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Google Adwords Overview

Overview

With Branch, you can integrate with AdWords, improving conversion rates and letting you measure the impact of your campaigns right on the Branch dahsboard.

This document covers the new AdWords experience. If you are using the old experience, be sure to switch to the new experience.

Once you have completed set up below, you will be able to track Universal App Campaigns and forward events to AdWords for optimization. You will also be able to create links for non Universal App Install campaigns on AdWords.

In all cases, Branch will forward in-app events to AdWords for campaign optimization. In addition, Branch will receive attribution data for rich analysis in the Branch dashboard.

Setup

Before you begin, be sure the following is confirmed.

  1. First, the Branch SDK must be integrated into your app, for both iOS and Android.
  2. You must also collect the IDFA on iOS, or the AAID on Android. For specifics, refer to the set up guide for iOS and Android respectively.
  3. Make sure to track all necessary events through the SDKs, with instructions here

You must also have admin access to your AdWords account. You will generate Link IDs in AdWords.

OAuth

The first step is connecting Branch & AdWords together. By connecting these accounts, Branch will have read-only access to import click and impression data at the aggregate level. This will also let Branch track metrics across your different AdWords accounts, which means your manager (MCC) and children accounts.

It is not necessary to connect all AdWords accounts. However, you must connect the AdWords account that owns in-app conversions for your mobile app. Often, this is the MCC account.

OAuth AdWords Setup

  1. Log in to your AdWords dashboard account that has the highest level of access. You will have the ability to connect all your AdWords accounts with Branch.
  2. Go to Settings > Linked Accounts. Linked Accounts
  3. Create a new link ID: Go to Third Party App Analytics > +.
  4. Add a new provider: Select "other" in the drop down. Input Branch's provider ID: 3404357870.
  5. Select iOS or Android.
  6. Create Link IDs for all platforms you run campaigns on. Link IDs

Note you must be an admin in your AdWords account in order to generate Link IDs!

Store these Link IDs for easy access. The next step requires you to input them.

OAuth Branch Setup

Once you're done with AdWords, navigate to the partner management tab and click Connect with Google. Choose the email address that is tied to the AdWords accounts you want to connect.

Connect Google

Select all the necessary accounts, and continue.

Connect Accounts

Finally, paste the Link IDs from earlier.

Create Link IDs

Set Attribution Windows (Optional)

After you hit save, go to your link settings, and navigate to Attribution Windows.

It is recommended you match your attribution windows with Google's, but not required.

For example, if a user clicked an ad 8 days ago, and Google claims credit, we would not count attribution, because our default is 7 days from click. However, it is ultimately up to you which attribution window you would like to use. Below is simply a recommendation:

  • Click to Install : 30 days
  • Click to Conversion Event : 90 days
  • Click to Open : 90 days

Branch Conversion Window

We will soon support the ability to have a conversion window for Google itself, so you don't have to modify your app level attribution window.

Import Events In AdWords

All that remains is importing Branch events into AdWords. After you have set both Branch & AdWords up, wait ~20 minutes, and go back to the AdWords dashboard. You can expedite this process if you open your app and simulate the events you want forwarded. Navigate back to the AdWords dashboard.

  1. Go to Conversions. Linked Accounts
  2. Add a new conversion: + > App > Third Party App Analytics. Linked Accounts
  3. Import your Branch specific events. Click Import and Continue.
  4. Mark Include in Conversions to YES.

That's it! All of your campaigns with mobile conversions will be tracked in Branch's dashboard. You can now track as many Universal App Campaigns as you want, automatically.

Migration

You may have onboarded to Branch using the old style of AdWords. If you have ever used conversion IDs, conversion labels, or postback URLs, then this applies to you. Read this section below to learn what has changed, and what steps you may need to take to remove legacy information. Be sure to complete the set up listed above before going through this guide.

What Changed

While AdWords got a user experience change, it also deprecated the old functionality of conversion IDs and labels. As such, the new AdWords experience does not give you the option to enable conversion events using postback URLs. This means the only way to track AdWords campaigns using the new interface (Universal App Campaigns + search, display, video) is to connect via OAuth, as outlined above.

You can confirm if you are on the new experience if your AdWords user interface looks like the image below:

new adwords

AdWords also removed the old App Install campaigns, as they have been superceded by Universal App Campaigns. You can only track app install campaigns in AdWords using Universal App Campaigns. This includes search, display, and video install ads, rolled into one campaign type.

Google Campaign Uses Tracking Link Google Status Branch Status
Search Install Ads Yes Removed Removed support
Display Install Ads Yes Removed Removed support
Video Install Ads Yes Removed Removed support
Universal App Campaigns No Active Active
Search Ads Yes Active Active
Display Ads Yes Active Active
App Engagement Ads Yes Active Active

As such, tracking links only work in non-app install ads. Universal App Campaigns will not return deep link data when the app is installed and opened. However, if you rely on this data to make it back to your own systems, you can set a webhook up.

Remove Conversions From Adwords

The first step of migrating from the old AdWords experience to the new is removing conversions events from AdWords. Go to your conversions in AdWords, and find all events created by Branch. If they contain a postback URL, either mark "Include in conversions" as NO, or simply remove / delete them. Example below:

old conversion

Your new events will not contain a box for Postback URL. They will also contain a field called Analytics Provider, which will say Branch. Example below:

new conversion

Once you have removed old conversions from AdWords, you will go to Branch's dashboard.

Remove Conversions From Branch

There are two places you should remove conversion IDs and labels from. The first is a legacy option that may not be available on your dashboard anymore. If it isn't, then simply ignore that step.

This is a legacy option that may not be on your dashboard. If it isn't, then go to the step below.

Navigate to this section of your dashboard, and remove all entries under Google Ads Conversions. Hit save.

Remove From Ads Partner Manager

Go to this section of the Branch dashboard. Remove all fields found here.

Next, click Postback Config, and uncheck all the checkboxes. Hit save.

The new integration will automatically forward events without you having to configure postbacks for each. Check the section to learn how we do this.

You can safely ignore all links created using the old integration. You're done!

Benefits

If you're wondering why we're asking you to migrate from the legacy system to the new system, there are a handful of benefits you should know.

First, Branch had limitations using this old method of tracking. Those included being able to track 1 Universal App Campaign per platform, and receiving very limited data in the Branch dashboard.

With the new integration, we can now track all your Universal App Campaigns.

We can also forward data from AdWords' dashboard into Branch. This means campaign name, channels the ad was displayed on, and more are visible in the Branch dashboard.

Data Mapping

Branch maps the following data fields from AdWords to Branch.

Google Data Branch Data
Campaign ID ~campaign_id
Campaign Name ~campaign
ad_type ~ad_type
network_type ~channel
network_subtype ~secondary_publisher

Forward Events to AdWords

Once you begin tracking events through the Branch SDK, you can select which events to import in AdWords. AdWords has pre-defined events that map to pre-defined Branch events, listed below. Reference this doc for more information.

Google Event Branch Event
first_open install
session_start open
in_app_purchase purchase
view_item_list view_items
view_item view_item
view_search_results search
add_to_cart add_to_cart
ecommerce_purchase purchase
custom any custom event tracked through Branch

In order to track these events, please refer to this document for further information.

Universal App Campaigns Limitations

  • Product Listing Ads (PLA) : Sending data back to AdWords from a PLA ad type, is currently unsupported by Google
  • Deep Linking through Install : Deferred deep linking is currently not possible through Universal App Campaigns

Click Limitations with UACs

When running Universal App Campaigns, you must also note that Branch links are not accepted into AdWords UI. We will still be able to report on clicks, but in aggregate. We rely on Google's reporting API to surface clicks in the dashboard. This means that individual clicks on Universal App Campaigns will not appear in liveview, webhooks, or exports. However, non UACs like regular Search campaigns will accept clicks. This also means that you cannot select 'unique' on the ads analytics page.

Reporting on these clicks will done every 3 hours. We will only report on clicks from an AdWords campaign that has led to a mobile app install or app engagement

Other Campaigns

The above guide covered what was necessary to track Universal App Campaigns. If you are looking to track non app-install campaigns, click through below.

Google Campaign Campaign Type/Objective Branch Documentation Link Branch Ad Format
Search Network Mobile app engagement link App Only: Engagement
Search Network Standard link Cross-platform Search
Search Network Dynamic Search Ads link Cross-platform Search
Display Network Engage with your mobile app link App Only: Engagement
Display Network Others (Visit your website, Influence, etc.) link Cross-platform Display
Video Standard link Cross-platform Display
Shopping Web and App Purchases link Cross-platform Display

Troubleshooting

FAQ

Q: I'm getting discrepancy between conversion counts in Branch and Google Adwords

A: While we should always expect around a 5% discrepancy due to time zone differences and the like, if you are seeing significant discrepancies, it could be an indication of a broader problem.

The first thing to do is to make sure your attribution window in Branch lines up with Google. Go to Link Settings, and navigate down to the Attribution Windows section. Here, you should set the attribution window for click to install, click to session start, and click to conversion event to be 30, 90, and 90 days respectively. This aligns with Google's default attribution windows, but if you'd like to make them shorter, feel free.

Another source of discrepancies is the fact that attribution is based upon click time in AdWords, whereas it is based upon install time in the Branch dashboard. This isn't a discrepancy per se, but will sometimes show different numbers in the two dashboards.

Finally, AdWords can delay reporting up to 24 hours. It's best to measure campaigns in a trailing manner.

Q: My campaign is reporting a number of conversions much higher than the number of conversions shown in the conversion table in Adwords

A: When viewing a campaign, it shows the sum of all conversion events that apply to it. To view by conversion, navigate to Segment > Conversions > Conversion name, in order to clearly see the breakdown of your campaign's conversions.

Adwords Conversion Segment

Source

google-ads-overview.md

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