How useful are Data Transfer Reports from Google Ad Manager?

After optimizing our Publisher’s inventory for CTR and Viewability from many variables that are available in Google Ad Manager’s ‘Historical’ report type, we started to think about the possibility of having more variables. We discovered there is more granular, log level data available from Google Ad Manager called Data Transfer Reports.

So, these files provide non-aggregated, event-level data from your ad campaigns. This data is essentially raw content from the Ad Manager ad server logs, with a separate file generated for each type of event. Data Transfer files contain event data that is accurate to the second, and you can choose to include other information in the files to see device, geography, and other information related to the event. Currently, Google Data Transfer Report is limited to only Ad Manager 360 users and comes with additional costs for each type of report.

So let us dive deep into types of data transfer reports and what are the fields we get in each type.

Each type of report will come as 2 different files. A Network file and NetworkBackfill file. Network file contains all the data except the data from Google Ad Exchange and NetworkBackfill file will contain the data from Exchange partners such as Google Ad Exchange, or EBDA partners.

Types of Data Transfer Files:

  1. NetworkRequests / NetworkBackfillRequests: As mentioned earlier, NetworkBackfillRequests will have the requests from Google Ad Exchange or EBDA partners and NetworkRequests will have all the other requests. This file contains both filled as well as unfilled data.

  2. NetworkCodeServes / NetworkBackfillCodeServes: This will have the data of code served count. Code served count is the number of times the ad server, ad exchanges and third party mediation networks responded to a request for an ad.

  3. NetworkImpression / NetworkBackfillImpressions: This file will have the data of impressions. This file resembles the ‘Total Impressions’ metric from the ad manager UI. This is one of the most important files you should be having if you are subscribing to the Data Transfer Reports. This contains some of very valuable fields such as user id, custom targeting, referrer URL, Estimated Backfill Revenue – which is adx revenue earned for every impression! SellerReservePrice – which is the price floor set by the publisher in Google Ad Manager and many more.

  4. So from this additional data, publishers can derive some really useful metrics which they do not get from the ad manager UI alone. Publishers can set their floor prices based on user behavioral variables such as how many users cleared the floor, where these users are visiting from, what devices they are using, which URL they are in, what time of the day impressions are having a high CPM etc. rather than contextual variables alone.

    Publishers can also form custom groups based on these data and can set custom floors for different user groups using key-values

    Also, one more very useful data you can extract is CustomTargeting or key values. You can get reporting by multiple key values together which is not available in ad manager UI. For example, if you are passing a key called ‘gender’ which can take 3 values, Let’s say male, female, unknown and another key called age which can take values such as below 20, 20-30, 30-40 and above 40. Now if you want to see the data of males who are below 20, you cannot do that using Ad Manager UI because of the overlap or double-counting that happens as ad manager UI gives only aggregated data.

    (Avoid double-counting report totals – Google Ad Manager Help)

    But with Data transfer reports, you can obtain performance based on multiple key-values together. This is very powerful if you’re passing multiple key-values where you can form a relation between them.

    Below image shows the sample fields from an impressions file.

  5. NetworkClicks / NetworkBackfillClicks: Clicks file will have the information about the clicks received. In most of the files, you have a field called keypart, a unique event identifier which helps Publishers to combine different files. So you can combine clicks files with impressions files by matching the keypart. Clicks file is also very important to optimize your direct campaigns as well as programmatic inventory. If some users are giving high CTRs, you can analyse them and make a segment out of it and then populate them to your direct campaigns or CPC campaigns. We have also observed that the users who give higher CTR will also yield better CPM at programmatic or header bidding auctions. So you can use this file to even optimize your programmatic or header bidding setup.

  6. NetworkActiveViews / NetworkBackfillActiveViews: This file will give information about the viewability. It contains impressions that either weren’t measurable or were both measurable and viewable. To calculate viewability, you have to derive measurable impressions and viewable impressions. So you need impressions file as well as ActiveViews file to obtain viewability.

    You can read more on how to extract viewability here:
    Viewability in Data Transfer – Google Ad Manager Help

  7. NetworkBackfillBids: This will have information about the buyers and EBDA/Open bidding bids. This will have fields such as Bid Price, Bid Rejection Reason, Bids Seller Reserve Price etc which helps Publishers to optimize their EBDA actions/pricing.

  8. NetworkVideoConversions/NetworkBackfillVideoConversions: This will have information about the buyers and EBDA/Open bidding This will have information about video specific events. This will have fields such as video position, pod position, Action Name, Action Duration etc.

    You can read more about the video here:
    Video and rich media action names – Google Ad Manager Help

  9. NetworkRichMediaConversions/NetworkBackfillRichMediaConversions: This file will have information about Studio events, including both standard and custom actions (play, pause, etc.), action duration, and more.

  10. NetworkActivities: This file is used to track activities. A log entry is generated each time a user views or clicks a campaign in the publisher’s site that activates an activity pixel (formerly known as a Spotlight pixel) on an advertiser’s page.

These data transfer files are delivered directly to cloud storage buckets on an hourly basis. Google says the majority of the data will be delivered and available between 5 and 15 hours after the recorded hour. What we have observed from our past experiences is that the data is usually delivered approximately after 5 hours of the actual event. So real time optimization is not possible. But still, if used properly, Publishers can derive some really useful information or metrics and merge with various data forms to arrive at better and more efficient optimization solutions for their inventory. At Tercept, we were able to derive as many as 30+ different variables from various data sources to optimize our Publisher’s inventory. So it really depends on how you use the Data Transfer Files to get the most of it!

Vinay B Rao
Lead Analyst, Tercept

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