New Reports: AdWords Search Funnels

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | 6:59 PM

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In order to help you make even more informed decisions about your AdWords keywords, ad groups and campaigns, we're excited to release a new set of reports in your AdWords account: AdWords Search Funnels (beta). Currently, conversions in AdWords are attributed to the last ad clicked before the conversion takes place, masking the fact that many customers perform multiple searches before finally converting. AdWords Search Funnels help you see the full picture by giving you insight into the ads your customers interact with during their shopping process.

What is AdWords Search Funnels?

AdWords Search Funnels are a set of reports describing the ad click and impression behavior on that leads up to a conversion. In addition to a Top Conversions report, Search Funnels consist of 7 reports including Assisted Conversions, First and Last Click Analysis, Time Lag, and Path Length. For an overview of these new reports, check out this video:

Why is this useful?

"Search Funnel enables us to create a better experience for our customers by helping us understand how they search for our products," said Beth Hirschhorn, Chief Marketing Officer from MetLife, the largest life insurance company based in the United States. "It is an important tool to help de-code consumer shopping habits and thought processes, which we can relate back to our online as well as offline advertising."

By showing which ads your customers and clicked before ultimately converting, Search Funnels gives a more complete picture of the value of your keywords, ad groups and campaigns. Let's look at an example.

An online vacation service called Flyaway Vacations is running AdWords campaigns for vacation packages in Hawaii. Their ads link to a site where visitors can book any or all parts of a package that includes flights, a hotel, car rental, and surf lessons. Suppose on March 10 someone searched for "hawaii vacation" and saw and then clicked on an ad for Flyaway's Hawaii package. A click was registered in their AdWords account. Then, two days later, the same person searched for "flights to hawaii" and saw another ad for Flyaway, but didn't click. An impression was registered in Flyaway's AdWords account. Finally, three days later, the same person searched one more time, this time for "flyaway hawaii." This time they clicked the ad, visited the site, and purchased the Hawaii vacation package.

Instead of showing only a purchase conversion for the "flyaway hawaii" keyword, Search Funnels will show an assist click for the keyword "hawaii vacation" and an assist impression for the keyword "flights to hawaii". Testing the value of assist clicks and impressions is important for evaluating and understanding the true value of all of your keywords.

Search Funnels not only help you understand the keywords seen by converters, they also show you those that weren't seen. For example, in the Flyaway campaign, it's possible that another keyword, such as "hawaii surf lessons," didn't contribute any assist clicks or impressions, or last click conversions, indicating that this may be a keyword that's providing little conversion value. Assist information is an additional data point you can use when making strategic budgeting decisions, from the campaign level down to the keyword level.

Search Funnels also show the "Path Length," or average number of clicks and impressions prior to conversion, which can help you understand and target repeat visitors. Additionally they show "Time Lag," or the amount of time it takes a customer to convert after seeing or clicking on your ads for the first time, which can help you determine lead time for seasonal campaigns. These breakdowns can help you understand your customers' behavior and create strategies around that information.

Over the next few weeks, the Search Funnels beta will be rolled out gradually to all accounts in the 'Conversions' section under the 'Reporting' tab. To activate them, you must either have AdWords Conversion Tracking running or import goals or transactions into AdWords from Google Analytics. Keep in mind that Search Funnels are only available in your AdWords account (not in Google Analytics), and will only show data for keywords that show up in at least one conversion path. Search Funnel data is currently limited to search ads showing on, for ad impressions and clicks within 30 days of the conversion.