Link Google Analytics and Google Ad Manager for Content ROI

As a publisher, your business model depends on getting the right ads in front of the right eyeballs at the right time. Simple, right?

But, how do you know if those objectives are lining up for optimal revenue? Most publishers can’t rely on their ad server alone, and blending in other data is tedious and error-prone.

The longstanding problem for publishers is that their ad data and site data are often siloed in different departments and business units. So, the ad operations team, sales team, and content management groups miss out on mutual opportunities.

Site-side data captured by Google Analytics includes pageviews, clicks on outbound links, and events like article shares via Facebook at the page or author level.

Google Ad Manager Logo, Formerly known as DoubleClick for Publishers
Google Ad Manager

The monetary data, including how many visitors saw an ad and whether they clicked or not, lives in what’s now called Google Ad Manager (the tool Google rebranded in June 2018 that combines DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick Ad Exchange).

But many publishers don’t have a simple way to join these two datasets together in a single view.  This presents a challenge when it comes to understanding subscriptions, registrations, and ad revenue generated by a particular page or content category. Historically, you had to create custom reports to mesh Google Analytics (GA) and Ad Manager (GAM) information.

This manual work can be a time-intensive engineering challenge for internal developers and analysts. Here at Empirical Path, we often handle these tasks for clients who don’t have the time or internal resources.

Google Analytics 360 Logo
Google Analytics 360

But, there is a much easier way.

Analytics 360 (GA360), a premium offering, integrates easily with Google Ad Manager reporting for seamless data flow between the products. This allows publishers to click a few buttons and create a single view which aggregates user behavior and ad reporting.

Benefits of Integrating Google Analytics 360 and Google Ad Manager

1) Understand user behavior

Joining site-visit analysis with ad-platform data lets you see how content and advertising are coming together to create the user experience. For instance, the integrated view shows the impact of ad load on user engagement by device type, browsers, and more.

By tracking how users navigate and interact with your site, you can begin to build audiences around specific behaviors such as clicking social buttons to “like” or share content. Or, you can target segments of users which exceed certain thresholds of time on site or pages per session.  Criteria such as visitor loyalty, profile creation, and micro conversions are among the many options that can be used for audience building.

2) Get context from top-level views

Integrated reporting incorporates up to 10 unique metrics from Google Ad Manager into Google Analytics, so you can determine revenue by page, author, topic, session, or by any combination of customized dimensions. You can see where referrals are coming from and what’s driving traffic, so you can better monetize pageviews.

3) Collect unified user data

When the tools are used independently of one another, both Analytics 360 and Ad Manager will each drop different cookies on a given user’s browser.  This makes the resulting dataset difficult to overlay. When the tools are integrated, user matching is handled up front. The tools take care of unifying user profiles and tracking ids across different platforms, saving you lots of time versus pairing up the data manually.

4) Leverage content and user insights to drive revenue

Because user data and ad performance are reported together, publishers no longer have to guess what pages and ads are performing well. Clear, cross-platform insights about user engagement creates powerful narratives for convincing advertisers to increase spend on more relevant ad views.

Real World Results

One of our largest clients, a well-known business publisher, came to us with the kind of data disconnect we see a lot. As is typical with these situations, some teams were missing out completely on insights which other teams weren’t fully appreciating. In this case, the Ad Manager users weren’t drawing on the full benefits of Analytics 360 to drive decisions and pitch effectively to advertisers.

Screenshot of Google Analytics (GA) 360 and Google Ad Manager (GAM) integrated report
Click to view larger. Easily get insights from Google Ad Manager into context with Google Analytics 360 content performance metrics

Similarly, the GA 360 users didn’t know how different types of content were contributing to bottom-line results. With a mix of analytics expertise and cross-departmental communication, we helped three business units marry up the data needed to present a compelling, unified story to advertisers.

Integration is a smart move if you’re currently using Google Analytics 360 and using Ad Manager or considering switching from another digital ad platform.

Combined, the integrated data reveals fundamental and essential insights: This author, this page, this type of content is worth $XX.

Publishers, Use Integrated Data to Make Better Content Decisions

GA 360 and GAM integration enables publishers to better understand what users respond to and engage with. Linking the tools also identifies potential user engagement problems like slower ad load time in different browsers or on different devices. It shows how users interact with advertising in context with content.

And, these insights allow for smarter business decisions, shedding light on questions like:

  • What types of content to invest in, and how that will pay off in ad revenue?
  • How best to serve that content?
  • How to match ads to content in order to spike engagement?
  • How to segment audiences to deliver targeted, qualified viewers?
  • How to optimize the user experience?

Get Started With Google Analytics 360 / Google Ad Manager Reporting

The great thing about marketing ecosystems like Google Marketing Platform is how easily all the tools work together.  The Google Analytics 360 / Google Ad Manager reporting integration is a good example of this kind of simplicity.

First, you do need to ensure you are using Google Publishing Tags (GPT) to serve most of your ads.  Then, you simply need to identify one power user who has admin rights on both platforms and identify which Google Analytics 360 views you want to associate with your integrated GAM data.  For more on how to get started, check out Google’s simple GA 360 / GAM checklist.

Work with your certified GA 360 reseller or Google In Product support to activate the integration. Google will take a little time to review and approve your integration, typically 24-48 hrs or less.

If you are curious about discounted Google Analytics 360 pricing, or about how to ensure your Tags are working correctly, or how to make the most of a Google Ad Manager integration, talk to one of our experienced Analytics Consultants today.

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When you reach out to Empirical Path, you get in touch directly with our fully qualified and experienced consultants.   Whether you need an analytics audit, training, support, or a custom quote on Google Analytics 360 licensing, let’s talk today.