Track conversions and user activity
Activities and conversions
An activity is a specific user action that an advertiser wants to track, such as the completion of a purchase or a visit to a webpage. You create and manage activities in Ad Manager. When a user performs the action after seeing an advertiser's ad, that's a conversion. For example, you set up an activity in Ad Manager to track how many users visit an advertiser's promotional website after viewing or clicking on an ad. When a user views an ad, then visits the page, that's one conversion.
The activity type determines exactly what the activity tracks:
Page views (Counter): Counts the number of times that converting users view the page where the activity tag is located.
Daily visits (Counter): For each converting visitor, counts just one conversion per 24-hour day. The day begins at midnight Eastern Time.
Custom (Counter): Lets the advertiser use a session ID to determine when to count a converting user as a new conversion, within a 24-hour day beginning at midnight Eastern Time. Keep in mind that even if the same session ID is used on subsequent days, a new conversion will be counted on each day.
Items purchased (Sales): Tracks the monetary value of each purchase that's part of a conversion, plus the number of items that were purchased and the order ID. It's up to the advertiser to insert these values dynamically when the webpage containing the tag is loaded. The data that you pass into these tags is available through Data Transfer.
Transactions (Sales): Tracks the monetary value of each purchase, plus the order ID. It's up to the advertiser to insert these values dynamically when the webpage containing the tag is loaded. The data that you pass into these tags is available through Data Transfer.
- Application downloads (Counter): Tracks conversions where the user has downloaded an application and launched it for the first time (the conversion occurs when the user first launches the application).
This feature only works with in-app ads. Conversions are not counted if the ad is initially viewed on the web (desktop or mobile) and the application is subsequently downloaded.
How conversions are counted
A conversion takes place when a user sees or clicks on an ad, then performs another action, such as visiting the advertiser's webpage, completing a purchase, or launching an application for the first time. This other action is tracked with an activity tag, that you generate in Ad Manager and send to your advertiser to implement on their website or mobile app.
Whenever anyone visits a webpage with activity tags, Ad Manager checks to see whether the user had seen or clicked on one of the advertiser's ads within the specified lookback window. A lookback window is a period of days for which an impression or click is considered relevant for conversion reporting.
A conversion is counted whenever an activity tag is triggered by a user who has seen or clicked an ad associated with the activity's advertiser within the specified lookback window.
Read an example use case
The following example illustrates one possible use of conversion tracking, following the process from the user's first viewing of the ad through the generation of a conversion report.
A web/app user views an Ad Manager ad offering free ring tones.
The Ad Manager ad server reads the user's DoubleClick cookies. If there is no cookie, a new one is created, but not necessarily set, depending on browser settings.
Later that same day, the user visits the advertiser's website or app, which contains a registration form that the user has to fill out before accessing the free ring tones.
To count how many users view the form, the advertiser has put an activity tag on the webpage or app. The tag makes a call to Ad Manager to detect and count the page view. As part of this process, Ad Manager checks the user's DoubleClick cookies to see whether the user has previously viewed or clicked on the advertiser's ad. In this case, the page view is counted as a view-through conversion.
The user submits the form and is taken to a webpage or app that confirms the user's email address. This second webpage or app contains a different activity tag, which enables Ad Manager to record a second view-through conversion.
In Ad Manager, the advertiser generates reports on the activities on the advertiser's website or app. Advertisers can see reports on each activity separately or view the information in aggregate.
View-through and click-through conversions
In reports, conversions are divided into view-through and click-through conversions, depending on the user action that led to the conversion. Since an ad must be viewed before it can be clicked, Ad Manager considers clicks to be more significant than impressions.
To avoid double-counting conversions, Ad Manager counts a conversion as click-through if the user has clicked on an ad within the lookback window for clicks, even though the activity is also view-through. If there is no click recorded within the lookback window, the conversion is associated with the last eligible impression within the lookback window.