Targeting and AdWords

Google AdWords tracks conversions by checking to see if a visitor from an AdWords completed a goal or conversion – the measurement point and value are set by the webmaster. But not everybody shops and pays/buys on the same day, so Google allowed a tracking period of 30-days. Even if the visitor came from another source. This is called “First-Step” (or Near-First-Step) attribution. However, if the person came in later, then the conversion is not awarded to your AdWords (but would be tracked in Analytics, possibly).

Channel or Direct?

When we just record last step attribution, we miss the real source. For example, somebody searches Google for “Property Lettings Manager in Dublin.” Upon finding the website the user wants via an AdWords’ Ad, they later come back when their rental property is ready to be let again. If they remember the brand name, they’ll probably search for this. Inside the 30-days, the goal is attributed to the first step (via AdWords) and the last step (in Analytics). Outside of this window, the last point is the only source of attribution

Most people would be happy just to get the goal but the key take-away is this: Did the brand convert or was a generic search? Obviously it was generic search, which led to brand awareness. But last step attribution is second to first step.

When users buy in multiple steps, we call this Multi-Channel Conversions or “Assisted Conversions.” So, you might broker a sale from Social Media or Organic Search, but the first interaction may be the opposite channel.

This will now match Analytics’ ability to do first step attribution over 90-days.

SWOT Analysis


  • Better PPC management and buying decisions


  • May discolour the effectiveness of last-point-attributed sources (for example, you may have been attributing sales to branded, social or direct traffic
  • May need to redo your ads to include 90-day tracking


  • Better activity balancing
  • Check Multi-funnels in Analytics to see if you’ll be affected
  • Good overall Discipline


  • Reducing activity because you’re not seeing direct conversions. If conversions drop from a source, you might argue to drop time. You shouldn’t – you should invest more time to get conversions from that source.


You can now create a goal and AdWords will attribute a goal even if the prospect converts over the old 30-day window.


AdWords 90 day

AdWords 90 day

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