Well, what AdWords tells you your conversion rate is, is about to drop. Your actual conversion rate may well be going up – if it’s not, feel free to give one of our CRO experts a call. Currently conversions are conversions. Whether a click or page visit, any completed conversion action shows in the AdWords Conversions column. With the only variable being whether the conversion is unique per-session or can be converted multiple times. As of mid-October Google is changing the definition of a conversion and, with that, which of your goals will show under conversions. From this point ONLY conversion actions with Optimisation turned on will be counted towards the number of conversions shown in the Conversion column of your AdWords account.

What Does This Mean?

Potentially, depending on your account setup, this change is going to manifest as a sudden drop in your conversion rates. Not because you’re not achieving the same rate of conversions, but because not all conversions will count as a ‘conversion’.
The conversion value in the Conversions column will no longer be equal to your actual conversions. It will be equal to the number of conversions achieved by those goals that are set as eligible for inclusion in optimise for conversions.
This being said, AdWords is introducing a new All Conversions column that will replace Estimated Total Conversions.
The All Conversions column will, as logic suggests, include all conversions regardless of their optimisation setting. This metric will also include cross-device conversions; those which previously appeared under Estimated Cross-Device Conversions and that will now be shown under a new Cross-Device Conversions column.
This can be visualised as below:

What Should You Do?

If you don’t currently use conversions for bid management, rules, filters or scripts then simply check the box to include your conversions in optimisation. This ensures they are still counted towards AdWords new definition of ‘conversion’. You can do this under ‘Tools’ > ‘Conversions’ > select the conversion action > ‘Edit Settings’ > ‘Optimisation’.

Your conversion data will now include conversions for all conversion actions – just remember to add this setting for any conversions added in the future.
If you do have bid adjustment rules or other filters and scripts based on conversions, they are going to need checking to ensure they still operate as expected after the migration.

Rules that reference ‘Conv. (opt.)’ will need updating to reference the new Conversions column. And anything referencing ‘Est. Total Conv.’ can be updated to the new All Conversions.
If you reference the current conversion column then things get trickier and potentially a work-around will need to be found as there will be no direct replacement for this column. How, or if, a work-around can be implemented is yet to be seen; especially as it will likely involve referencing the Cross-Device Conversion column which is not know for providing accurate data.

Google is constantly changing and refining its approach, so to keep up and not see your efforts suffer you’ve got to change with them. Not sure how? We can help you out with that, so get in touch.