When DoubleClick DCM is integrated with a Google Analytics 360 (GA360) property, you enable access to rich campaign performance data directly in your GA360 reports. Sounds pretty great, and it is. However, it is important to understand where DoubleClick data makes its way into Google Analytics reporting and some important details about the different ways you can access this data:
- Acquisitions > All Traffic and Acquisitions > Campaigns reports (GA attribution model, last non-direct click)
- Acquisitions > DoubleClick Campaign Manager reports (DCM attribution model using lookback window configured in your DCM floodlight configuration)
- Multi-Channel Funnels Reports (GA attribution, using the lookback window configured in your MCF report configuration)
Understanding which DCM data can be accessed in which reports can help avoid confusion in your organization when different reports appear to be telling a different story with your data. We’ll explore these three options in the rest of the post.
DCM Data in Acquisitions > All Traffic and Acquisitions > Campaigns Reports
For general acquisitions performance reporting alongside your other acquisitions sources, find DCM data under the All Traffic > Channels, Source/Medium, and Campaigns reports.
To activate DoubleClick DCM to Google Analytics 360 integration, work with your Google Analytics 360 certified partner. Once Google activates the integration, DCM auto tagging is enabled, which ensures consistent capture of your DCM data in GA360. Traffic is captured under the source/medium pair, dfa / cpm and has the campaign you assigned in DCM.
These standard acquisition reports use the Google Analytics attribution model: last non-direct click. This makes them the most useful reporting location to compare your DCM campaign performance side-by-side with other acquisitions activities but only from a last click perspective (a very limited and potentially misleading perspective if you engage in multi-channel marketing).
Accessing DoubleClick DCM Data Under the DoubleClick Campaign Manager Report Section
This rich data comes in directly from DCM via the auto tagging parameter dclid, which allows Google Analytics to merge sessions in your GA360 property with corresponding impression, click, and floodlight interactions from your DoubleClick account.
This is where a detailed clarification on data differences is important: the data in this reporting section tells a vastly different story than most of the other GA360 reporting. Here you see the DoubleClick DCM attribution model at work. All DoubleClick view-through and click-through data you see merged with sessions in GA360 is based on the following: impression and click activity is associated with GA sessions based on the lookback window configured within DoubleClick for clicks and impressions.
These reports allow you to see your DoubleClick campaign activities in a more isolated context but paired up with useful behavioral data from your GA360 reports. In these reports, DoubleClick campaigns may receive credit for sessions and conversion activities that are attributed to other sources in your main acquisitions reports and in your Multi-Channel Funnels reports.
Campaign view through and click through data paired up with some other key GA data can be helpful indicators of campaign performance.
- Are bounce rates unusually high for specific campaigns? Can that be explained by the tactic of choice, be it a very broad and untargeted prospecting campaign or an attempt to reach out to a tangential or distantly relevant audience group?
- If a highly targeted campaign has an extremely high bounce rate, perhaps your landing page is not as relevant as it could be or, if highly relevant, perhaps it lacks the appropriate calls to action and other optimization elements to take your users down the happy path.
To reiterate, the DoubleClick Campaign Manager reporting section within Google Analytics is perfect for this type of analysis because it allows you to look at your DCM campaigns in relative isolation and see how those marketing activities translate into potentially meaningful interactions on your website.
Perhaps a campaign has little to no conversion activity associated with it. Your product has a high price point, is typically a considered purchase, and has a typical long conversion time lag. What if that campaign has a 95% New Session rate and is a strong and healthy driver of new users to your website. It may not be driving a lot of conversion activity that you can see, but you may be selling those campaigns short if you don’t consider the way they are feeding the wide top of your conversion funnel.
Multi-Channel Funnels Reports and DCM Data
In the Multi-Channel Funnels (MCF) reporting, you get the advantage of DoubleClick impression interactions included with clickthrough interactions, but you no longer see DCM campaign performance in isolation from other marketing activities.
You also get the advantage of not being stuck in a last-click universe. MCF reports give access to your conversion paths reports, which is an excellent way to see all the unique conversion paths for specific conversion goals (or floodlight activities) and the cumulative impact of marketing touchpoints that drove those conversions. Take a look at Assisted Conversions reporting as well to get a more data-driven sense of how different tactics and channels participate in conversion activities for which they are not getting credit in a typical last-click or last-interaction scenario.
You wouldn’t be alone if your organization’s long-standing last click attribution approach indicates your display campaigns are not driving much attributable sales activity to your site. Other than highly efficient retargeting campaigns, it’s pretty likely you don’t see a lot of last click attribution for display prospecting initiatives.
When viewing your top conversion path reports, notice that some touchpoints have an eyeball icon. Those are impression interactions. All other touchpoints are clickthrough-based. Having impression data incorporated into conversion path analysis helps create a much bigger picture of how your display campaigns drive value to your business.
Looking at your own top conversion path reports and assisted conversion reports, you may very well see something similar to the report above. Display impressions have a key role in many conversions, and you may not want to miss out n the less tangible contribution these initiatives are making.
A Note on Conversion Types and DoubleClick DCM Data
In addition to your goal conversions and ecommerce conversions, floodlight conversion activities are also linked to Google Analytics 360. While it can be helpful to have these various pieces of conversion data all in one place, we still tend to favor the single source of truth approach for your key conversion activities. If, for example, your enhanced ecommerce tracking is robust and validated with very clean transaction data, then why not use that as your sales and revenue date for all of your marketing initiatives, including DoubleClick data in GA360? If you conversion goal configuration covers your lead generation conversions comprehensively, then we recommend you use those as your consistent conversion goals.
A notable is exception is, where GA has a limit of 20 conversion goals per view, DoubleClick DCM does not have a practical limit to the number of floodlight conversion activities you can configure. There may be some cases where you have very specific conversion activities or micro-conversions covered by your floodlight activities, and these may be useful to report on in your Multi-Channel Funnel reports, attribution reports, or even in your standard acquisition reports in specific circumstances.
If you keep in mind key distinctions in the various Google Analytics 360 reports where you can analyze your DCM data, linking DoubleClick Campaign Manager to GA360 can enrich your ability to analyze campaign performance from a number of angles. Each set of reports tells a different story. Leverage the strengths of each of these reports to provide more context and data-centered insight into campaign performance from your display programs.