Google recently made a change to how AdWords tracks website conversions. You may have seen the notice in your account.
If you brushed it off as “just another one of those changes” and cleared the notification, think again.
Our team believes this could have resulted a very strange phenomenon in both Google AdWords and Analytics causing conversions to literally disappear from AdWords.
What We Know
The change to Conversion Tracking is two-fold which was stated to begin this month:
- One component is directly related to having auto-tagging enabled for your account and having a Google Analytics tag on your site. Google has begun to store the GCLID (Google click identifier) for clicks in a new Analytics cookie on your domain.
- Google is introducing something called Modeled Conversions in the conversions column in AdWords. This metric is supposed to estimate the number of conversions that AdWords was unable to measure due to factors such as browser settings. This is only available for Search and Shopping campaigns.
Retailers and advertisers need not support this change and may opt out by adding a line of tracking code. Analytics support provides directions on how to do this.
What You May Not Know
I wanted to preface by saying we are communicating directly with Google support to try and resolve the issue for “Conversions Disappearing in AdWords.”
Thus far we haven’t received any confirmation as of late if the above change to conversion tracking is the culprit.
However, we have noticed a very strange occurrence a few accounts we manage (we’re looking at Shopping campaigns only mind you):
This month, around September 8th to the 12th, conversions seemed to have simply vanished from AdWords.
We confirmed the discrepancy by checking Google Analytics and found this:
But that is what we expected so we did a very simple check on Channels and found this oddity:
For all instances of the discrepancy (it would seem so far at least) there was an almost “unnatural” spike in performance attributed to the acquisition channel Direct in Google Analytics while Paid Search as a channel saw its performance tank.
Our team simply put two and two together at this point. However, once again, no official confirmation has been provided by AdWords or Analytics support.
There is a chance that we are seeing a completely separate “bug” altogether although that seems highly unlikely.
By logic of Occam’s Razor, however, the change to Conversion Tracking clearly makes the most sense here.
We’re on The Case
It is very likely that many others are experiencing the same issue. Though we don’t have a clear answer yet, our team is remaining glued to the status and will continue to push for some feedback from Google support.
We will be releasing updates as we learn more.
For now, at least, we are only seeing this in isolated situations. We are testing the opt-out option outlined by Analytics support and will also provide an update on if that resolves the issue.