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The Adwords Quirk That Can Ruin Reports


Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is marketed as the best possible way of measuring your return on investment , you cannot question this. Where else can you see exactly where people have come from how much they paid to get there and what they done (bought something , contacted you etc). They key to establishing your ROI is with reporting.
The Google Adwords reporting tool is a huge asset to PPC management and is not bettered by any other PPC advertising programme (in my opinion). However I’ve noticed that when taking data from a scheduled report whether it be daily weekly or monthly that the date that is generated is not always factual.


Within my role a Pay per click optimisation specialist I schedule reports to compile data to let my clients know how successful their campaigns have been. After compiling these reports using the data generated from a scheduled report I noticed the following day the number of their conversions differed from what I had reported on (for the better normally).
When you schedule a report for a period of time it is generally run within 2 hours of the following day e.g. if a report template is set up to capture data for the previous month and scheduled to run on the first day of every month it is run at 01:00 on the first of every month.

Sheduled Report Run Times
Google say that it takes up to 24hrs for conversion data to be recorded. So why do they run the scheduled reports only hours after the time period you have specified. Would it not be better if Google gave the option of when you want the report to run by allowing you to choose the relative date and even time.

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6 Comments
  • Don on August 7, 2008

    The conversion cookie Google places on a searcher’s computer lasts for 30 days. If someone clicks on an ad, but doesn’t make a converting action immediately, they can still be counted as a conversion if they come back within 30 days and complete a conclusion at that point.

    When I run reports for the previous month, I usually see a 10-15% increase in conversions compared to previous reports for the same time period.
    Yahoo’s cookie is also 30 days, while MSN’s cookie is 7 days.

  • Don on August 7, 2008

    The conversion cookie Google places on a searcher’s computer lasts for 30 days. If someone clicks on an ad, but doesn’t make a converting action immediately, they can still be counted as a conversion if they come back within 30 days and complete a conclusion at that point.

    When I run reports for the previous month, I usually see a 10-15% increase in conversions compared to previous reports for the same time period.
    Yahoo’s cookie is also 30 days, while MSN’s cookie is 7 days.

  • Tim Barlow on August 8, 2008

    Hi Dan,

    Differences in conversion numbers between reports can also be seen as a result of actual delayed conversions.

    e.g. potential customer clicks on an advert on Monday but doesn’t convert until Wednesday. If you run a report for the Monday on Tuesday, then no conversion will be reported. Re-run the report for Monday on the Friday, then the conversion will show.

  • Tim Barlow on August 8, 2008

    Hi Dan,

    Differences in conversion numbers between reports can also be seen as a result of actual delayed conversions.

    e.g. potential customer clicks on an advert on Monday but doesn’t convert until Wednesday. If you run a report for the Monday on Tuesday, then no conversion will be reported. Re-run the report for Monday on the Friday, then the conversion will show.

  • Tom Hale on August 8, 2008

    Understanding metric differences is hard enough, explaining them to clients is several times even more difficult.

    There are many quirks, but the one this thread most brings to my mind is the 30-day delay pointed out here in Google Conversion Tracking vs Google Analytics.

    AdWords Conversion Tracking assigns a conversion event to the last documented paid click assigned to that visitor ( my understanding), within the 30-day life of the cookie. Not the day of the actual conversion event unless of course both happen on the same day.

    Google Analytics, assigns the conversion event (goals, ecommerce, etc.), to the the day of the actual converting visit.

    Ain’t it fun ;-)

    -Tom Hale

  • Tom Hale on August 8, 2008

    Understanding metric differences is hard enough, explaining them to clients is several times even more difficult.

    There are many quirks, but the one this thread most brings to my mind is the 30-day delay pointed out here in Google Conversion Tracking vs Google Analytics.

    AdWords Conversion Tracking assigns a conversion event to the last documented paid click assigned to that visitor ( my understanding), within the 30-day life of the cookie. Not the day of the actual conversion event unless of course both happen on the same day.

    Google Analytics, assigns the conversion event (goals, ecommerce, etc.), to the the day of the actual converting visit.

    Ain’t it fun ;-)

    -Tom Hale

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