What are local conversion actions and how are they affecting your Google Ads data?

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Local conversion actions are newly automated conversion actions that are now showing in your Google Ads program. Just to repeat, these conversion actions are automated and they are coming from Google. They are not something that you can delete and they’re not something you can filter out of your current data.

In this post and video, I explain the effect of local conversion tracking and how to interpret the associated metrics.

If you’re looking at your Google Ads program over the last month, you might’ve been like, “Wow, my conversions are way up! I must be doing an excellent job!” While you might have been doing an excellent job, you might not have noticed the new local conversion actions that are now being automated inside your Google Ads program.

Simply put Google has decided to start giving more credit to the Maps section of the Google search results and the actions that take place from the ads that are being placed there.

How Local Conversion Actions Work

If you are inside of your Google Ads program and you have added location extensions then your ad can now show when you do a Google search. For example, typing in a search for ‘residential landscape design Indianapolis” yields listings on Google maps. Note the ads showing in the first position in this search.

So, what has happened is now we can get more data on those ads placed in the local map section.  Google has introduced these new conversions and they are Local Conversion Actions.

local conversion action ads

Are All Local Conversion Actions Actually Conversions?

Local Conversion Actions are automatic, and as stated earlier, you can’t opt out of it. In my opinion, there are a lot of issues with the types of conversions that are now being added. When you take a look, I agree with some and not with others.

These are the six Local Conversion Actions that Google is counting:

  1. Clicks to call: Clicks on the “Call” button on any Google location-based ad or service after an ad interaction.
  2. Local actions – Directions: Clicks on the “Get directions” button on any Google location-based ad or service after an ad interaction.
  3. Local actions – Website visits: Clicks on the website link on any Google location-based ad or service after an ad interaction.
  4. Local actions – Other engagements: Clicks on other tracked user actions (for example: share location, save, etc.) on any Google location-based ad or service after an ad interaction.
  5. Local actions – Orders: (Vertical specific) Clicks on the “Order” button on any Google location-based ad or service after an ad interaction.
  6. Local actions – Menu views: (Vertical specific) Clicks on the menu link on any Google location-based ad or service after an ad interaction. Edit button to change this text.

The Good and the Bad About Local Conversion Actions:

Local Conversion Actions  Looking at the list, I agree with some of these as legitimate conversions and not so much with others. So, #1 Clicks to Call , I want to know if there are clicks to call from the map section and I would consider that a conversion.

Next is #2 Driving Directions. Someone clicking to get directions would be a conversion – they are trying to get to your business.

However, the #3 Website Visits metric is debatable. So if somebody clicks on my ad in the map section, and then decides to visit my website, Google is automatically calling that a conversion. That is nothing different than a click to my website that I could have from an ad, and I think it’s very disappointing that Google is calling that a conversion.

The next one is #4 Other Locations.  So things such as sharing my location, saving a location, those are now considered conversions inside of your Google Ads program. Again, those to me are not conversion actions, and so I’m disappointed that those are now being counted.

For #5 Orders, I see how this works for Google My Business. Industries have the ability to order within Google My Business. That makes sense. If you think of restaurants in that situation then this is a conversion.

However, #6 Menu Views, the fact that someone viewed my menu, isn’t a conversion action in my professional opinion

So, while I applaud Google for adding the ability to get more information about the interactions that are taking place on my maps through the Google Ads program, I don’t think it’s giving an accurate picture in some instances.

How Local Conversion Actions Could Look in Your Reports

Google Ads Campaign View

1. Here’s an example where Local Conversion Actions may not give an accurate representation of a conversion. In Google Ads go to your campaigns and look at all conversions. When I compare the numbers for the past 30 days and previous 30 days, I’m ecstatic because I have 14 conversions versus 9! That’s fantastic! I’m doing 55% better. Or am I?

Local conversion actions Google ads

2. I might be looking at local conversion actions. To check for that additional piece of information,  go to segment >> conversions >> conversion action. Once I do that, then I’m going to see those additional actions.

Local conversion actions Google ads

3. And once I do that, then I’m starting to see those additional actions. So here is one of those local actions that are automatically being counted, and it’s for a website visit. I would not consider that a true conversion.

So, there you have it. Local conversion actions are here. They’re automated conversion actions, going from your map section, from when you do a location extension inside of Google Ads. You’re opting into the map section where your ad could show at the top.