According to a recent survey, 81% of publishers use Google Ad Manager as an ad server (and as an SSP). Over the past decade, Google has significantly updated its product to make sure that the publishers can have the right tools and features inside the product (Ad Manager) itself.
Having said that, Google Ad Manager Reporting is probably the best and most important feature a publisher has in hand to gain insights to find the opportunities to optimize and increase ad revenue.
As Google continues to grow and develop its tools and features, the way publishers use reporting continues to grow and change as well. In the past, the Ad Manager had 1 or 2 reports with just a handful of dimensions and metrics.
But now, the ad server has hundreds of metrics to view and it is obvious to be overwhelming for a new publisher to understand what are the crucial metrics to keep in a report and where to find them. So, we have compiled a definitive guide to help you understand the important metrics and what they signify.
Key Google Ad Manager Metrics
In general, Google Ad Manager has 5 reports that we have discussed in our detailed guide. While Future sell-through is only available for Google Ad Manager 360 for publishers, you can access other reports with the free version of the ad server. Since each report consists of unique metrics, let’s understand them one by one.
Important Metrics in Ad Exchange Historical Report
In the Ad Exchange historical report, you should include the following metrics:
1. Total impressions: The metric sums up the total number of filled ad impressions served by Google Ad Manager, AdSense or Ad Exchange, Yield groups (if any) and header bidding. Google Ad Manager has categorized impressions into three types: Served, Downloaded, and Unfilled.
While Unfilled impressions are well understood by the name, Served impressions are counted by Ad Manager when an ad is served. A Served impression is counted irrespective of the rendering of the ad creative on the users’ device. Whereas Downloaded impressions are counted when an ad creative starts rendering on the users’ device.
If you’re wondering whether Total impressions include both types, then let us tell you that it is the Downloaded impressions that are counted under this metric.
2. Unfilled impressions:
It shows the total number of ad requests sent by the Ad Manager that couldn’t return an ad. Mathematically, the value is calculated by GAM by using the given formula:
Unfilled impressions = Total ad requests – Total code served count
Pro Tip: If the number of unfilled impressions is higher than expected, we suggest you combine dimensions Ad unit and Requested ad sizes to know the ad units for which you sent the ad requests but the network couldn’t fill the inventories. Here’s a detailed guide to reducing the number of unfilled ad impressions in Google Ad Manager.
3. Impressions not competing: The metric shows how many ad impressions aren’t competing in dynamic allocation. Mathematically, this metric is calculated as given below:
Impressions not competing = Total eligible Ad Exchange impressions – Impressions competing in Ad Exchange.
Pro Tip: If this metric is higher than expected, then we recommend you to understand the line items’ priorities in order to reduce the number of impressions not competing in dynamic allocation.
4. Total ad requests: The name says it all. The metric counts all the ad requests sent for a particular ad by the ad server.
5. Matched ad requests: Basically, this shows the number of ad requests where a particular buyer was matched with the ad request sent by Ad Exchange, Ad server, or AdSense. To segregate and know the individual match rate of Ad Exchange or AdSense, you can view Ad Exchange matched ad requests, AdSense matched ad requests, etc.
Pro Tip: Publishers often ask questions about why there is a difference between total impressions and matched ad requests OR total ad requests and matched requests. To be clear, it is not necessary for a matched ad request to deliver an impression due to multiple reasons (the ad might not get rendered, or users didn’t view the ad, and so on).
For example, if the Ad Exchange wins an impression, but the ad doesn’t render on the device; you will find Matched ad requests as 1 but Ad impressions will be 0.
6. Total fill rate: Fill rate is one of the most important metrics amongst all as it shows the number of ad impressions filled by the network. In GAM, it is calculated by:
Fill rate = Total number of ad impressions/Total number of ad requests
Pro Tip: If the fill rate is too low for your network, then we have compiled a list of practices that can definitely help you boost it.
7. Total average eCPM: This metric displays the average eCPM totaled across the Ad Manager server, AdSense, Ad Exchange, and third-party mediation networks (if any). Mathematically, eCPM is calculated by the given formula:
eCPM = (Total ad revenue/Total ad impressions)*100
7.1. Total CPM, CPC, CPD, and vCPM revenue: It shows the total amount of CPC, CPM, CPD, and vCPM revenue across the Ad Manager server, AdSense, Ad Exchange, and third-party mediation networks (if any). This metric is useful when you are dealing with advertisers that have different pricing models.
7.2. Total CPM and CPC revenue: The metric shows the total amount of CPM and CPC revenue based on the number of ad units served by Google Ad Manager server, AdSense, Ad Exchange, and third party mediation networks.
Pro Tip: If the value is lower than desired, we recommend you to optimize your ads, set-up multiple ad networks or exchanges, and you can even set up header bidding if your website’s traffic is more than a million.
8. Total active view % viewable impressions: This shows the percentage of viewable ad impressions out of total measurable ad impressions. Mathematically, the server calculates it by using the following formula:
Total active view % viewable impressions = (Viewable ad impressions/Measurable ad impressions)*100
Viewability is an important factor that affects the ad revenue for publishers. So, it is recommended to include this metric more often.
Pro Tip: In case, if the viewability metrics are too low for your inventories, we have a list of actions that should be taken to increase the ad viewability score.
Important Metrics in Other Reports:
Though Ad Exchange historical is the most important report in Google Ad Manager, other reports also play important roles to help publishers understand various factors in order to improve ad performance (in terms of revenue, delivery, speeds, and so on).
9. Total reach impressions: This metric is available in the Reach report and displays the total unique audiences that got exposed by a particular ad on the website. It is a key metric if you’re using frequency capping for your ad campaigns.
10. Non-viewable impression reasons: It is one of the best metrics available in the Ad speed report. The metric shows how many ads weren’t viewed by the users and the reasons behind that. The metric can be further broken down into four categories i.e.
- Slot never entered viewport,
- User scrolled before ad filled,
- User scrolled or navigated before ad loaded
- User scrolled or navigated before 1 second, and
- Other non-viewable reasons.
Pro Tip: Ad Speed report helps in improving the loading/rendering of ad creative by metric Creative load time. Not only does the report provide insights into creatives’ loading speed, it tells a lot about factors affecting page’s speed as well as low viewability reasons.
So, based on your requirements, you can include the essential metrics in your report. Besides, if the values don’t meet your expectations, then we recommend you to go through our article to improve your ad speed and user experience.
In order to start to generate better ad revenue via Google Ad Manager, tracking the important metrics is the secret. However, we suggest you not to use these metrics alone to measure your ads’ performance as this could lead to wrong decisions.
Each of these metrics provides one side of a story. So, instead of focusing on a single metric, combine the relevant metrics with relevant dimensions to paint a clear picture of what is happening. Couldn’t find what you’re looking for in the article? Let us know in the comments below and we will try to get back with the answer as soon as possible.