ADWORDS’ RETIRING CONVERTED CLICKS · 8-MINUTE READ ·  By Misty Faucheux on September 23 2016 


If you’ve been in AdWords lately, you’ve seen the notification that Google is retiring Converted Clicks. In fact, it will no longer support the metric starting on September 21st. Google is forcing all marketers to use what it considers the more comprehensive metric: Conversions. The good news, however, is that most of us have been using the metric for a long time.


The Difference Between Converted Clicks and Conversions

According to Google, Converted Clicks is a click metric that counts the number of clicks that result in one or more conversions. Their example includes someone who clicks an ad once, but then goes to a website and performs two different conversions. Unlike conversion tracking, converted clicks would measure all these conversions as a single click. Conversions, on the other hand, would track the different conversions separately.

While this was helpful in determining which types of clicks or ads were performing well, it didn’t provide information on what is usually the most important data needed to track ROI: actual conversion numbers.

Other limitations of converted clicks include that you can’t:

  • Segment them since one click can lead to different conversions, but you can’t really see the data on these different conversions, i.e. conversion name, source or category.

  • Use the “Include in ‘Conversions'” setting, which allows you to exclude certain conversion actions

  • Add a conversion value

  • Measure clicks that lead to a store visit or measure across devices.

Part of the retirement reason has to do with these limitations along with the following: Google believes that Conversions are simply a better measurement tool. It allows you to track how well your ads are performing and lets you see the exact number of conversions. The main difference between the two, however, is that Converted Clicks is a click metric, and Conversions is a bid metric. Bid metrics actually provide you with a better overall picture of your campaigns and overall AdWords success.

In fact, Google itself said that converted clicks are “a limited way to measure the results from your ads because it is tied to a single click, and it doesn’t lend itself to measuring behavior that spans multiple conversion events or multiple clicks.”

Other differences between Converted Clicks and Conversions include that Conversions give you the ability to:

  • Count either “every” or “one” conversion. For example, a retail business might want to count “every” online purchase, but only count “one” conversion for a coupon download – no matter how many times a customer downloads it.

  • Measure cross-device conversions (located in the Settings sections of your Conversion actions)

  • Track the value of your conversions and exclude certain conversion actions, which are both part of the “Include in ‘Conversions'” setting.

  • Add columns to your AdWords reporting that provides you with information on Conversion Rate and Cost-per-Conversion.


Changing Your Conversion Bid Metric

Most marketers were only using Converted Clicks if they were using Target CPA or Enhanced CPC as their Bid Strategy and Converted Clicks as their Conversion bid metric.

If you are, you will need to change your Conversion Settings to “Conversions”. To do this, click on Tools -> Conversions, and then Settings.

Change the Conversion bid metric to Conversions, and click Save.

If you fail to change to Conversions before Google retires Converted Clicks, Google will send out an automated migration tool along with a reminder to accounts still using the metric.

Note: If you were using Converted Clicks, be sure to download any historical Converted Clicks data before changing over to Conversions. You will lose this data if you don’t save it before the changeover. Also, be sure to refresh your Supermetrics reports once you’ve completed the transfer.


Tracking Conversions with Conversions Metric

Tracking conversions is fairly straightforward, but you will need to know what types of conversions that you need to track. Google provides you with the ability to track Website, App and Phone Calls. You can also import data from other sources if you wish to track offline conversions.

Yet, after 15 years of using Converted Clicks, many marketers might find this latest update challenging. Now, you have to change the way that you report and analyze campaign performance using only Conversions metric. To minimize any damage from the change, Google recommends that you manually prepare to make the move from Converted Clicks to Conversions.


Change the Count on Conversions

To ensure that your reporting is correct, you must change the Count. As mentioned previously, Converted Clicks only counts one click per potentially multiple conversions. Conversions count every conversion action. For reporting, this could be the most confusing for marketers making the switch. This requires not only a mental adjustment, but also a change in settings.

To change the Count, follow these steps:

  1. Tools -> Conversions, and click on the conversion action that you want to edit.

  2. Select Edit settings.

  3. Change the Count. If you want your conversion count to be similar to the old Converted Clicks, select “One” as your conversion option. This will count up to one conversion per conversion action. For sales, however, you may want to count “Every” conversion since each of these conversions may lead to revenue.

  4. Select Include in “Conversions”. This ensures that your conversion data shows up in the Conversions reporting Column.

  5. Click Save.


It may take up to two weeks for campaigns using Target CPA or Enhanced CPC bidding strategies to adjust. AdWords bidding algorithms must take into account the new conversion data, which is based on your new conversion settings. After two weeks, update the bid metric to ensure that you are no longer using Converted Clicks.


Monitor Conversions to View the Differences

Before changing the bid metric, however, you should monitor the Conversions, and see how their count differs from your current Converted Clicks. During this review, determine if Conversions are significantly higher than Converted Clicks. You may find this to be true especially if you are tracking multiple conversion actions or if you include cross-device conversions in the “Conversions” column.

According to Google, the difference between the two counts can be due to the fact that “each conversion action may receive a conversion after a click”. So, if you have conversion actions for both an email signup and a retail sale, and someone does both actions after clicking into your site, these will count as two conversions. While in the past, Converted Clicks would have counted this as a single converted click.


Change Your Bids

AdWords may lower your bids after you update your bid metric in an effort to stabilize your spend. If you wish to manually do this, especially if you find that your CPA or CPC cis rising, follow these steps to lower your CPA/CPC:

  1. Log into your account, and click on your campaign.

  2. Click on Settings.

  3. Click on Bid Strategy.

    1. Enter your maximum Target CPA.

    2. Enter your maximum CPC.

  4. Click Save.



Moving away from Converted Clicks is another step by Google to try and make their metrics more meaningful for consumers and to provide a more consistent experience. For marketers that have never used conversions before, however, you may have a bit of a learning curve. You should take to heart the recommended steps to prepare for the move, including changing the count and monitoring the conversions before you are forced to update all of your campaigns.

You should also prepare your stakeholders for the changes. Advise them that the reports may look slightly different, but that you’re still tracking towards ROI. Preparing yourself and everyone else for tracking conversions will decrease the number of headaches down the road.


About Misty Faucheux

20140725_0031Misty Faucheux is an Integrated Online Marketing Specialist at Faucheux Enterprises and a guest writer for Supermetrics. She is a digital marketer, specializing in SEO, SEM, content marketing/writing and social ads. Misty helps companies develop a cohesive online marketing strategy that directly addresses their overall business goals and objectives. You can find her on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Flickr.



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