About cross-network attribution (beta)

Consumer journeys are complex and marketers need the tools to understand how different networks, campaigns and ads work together to create conversions. The attribution reports in Google Ads offer advertisers the ability to report on Search Network campaign conversions using different attribution models.

YouTube campaigns often play an assisting role in a conversion path, but this role isn't visible in the Google Ads 'Campaigns' page using the default last click model. To help marketers uncover these insights, we're integrating YouTube clicks and video engagements into the 'top paths' and 'assisted conversions' attribution reports.

If you opt into the cross-network beta programme, your 'top paths' and 'assisted conversions' reports will include YouTube ad engagements from May 2019 onwards. YouTube ad engagements occur when a user watches a video ad for at least 10 seconds or clicks the ad.

You can view YouTube ad engagements in these reports by selecting Networks from the 'Dimension' drop-down menu.

Learn more about the 'top paths' and 'assisted conversions' reports in About attribution reports

Benefits

The 'top paths' and 'assisted conversions' reports:

  • Show how search and YouTube campaigns work together to drive conversions
  • Allow you to view search network clicks, YouTube clicks and video engagements 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

Before you begin

For cross-network reporting to be available, you must:

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

How reporting varies

Here's how conversions are reported differently in the cross-network 'top paths' and 'assisted conversions' attribution reports vs. the 'Campaigns' page.

  Cross-network attribution reports 'Campaigns' page
Time of event Time of conversion Time of the ad query preceding the click that led to a conversion. (Add 'by conv. time' columns to the 'Campaigns' page to match the reporting time in attribution reports.)
Network coverage Search network and YouTube Search network (including search partners), YouTube (including Google video partners), Display, Gmail, Google Maps
Campaign coverage Search Network, Shopping (including Smart Shopping), video Search Network, Shopping (including Smart Shopping), video, display, Discovery, app, Hotel
Video format coverage

Ad sequence, bumper, non-skippable in-stream, skippable in-stream

(Doesn't include formats served on Google video partners)

Bumper, Masthead, non-skippable in-stream, outstream, skippable in-stream, video discovery
Conversion coverage

Google Ads conversion tracking*, Google Analytics goal 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 visit 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

Best practices for cross-account conversion tracking

For 'top paths' and 'assisted conversions' to display cross-network activity, you must use Google Ads conversion tracking with visibility into both Search Network and YouTube campaigns. If you use cross-account conversion tracking, make sure that Search Network and YouTube campaigns across different accounts both 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 in the upper right-hand corner.
  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 tick mark 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 that you're capturing the full picture in the attribution reports.

Instructions

If your account has run a campaign on YouTube since May 2019, you're eligible to opt into cross-network attribution reporting. First, review the report coverage details and account setup best practices (above) and then follow these instructions to opt in:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click the tools icon in the upper right-hand corner.
  3. Under 'Measurement', select Attribution.
  4. Click OK in the 'Add YouTube data...' banner at the top of the 'overview' report. YouTube data will now start appearing in your 'top paths' and 'assisted conversions' reports.
    Note: This action is not reversible. However, you can exclude YouTube data from your reports by adding a Network filter.
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