Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Adword Conversion Tracking Challenges on Mobile

Effectively advertising on mobile phones without alienating the user is a challenge that is far from being solved by anyone right now. I am quite surprised to learn that Google has a more basic challenge right now: it can't even track Adword conversions on mobile phones! In other words, when someone clicks on a Google ad on a mobile phone, Google might not always know about it and so may not get paid for it. This is a serious flaw indeed!

Accuracast talks about how a large number of Adword conversions on mobile devices can go undetected because many mobile browsers do not allow JavaScript or cookies, the basic essentials for Google to track ad clicks.

When Accuracast questioned Google, the response they got from a Google Adwords account manager not only confirms this, it even suggests that disabling images on a phone browser can prevent tracking Adword conversion:
A significant percentage of mobile browser and carrier combinations do not support cookies. Google adds cookies to a user’s mobile device when he or she clicks on an ad to track conversions. Therefore, if users are using mobile browsers or carriers that do not accept or support cookies, they will not be included in your conversion tracking statistics.

Additionally, cookies on mobile phones expire faster than the ones created for PCs. Therefore, a significant number of conversions for your site may go unrecorded after a certain period of time. When viewing conversions for a specified time period, note that conversions are assigned to the date on which the ad click occurs, not the date on which the conversion occurs. In addition, we will not be able to report conversions for users who disable cookies.

Conversion tracking is also not supported when users disable images on their mobile phones.

Although Google cannot record every conversion due to the reasons mentioned above, your conversion rate, cost-per-conversion, cost-per-transaction and value/click are adjusted to reflect only those sites from which we can track conversions.

I am also surprised that this is not bigger news.

[via Accuracast]

1 comment:

AdInsight said...

This is a problem which will stick around for a long time, at least until mobile broadband becomes cheaper and mobile storage is increase. I am surprised this isn’t bigger news though. On the other hand if Google can’t track the clicks then they can’t charge you for them, so not being able to track the conversions yourself is not so bad, because you are not paying for them.