Way back in 2013, Google announced that Impression Reporting was rolling out to Google Analytics accounts, giving you the ability to see the roles played by impressions of Google Display ads.
Back then, it was a whitelisted beta -- there was a form, you completed it, and eventually the feature would be enabled on your account. That was then, and then it went away.
For at least the last year or so, if you wanted impression data for your Display and YouTube campaigns, you had two choices: you either had the foresight to apply when the application was open, or upgraded to Google Analytics Premium.
This week, Google have updated their Help Centre Article with some new guidelines for enabling Impression Reporting on non-Premium accounts:
Contact your Google sales account manager or Google Analytics 360 account manager to request this feature activation. Please note that we cannot guarantee access, but we will do our best to provide this feature to as many users as possible.
Finally! Reaching out to your AdWords Sales Manager at Google will, it appears, activate Impression Reporting on your account.
If you're thinking of enabling Impression Reporting on your account, here are some things to bear in mind:
- Default channel and source/medium reports will show much higher conversion data for Display, as it defaults to summing impressions and clicks
- If you're using the core API to pull conversion data (as many third-party reporting tools are), Display is about to look a whole lot better
- You get to enable some extra rules in your Attribution Model reports, with specific weighting for an impression. For example, you might want to credit an impression 2% of the value of a click. However, you can't specify simialr rules for default reports.
- Impression Reporting is enabled at the Property Level, so you're stuck with it across all Views
- We're not aware of any way to revert the change once Impression Reporting is enabled
Above all, the main issue to be aware of is that you are, of course, only enabling impression reporting for Google-owned channels. This means that Facebook and other ad networks are going to look as though they're severely lagging, and even though you're able to upload impression data from these channels using Cost Data Upload, you can't control or assign any conversion attribution value.
If comparing strict apples with apples is your priority, you might find you're better off without enabling Impression Reporting. We've generally found its usefulness outweighs these factors, as long as you make sure you're using the reports and datapoints in the Attribution Model reports (and as long as everyone using Google Analytics knows to do the same), you should be in the clear.