AdWords Search Funnel Reporting – Part 2: Assists

Welcome to part two of my handy how-to guide on AdWords Search Funnel reporting. Last week, I covered the basic Search Funnel reports, and this week we’ll be going over Assist reports.

An “assist” is when a click or impression is part of a user’s search funnel, but it’s not the last click that leads them to a conversion. Here’s an example. Let’s say that a user searches for “signs” and sees your ad. Then, they do another search for “yard signs” and click your ad and bounce from your landing page. Two days later, they return to your site by searching for “political yard signs,” clicking an ad, and completing a conversion. In this scenario, “signs” would get an assist impression, “yard signs” would get an assist click and an assist impression, and “political yard signs” would get the conversion. Knowing which keywords provide assists is important because it can give you insight into which keywords are causing users to enter your search funnel, even if they don’t directly drive conversions. If you pause keywords that drive a lot of assists, you may be losing potentially valuable customers.

There are two reports that you can look at to get information on assists: Assist Clicks and Impressions and Assisted Conversions.

Assist Clicks and Impressions

On this report, you can get stats on the total number of assist clicks, the ratio of assist clicks to last clicks, the total amount of assist impressions, and the ratio of assist impressions to last clicks:

Assist Clicks Report

These stats are helpful in determining how much assist clicks contribute to your overall conversions. Accounts with longer search funnels will tend to have more assist clicks. If you see that your account gets a particularly large amount of assists, you’d better think twice and check this report before you pause any keywords.

To double check keywords before pausing them, change the primary dimension on this report to “keywords.” You’ll get a list of keywords that you can then filter by last clicks, assist clicks, assist clicks/last clicks, assist impressions, and assist impressions/last clicks. Use these filters to identify which keywords are contributing significantly to your search funnel, even if they don’t drive conversions.

Assisted Conversions

This next report lets you look on the flip side of the assist equation and see the actual conversions driven by the traffic assists. There are two sections to this report: click-assisted conversions and impression-assisted conversions:

Assisted Conversions Report Options

The click-assisted conversions report is similar in structure to the other assist reports, but the stats you’re looking at here are last click conversions, last click conversion value (if you have code that assigns value to your conversion events), click-assisted conversions, click-assisted conversion value, and the ratio of click-assisted conversions to last click conversions. The impressions-assisted conversions report has similar stats: last-click conversions, last click conversion value, impression-assisted conversions, impression-assisted conversion value, and the ratio of impression-assisted conversions to last click conversions.

You can break down information in each report by campaign, ad group, or keyword. These reports can help you identify which campaigns are dependent on assists for their conversion value. This can also help you find the true impact of your display advertising by finding which display ads are assisting with conversions. If a person sees an ad on the display network, they may not be inclined to click on that ad, but they will become aware of your brand and they might make a conversion as a result of this awareness. Assist reports can often be a better way to justify your display advertising rather than getting conversion stats for only the display campaign.

That covers the assist reports. Be sure to check back next week when we’ll go over first click and last click analysis.

About Shawn Livengood

Shawn Livengood is a search engine marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He has extensive experience managing pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients in various industries, from small home-based businesses to large international companies. You can connect with Shawn on Google+.
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