By Georgina Hurst

Google Campaign Manager offers some ingenious reports that give search users additional insight that cannot be provided from the Search Ads 360 or engine interfaces. This blog will take you through a few of our favourites; Attribution, Top Stats and Reach reports.

  • Search
  • Display

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The Google Campaign Manager, previously the ‘DoubleClick Campaign Manager’ or ‘DCM’ for short, is the top of the Google Stack Pyramid. It houses all tracking and interaction data for any activity it is linked to - most often programmatic via Display & Video 360 (previously DoubleClick Bid Manager) and Search via Search Ads 360 (previously DoubleClick Search). 

There are some ingenious reports you can use which offer a Search user additional insight that cannot be provided from the Search Ads 360 or engine interfaces. This blog will take you through a few of our favourites; Attribution, Top Stats and Reach reports.

These reports will allow you to provide a more streamlined, and holistic cross-channel approach to strategy and reporting, integrating multiple challenges while offering up some brand new metrics to boot. What’s not to love!?

Google Marketing Platform

The Basics

Before you get ahead of yourself, remember these top tips:

1) Choose the correct floodlight – you don’t want to be half way through analysis before you realise you’re looking at both signups and transaction floodlights.

Pick the correct Floodlight

2) Check Sampling – Sampling is triggered when Campaign Manager processes one million hits or more; try reducing this by using a smaller date range.

3) Set Channel Groupings – Create custom segments to organise your data into more meaningful sets e.g. splitting brand and generic search, compared to remarketing and prospecting in programmatic.

Set Channel Groupings

Attribution Report – Answer questions like ‘how does programmatic activity impact my search conversions?’

Understanding the value and impact of upper funnel activity on lower funnel search activity is key. Have you suddenly seen a decrease in profitable brand traffic? Your first thoughts should be towards how your upper funnel may have been compromised. This report is crucial in understanding the relationship between different channels and their appropriate value. 

If you have Google Analytics 360, you can basically give this section a miss. The greatest benefit of viewing this data in Campaign Manager is the availability of impression level data for Programmatic. If you’re using standard GA, Campaign Manager is the only platform that can offer you this information, one of programmatic’s key measurements of success. 

Navigate to the report in the following way: 

  1. Navigate to ‘top conversion paths’,
  2. Create a new conversion segment,
  3. Select to include assisted interactions for ‘dart search’ activity AND include a first interaction from display activity. 

You’ll now be gifted a selection of reports! Top metrics, graphs and paths. 

Top metrics 

Provides an overall numerical value; in our example it will provide a numerical value for all conversions where programmatic appeared to encourage an eventual Search conversion. Being able to quantify and measure this value is key to understanding performance and from this defining future strategy.

Graph

This visualises changes over time. Have we recently invested significantly in programmatic? Can we quickly identify when this began to impact search? 

Paths 

something very familiar to any Google Analytics users is Top Conversion Paths. These show in greater detail the combination of steps taken to reach your chosen goal. Here you can analyse (depending on your structure) the order in which a specific type of creative or targeting group is most effective. 

This is important for any sequential targeting in Programmatic, and also to understand how brand vs. generic keywords may fit into this user journey.  For Search users, this is also key for evaluating attribution models. Visualising and being familiar with this can help you better explain your customer’s path to conversion and how accurate attribution of value is imperative.

Campaign Manager attribution reports

Top Metrics Report – Answers questions like ‘what are my top-level Search and Programmatic Stats?’

Typically, you may find yourself wanting to pull data from two separate interfaces to answer this question.  Why is that a problem? 

  1. It doubles your workload,
  2. You may find one interface has slightly different attribution leading to inconsistencies,
  3. This siloed approach does not consider a holistic attribution of value.  

Pulling top stats from Campaign Manager rectifies these issues, as well as allowing you to automate the Excel CSV of this data straight to your inbox.

Create the report in the ‘report builder’ section, following the steps below.

Campaign Manager Top Metrics Report

However, we do have some downsides, namely you may need to manually combine some metrics.

Combining metrics in Campaign Manager

Data is limited to engine level - Bing vs. AdWords for example - meaning that you cannot drill into more details at campaign or keyword level from Campaign Manager using this specific report. As the title suggests, this is top level only!

Reach Report – Answer questions like ‘how many unique users have seen my search ad?’ or ‘how many users who saw a Programmatic Ad also clicked on a search ad?’

A common desire is for a client to reach more new users. Historically Search users have relied on impressions or clicks to indicate how we are increasing the number of times our ads are engaged with. But how do we know we’re not connecting with the same user again and again? The solution – measuring Reach.

Campaign Manager's definition of Total Reach as a metric is: ‘the estimated number of unique users who viewed or clicked on an ad.  This estimate is based on unique cookies.’  The key word here being unique!

Follow the process below to set up your first Reach report.

Set up a reach report in Campaign Manager

You will now have a CSV which provides data on the volume of unique users you’ve engaged with by channel. Below shows the humble pivot table making this data more user friendly.

Pivot table

You can now compare different date ranges to understand how your reach has changed over time. Make sure to set up a regular report to email you on a weekly/monthly basis, as the reports can only view the last 42 days of data.

Metrics are split between Impression Reach, Click Reach and Total Reach. Note that Programmatic data can be viewed at impression or click level, while Search has only click data. 

Your next level is for Cross-Dimension Reach reporting. These can show how many unique users saw or clicked on ads across BOTH a given pair of advertisers, campaigns or sites. Answering questions like ‘how often do my programmatic creatives overlap with search users?’

Cross-dimension reach reporting

Once again you can format in Excel. The below shows that:

  1. Of 1,937,057 total unique users, 1,365 have clicked on both a Search ad and seen/clicked on a display ad;
  2. 7% of Display users overlap with Search;
  3. 0.07% of Search users overlap with Display users.

If our strategy was to increase the overlap rate to prove that Display activity influences Search at a higher rate we may consider the following. Based on our data we may increase bids for users who entered the site through Search in remarketing activity.  We could also seek to tailor prospecting activity to more relevant targeting based on audience signals from Search users.

Crucially we can now use this measure as a benchmark from which to improve.

Reach report table

Note that you can only segment by Advertiser or Campaign. If you manage multiple similar brands which each sit in separate advertisers, this could be key to see where your audiences overlap. Most likely you will be comparing one brand within one advertiser but segmenting by campaign. Search will be shown as ‘dart search’ while the granularity of your programmatic campaign structure will dictate the level of detail you can view e.g. if you have separate campaigns for remarketing and prospecting then these can be viewed separately.

In conclusion, all Search Ads 360 users should understand the reports described above, using them to measure success, attribute accurately and ultimately integrate with cross-channel strategy. Seen as the bottom of the funnel, search users can often forget the importance of understanding the source of traffic and how programmatic (or other linked channels, e.g. social/organic) can influence audiences. By regularly emphasising these insights we can build a 'big picture' strategy with a holistic approach to our goals.

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