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Introduction

Managing advertising campaigns can be a tough job. Even a simple digital campaign can leverage 10+ platforms each with their own interface, vocabulary, tracking mechanisms, and other nuances. Managing multiple campaigns through multiple Ad Tech tools not only creates extra work and headaches for your marketing team, it also creates unnecessary pitfalls for even the most seasoned marketing managers. 

Google has introduced Campaign Manager 360 to simplify and solve these challenges. It provides a useful, centralized tool to create, manage, track and report on campaigns as well as integrate into other Google and martech tools.

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What is Google Campaign Manager 360?

Campaign Manager 360, formerly Campaign Manager and before that DoubleClick Campaign Manager, is Google’s ad management and measurement system for advertisers and agencies. It’s a holistic and transparent solution for ad serving, audience creation and management, and advanced measurement and reporting. At its core, Campaign Manager 360 is an ad server. An ad server gives marketers centralized hosting, managing and serving of their creative assets. CM360 can also be used for measurement and automated third-party verification. This centralized, cross-channel ad management capability helps marketers capitalize on insights and optimize creative performance across all digital campaigns.

Campaign Manager 360 Screenshot

Key benefits of Campaign Manager 360 include:

Ad Trafficking

Creating and trafficking a campaign within Campaign Manager is very straight forward. It enables marketers to align campaigns with their larger marketing campaign goals, objectives, and timing. Here are a few of the main campaign properties:

  • Campaign flight dates – set start and end dates
  • Landing page – identify where you are sending users
  • Event tags – allows you to coordinate impression/click data
  • Creative rotation – enables a simple approach to A/B testing
  • Audience segmentation – create a target audience

There are also verification settings that allow you to prevent your ads from appearing in places that could hurt your brand image. Ad blocking features give advertisers a level of control over where ads and campaigns are seen. This criteria can be implemented and enabled for specific campaigns, sites, or by placement. Campaign Manager is a full-featured ad server able to serve display, video, and rich media via add tags shared with publishers, networks, or your DSP (DV360). It can also be used for social and email URLs. Advertisers can set up simple tags (e.g., impression and/or click trackers) for email newsletter and social media links which allow for channel measurement and attribution across all digital media.

Tracking

If you’ve heard of Floodlight Tags, you’ve heard about possibly the most utilized feature in Campaign Manager 360. Floodlight tracking in CM360 allows advertisers to create pixels to track many types of user interactions including conversions, transactions, and simple landing page visits. These interactions are sent back to Campaign Manager and attributed to the individual ad, creative, placement or campaign. This means you can associate an ecommerce transaction back to a single piece of creative, on a specific website, with a specific call-to-action, and so on. Campaign Manager can also be used to track impressions and click on any URL, no matter where you intend to use it. This allows advertisers to track conversions, and better yet assign attribution across the entire customer journey.

Reporting

Reporting within Campaign Manager 360 is what truly measures the return on campaign investment by allowing marketers to perform analysis within the tool itself. This gives marketers a chance to analyze performance data with powerful insights, including cross-channel attribution and verification.

Cross-channel attribution
Within Campaign Manager, marketers are able to build custom attribution models to help understand performance of each channel. Combined with Campaign Manager’s ability to track impressions and clicks on any URL, cross-channel reports can highlight not only the full customer journey but allow for comparative analysis between each channel. This helps marketers optimize their media spend and ROI.

Verification
One of the most valuable and utilized features within Campaign Manager 360 is their verification feature. Tracking and verifying ads is essential to building trust, transparency, and accountability for your ad spend. With this feature, advertisers can verify their ads and tags to ensure the campaigns are actually being shown to their audience.

Campaign Manager 360 Screenshot

Integration with Google Marketing Platform

Campaign Manager 360 is most powerful when paired with other Google Marketing Platform products, including Google Analytics 360, Display & Video 360, and Search Ads 360, though it can be used as a stand-alone ad tech tool. In a sense, Campaign Manager 360 is the GMP nerve center for campaign tracking, audiences and reporting.

GA360

Campaign Manager 360 integrates natively with Google Analytics 360. This allows marketers to view and analyze Campaign Manager 360 data in Analytics with the rest of their rich web data.

A few highlights of this integration include the following:

  • A new set of reports in the Acquisition section of GA360. These reports are similar to the Google Ads reports but include impressions, clicks, and both view-through and click-through session data.
  • Updated Acquisition reports that separately break out Campaign Manager 360-trafficked display advertising.
  • Integration of display clicks and impressions in the Multi-Channel Funnels and Attribution reports.

GMP Stack

As you’d expect, Campaign Manager also plays well with other Google Marketing Platform products like Display & Video 360 and Search Ads 360.

Campaign management is streamlined when you integrate with Display & Video 360. Ads can be served by Campaign Manager 360, then synced directly to Display & Video 360 for faster setup. Data syncs seamlessly between the products for comprehensive reporting and insights.

Integrating with Search Ads 360 allows for performance and insights of Google search ads. Paired alongside Display & Video 360 metrics, this enables a truly holistic view of cross-channel performance.

Where is Google investing with Campaign Manager 360?

As you might have heard, regulatory shifts have and will continue to heavily impact the future of digital advertising. Between GDPR, CCPA, and the inevitable reduction in cookie effectiveness, Google is increasing their investment in Campaign Manager 360 as well as new tech features to fill gaps in conversion measurement.

Comprehensive Measurement

Google is launching a new feature in Campaign Manager 360 called Conversion Modeling. This new feature will enable accurate measurement of how your audience responded to your ads while still maintaining user privacy. Even when direct measurement isn’t an option, this new feature ensures marketers can still gather valuable insight on the customer journey and effectiveness of ads. 

Google accomplishes this through an expansion of their server-to-server integrations with video and social platforms. These integrations all happen on the backend so there is no extra work for your team. This provides the great benefit of extra time your team will have for analysis rather than troubleshooting discrepancies between platform and tags.

Google is also releasing two new attribution reports in Campaign Manager 360 that use unsampled data to include both converting and non-converting paths for analysis. This ultimately allows marketers to quickly analyze common conversion paths and conversion rates per channel.

Streamlined Workflows

In addition to the streamlined workflows between Google products with Campaign Manager as the hub, Google is also investing in deeper connections with popular martech tools from different solution ecosystems. For example, earlier this year Google announced automated third-party verification within Campaign Manager 360. These partner verification systems will only continue to grow.

Trusted ad management for video and emerging formats

With an increase in video and audio use on phones and personal devices, advertisers need to continually adapt to user behavior. This means the ability to not only measure cross-channel experiences but also create and traffick these at scale. And in today’s world, near real-time optimization in becoming more and more critical.

Campaign Manager 360 solves for this by delivering new insights on performance by utilizing enhanced verification and measurement within Youtube. There is also a newly expanded unique reach reporting within Campaign Manager 360 for deeper demographic data for cross-channel performance analysis.

Closing

Whether you need to streamline your ad trafficking and ad creative workflows, centralize your ad serving, or perform comprehensive measurement across your entire digital media campaigns, Campaign Manager 360 should definitely be a consideration for your ad tech stack.

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