When someone decides to buy something online there is usually some research done on the different options available. Not everyone knows precisely what they want, so in many instances people aren’t going to type into Google exactly what they are planning to buy. At least not right away. This is a good reason why you don’t want to completely ignore top of the funnel keywords within your PPC campaigns.
There are many companies who solely focus on keywords that are low in the funnel and are highly targeted. This seems reasonable because when you look at the conversions for your generic keywords within your campaigns, they look like they are just sucking up money without showing any value. The reality is that while these keywords may not lead to conversions directly, they could be leading to sales happening farther on down the funnel.
The main problem with top of the funnel keywords is that it is difficult to place a value on their effectiveness. To help try and add some value to these phrases Google has added a new set of reports called Adwords Search Funnels which can help you determine which keywords are assisting conversions happening through your other keywords.
When a conversion happens within Adwords, it is attributed to the last click before the conversion was made. This lets us know which keywords lead directly to conversions, but only gives us a narrow view of the overall picture. By using Search Funnels we are able to get a better idea of the path that people are taking before the conversion; identify which keywords were first clicked and last clicked within the funnel; and see both which keywords assisted in conversions as well as impressions of your ads that were shown by a keyword when the user was searching. All of this information will provide us with a better understanding of the effects of top-funnel keywords and determine which ones are helping to lead to conversions and which are not.
Adwords Search Funnels is new and is by no means without flaws. But this is definitely a step in the right direction for Google to help users give value to keywords which don’t directly convert.