At the core of performance marketing success – and most certainly of paid search – is the desire to show a demonstrable return. Measuring this return usually comes in the form of conversion tracking.  Whether the conversion event is purchasing a lipstick or downloading a whitepaper, the event we define as a ‘success’ drives how we optimize an account. This may seem intuitive, but what happens if you have multiple events to define as a ‘success’?

With a pure ecommerce business, it’s a little easier.  Your conversion event is typically a sale and ROI inherently accounts for differences in transaction value. For lead generation clients, or even ecommerce with a different sales process, it is not that simple. Conversion events can be valued differently, or you can use multiple events to nurture leads or track steps along the path for additional insight. All of these events drive value for your account, and your client’s business as a whole.  Here are the scenarios where it makes sense to track multiple conversion events.


1.  Completely Different Offers

An online marketplace might want to track both shoppers who come to purchase from one of your individual retailers, as well as new stores that sign up to be a part of your market. These are completely different events on your website; one drives direct revenue via purchasers, and one has the potential for future revenue if they sell well on your site. So why constrain them with one conversion event?

By tracking multiple conversion types – one with revenue for the shopper, and one for marketplace applications from new retailers – you can easily see what campaigns are driving each type of lead. And if there is overlap you didn’t expect, like a campaign for ‘vintage jewelry online’ drives both types of leads, you can start drilling down and drive additional insights for your overall marketing plan.

2.  Different Values for Conversions

For B2B clients, the value of one conversion type can be starkly different than the value of another. So why should they be constrained to the same CPA?

Take two potential conversion events from a B2B software systems company. One involves giving your name and email for a free whitepaper, but the other requires filling out a more extensive form for a live demo of a software. The latter requires more time and effort – not just for the company, but for the consumer as well.

At the end of the day, the person who wants the live demo is likely worth more to the company than the one who just downloads a white paper. By no means does that indicate WP downloads are a bad thing, but the demo is further down the funnel and may be more likely to purchase. If both leads are being aggregated into a single conversion type, how do you know which campaigns are driving more comparative demo sign ups? How do you make bidding or expansion adjustments? By having two distinct conversion metrics, for each type of event, you can easily track and optimize based off of how much each consumer is worth.

3.  Tracking Steps along the Path

What if your product is defined by user interaction? Rather than a product to be purchased or a service to sign up for, the value of a user is tied to how they interact with your website after signing up.  Think of the budgeting apps to track your spending – you can sign up for the product, but to get any use out of the app, you need to complete the secondary function of adding bills.  For the advertiser, a user who actually adds her bills is much more likely to use the app frequently and easier to monetize down the road. There are countless products that need a user to hit multiple events like this, so what do you do?

Tracking just the initial event, like signing up for the program, leaves you half in the dark when it comes to making optimizations. Say that to be considered a ‘quality’ user, someone needs to both sign up and add bills to this app. Yes, if you bring in 1,000 signups and on average 30% of them add bills, then maybe 300 people will end up being quality users of the program. But there is no reason to leave that other 70% on the table without trying to bring them back.

If you have a conversion type set for the initial signup, and another for an event further down the line that creates a quality customer, you can track and optimize both. Say you spend $100 each on two different campaigns; the former tends to bring in a lot of signups but only 25% turn into quality users. The second brings half as many signups, but 75% of them turn into quality users.


If you were only tracking conversions off of the initial event, then Campaign A looks far better and you would be willing to bid higher and expand. However, when you have the added insight of the second event, you see that Campaign B – although it costs more at the outset – drives significantly higher quality users at a lower CPA.

Beyond just paid search management, tracking multiple conversion types drives insight for the business as a whole. If there is a set of keywords that tends to perform poorly but defines the product, maybe there needs to be more explanation in the website itself about the functions of the program. Or, if the user flow is changing to make it easier to become a quality user, then you can track how the percentage of users who hit both events changes.

Tracking multiple conversions gives very valuable insight to paid search performance and the business as a whole that is lost when only tracking one type. With the added visibility of multiple conversions, you can more effectively optimize campaigns for clients that place different values on different conversion types, use multiple touch points to nurture and develop leads, or need to track different conversion steps along the path to becoming a quality customer. However, this is just the beginning of ways to use multiple conversion types to more effectively optimize your accounts. Can you think of any accounts that you manage where you could use multiple conversion types in a unique way to drive better results?


Bonus –  Nurture Leads!

Take the same two conversion events as in Example 1. With a decision like a live demo, I wouldn’t be surprised if it took more than one touch point to nurture this lead. This is where other advertising assets come into play. While your sales team should reach out to all prospects and your email drip program is likely encouraging a demo as well, don’t overlook opportunities to nurture leads right through AdWords!

You can create a remarketing list for someone who has downloaded a white paper but has not completed a demo sign up. Within this segmented audience, you can show ads that highlight the value of the demo. You may be thinking that some of these prospects were already contacted by a sales team and decided against further interaction. However, the opportunity to use remarketing to bring back a lead who already knows your business and has shown interest in order to drive a more valuable action is worth it.