By Ricardo Torres

Floodlight tags enable you to track the revenue of your sales and the total advertising cost, amongst other things. However, they don’t provide insight into which specific products are driving the sales. What products are being sold from brand searches? Are users clicking through a shopping ad going on to buy different products to the one that initially drew them to your site? The Purchase Detail Report within DoubleClick Search helps us uncover these answers.

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Why use the Purchase Detail Report?

Purchase detail reporting does take some initial dev work to set-up. Here’s why we think this is worthwhile.

Tailor ad copy & Ad Extensions – You might find that users visiting through a brand search are mainly buying a specific type of product. With this information, you can change your ad copy to make it more relevant for most users. You could also add sitelinks for top selling products or categories.

Provide useful insights – You can see whether users are searching for a specific product but buying a cheaper version, for example. You can also find out which items are typically bought together.

Net Profit Tracking – Setting up the Purchase Details Report is the first step to tracking net profit in your account. It will allow you to take into consideration the cost of goods sold, which likely varies from product to product. You might find that products that generate a great ROAS have very small margins and actually generate negative ROI for the business. Ultimately, you’ll want to incorporate this into your day-to-day optimisation and take your campaign management to a new level (net profit blog coming soon).

Set Up

Firstly, you’ll need to have your Google Merchant Centre (GMC) linked to DS and have floodlights set up to track revenue. The next step is to change the floodlight tag so the purchase details variables can be tracked. This enables DS to collect the necessary additional data when a user completes a purchase.

The variables collected are:

• ITEM ID
• PRICE
• QUANTITY
• COUNTRY (optional)
• LANGUAGE (optional)

You can change the tag manually or use Google Tag Manager. Full instructions can be found here.

Example Tag:

Example floodlight tag showing purchase details

Once the tag has been changed and variables are being captured correctly, the purchase details report will automatically begin to populate. DS will match the variables to an item in the GMC and you will be able to segment the reports by any attribute you have in the feed.

Viewing the Report

To view the report, navigate to the Dimensions tab and select one of the ‘Products Sold’ dimensions. You can segment the data by any attribute in the feed (including custom columns) and view reports from advertiser to ad group level. It’s important to keep in mind that although the ‘Products Sold’ dimensions are available for both search and shopping, ‘Products Advertised’ dimensions only show data for shopping campaigns.

Below is an example of what the report looks like:

Purchase detail report

One of the most insightful ways of utilising the report is segmenting by both a ‘Products Sold’ and ‘Products Advertised’ dimension. This allows you to see whether users are clicking through a product ad and going on to purchase a different item, perhaps a similar product with better value which you would want to bid more aggressively for as a result. The screenshot below shows an example of Products Advertised vs Products Sold by the colour attribute in the feed:

Product advertised vs product sold report

It’s also possible to look at ‘Cross-sell’ columns in the dimensions report, which show data for the units sold as a result of advertising a different product. You can look at the total number of sales, revenue and ‘average unit price’ for cross-sales.

Overall, the Purchase Detail report can be a great insight generator for retail clients. The only downside is that you can’t pull the details to Executive Reports, so you’ll need to find another solution if you want to automate reporting. Setting up the Purchase Detail Report is also the first step before you can start tracking net profit - we’ll be writing a follow up blog on this topic shortly.

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