February 21, 2020
Five Ways to Do Incrementality Testing with Digital Ads
What is the first thing every search marketer does on March 1? They check the performance on their Google Ads campaigns for February. It’s a natural tendency, the month is finished and you want to see how close you are to hitting your goals. However, there is a major problem with this. What about those users who started browsing last week but won’t convert until next week? Technically, it was February marketing spend that drove them to your site so shouldn’t February get the credit for the conversion?
You’re probably thinking this small portion of data doesn’t matter, but what if it is not just a small portion of data? How would you even know? Thanks to the recently-revamped time lag report in the Google Ads Attribution tab, you can now get a better understanding of how long it takes your users to convert.
In the example above, it takes users on average 21 days to convert after the last click from an ad, with 44% of conversion value being generated after more than 12 days from the last click. While this is a somewhat extreme example, it does highlight the problem with reviewing February performance on March 1. In order to calculate what your February performance actually looks like, you should be taking into account the average days to conversion to determine how many conversions you can expect to see backfill in.
The time lag report is found under Tools & Settings > Measurement > Attribution > Path Metrics and is only one of the many useful reports available in the Attribution tab. Below is a brief overview of some of the other reports available and how to use them.
Ever wonder how many ads a user clicks on before converting? This report has a wealth of information surrounding how many ad clicks and even ad impressions normally occur before a conversion.
After using the path length report to identify that your users are clicking on five ads before converting, you can use the Top Paths report to understand not only what campaigns, keywords, and ad groups they are coming through, but also in what order. This can give you great insight into what your customer journey looks like and potentially where you can adjust your strategy to better suit where the users are in their path to conversion.
To toggle to this report, click on “Dimension” in the top paths report and select “Devices.” You can use this report to determine how many users interact first on one device and then convert on a different device. For example, if you are seeing a poor CPA on mobile traffic but this report indicates that a large number of users start on mobile and then convert on desktop, your actual mobile CPA is likely better than what you see initially.
The Assisted Conversions analysis shows you how many last-click conversions and click-assisted conversions your campaigns drove. This is useful in determining which of your campaigns may have driven interactions that contributed to the final conversion but were not credited for the final conversion under a last-click model. If a campaign has a poor CPA but also has a very high click-assisted to last-click conversion ratio, that indicates it is a strong influencer of conversions and worthy of continued investment.
Lastly, the model comparison report allows you to compare different attribution models to see the impact they would have on your data. You can choose between first-click, last-click, linear, time decay, position-based, and data-driven models. This is a great way to gauge the impact of changing attribution models before you make that actual shift.
If you are looking to take your Google Ads strategy to the next level, the Attribution tab has a wealth of information to help. For additional help on understanding the impact of your paid advertising, contact our team.