AdWords Search Funnel Reporting – Part 3: First and Last Click

In part three of my ongoing series on AdWords search funnel reporting, I’ll be going over the first-click and last-click attribution reports. For those not familiar with first/last click attribution, here’s how it works. In most search situations, a user might use multiple queries and click on multiple ads before they actually complete a conversion. For example, they may search on a broad keyword like “signs,” then narrow their search down to “yard signs” and click on an ad, then find out about BuildASign.com. A few days later, they forget the URL in the ad, but type in “build a sign” into their query box, click on a brand name ad, and complete a conversion. In this example, “yard signs” would get the conversion if we were measuring first clicks, but “build a sign” would get the conversion if we were measuring last clicks.

First click and last click reports are important because they allow you to find out the first and last steps users are taking when they enter your search funnel. It’s just as important to know where they began as where they end. If you pause keywords that get a lot of first-click conversions but not a lot of last-clicks, you’ll reduce awareness of your company and you could lose a lot of conversions as a result. Conversions are measured as “last click” by default, so it’s important to run first-click conversion reports every once in a while to get a fuller picture of your conversion events.

To see your first-click conversion info, go to the “First Click Analysis” link in your Search Funnels report menu:

First Click Analysis Report

On this report, you can do many of the same viewing options as the other search funnel reports: change the date range, look at a line or plot graph, or compare metrics. You can also filter down your data to first clicked campaign, ad group, or keyword. These reports will tell you which of your account elements are the introduction to your company: the ones that bring that crucial first impression to your website.

The Last Click Analysis report doesn’t offer all that much in addition to your regular conversion reports. After all, conversions are last-click by default, so you’ll probably be looking at the same data that’s in your regular reporting. But this report works well in tandem with the first-click analysis to give you a complete view of the search funnel. Run both reports at once with identical settings to see how your account elements are interacting.

That wraps up this week. Next week, we’ll finish up the series with the final three reports: Top Paths, Time Lag, and Path Length.

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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