3 Things to Check When Your Conversion Rate Drops Off in Google Ads

One of the most perplexing and frustrating issues you’ll encounter if you manage a Google Ads account long enough is a sudden drop in conversion rate.

There are several times when you may notice that your conversion rate isn’t at a desirable level. Conversion rates may fluctuate or decrease over long periods of time. This is partially natural; advertising is always evolving, and your target audience will eventually become saturated (particularly if it is not a large audience). If you do notice that your conversion rates are steadily decreasing, it’s evidence of a larger problem that can likely be remedied through testing, optimization, and innovation, including changing budget, implementing segmentation, performing keyword analysis, updating landing page design, and making account structure improvements.


However, there are two situations where conversion rates may plummet quickly:


  • The first will be obvious to you (or at least shouldn’t be hard to decipher) because you’ll have just made a change. If you increase the price of your products or services, expect conversion rates to fall. If you change the design of your landing pages, visitors may take time to adjust. Any sort of internal change that you make can and likely will affect conversion rates; they are sensitive, reactive to the slightest shift. When you make a change and conversion rates decline unexpectedly, keep an eye on it but allow enough time for the change to settle – if within a week or two weeks conversion rates are still low, make necessary adjustments or reverse the change entirely.
  • The second scenario is one in which your campaigns have been performing at a consistent level and your conversion rates diminish rapidly with no warning and no preceding action. This will be the one that stumps you/causes you to panic. If you didn’t change anything, and there’s no obvious reason for the drop off, what caused it, and how do you fix it?


Empirical360 has managed over 91 Google Ads accounts and over $5,000,000 for our clients. We’ve had this same issue happen to us several times, especially when we were first starting out, and we have personally experienced the resulting confusion. Since we’re digital marketing experts and we know how common this problem is, we wanted to share our knowledge and process with you!

Here are three things you should ask yourself and check on if your conversion rate is falling without any discernible cause:

Is any part of your website broken, or is your overall speed slow?


Sometimes websites break, and that’s just the reality of technology; even if you update your site regularly, it’s still possible that a form will stop working, or a script on the website will malfunction, or a bug will cause something else to shut down. If any one component of your site breaks, it will prevent visitors from converting. To detect what’s not working properly, check performance. Test your checkout process from start to finish. Have someone who does not regularly visit the site click on all of the buttons and fill out any forms. Look at device or browser specific information within Google Analytics and see if the problem is confined to one specific channel. 

The problem could also be that your website is slowing down. According to Hubspot, a 1 second delay results in a 7% reduction in conversion rate. In the age of instant gratification, consumers want everything now, and they will leave your site or abandon their carts if loading times aren’t fast enough for them. There are several free tools you can use to check your website speed, but many of them will give you varying results. We recommend Google Page Insights, which will give you a score and then provide specific suggestions for improving your speed. If you find that your website is too slow, contact your web host, compress your images, clean up excess coding, get rid of unnecessary plugins or redirects, and update your CMS – one or more of those elements should be the reason for the lagging loading times. 

Is your conversion tracking working?


Your situation may not be as dire as it seems, or it could potentially be worse; if you’re not tracking conversions correctly, the number you’re seeing may not accurately reflect the true conversions you’re getting! 

Ensure that you have the correct tracking in place. Are all of your integrations working? Are you tracking the phone calls that come in from your ads, and form submissions, and other actions on your site? If not, you’re missing out on opportunities to optimize for conversions. Check your Google Analytics account and call tracking software (like CallRail) to make sure that those conversion numbers make sense and line up…if there are serious discrepancies, then something needs to be fixed, and whatever is broken with your conversion tracking is likely the reason for your skewed numbers. 

We recently did a whole blog series on conversion tracking that can help you understand what you need to track and how to do it! 

Are your competitors outdoing you?


The introduction of new competition or new efforts by competitors to increase their traffic is one of the most likely reasons for a sudden decline in your conversion rate. If your competitors are changing their ads to reflect trends, making their ads and landing pages more relevant to users, simplifying the checkout process, or offering coupons, then they’ll attract some of your visitors who would have otherwise converted on your site. 

Customers today compare all of their options before making a purchase. They want to make sure they have found the best product for the best price. 18% of shoppers abandon their carts because they want to search elsewhere for a better deal, so if your competitors are adding more value than you are, your customers will turn to them. Though it can be difficult, the way to fix this is by doing whatever it takes to outshine your competition.  If they are selling a similar product for $15.99, sell yours for $12-$14.99. If they offer free shipping, you do as well. See what propositions they include in their ad copy and then write your ads to reflect their offerings. 

Give your customers something that sets you apart from all of the other options in your industry; if the competition is the reason for your conversion rate dropping off, that will bring it back up again. 

If your conversion rate is still low…


It’s not any sort of bug, slow loading time, tracking issue, or new competitor angle, so what could it be? The only way to be sure is to start aggressively AB testing. Run tests on landing pages, ad copy, checkout process, images – anything that could be a factor influencing conversion rate. An AB test is a data driven way to find out what’s working and what’s not, and in this case, help you located what needs to be changed. 


Got questions? We’d love to discuss how we can help you increase your conversion rate and your ROI! Contact us today to hear how we’ve made millions of dollars in revenue for our clients and what we’re most passionate about when it comes to PPC. 


Shea Antonucci - Author

Director of Content Marketing

Shea is an expert content writer and is a classic literary nerd! She loves writing highly engaging content and has a knack for making it convert!