So you are using conversion tracking in your PPC advertising, but are you analyzing it correctly? Are you aware of the difference between how Google tracks conversions as compared to how Yahoo tracks conversions? Are you aware that each of the big three (Google, Yahoo and MSN) use conversion cookies that expire after 30 days?

PPC Advertising Let’s start with a Google example. On May 1, a customer searches for your product on Google and clicks your Google AdWords ad. Google puts a conversion tracking cookie on the customer’s computer that will expire after 30 days. Now, let’s say the customer makes the purchase on May 1, the same day they clicked your AdWords ad, the conversion is then tracked in your Google account to have occurred on May 1. However, if that same customer does not make their purchase until May 8, the conversion is still tracked back to May 1, back to the date they actually clicked your AdWords ad. The Google conversion is tracked to the day the customer clicked your ad, not to the actual day of purchase. These can be the same date, but quite often they are not.

Ultimately, your final May Google conversion data will not be truly complete until July 1st. The click a customer made on your Google Ad at the end of May will still register a conversion in your Google account back in May, even if the customer makes a purchase at the end of June. The conversion transaction is directly tied to the date of the click.

Be aware of your average sales cycle when looking at conversion data. Some of our JumpFly clients have zero lead time where customers come to the site and make immediate purchases, whereas other clients may have a two week lead time before a purchase is actually made from a click. This can make a dramatic difference in how you manage your accounts and adjust bids based on conversion data.

MSN works the same way as AdWords, so analyze your MSN AdCenter conversion data accordingly.

Next time, we’ll take a look at how Yahoo tracks conversions.