The Skinny on AdWords ‘Estimated Total Conversions’

It’s no secret anymore how people shop online. Across devices and time periods, the shopping process can span mobile and desktop, and take hours, days or weeks. Last year, Google AdWords attempted to close the data gap resulting from this shopping process so that advertisers could see total conversions from a search network ad across browsers and device. That feature is called “estimated total conversions,” and now, Google has made that feature available for its Display Network.

From the announcement:

Say someone’s browsing bicycle reviews on her phone, and clicks on a Display Network ad that takes her to a bike shop’s website. Later, when she gets home, she pulls up the shop’s site on her computer to buy the red cruiser she’s been eyeing. This is an example of a cross-device conversion from a display ad that advertisers can now measure.

If you’re eligible for this data, you’ll be able to see it in the “campaigns” tab in AdWords, says Google.


But, you do need to qualify. First, you need you need to enable conversion tracking. For more tips on tracking conversions in your PPC program, see our blog post on that here.

Also, Google says it only shows data when “we are very confident that our cross-device estimates are highly accurate. In some cases, we’ll show a “–” when you might have cross-device conversions, but there isn’t enough data for us to confidently make an estimate.”

If you’re eligible to access the data, there are three types of tracking available now (with a fourth on the way being in-store conversions):

  1. Across devices
  2. Across browsers
  3. As phone calls

If you’re wondering how this feature works, Google explains it in further detail in its help files. Essentially, it uses aggregate and anonymized data to estimate total conversions:

Cross-device and cross-browser conversions are estimated using aggregate and anonymized data from people who have previously signed in to Google. Based on this aggregated data, we create an anonymous, aggregate estimate of the number of cross-device conversions attributed to AdWords campaigns.

Google says the conversions are attributed to the last-clicked ad before a conversion happened.

The ability to uncover more conversions is the most attractive feature in this latest announcement for the Display Network, and Google notes in its help files that some brands use it to adjust their bidding strategies, too.

The Google Ads team is hosting a Hangout on Google+ to discuss how brands are maximizing the use of this feature on November 12 at 11:30 a.m. PT, and you can access that event here.

We think this metric will become mainstream soon, or at least we hope. As always, we’ll keep our eye out on this new feature for the Display Network here at Group Twenty Seven, and report on anything worth noting.