Where/how did you hear about this? Did you read about it in an article somewhere?
Can't reveal that...
I've also heard mutterings to that effect, bu nothing that we can go on record about, mainly because the details are not 100% available.
But I think it may well be soon.
Think before you use a 3rd party ROI tracking service.
Personally, that's not data i'm giving to anybody.
the word is it is supposed to launch in 4-6 weeks
Latest update. I've heard we can expect an email any day advising us about this new free service which is scheduled to start next week.
Apparently from a single interface you can see CPC & CTR rates through to conversions on your site & ROI calcs. There will 3 or 4 definable actions you can track such as sign-ups, downloads, sales etc.
Initially just for Adword campaigns. Will then be extended so you can use for tracking other refered traffic.
This will put the cat amongst the pidgeons for all those ASP tracking vendors lick ConversionRuler etc. I guess they'll be making a big deal about the fact they offer independant third party tracking. Of course whether people will be prepared to pay for it is the question...
dmorison - from your comments (post 5) I assume you're doing your own ROI tracking rather than out-sourcing.
How are you doing it out of interest?
I use a 3rd party tracking service but my results are meaningless to them. I use a simple alphanumeric code that I can read at a glance, but it means nothing to anyone else.
Overture already has this product. It is called Conversion Counter, which is currently free. The tos says that Overture can eventually charge $49.95 per month after they notify the user. I assume google might do the same or force overture to keep the service free.
On a side note the Overture conversion counter does not work. It has failed to track 3 of 3 test orders over the last 7 days.
If you are handy with Perl, or your server side language of choice, you can always roll your own solution. ;)
Over a weekend, I compiled a (literally) quick & dirty script that:
logs the session data
pings the server (again) saying, "it's a conversion"
when the user gets the "thank you" page.
The trick is to get this set up in conjunction with other, meaningful reports - that took a bit longer ;) Keywords, pages visited, total time on site, where the surfer originated, etc.
Try out various conversion tools / there are lots & lots out there. See what works best, and for what price. Any service will, over time, more than likely cost more than one of the script based solutions out there.
And as for giving Google or Overture your conversion data, consider their tendency to up the bid price whenever they can. If they can figure out your margins, then they can also decide to own a bigger piece of the pie. As they provide you traffic that you can't otherwise get (theoretically) you are dependent on their services.
If they charge more, and you know you can still make money on that higher cost, while you might complain, you'll have no choice but to pay for it. Seriously, consider it carefully if you want Overture (Yahoo) or Google to know how much you make on a per click basis.
I see that today Google now is offering their ROI tracking service to all of their Google Adword users. Seems to have come out pretty quickly, well quicker than excepted anyway :)
If the account folks at Google can look at conversion data, it might make working with them easier. At times, they are (naturally) upselling click prices so that the client doesn't lose traffic. If the ROI goals are defined and both the Google account people and the customer are aiming for the same goals, we may see better optimization of campaign ROI instead of focusing on just clicks.
One advantage some 3rd party services will still have from what I understand is that they (some anyway) will track the actual keyword used, whereas Google will lump all the search variations of a broad match into just the term purchased.
Got the email this morning.
It looks like an easy way for me to get started in conversion tracking. I'd prefer to use Google's product than Overture as I feel they are less likely to start charging in the future.
What do you all think of it?
Interesting new line of business for the Google people... i don't like the idea of the same company serving the ads and tracking the results, but it might offer value to some webmasters.
This makes working with AdWords a lot easier and quicker to setup ads and keep an eye on them. For small advertisers (with $1000/month) I consider myself as small it doesn't always make sense to copy and paste for hours into Excel, and write lots of scripts. I still didn't find the time to write a complete script, but that solves my problem and is a good start. I might still implement my own tracking at a later date.
I also agree that it's a bit strange that the company serving the ads also knows the results, but hey, so does CJ.com and plenty of other networks.
Who knows, maybe one day Google will introduce a "trust bar", like the PayPal rating: it shows how many transactions with verified members you had ;-)