written by Catherine Meyrick and Benoit Le Gendre
So, you’re successfully running Search activity using Search Ads 360 (SA360), or using Display & Video 360 (DV360) for your Programmatic activity – Why should you also consider adding Google Analytics 360 (GA360) to the suite of Google products that you already use?
In this article, we’ll explore just a few of the areas where the functionalities within GA360 can complement and add value to your existing SA360 and DV360 activity.
One key advantage of using GA360 alongside DV360 and/or SA360 is the ability to create audiences based on Analytics data. There are several possible audience types, including:
- Remarketing lists based on user behaviour (including factors such as time spent on site)
- ‘Smart lists’ which use machine learning to identify users who are most likely to convert
- ‘State-based’ audiences, which allow you to set rules to temporarily or permanently remove users from the list based on specific criteria
(It’s important to note, however, that not all audience types can be used across both SA360 and DV360.)
Audiences built-in GA360 can then be implemented across your activity – either directly in DV360, or through Google Ads and syncing them in SA360 – and can be used for targeting, exclusions, or for building similar audiences, enabling you to bid most effectively towards the best-performing audience segments.
Think about your own online behaviour for a moment – How many times have you clicked on a display ad and purchased something right away? Probably not very often. Programmatic activity generally forms a part of a longer, more complex, customer journey, and so by looking solely at conversions you’ve tracked within DV360, you’d be missing all of the other conversions that you helped along the way.
Although Search is frequently the last touchpoint before a conversion occurs, looking at conversions in SA360 won’t allow you to see all of the other paid and organic touchpoints that contributed to that user’s decision to purchase.
If you’re also using Campaign Manager as your ad server, you’ll likely know that a data-driven attribution model (DDA) is available within CM. However, this will only track the marketing platforms linked to it – perhaps only DV360 and SA360, in most cases.
Within GA360, a DDA model exists which covers all channels, including direct and organic – it can also include offline data sources if relevant, and can be customized as needed. The GA360 DDA model can even pull into SA360 directly, thanks to the seamless integration of the two platforms.
Assisted Conversions within GA360 also allow us to see all of the conversions for which Programmatic and/or Paid Search activity was a part of the journey. This shows a much more rounded view of the role that your paid marketing is playing in driving conversions, and provides more data points towards which to optimise.
Multiple conversion points
For many businesses, there are multiple actions that a user can take that are valuable in some way. For example, your main objective may be to sell products, however, you will also value customers (or potential customers) who sign up to weekly newsletters – but in a different way.
In DV360, it is possible to set multiple conversion points. That said, it’s not currently possible to attribute a different weighting or importance to each of these – the system will deem them all equally valuable. Therefore, using an automated bidding solution that optimises towards conversions would take into account both sales and newsletter sign-ups, for example, and may end up optimising towards the ‘less important’ of the two.
By using goals in GA360, you’re able to analyse performance against a variety of conversion points (sales, newsletter sign-ups, brochure downloads etc.) and make appropriate optimisation decisions, while leaving the DV360 and SA360 auto-bidding algorithms to work towards your most valuable conversion point.
In fact, when using GA360 alongside SA360, you’re able to add specific columns for each goal that you have set up in GA360. Using custom formula columns, you can apply a unique weighting to each goal, enabling you to assign a higher value to your most important goal, while also taking into account secondary conversions.
Using GA360 in combination with DV360 and SA360 enables us to look at user behaviour once we successfully get them to the site. Although bounce rate (official definition here) should not be used as a reliable measure of marketing performance (a high bounce rate may mean that users simply find all of the information they’re looking for on the first page; it may also indicate issues with the on-site experience), it can be used to provide a general steer on whether you’re driving the right users to site. For example, if the product or service you offer isn’t crystal clear within your creative, users may click through to the site thinking you offer something a little different, bouncing off the site as soon as they realise this isn’t what they were looking for. When SA360 is linked to GA360, bounce rate can be pulled directly into the engine.
GA360 also enables us to dig into the average length of time users are spending on site and the number of pages they view, among many other useful metrics.
In summary, by integrating GA360 into your suite of Google Marketing Platform products, you’ll gain a much richer, and more holistic view, of your data, enabling you to optimise your paid marketing activity most effectively.
If you’d like to find out more about how adding GA360 to your suite of Google products can help you achieve your marketing goals, get in touch with our team here.