What’s the difference between conversions and converted clicks?


NOTE: In September 2018, Google officially depreciated the “converted clicks” metric in all accounts. All advertisers who were using the metric for bidding and reporting were automatically migrated to the new conversion metric. 
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If you have an extensive AdWords experience, you probably already have an understanding of the differences between Converted Clicks and Conversions, when you see the two columns in your Adwords report. 

But my personal experience shows me that people who haven’t been working a lot with Adwords reports are still confused by the two metrics and are wondering what the difference between these two maybe.

What’s a conversion?

Conversion is a specific action that’s counted by Google Adwords when someone interacts with your ad (for example, clicks a text ad or views a video ad)

The conversion is an action that you’ve defined as meaningful, valuable to your business. In most cases, a conversion is an online purchase, newsletter signup, a lead form submission, or a call to your business from a mobile phone. In any case, you as an advertiser, specify what should be considered as conversion action in your account settings.

If you want to track more than one of the same kind of conversion action on your websites, such as an online purchase and a lead form submission, you’ll need to create multiple conversion actions.

The occurrences of these conversion actions are reported as conversions.

What’s a conversion click?

Converted Clicks measures how many clicks ended up leading to “one or more conversions”.

For example, if a user clicks on your ad and completes one conversion goal on your site right after, this will be counted as:

  • Converted clicks = 1
  • Conversions = 1

But if this same user returns to your site directly, without clicking on another Adwords Ad and completes another conversion goal within your conversion window), your Adwords report will show:

  • Converted Clicks = 1
  • Conversions = 2

No matter how many times the same user returns to perform a new conversion, the column will count only 1 Converted Click, because there was only one ad click that led to these conversions.

Or in nutshell, if Converted Clicks measures how many clicks ended up leading to “one or more conversions”, conversions measure the total number of conversions that came from a click.

In fact, in the past, these two metrics had different denominations. Converted Clicks was used to be called “Conversions (1-per-click)” and the Conversions column was called “Conversions (many-per-click)”.

What’s a conversion window?

In this article, I used another AdWords term that may need some clarification.

The conversion window is the number of days after a click during which conversion will be recorded. If in your account settings, you specify a conversion window of 30 days, then conversions made by the same user, that happen within 30 days after his click are tracked.

A shorter conversion window will reduce the number of conversions your account records for this conversion action.

What’s conversions count?

As we said, the Conversions column counts all conversions that resulted from a click. You, however, can modify the way conversions are counted via an account setting called “Conversions Count”.

It allows you to chooses between two options:

  • All conversions – this will count all conversions that resulted from a click.
    This is the default setting that will be applied to existing and new conversions if you do not choose otherwise.
  • Unique conversions – this will count all separate types of conversions as multiple conversions, but it will mark all conversions of the same type as one conversion.

For example, let’s say you have two separate conversions in Google Adwords: online purchase and lead submission conversion. When a user clicks your ad and then makes 1 purchase and submits 2 lead forms, in your reports you will have:

If you use the All Conversion setting – the Conversions column will show 3 conversions, because it marks every conversion that occurred.

If you use the Unique Conversions setting – the Conversions column will show only 2 conversions, because it only marks every unique conversion that occurred.

It is very important to track conversions and to have the right conversion actions specified in your AdWords account. They will give you crucial information on how the performance of your ads relates directly to the success of your business. If you are not sure about the conversion tracking set-up in your account, you should reach a Google AdWords certified individual for a consultation.

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