Embedded Sitelinks and Conversions Match Made in Adwords Heaven?

Adwords launched Embedded Sitelinks in June of this year, adding to the original Sitelinks feature introduced in November 2009. SEER immediately began testing Sitelinks when they first launched and of course, began tracking the impact on our campaigns (See those results and strategies here and here). We found that Sitelinks overall do have the impact Google emphasized – increased CTR.

CTR is great of course – it means you’re likely driving relevant traffic, you’re appealing to your potential customers, and of course you can’t ignore the role it plays in Quality Score.

However, CTR doesn’t necessarily drive conversions or sales for our campaigns. Let’s face it, if you say to a client “I was able to get you an 8% CTR,” a good client will come back and say, “Great, what about conversions” … and a good PPC marketer should never just rely on CTR as the measure of success (it has its’ place, but it’s not the ultimate goal – in most instances, there are always exceptions).

So, this is where embedded Sitelinks come in.

My theory has been that if embedded Sitelinks are incorporated INTO your ad and emphasize your CTA, you just may see the outcome we all strive for – conversions! Theories are great, but data is needed to justify any theory.

So, I began digging into our campaigns where we are testing Embedded Sitelinks.

Note: Before you start to analyze Embedded Sitelinks, you need to make sure you’ve tagged your Sitelinks to be track individually in Google Analytics. This post will walk you through the “how to.” You also need to ensure Auto-tagging is turned on in Adwords (Found in: My Account -> Account Preferences – See Below):
Adwords Auto Tagging

Tip: you can also add your actual Sitelink text into the origin parameter to make this process easier (for example: origin=Sitelink1_freetrial).

To get started you need to jump into Google Analytics to pull your data.

Select your Adwords campaigns only:
GA Campaigns

Next, you need to pivot your data by landing page:
Pivot by LP

Finally, utilize the Advanced Filter feature to capture just your Sitelink landing pages. This is where the above tracking comes into play. Filter by “origin”:
Advanced Filter

Export your data via CSV (with conversion data) and voila! You have the data you need to get started with your analysis.

Next, you need to determine which of your Sitelinks are eligible for embedded Sitelinks.

As a reminder here are the guidelines from Adwords on when ad Ad is eligible for an Embedded Sitelink:
If your ad doesn’t meet the requirements for one-, two-, or three-line Ad Sitelinks, we may show Ad Sitelinks in the embedded format. In this format, there are no additional lines showing below your ad copy. Instead, text in your ad copy that exactly matches one or more of your Sitelinks will be linked to that Sitelink’s destination URL. Only ads that appear above the search results are eligible for embedded Ad Sitelinks.

Once you’ve determined which Sitelinks were eligible for Embedded Sitelinks, use Control +F to highlight those Sitelinks.
Sort by your highlighted Sitelinks.
Add a column to your file for “Embeddable.”
All highlighted Sitelinks get a ‘Yes’, all others, get a ‘No’.

Next, create a pivot table for your data with the following fields:
Conversion Rate (create this as a formula – Conversions / Visits)

That’s it! You’re ready to start analyzing if Sitelinks that are eligible for Embedded Sitelinks have a greater impact on Conversions than non-eligible Sitelinks.
Important to call out here, that I continuously say “eligible” for Embedded as Sitelinks, as Sitelinks eligible for Embedded Sitelinks may also be shown as one, two or three line Sitelinks.

So, what did we find?

Some interesting, EARLY, results!

We analyzed 3 different clients, who have each been running Sitelinks that are eligible for Embedded Sitelinks for at least 2+ months. Here’s what we found by individual client:
Client Data

Admittedly the data is minimal and it’s early in our testing, as the feature is fairly new. But what I will say is I like the TREND that we’re starting to see.

3 of 3 clients are seeing a higher conversion rate from Sitelinks that are eligible to be embedded.
2 of 3 clients are seeing higher conversions from Sitelinks that are eligible to be embedded.

Better yet, when I started looking at the data in aggregated form, the results ARE statistically significant.

Here’s the data in aggregated form:

Total Data

What does this mean?

You should be testing Embedded Sitelinks. CTR increase as a result of Sitelinks is great, but if I can get those Sitelinks to increase my conversions – that’s even better!

One thing that I wish I was able to do here to get an even better understanding of the impact of Embedded vs. regular Sitelinks (but wasn’t able to), would have been to evaluate the same Sitelink as a regular Sitelink vs. being Eligible for an Embedded Sitelink. This brings arguments along with it – 2 different time periods, change in copy, etc. that will need to be taken into consideration when evaluating, but may shed additional light!

So, for anyone inspired to test Embedded Sitelinks, to get started, I recommend analyzing which Sitelinks are already driving conversions for you. See if you can revamp your ad copy to make those eligible for Embedded Sitelinks to get an even better sense if conversions have increased because it is Embedded!