Google is in the midst of a rolling launch to AdWords advertisers of Search Funnels, a tool designed to give them a view of the role played by consumers’ keywords clicks and ad impressions, sometimes days or weeks before the last-click conversion.
Search Funnel provides data on things like average days, average ad clicks and average impressions to conversion, providing metrics, for instance, on the role of ¬†”upper-funnel” keywords in the final click.
Search Funnel, which is being launched globally, compiles each customer’s search ad history and produces a series of reports, including Path Length (Impressions), Path Length (Clicks), Time Lag (from first impression), Top Paths, Assisted Conversions and Assist Clicks and Impressions.
Here’s a Search Funnel screenshot on assisted clicks and impressions, for instance:
Search Funnel metrics go well beyond existing tracking tools in AdWords, which merely attribute conversions to the last ad clicked.
Sissie Hsiao, Google’s senior product manager for Search Funnels, says the new product may be particularly helpful to travel advertisers because of the extensive use of search for trip-planning.
For example, a hotel chain like Marriott might be able to measure the role played by keywords “hotel deals,” “Chicago vacations,” and “downtown Chicago hotels” well before the culminating ad click for the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile.
Hsiao says Google’s advertisers have been asking for Search Funnel-like tools, which may help them optimize campaigns by better understanding the role of upper-funnel keywords. Depending on the advertisers’ goals, they would be able to run various tests on the upper-funnel keywords, she says.
Google, of course, should make some additional bucks if advertisers throw more money into sometimes-overlooked keywords, with their conversion power now seen in a new light.
“This is information advertisers have asked us for,” Hsiao says.
Hsiao emphasizes that Google doesn’t provide recommendation on assisted clicks — Google doesn’t advise to bid more for this keyword or that one.
“This data are not prescribing value, but show you a behavior happening,” Hsiao says.
There are limitations to Search Funnels data, which is based on customers’ cookies.
If consumers clear their cookies, the search funnels would be shorter than the actual consumer behavior.
Also, Search Funnels might also be rendered artificially shorter if consumers use more than one computer, device or browser. Search Funnels tracks one such device.
Although Search Funnel has received a positive reaction in the blogosphere, several other shortcomings have been noted.
For example, Search Funnel provides no integration between organic and paid search, and metrics cover only the previous 30 days.
Hsiao says Google doesn’t comment about future product plans, but left the impression that enhancements are possible.