|between what Google reports and reality |
What is "reality" for you and how are you determining that? What's the baseline for comparison here?
The basic issue is that we get conversions that are not included in the reports.
Another way to see a discrepancy is that we have two emailed reports with identical parameters except that one is for the last 7 days and one for the last 30 day. . The typical result that the 7 day report says "zero conversion" but the 30 day report has some conversions. Adding up the consecutive 7 day reports gives a far different than the 30 day reports.
Here is another way to look at it: is is generally regarded that google's conversion data is accurate? Do people trust it?
You have to remember that Google use a 30 day cookie to report on conversions. Someone might have clicked on your ad on a Monday but did not make a purchase. They then came back to your site on Friday and did purchase.
Google reports on the initial click, meaning the conversion tracking will report a conversion on Monday even though you got the sale on Friday.
You could also get organic traffic doing the same actions as the AdWords traffic, but as they did not come from AdWords clicks, it would not be reported in the conversion tracking.
My basic question remains. Is google's information on conversions trustworthy. I have never been able to use it because it makes no sense. Long strings of weekly reports with no conversions does not seem likely, although you are correct in that all our conversions could be coming from organic.
Actually, if Google's data was spot on, we should stop all PPC, as it does not pay for itself.
I find that Google's conversion tracking has been about 15% understated in my experiences but I've seen cases where the discrepancy is much greater. It's never bothered me though because as long as I know what that discrepancy is then it can be accounted for when the conversion tracking data is needed for optimization (e.g. using the Conversion Optimizer).
Briggidere makes a good point regarding the attribution Google uses and that is precisely why you see conversions in the 30 day window that do not appear in the summed 7 day time frames. Another thing to keep in mind is that the data you're looking at is probably based off of what Google calls "1-per-click" conversions. So, if there is repeat business in that 30 day window then only 1 conversion will count if only 1 click occurred.
Thank you for your comments -- helpful.
Repeat business is not a factor within a 30-day window for us, as our service is a monthly subscription.
When you get the 7 and 30 day reports, are they summary (aggregate) or daily details?
Also, the point made about how Google attributes the conversion is very important. MOST analytics programs show conversions based on the conversion-date, while Adwords tracks it back to the click-date.
This is important when looking at their reports, b/c if you pull the "last 30 days" - the only day that is fully accurate is the 1st day (b/c the cookie hasn't expired yet for the remaining 29 days of activity). If you pull the same report, 30 days afterwards (using the actual dates, not "last 30") the conversion totals will be totally different.
Interesting insights -- I am going to try to simplify our goals, to make it easier to see what is going on.
Question... if google counts the conversion on the date of the click, do we know whether that click date is based on Google's clock in Mountain View or the user's/local data center clock.
Today is the first day of tracking on a brand new campaign and it seems coincidentally that the conversions are off by by the same number as sales from Australia - where technically it would already be tomorrow... so perhaps those conversions will show up tomorrow in Adwords?
Just wondering if anyone has noticed a correlation?
Else could just be random coincidence. :)