Can We Trust View-Through Conversions? An Experiment Reveals!

To understand this PPC metric, it’s best to first define a direct conversion (or click-through conversion). If a user sees your ad, clicks on it, and follows through with obtaining the offer, this is called a direct conversion.
As long as you have conversion tracking set up, you can see view-through conversion data in two different ways.
The second insight from the article cited above is that view-through conversions can help you understand your audience’s shopping habits. You can get a feel for which of your products or services your audience buys spur of the moment (click-through conversions), versus which ones take more time for a decision (view-through conversions).

  • What view-through conversions are.
  • An interesting experiment conducted to test their validity.
  • Tips on how to track and use this metric.

So all we have left is, how exactly do you track view-through conversions so you can make the above optimizations?
When one of their clients saw that the Display remarketing campaign wasn’t generating many conversions, they requested to stop it and reallocate resources to more profitable ad types.

view-through conversion is only counted if it occurs within a certain number of days after a user sees your ad. This is called the conversion window, lookback window, or attribution window, and you can set it to be anywhere from one to 30 days.

Because display ads tend to have low conversion rates, many advertisers (or their clients) are quick to question their effectiveness and profitability.
On Google Ads, you can modify your columns so that it appears in the “Campaigns” view.

Teamedia, they took a unique approach in answering it.

This post provides some insightful tips on using view-through conversions. The first is that eye-catching ads may produce direct conversions, but memorable ads can lead to those indirect view-through conversions. So you can use this metric to run A/B tests and identify which ads are more “sticky” than others.
Yes, Google Ads tells us that an impression is considered a “view” when at least 50% of the ad is onscreen for at least one second. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a user has seen the ad.
The truth is, display ads can have a strong positive impact on your conversion rates—but oftentimes indirectly, making it hard to track or measure.

The question

One metric designed to help us out with that is view-through conversions. Even still, many question the validity of this metric. Can we trust it? In this post, we’re going to cover
However, the more time that elapses between an impression and a conversion, the less certain it becomes that it was that one ad’s impression that influenced the conversion. After all, a person will encounter a lot of material in the 30 days after seeing an ad that could also play a role in whether they return to your site and convert.
After letting the original campaign run for 30 days, they paused it and then launched a clone of it, but this time with a completely blank banner ad. That’s right, blank white space, no headline, no description, no nothing.

The experiment

Thank you to Zinaida Pchelintseva and her team at Teamedia—a performance marketing agency specializing in paid acquisition for SaaS businesses.
As a result, shorter lookback windows are best for the most realistic and accurate data.

brand awareness, such as through branded search volume, social media mentions, and more. But if you see your view-through conversion rate increasing without having made any changes to the copy and creative of your Display ads, this could be a sign that your brand awareness is getting stronger.

Measure memorability

But Teamedia’s approach—using view-throughs to demonstrate the value of a Display campaign, and then running a blank campaign to demonstrate the value of view-throughs—was a great one in determining the validity of this metric to their campaign.

psychological copywriting tactic that can make your ads more memorable. (Image source)

Get a feel for your audience’s shopping habits

And by their nature, view through-conversions have always been on the more fuzzy side of things.

Optimize placements

So, the folks at Teamedia set up an experiment to see whether view-through conversions were accurately measuring the influence of their client’s Display campaign on future website conversions.

Image source

How do you track view-through conversions?

A view-through conversion, on the other hand, happens when a user sees your ad, does NOT click on it, but then later returns to your site (whether by organic search or direct) and completes any sort of conversion action then.
How can we trust that these aren’t just fake or made-up numbers Google uses so we’ll keep running our Display ads?
However, the client was only looking at direct conversions, and almost 50% of the campaign’s total conversions were view-throughs.
Even still, the client didn’t think that view-throughs should be counted while calculating the total campaign’s CPA; and without counting view-throughs, the campaign wasn’t meeting the target KPI.

PPC metrics, different advertisers have different viewpoints on them, depending on their experiences as well as the industry, account setup, and overall marketing strategy of the business being advertised.

Google Ads analytics
View-through conversions are a measure of how often seeing an ad influences a person to later return to your site and convert. But how do you know that a user is actually seeing the ad?
View-through conversions help us to identify if some display or video placements are more powerful than others. For example, let’s say you have the same display ad running on two different pages, each one with the same click-through conversion rate. They’re performing equally, right? Not necessarily. If one placement is showing more view-through conversions than the other, you’ve just identified  placement optimization opportunities.