Report on Floodlight conversions

How Floodlight counts conversions

Floodlight uses activities, tags, and a lookback window to count conversions.

A Floodlight activity is a specific conversion you want to track, such as the completion of a purchase or a visit to a page on your site. A tag is automatically generated for each activity, and your web team installs the tag onto your site. When a visitor lands on the conversion page, the tag reports a conversion.

For example, you set up an activity to track how many customers visit a promotional page after clicking on an ad. Then you paste the activity's tag onto the page. When a customer clicks an ad and visits the page, that's one conversion.

There are two types of Floodlight activities you can create:

  • Action: Count the number of times that users have visited a particular webpage after seeing or clicking on one of your ads. These are called Counter activities in Campaign Manager. For example, if you create a Counter activity in Campaign Manager and name it "Newsletter signups", when you sign into the associated advertiser in Search Ads 360, you'll see the "Newsletter signups" activity listed as an Action activity in Search Ads 360.

  • Transaction: Track the number of sales made or the number of items purchased. You can also capture the total value of each sale. With a few extra steps, you can also set up transaction tags to report revenue, cost, and profit for individual products in an inventory feed.
    These are called Sales activities in Campaign Manager. For example, if you create a Sales activity in Campaign Manager and name it "Checkout", when you sign into the associated advertiser in Search Ads 360, you'll see the "Checkout" activity listed as a Sales activity in Search Ads 360.

You can track both visits and sales data on the same page or app by setting up two different Floodlight activities. 

See an example Floodlight tag and activity

"Thank you" page on a web site

Here's a typical page on a web site that acknowledges a purchase.

Example of a thank you page.

Floodlight tag on the “Thank you" page

Here's a Floodlight tag on the thank-you page that records transactions on the site:
<iframe height="0" width="0" src="//;src=0;type=fake_tag;cat=fake_tag;u=4771963;qty=1;cost=129.97;ord=4771963;~oref=http%3A//" style="display: none; visibility: hidden;"></iframe>

When the page loads, the tag sends its unique ID to Search Ads 360 and Campaign Manager, along with the total revenue from the sale and other data. Search Ads 360 and Campaign Manager use the ID to associate the transaction with a specific Floodlight activity.

"Thank you page" Floodlight activity in Search Ads 360

When a Floodlight tag sends data to Search Ads 360 and Campaign Manager, a Floodlight activity stores the data. In Search Ads 360, you can see the number of conversions that occurred for each Floodlight activity by segmenting a report. For Floodlight activities that record transactions, you can also see the total revenue from each activity.

The following example of a segmented report shows the number of transactions and the amount of revenue recorded by the Floodlight tag on the "Thank you page" and reported by the corresponding "Thank you page" Floodlight activity. Note that ads from two different ad groups are attributed credit for generating the revenue. (The Cost column records the advertising cost incurred by customers clicking ads served from each ad group.)

Ad group Floodlight activity group Floodlight activity Trans Cost Revenue
T-shirts Sales Confirmation Thank you page 613 308.79 $1,115.00
Shoes Sales Confirmation Thank you page 393 150.33 $985.72

Lookback window

Floodlight only records conversions for customers who have clicked an ad within a period of time that you specify, called a lookback window. For example, if a user clicks one of your ads, then visits your Floodlight-enabled website 15 days later, but your lookback window for clicks is only 10 days, no activity is recorded.

You set up lookback windows in your Campaign Manager advertiser.

Unattributed conversions with Floodlight iframe or image tags

If you use Floodlight iframe or image tags instead of the global site tag or Google Tag Manager, Search Ads 360 is not able to observe conversions when the website cookies that store information about your ad clicks aren't available due to factors including browser settings. In these cases, Floodlight uses scaling to account for the conversion data that can't be directly measured. That is, Floodlight uses machine learning and historical data to model the number of conversions and amount of conversion revenue that cannot be measured. Floodlight can then add the resulting estimate to its conversion metrics to provide a more complete picture of how your advertising drives conversions. 

We will only report scaled conversions when there’s enough data to meet our accuracy thresholds. In addition, the calculation runs through our quality systems, such as our conversion spam filter, before appearing in reports.

Note: If you use Floodlight iframe or image tags, we recommend you migrate to the global site tag or use Google Tag Manager with the Conversion Linker. Floodlight iframe and image tags are not able to observe all of your conversions.

Reporting discrepancies

When we apply statistical modeling to account for conversions that cannot be measured due to factors such as browser settings, the result is often a fractional number. 

To make Search Ads 360 reporting easier to understand, we round these fractions in some locations within the UI, in executive reports, in downloaded reports, and in the reporting API. This rounding can cause discrepancies between reporting columns, data cards, and other places in reports, depending on how each part of the report rounds and sums the fractional data.

Here are some examples of discrepancies due to rounding:

  • Conversion totals in the UI compared with totals in downloaded reports
  • Conversion totals compared with calculated metrics such as "Cost per action" or formula columns
  • Conversion totals in unsegmented reports compared with segmented reports
  • Conversion totals on different tabs, such as the Campaigns tab compared with the Ad groups tab
  • In executive reports, charts or tables that segment by month may show different totals from charts or tables that are not segmented

To avoid these reporting discrepancies, migrate your Floodlight iframe or image tags to the global site tag or add the Conversion Linker tag to your Google Tag Manager container.

Bid strategies

Bid strategies are not impacted by rounding discrepancies because they use the raw fractional numbers that result from applying statistical modeling to conversion data.

Discrepancies with other conversion tracking systems

When you report on conversions tracked by Floodlight, Google Ads conversion tracking, and Google Analytics, the totals from these different systems might not match. Some discrepancies are expected because of differences in supported ad types, how each system counts unattributed conversions, how the different systems attribute conversions to days, and more. Learn more

Search Ads 360 reports paid search conversions only

Once you place a Floodlight tag on your site, the corresponding Floodlight activity will begin recording conversions that include a paid search click, an impression or click on a display ad managed by Search Ads 360, or a Rich Media event. 

However, Search Ads 360 only reports conversions that are attributed to clicks on paid search ads. To view conversions attributed to display ads, view-through conversions, as well as paid search ads, pull reports from Campaign Manager (only available if your agency or organization uses Campaign Manager, and if your account has been granted access to Campaign Manager).


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