“Show me the Money” - Where the conversions at?

Many of us remember the famous line from the movie Jerry Maguire. For those who do not, click here (Video Length: 2:32 min). In the marketing world, many marketers love to see clicks, impressions and views but what they really want to count are conversions (closest thing to tracking money coming in from an advertiser’s perspective).

Why is it so hard to get a consistent picture on conversions?

Many advertisers use Google analytics to aggregate conversions from different channels. While Google Analytics is an efficient and free, yet easy to use tool for keeping track of all of your online activities, it is very important to understand what it actually tracks and what it doesn't.

There are three main reasons Google Analytics may show different conversion numbers compared to other providers. We’ll deep dive into those in more detail below.
  • Credits last paid click regardless of channel
  • Has no ability to track provider view-through conversions
  • Lacks capability to track cross-device conversions
(Note: I have used Facebook for my examples below but the same is true for many other channels)

#1 - Facebook attributes a conversion to the last click the user has made on a Facebook ad (click-through or post click conversion), or, if no clicks happened, the last ad they've seen before converting (view-through or post view conversion). Google Analytics, on the other hand, gives credit to the last paid click by default, regardless of the channel, if any have happened.

#2 - One of Facebook's advantages over its competition is the ability to link actions to users instead of cookies. In practice this means you can track and target the same user across all their browsers and devices as long as they are signed in to Facebook. Google Analytics, on the other hand, relies solely on cookies which means all tracking happens inside the same browser where the cookie was dropped.

#3 -  To understand this point let’s consider the example of a user who clicks on a Facebook ad on their smartphone and find something they want. Later that night they go directly to the same site on their computer to finalize the purchase. Facebook counts a cross-device conversion, but Google Analytics shows the source as direct traffic.

Which numbers should I use?

To get a more accurate view of all their digital channels, many advertisers have chosen to go for a more robust tracking tool, like DoubleClick by Google. The advantage of these is that you can track impressions and the conversions that result from those in all channels, but this does require separately tagging each ad you make in each channel, which can be a tedious operation.

How can Improvado help?

When you have multiple channels but still crave for a single dashboard that shows you all the data from multiple sources, you should turn to Improvado. We can bring together data from close to 100 sources in one dashboard and put you in control. You can view conversion data as well as myriad other metrics from multiple different dimensions.