Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Google AdWords Conversion hick-ups

It's common practice to add the JavaScript code snippet to the conversion page of a campaign that was initiated trough AdWords. This way, we can track the whole conversion process from its PPC origin all the way to the conversion. Fine with me.

However, recently (June 1st?), Google changed its policy and now a subtle but intrusive and annoying little box shows up on the conversion page.

Google AdWords invasion

Here's Google explanation about "Why is the conversion tracking text visible?":
We want to notify the user that his/her site activity is being tracked. However, because we also want to protect the user's identity, we also make it clear that we don't record or use the user's personal data in any way.
And "Why use visible text for conversion tracking when everyone else uses an invisible image?":
Google has chosen to use visible Google Site Stats text for the conversion tracking process to make this process apparent to users. Our goal is not to place our brand or promote our company on your web pages; however, we feel that it is important to be honest with and respect the privacy of users being tracked.

For example, if users see and click on this text, Google provides them with information about not accepting the conversion tracking cookie if they wish, and we assure them that none of their personal information is being used or recorded in any way. Users can also learn more about conversion tracking itself by clicking on this text, and will also have the opportunity to provide feedback about their experience with your site.

We made the Google Site Stats text block as unobtrusive as possible, and ask that you place it in a corner of your confirmation page (the page after a transaction has taken place).
Isn't it the responsibility of the "host" to have the proper privacy policies and disclaimers? In the case of AdWords conversion tracking, Google is merely an utility library being included in "our" site, it is not "their" property. They don't have any "ownership" of the web page. If we're using other "tools" to build our web site, are we going to end up with a bunch of little boxes all claiming their own part of the page and the user's attention for the sake of "protecting privacy" and "making it clear"? This looks unacceptable to me.

Broken page rendering

This doesn't seems to be a problem on our end since I have noticed other sites with similar issues. Because of this, I have already noticed some sites with screwed page rendering because what was a non-intrusive piece of code (without any display) has now become this annoying little box that shows up wherever the code was included.

Statistics & feedback

The "Google Site Stats - send feedback" box (or simple text link) leads to a simple explanation page explaining how the user is being tracked.

What do you think? Anyone else noticed that? Do you think it's fine or are we using Google AdWords Conversion in the wrong way?