Google Ads (AdWords)—FAQ and discrepancies

At a glance: Troubleshoot common issues and discrepancies relating to Google Ads. 

 Related reading

For a complete picture of working with Google Ads (AdWords) in AppsFlyer, check out these articles:

Google Ads FAQ

Why am I not seeing clicks from Google Ads?

Aggregate clicks and impressions data from Google Ads is collected once you have authenticated cost, clicks and impressions collection in the Cost tab.

Clicks and impressions data from Google Ads was made available during August 2018, first for Android apps and later on for iOS apps. Therefore, when analyzing clicks data from 2018 and before, Google Ads clicks data may be missing or incomplete.

Why am I not seeing first_open conversions on Google Ads

If you are not seeing first_open conversions on Google Ads as shown in the screenshot below:

AW_13.png

it means that you need to import conversions in Google Ads. Follow the instruction on importing conversions.

Why can't I see in-app events on Google Ads?

Are you seeing this screen on Google Ads after mapping your preferred in-app events in the AppsFlyer dashboard (configuration step 3)?

adwords_missing_events.png


If so, do one of the following:

  • If the sending option for the in-app events is set to "This partner only", make sure to attribute the install on your device to Google, and then perform the events on your device.
  • Change the sending option for the events to "All media sources, including organic", and then perform the events on your device.

 Important!

  • Make sure to map the in-app events before performing them on your device.
  • It may take up to 6 hours for the events to show up on Google Ads' dashboard.

Can I stop Google cost sync?

To stop cost sync with Google:

  1. Go to your Google account permissions
  2. Click on Remove next to AppsFlyer Google Cost

    remove_appsflyer_cost.png

Do I need to create and then import session_start?

This depends on the type of campaign you are running. If you are running a re-engagement campaign then it is recommended to create and import session_start to measure engagements.

For a user acquisition campaign, this is not mandatory.

Can I send uninstall information to Google Ads?

Yes.
To start sending uninstall events to Google:

  1. Map the af_uninstall event as a Custom event in Google Ads setup window.
  2. Import that conversion in Google.
  3. Google acknowledges events if received within Google's attribution window (started with ad engagement and lasting 30-90 days). Events received by Google after the window ends are not recorded in Google.

What Google Ads data does AppsFlyer display?

You can view data at the following levels: campaign, channel, adset, and geo.

Do I need to configure anything to create audience lists in Google Ads based on AppsFlyer data?

No. In the Google API, this information is already set and is based on your In-App Event configuration.

I'm running an app campaign, why can't I see data or conversion events in the AppsFlyer or Google Ads dashboard?

It is very likely that you have not yet imported events. For details about how to import events, click here.

What do I do if there are multiple accounts?

There is no problem using multiple accounts with Google Ads with AppsFlyer. AppsFlyer only works with one Link ID. Therefore, only one Link ID must be generated in Google Ads and this can be shared between multiple accounts. For more information, click here.

What happens with link IDs created at MCC level vs. account level

Link IDs at MCC or account level are supported by AppsFlyer. We recommend working closely with your Google Ads representative to ensure your account is structured correctly. For more information, click here.

What is parallel tracking?

Google Ads' Parallel tracking enables your landing page to load faster, reducing the issue of lost visits. As a result, conversions are increased and ad performance is improved. With Parallel Tracking, users are sent to the final URL, directly from your ad, before sending them to the attribution links, while click measurement takes place in the background.

For a full explanation of Parallel Tracking, click here.

Additional information

  • Attribution Link Mismatch - Sometimes Google displays a notification that there is a mismatch between the attribution link and the final URL. This has no impact on measurement and attribution on the AppsFlyer side.

    Mismatch_1.png
    To avoid this notification, when using the basic tracking template, you can add an additional URL parameter called af_r and use the value of the final app store URL.

    In the screenshot above, the landing page URL is
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.XXXXXX.XXXX&hl=en

    To the AppsFlyer URL template, add the following URL to the af_r parameter with the landing page URL above:

    https://app.appsflyer.com/com.XXXXX.XXXXX?af_c_id={campaignid}&af_siteid
    ={placement}&af_adset={adgroupid}&af_adset_id={adgroupid}&af_ad={creative}&af_
    ad_id={creative}&pid=ga_parallel_test&af_click_lookback=7d&c={campaignid}&url=
    {lpurl}&network={network}&af_keywords={keyword}&af_r=https%3A%2F%2
    Fplay.google.com%2Fstore%2Fapps%2Fdetails%3Fid%3Dcom.XXXX.XXXXX%26hl%3Den
  • In most cases, Google does not enable third party attribution links, which includes regular attribution links and AppsFlyer's OneLink.

How do you configure a campaign with Android or iOS configuration

 Important!

AppsFlyer supports all app campaigns enabled by Google Ads.

Google is an SRN (Self Reporting Network). For more information about how the attribution flow works for these networks, click here.

AppsFlyer can present any campaign information that is provided by Google. The campaign type (Search, Video, Display, and Re-engagement) and associated information is determined by Google. It is recommended to configure App campaigns. For guidance on other campaign types, you should contact your Google representative. For details of these campaigns, click here.

Android configuration for Google Ads

To support Android attribution, make sure that your app supports GAID (Google Advertising ID) collection, and that it is passed to AppsFlyer through our SDK.

Creating conversion recording (installs)

For details of how to create conversion recording, click here.

Google Ads - Android Configuration - Sending In-App Events

If you want to further measure the success of your Mobile App Install campaigns in Google, you can send in-app events to your Google Ads account from your AppsFlyer account.

Create a conversion (in-app events)

For details of how to measure your app conversions, click here.

iOS configuration for Google Ads

Google Ads - iOS configuration: app campaigns

App campaigns allow you to promote your iOS app across Google Search, YouTube and Display in a single place of configuration.

Generally, Google Ads itself can't self-attribute iOS installs from search campaigns as the clicks come from mobile web sources, preventing Google from pulling the IDFA from the devices, and from performing ID matching.

In contrast, iOS search on App Campaigns can be attributed by Google Ads, for ads that are served on the Google Search App.

creating conversion recording (installs)

For details of how to create conversion recording, click here.

Google Ads - iOS configuration - sending in-app events

If you want to further measure the success of your Mobile App Install campaigns in Google, you can send in-app events to your Google Ads account from your AppsFlyer account.

Creating a conversion (in-app events)

For details of how to measure your app conversions, click here.

For how long do you keep Google Ads’ user-level data?

Google Ads requires attribution providers to delete its user-level data 6 months after the install. This means that the events performed by these users 6 months after they install the app are counted as organic.

Past aggregate data remains the same.

This is relevant for all Google Ads channels.

Google Ads discrepancies

Sometimes there are discrepancies between the Google Ads dashboard and the AppsFlyer dashboard.

While we work closely with Google Ads to minimize these discrepancies, advertisers should be aware of the following reasons:

Both iOS and Android

Cause Google Ads AppsFlyer

Assisted installs (aka Multi-touch attribution)

Google Ads, as an SRN, attributes all installs following engagements with Google Ads, within their attribution window.

AppsFlyer attributes the last click in a user's journey and treats engagements before it as assists.

Install record time

Google Ads attributes the conversion to the Click time.

AppsFlyer attributes the conversion to the launch time (app open).

Reports time

Google Ads’ dashboard might have a few hours delay in displaying conversions.

AppsFlyer’s reports are in real-time.

Time zones

Varies - based on location

Varies - based on location.

Attribution window

30 Days

Google integration is set for 30 days by default (can be modified).

View-through conversions

VT conversions only show in the All conversions column and not in the Conversions column, unless set otherwise in Google Ads.

AppsFlyer shows total installs number, click installs and VT installs.

Reinstalls

Google Ads show reinstalls as a session_start conversion.

AppsFlyer attributes and displays re-installs (AKA re-attributions) as part of its retargeting data.

In-app events

Google Ads attributes the in-app event to the Click time.

In the AppsFlyer dashboard in-app events are attributed according to the install time. In Raw Data Reports, AppsFlyer attributes in-app events according to the time of the event.

Validation rules

Google receives all information from AppsFlyer regardless of validation rules.

AppsFlyer might deduct a number of installs based on their validation rules.

iOS App Campaign Search Inventory

Google Ads includes inventory for iOS AC search results in both mobile web and Google’s search app.

Google Ads doesn’t respond to attribution partner queries about iOS AC search conversions in neither mobile web nor Google's search app. As a result, these installs are not attributed to Google Ads in AppsFlyer.

Cost - Google Ads campaign channels

Google reports cost for all channels of a given campaign - YouTube, display, and search.

AppsFlyer gets cost data from Google for all channels of a campaign, but only attributes conversions from YouTube and display channels in iOS AC. As a result, the overall CPI in AppsFlyer is higher.

 Notes

  • While Google Ads shows all installs of a retargeting campaign in the same place, on the AppsFlyer dashboard, installs are divided between the Overview page (new installs) and the Retargeting page (re-engagements).
  • When comparing data from Google Ads dashboard and AppsFlyer, make sure that the data in the Google Ads dashboard is data that is imported from 3rd party analytics (AppsFlyer). Data imported from Firebase or Google Play is structured differently and is not fully comparable with AppsFlyer data. To learn how to import data from AppsFlyer to Google Ads dashboard, click here.
  • To compare install events (first_open in Google Ads), make sure that you drill down to install events in the conversion report in Google Ads. Google Ads might show all conversions (e.g. installs, purchases, subscriptions) which is why it is important to select only those install events out of all conversion events.
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