Google Ads (AdWords) Attribution Integration

Setting Up Google Ads (AdWords)

Integration Summary

(See Partner Integrations Glossary)

Partner Google Ads
Partner Type SAN
Creatives 🚫 for App Campaigns
Publisher 🚫 for App Campaigns
S2S 🚫
Click Tag 🚫 (Self-attributing)
Receiving All Installs Recommended (Self-attributing)
Receiving All Events Recommended (Self-attributing)

Introduction to Google Ads

Google App campaigns (FKA Universal App campaigns) help you promote your mobile app across Google's various networks.

By adding a partner configuration for Google Ads, you can let Singular track the performance of your campaigns across Google Search, YouTube, and over three million sites and apps.

Note: You can track both click-through and view-through campaigns. Google Ads' view-through attributions are based on MRC definition of viewability and are only available for Youtube and Display networks.

Google Networks
Network Description
Google Search

Text ads on Google Search, the Google Search App, and Google Play.

Note: iOS search campaigns for Installs are not attributed by Google Ads, and therefore aren't shown in user-level reporting. This also impacts Default Tracker Installs in aggregated reporting.

Google Display Image ads in mobile applications and browsers that can link to your mobile website, mobile app, or app store.
Google Ads for Video (Youtube) Video or text ads appearing in the Google YouTube iOS or Android apps.
Google Ads Campaign Types
Type Description Singular Tracking
App Campaigns App Campaigns is a one-stop-shop to promote your mobile app on all available networks. These ads are auto-generated based on the creative text you enter. Available for both iOS and Android apps. Installs
App Campaigns for Engagement App Campaigns for Engagement help your current app users take specific in-app actions to improve user retention and long-term revenue. Re-engagements
Attribution Tracking with Google

Singular tracks Google Ads campaigns via a self-attributing server-to-server integration, which includes:

  • Tracking all installs and re-engagements driven by any of your Google Ads campaigns
  • Both click-through and view-through attribution

The integration uses a Link ID, which is generated in Google Ads and unique to each app. Once your Link ID has been configured in Singular, Singular will start sending all installs, sessions, and configured in-app conversion events to Google.

Using the attributed click information returned from Google, Singular can perform last-touch attribution (See Singular's attribution process) and offer you reports on your campaigns' performance using the same granular campaign information you receive in your Google Ads dashboard.

Importing Events into Google Ads

To begin tracking conversions and events related to Google Ads campaigns, you first need to go to your Google Ads account to set up your conversion actions - also known as importing events.

See Google Ads Attribution Integration: How to Import Events for detailed instructions.

Note: The events show up in Google Ads after at least one conversion event occurred since setting up the configuration in Singular (not just events that are attributed to Google Ads).

For live apps with thousands of active users, this usually happens within a few minutes, but if you are testing a new app without any active users, you have to trigger the events yourself. Then, make sure that the conversion is enabled - this might have to be done through the MCC account if you are utilizing cross-account conversions.

Next, you can configure and start your Google Ads campaigns. Follow Google's instructions to learn more about your options and how to configure them.

How to Setup your Partner Configuration

Prerequisites: Integrate the Singular SDK (see instructions). If your application supports deep links, make sure to implement deep link support on iOS and Android.

  1. In your Google Ads account, generate a Link ID. See Google's instructions.
  2. Go to Singular > Attribution > Partner Configuration.
  3. Click “Add a Partner”, and type and choose Adwords (Google Ads).
  4. In the dialog, choose your App and App site (platform) to configure.
  5. Under Adwords Link ID, paste the ID that you generated.
  6. Specify attribution settings:
    1. View-through attribution - give higher priority to ad views
    2. Re-engagement - use inactivity windows. This is required
    3. Click-through attribution lookback window - specify how long an ad can be credited with an install.
    4. Note: changing the default settings may cause discrepancies between the install numbers you see in Singular and Adwords dashboards.
  7. Send Event Postbacks: To improve campaign optimization, allow Singular to send Google Ads postbacks about in-app events. Map your events to the equivalent Google event, or leave the event as "custom".
  8. Click Save.
  9. (Important) Import events: set up your conversion actions in your Google Ads account. See How to Import Events.
    • You will not see Singular's events right away. The events show up in Google Ads only after at least one conversion event occurs after setting up the configuration in Singular.


How does Singular's reporting for Adwords work?

Once an attribution is tracked, your Google Ads campaigns will appear in your Singular Reporting interface.

Singular supports reporting attributed Google Ads app campaign data for click-through and view-through installs and re-engagements. Currently, the available data includes the Google campaign ID, campaign name, and ad group ID, along with the Google channel (Youtube, Display, Search). This data is mapped to Singular as "Campaign ID", "Campaign Name", "Sub Campaign ID", and "Sub Ad Network", respectively.


Note that "conversions" in Google Ads refer to both installs and re-engagements in Singular.

In addition, there are inherent discrepancies between Google Ads and all third parties, as outlined in the Google Ads documentation.

Why can't I see iOS Google Search attributions?

Starting January 2020, App Campaigns for Installs for Search are no longer attributed by Google Ads, and therefore aren't shown in user-level reporting. For more information, see Google's announcement

How can deep linking and deferred deep linking be enabled for Google Ads campaigns?

Verify your Singular SDK implementation includes deep link and deferred deep link support

Once implemented, your Singular integration with Google automatically enables deferred deep linking for Google campaigns utilizing feeds.

Why do I see a discrepancy between Adwords Network Installs and Singular Tracker Installs for iOS campaigns?

Google Ads reported app conversions may contain a mix of both deterministic and modeled sources. See Google's Documentation to understand how modeled conversions may impact your campaigns.

Because modeled conversions don't tie back to a single specific ad interaction, Google cannot provide a corresponding deterministic response to Singular or any of Google's App Attribution Partners. This may cause reported conversion discrepancies across Google and 3Ps.

How does this integration handle app activity for opt-out users on iOS and Android?

Opt-out user's app activity is reported to Google with the advertising IDs zeroed out, so Google does not receive any individually identifiable information. 

When Google serves an ad, they also append "IDs" when auto-tagging is enabled:

  • Gbraid (iOS): An identifier appended to iOS 14.5+ clicks
  • Gclid (Android, iOS): A Google click ID

In cases where these ads are deep link enabled, the IDs are captured by the Singular SDK/S2S integration when the user is deep linked into the app. Singular forwards any available IDs to Google which are self-attributed reportied in Singular as re-engagements. In the case of "gbraid", these re-engagement attribution's have reduced granularity. "Gbraid" based re-engagement attributions have:

  • Campaign ID
  • Campaign Name

Important: To send Gbraid and Gclid to Google, your Singular SDK integration should be configured to support non-Singular deep links. See the iOS SDK guide and Android SDK guide.

What are "engaged views" and how are they reported?

An engaged view is a user impression of a video ad that lasted more than 10 seconds. Engaged views are counted as click-through attributions in Google and Singular reporting.

In Singular's user-level logs, engaged view conversions are reported under "interaction_type" = "engagement" in the "passthrough" field for conversion/event data attributed to Google.

In aggregate reporting, engaged view conversions are reported under "conversion type" = "click-through".


Partner Data Policies

As a Google App Attribution Partner, Singular adheres to the following data handling requirements required by Google:

  • Data Retention: Google Ads user-level data is removed after 6 months of original attribution. After 6 months, users attributed to Google Ads as treated/marked as "Organic" and reflected as such in both aggregate and user-level reporting in Singular.