Why Conversion Results are Inflated

I love these real-life examples…

When advertisers complain about over-reporting in Ads Manager, there’s usually a good reason. It could be pixel, API, or event issues. Or it could be a misunderstanding of the results.

Real-Life Example

Here’s an example. I’ve been running a test for a free subscription. I created a separate landing page and form for the test, and I tag people in my CRM when they subscribe there.

As a result, I can confirm when someone subscribes from my ad. If anything, Ads Manager could underreport because someone I targeted might share the ad, leading to a few organic registrations.

But something else happened. I noticed that my CRM was reporting 38 registrations from this form, but Ads Manager reported 42.

How could that be? Was Ads Manager inflating my results?

Well, there was a perfectly normal explanation. This ad set was optimized for the Complete Registration standard event, so the Results column was reporting all attributed fires for that event.

I added a column for the custom conversion representing this specific opt-in, and wouldn’t you know it — 38. The same number that was reported by my CRM.

Where are those other four registrations coming from? When someone clicks on my ad and goes to my website, they could subscribe to the thing I’m promoting. They could also click around my website and subscribe for something else that would fire the Complete Registration custom event. And that’s what happened.

The attribution setting here is 1-day click. When I hovered over the results column in Ads Manager, I saw a complete log of conversions — including Custom Conversions representing four stray registrations.

This Applies to Purchases, Too

I wonder how often this leads to advertisers claiming results are wrong and inflated. The same thing can happen with the Purchase standard event and the specific product you promoted.

People don’t have to buy the product that you’re promoting. They might buy something else. So, don’t panic if the Purchase results don’t reflect what you’re seeing on the back end for the product in your ad. Verify whether they could have been the purchase of other products.