Google Ad Manager to end support for Spotlight Activities and Conversions

Google this week announced its adserver, Ad Manager, will be ending support for Spotlight activities and conversions on February 22, 2024, as part of the phasing out of third-party cookies.

Google Ad Manager
Google Ad Manager

Google this week announced its adserver, Ad Manager, will be ending support for Spotlight activities and conversions on February 22, 2024, as part of the phasing out of third-party cookies.

The Spotlight is to GAM what a Floodlight is to GMP = conversion pixels.

After February 22, 2024, activity tags, activity groups, CPA line items, and the Data Transfer "NetworkActivities" file will no longer function. Historical data will be available for several months following the sunset.

Activities and conversions, formerly known as Spotlight, are a feature of Google Ad Manager that tracks user actions, such as purchases or website visits, after they see an advertiser's ad. This data helps advertisers measure the effectiveness of their campaigns and make informed decisions about their marketing efforts.

Types of activities and conversions

  • Page views (Counter): Counts the number of times that a user who converts views the page containing the activity tag.
  • Daily visits (Counter): Counts one conversion per 24-hour day for each converting visitor. The day begins at midnight Eastern Time.
  • Custom (Counter): Allows advertisers to use session IDs to determine when to count a converting user as a new conversion.
  • Items purchased (Sales): Tracks the value of purchases made by converting users, as well as the number of items purchased and the order ID.
  • Transactions (Sales): Tracks the value of purchases made by converting users, as well as the order ID.
  • Application downloads (Counter): Tracks conversions where users download an app and launch it for the first time.

How Conversions are tracked

A conversion is counted when a user sees or clicks on an advertiser's ad, then performs another action, such as visiting the advertiser's website, completing a purchase, or downloading an app. This other action is tracked with an activity tag that is generated in Ad Manager and sent to the advertiser.

Cost per Action (CPA) Line Items in Google Ad Manager

Cost per action (CPA) line items were a pricing model for Google Ad Manager that allows advertisers to pay publishers only when a user completes a desired action after seeing their ad. This is in contrast to other pricing models, such as CPM (cost per thousand impressions) and CPC (cost per click), where advertisers pay regardless of whether a user takes any action.

CPA line items was tool for publishers who want to align their spend with their advertiser's business goals.

End of Support for Spotlight Activities and Conversions

Google Ad Manager is phasing out Spotlight activities and conversions in order to comply with privacy regulations and to move towards a more privacy-centric approach to advertising. Publishers who are currently using Spotlight activities and conversions should start planning for the end of support by switching to alternative solutions.

Advertisers and publishers should carefully evaluate their options to determine the best solution for their needs with the publishers.

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