The days of just using individual conversions are long past. All ad platforms now encourage advertisers to embrace and leverage conversion values. Take Google Ads, for example: Max conversion value is one of the only bidding options for PMax campaigns and has been getting a lot of love in account recommendations.
If you’re in ecommerce, conversion value is nothing new—revenue tracking is at the heart of successful shopping campaigns. However, if you’re in a services industry or one that doesn’t have a set price per engagement, you might struggle to land on a conversion value.
In this post we’ll dive into how to do that. Here’s what we’ll cover:
Note that this post will be heavily focused on how Google leverages conversion values, however, the lessons learned can be applied to other channels.
A conversion is any action you ask an ad platform to track. Conversion actions can range from those on the path to profit (downloading a guide, making a call, etc.), to the completed sale.
Conversion values are the monetary amount you tell the ad platform to attribute to the completed action.
For example, I might set a conversion action to track all phone calls stemming from my Google Ads ads. Google will track each of them as long as I set the action to a primary action. Whether it values those calls at $1 or $100 or any other amount depends on me adding the conversion value into the action.
In short, you can track conversions in Google Ads without conversion values—however, you are creating data weaknesses for the ad platform as well as internal reporting.
One of the biggest false positives/negatives in PPC reporting is CPA (cost per acquisition). While a low CPA is a good thing, businesses will often over-fixate on getting that number as low as possible without factoring in the value of the leads they’re getting.
ROAS (return on ad spend) is a more helpful PPC metric than CPA in knowing whether your ad campaigns are delivering real-world value.
Conversion values help elevate the conversation and bring transparency to the true ROI on your ad spend. By setting conversion values, you’re helping Google Ads know which actions you value most and where to invest the budget.
Additionally, factoring in conversion values will help Google come up with more realistic forecasts on what additional investment could yield. This is especially useful if you have campaigns that are getting limited by budget but are bringing in low-value leads. By building in conversion values, Google can become more intelligent about targeting your ideal prospects.
Just because we’re bought into using conversion values doesn’t mean they’re straightforward. Unless you’re in a transactional industry like ecommerce, your conversion values will be based on models and data-backed best guesses.
A really useful place to begin is phone leads vs form-fills vs chats.
Regardless of which is the most useful, here’s what to do:
For example, let’s say I’m a lawyer, my average case is worth $6500, and my phone leads convert at 50% while form-fills convert at 20%.
Be sure to also factor in location. Certain locations might be tougher/easier to service than others. If your margins are impacted by where a customer is based, or if you have insights about retention from certain markets, you may decide to value leads coming from certain regions higher or lower. This can be done through bid adjustments as well as excluding locations from high-value campaigns with higher ROAS goals.
While it’s not mandatory to use conversion values, they will improve account performance if done correctly (and if you’re not seeing any conversions in your Google Ads, head to this post). Take the time to audit your lead sources and see where your best leads come from. By valuing them higher than the average lead, you will help Google send you the best prospects and have the best chance for ROI.
For more ways to improve your account performance, use our free Google Ads Performance Grader.
Navah Hopkins is a Top 25 PPC Expert and international speaker who has been in the digital marketing industry since 2008. She specializes in paid media strategy and helping brands build relationships with profitable partners and customers.
She’s a cofounding member of the Paid Search Association, a group dedicated to empowering the next generation of PPC practitioners, and she continues to give back by sharing lessons learned at conferences and local universities, and in blogs and webinars for SEJ, SEL, Semrush, and WordStream.
See other posts by Navah Hopkins
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