will track downloads using some script,I dont have anything like that now.
Well dont you think its better to lose in adwords and get better sales rather than no sales at all and reduced profits.
Even though the statistics from conversions says so,i will keep improving the campaign.

peter12 Send private email
Sunday, August 03, 2014
>I think i will track downloads using some script,I dont have anything like that now.

Use the conversion tracking built into AdWords. In fact, it is folly to use AdWords without using the conversion tracking.
Andy Brice Send private email
Sunday, August 03, 2014
@Andy I mean that i will be using it in addition to adwords conversion tracking.
peter12 Send private email
Sunday, August 03, 2014

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