Recently the Google Analytics team released two new integrations: DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) for Google Analytics 360 and DoubleClick Ad Exchange (AdX) for all Google Analytics users. While these new integrations were not widely publicized, I believe they are major game changers, they effectively embrace Publishers as first-class citizens, providing a robust solution to measure and optimize ad supported websites.
Up to July 2015, Google Analytics provided only one integration for publishers, with AdSense (did you read my book?), where they could analyze AdSense effectiveness and find insights to optimize results. If you were serving only AdSense ads on your site, it would work well with the Google Analytics integration, so you were all set if you were using just that.
However, DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) is a widely used solution to serve Direct Deals, AdSense and DoubleClick Ad Exchange (AdX). That's where the DFP integration enters the scene. Before this integration, only AdSense metrics would be available, but since July 2015, you can report Ad Exchange (for all Google Analytics users) and DFP (Google Analytics 360 only). This means that now Publishers can understand the intersection of their content and monetization strategies; it also means that a user that left the website through a click on a DFP or AdX unit, in the past, was considered a simple abandonment, but now you would see them as ads clicked, a considerable improvement in both accuracy and completeness of your Google Analytics reporting.
Below is a quick explanation of what those new integrations will bring to publishers when it comes to understanding and reporting new data.
Following the integration, you will have access to dozens of new metrics on Google Analytics 360, which can be seen on the interface or can be used in Custom Reports and the Segment Builder. The metrics are similar to the ones you already see for AdSense and similar new ones for Ad Exchange. Below is a list of the overall Publisher metrics and their official definitions.
Those metrics are clearly a major improvement to the measurement capability of publishers, as they will now be able not only to see all those ad interactions from separate DFP networks in one centralized platform, but also to combine this information with other behavioral data that is already being collected by Google Analytics 360.
As mentioned, in addition to the metrics described above, you might have additional sets: AdSense, Ad Exchange, DFP, and DFP Backfill. Most publishers will not have all 4 sets; they will either have 1 (AdSense or AdX) or 2 (DFP and DFP Backfill [DFP Backfill includes AdSense and AdX served through that DFP network]).
In the next section I describe the difference between those groups and where each ad interaction would appear depending on the tags you are using. I will also go through the new default reports and reporting capabilities in general.
After you set up the integrations (and assuming that you have all of them, which is not likely), you will have access to quite a few default reports. You will still see similar options in the sidebar navigation, under the Publishers menu, which will read: Overview, Publisher Pages, Publisher Referrers. But for each of those three reports, you will now have 5 options in the report tabs (right above the chart):
But to be honest, I am way more excited about the custom reports that we are now capable of building. For example, for Online Behavior, I wanted to check the total revenue I am getting from each of the authors contributing articles. So I used a Content Group I have been populating with the author name (which is publicly available in the article, hence not PII). Below is a screenshot of the custom report I built.
As you will see, the 5th line is Allison Hartsoe, who wrote two articles for Online Behavior. Even though she has significantly lower impressions and clicks, she produced a pretty high revenue in this period. My conclusion: I should promote her articles heavily and reach out to her for another post :-)
The options are really endless here, you could use any Content Group (e.g. interest, content type, page template, etc), Custom Dimension (paid user, loyalty status, etc), or any default dimension to measure your full publisher interactions; one especially interesting section to look at is the Interests report, it will show you the interests of users clicking on ads. This will open up a deep understanding about your customer segments and how they perform when it comes to publisher revenue.
This example illustrates the power of centralizing all your interactions from AdSense, Ad Exchange and DFP in one place. This allows publishers not only to have a deeper understanding of their revenue, but also to act on it.
In summary, if you are a Google Analytics standard user, you can link your account to AdSense (tutorial) or Ad Exchange (tutorial), but you will have to consider Google Analytics 360 if you are thinking about integrating DoubleClick for Publishers (learn more). If you are a Google Analytics 360 client and did not link your DFP account, do it today! You should contact your Account Manager (or Authorized Reseller) and ask them about it.
As I wrote in the beginning, I think this is a huge step for the Analytics industry when it comes to Publishers, which now have a robust and comprehensive measurement solution.