Search Ads 360 Natural Search

About Search Ads 360 Natural Search

Search Ads 360 Natural Search is a measurement solution that gives you visibility into traffic and conversions driven by organic (natural) searches. Search Ads 360 Natural Search depends on the use of first-party cookies. These cookies are refreshed when a user visits your site before the cookie expires. Read more about how Search Ads 360 uses cookies.

Since Search Ads 360 Natural Search involves using information from new cookies that are set on your domain, ensure you're providing users with clear and comprehensive information about data collection, and obtaining consent where legally required. Learn how to opt out of setting first-party cookies on your site’s domain.

With visibility into traffic and conversions, you can:

  • Gain insight into your customers' searches and see the impact of the entire search experience and click history.
  • Learn how to buy keywords more intelligently.
  • Learn more about the combined influence of natural search, paid search, and display.
  • Understand how paid and natural keywords work together.
  • Get de-duplicated conversion data across natural search, paid search, and display activity.
  • Use flexible reporting views to align your marketing goals.

Additional tagging required

To ensure that Search Ads 360 can measure all of your natural search activity regardless of the browser that your site visitor is using, use the global site tag (gtag.js) as the format for your Floodlight activity tags. This tag sets new cookies on your domain, which will store a unique identifier for a user.

You'll need to add a dc_natural_search field to the global site tag on every page of your site. The Search Ads 360 support team generates this field for you, and your webmaster needs to add it to your global site tag. Learn how to add the natural search field to your site.

Opting out of setting first-party cookies on your site

If you don’t want the global site tag to set first-party cookies on your site’s domain, add the {'conversion_linker': false} parameter to your global snippet’s config command. When you're done, your global config snippet should look like this: gtag('config', 'DC-1234567', {'conversion_linker': false});.

Getting started

Here's an overview of setting up Search Ads 360 Natural Search:

  1. Contact Search Ads 360 support and let them know:
    • Which search engines you want to attribute for natural search.

      Supported search engines

      Search Ads 360 Natural Search can display search queries from all of the search engines supported by Search Ads 360, as well as queries on AOL, Ask.com, and Yahoo!. When running reports for Search Ads 360 Natural Search, please keep the following in mind:

      • Natural search traffic that is not generated from one of the supported engines will not be captured in the reports.
      • For cached links, Search Ads 360 will report on this traffic for Google but will not report on this traffic for Bing.
    • Which attribution option you want to use. The attribution option determines which media channel receives credit for a conversion click or post-click activity.

      Attribution options

      Attribution options determine which media channels receive credit for conversions and other post-click activities:

      • Last click: All credit is attributed to the last click, regardless of other activity higher up in the funnel. For example, if consumer clicks a display ad and visits your site without converting, then clicks a search ad and does the same, and finally clicks a natural search result and converts, all conversion credit would be attributed the natural search visit.

        Note that equal attribution will lower the number of conversions attributed to paid search. If you are running conversion-based bid strategies you may need to update your CPA/ROAS based goals accordingly.
      • Opt-out: Natural search clicks never receive credit for conversions. Instead, credit always goes to the last click that is not natural search (i.e., paid search or display). If natural search is the only click in a conversion funnel, the conversion isn't reported at all. Opt-out is a good option if you're concerned that natural search clicks might adversely affect your paid search performance.  

        Note that if you choose the Opt-out attribution model, Path to Conversion reports will exclude natural search events, though you can still access the natural search data from Data Transfer files.

      Customer support will set up your advertiser with the attribution option you choose.

      Changing the attribution option

      If you implement one attribution option but then decide that you need to use the other option, contact Search Ads 360 customer support. You won't need to change your existing tags.

    • The name and value of your exclusion parameter, which differentiates paid search clicks from natural search clicks.

      Exclusion parameter

      To distinguish paid search clicks from natural search clicks, landing page URLs for your search ads need to include a URL parameter called the exclusion parameter. When a landing page loads on your site, the dc_natural_search field in your global site tag (or the additional natural search tag) will check for this parameter. If the parameter is in the URL, Natural Search reports the visit as originating from a paid search click.

      You can name the parameter and its value whatever you like, using the required key=value syntax. For example, nst=0. If you're already using a parameter that identifies the URL source as Search Ads 360, you can use the existing parameter. For example, if you've linked your Search Ads 360 account with Google Analytics or enabled auto-tagging in Google Ads, you can use gclid=* as the exclusion parameter.

      If any of your keyword landing pages are missing the exclusion parameter, the natural search report will show visits that originate from those keywords as "natural".

      The exclusion parameter in Google Ads accounts

      If you use an exclusion parameter other than gclid, your Google Ads accounts must define the parameter either in a Final URL Suffix or directly in each final URL. Because of parallel tracking in Google Ads accounts, URL parameters that are defined in URL templates may not available to your landing pages.

      Learn more about compatibility issues with Google Ads parallel tracking.

  2. The support team will use the information you provide to create a dc_natural_search field for your global snippet, or to create a separate Search Ads 360 Natural Search tag.
  3. Check the Natural search checkbox in your Floodlight activities settings.
  4. If you haven't already done so, add the exclusion parameter to all of your keyword landing page URLs in Search Ads 360.
    Make sure to add this parameter to any new keywords you create in the future, otherwise visits from the new keywords will be recorded as natural in your natural search reports.
  5. Deploy the Search Ads 360 Natural Search tag to your site.

After you set up Search Ads 360 Natural Search, you can run Natural Search reports.

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