About cross-network attribution

Consumer journeys are complex, and marketers need the tools to understand how different networks, campaigns, and ads work together to create conversions. YouTube and Google Display Network campaigns often play an assisting role in a conversion path, but these roles aren't visible in the Google Ads "Campaigns" page using the default last click model. To help marketers uncover these insights, YouTube and Google Display Network ad engagements are now integrated into the attribution reports and non-last click attribution models for eligible accounts.

You can view YouTube and Google Display Network ad engagements in these reports by selecting Networks from the "Dimension" drop-down menu.

Learn more About attribution reports.

Benefits

The attribution reports:

  • Show how Search, YouTube, and Google Display Network campaigns work together to drive conversions
  • Allow you to view Search clicks, YouTube clicks and video engagements, and Display clicks along the path to conversion
  • Provide insights into campaign performance
  • Inform your tCPA or budget setting by showing you which campaigns and networks assist conversions

Requirements

For cross-network paths to be visible, you must:

  • Advertise on the Google Search Network and either YouTube or the Google Display Network
    Note: If you have different Google Ads accounts driving Search, YouTube, and Google Display Network traffic to the same website with the same objective (e.g., transaction), make sure to use cross-account conversion tracking, which requires a manager account (MCC).
  • Use Google Ads conversion tracking
    Note: Google Analytics goals/conversions and offline conversion tracking can't measure some YouTube engagements. These conversion types will show paths across Search and YouTube clicks only.

Best practices for cross-account conversion tracking

For the attribution reports to display cross-network activity, you must use Google Ads conversion tracking with visibility into both Search Network, YouTube, and Google Display Network campaigns. If you use cross-account conversion tracking, make sure that Search, YouTube, and Google Display Network campaigns across different accounts all track conversions at the manager account (MCC) level.

Use the account map feature in Google Ads to verify that your account is set up to accurately display cross-network reporting.

Here's how to check your cross-account conversion tracking setup:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click the tools icon Google Ads | tools [Icon] in the upper right.
  3. Under "Setup," select Account map.
  4. In the navigation menu, click Conversion tracking parent to see which accounts inherit manager-level conversion tracking.
  5. If a checkmark icon does not appear next to an account, that account uses account-level conversion tracking, and any conversion and campaign data from those accounts won't be visible in the cross-network attribution reports. Consider setting up cross-account conversion tracking to ensure you're capturing the full picture in the attribution reports.

What to expect

Similar to any update to your attribution models, you might see some changes to "Campaigns" reporting when you move from a Search-only attribution model to a cross-network (Search, YouTube, and Google Display Network) attribution model:

  • Fractional credit: Credit for a given conversion is distributed between contributing ad interactions, according to your selected attribution model. As a result, you'll see decimals in your "Conversions" and "All conv." columns for the first time for some campaign and network types when you switch to a non-last click model.
  • Time lag: Google Ads reports conversions according to the date of the ad interaction. Since a non-last click attribution model shares conversion credit between multiple interactions, each of which happened at a different point in time, the time lag associated with your "Campaigns" reporting may increase. As a result, you may see a temporary, slight dip in conversions for very recent days after changing your attribution model.
  • Credit shifts: With any change to your attribution model, you could see conversion credit shifts across the various campaigns, networks, ad groups, and keywords using that conversion action.

How reporting varies

Here's how conversions are reported differently in the cross-network attribution reports vs. the "Campaigns" page:

  Attribution reports "Campaigns" page
Time of event Time of conversion Time of the ad query preceding the click that led to conversion. (Add "by conv. Time" columns to the "Campaigns" page to match the reporting time in attribution reports)
Network coverage Search Network, YouTube (including Google video partners), and Google Display Network Search Network (including Search partners), YouTube (including Google video partners), Google Display Network, Gmail, Google Maps
Campaign coverage Search, Shopping (including Smart Shopping), Video, Display (not including pay for conversions) Search, Shopping (including Smart Shopping), Video, Display, Discovery, App, Hotel
Video format coverage

Ad sequence, Bumper, Non-skippable in-stream, Skippable in-stream

Bumper, Masthead, Non-skippable in-stream, Outstream, Skippable in-stream, Video discovery
Conversion coverage

Google Ads conversion tracking*, Google Analytics goal and conversion import, offline conversion import, call conversions (click to call, call import, website call conversions)

*Note: YouTube video views are only captured via Google Ads conversion tracking

All sources in attribution reports, plus app conversions and store visits conversions
History windows

"Conversion windows" apply in the attribution reports in the same way they do for the "Campaigns" page.

In addition, you can use a "lookback window" in the attribution reports to determine how far back in time from a conversion you want to include ad interactions for the data in the reports. For example, you may want to only consider ad interactions within 30 days of conversions (regardless of the conversion windows of those conversions).

The "Model comparison" report also has a "Default" lookback window option. The "Default" option sets the lookback window for each conversion to its conversion window.

A "conversion window" is set for each conversion action within Tools > Measurement > Conversions. Any conversion without a preceding ad interaction within its conversion window is not counted in Google Ads. Learn more About conversion windows.
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