FAQ: Universal Event Tracking

FAQ: Universal Event Tracking

Universal Event Tracking (UET) is a useful way to track what happens after someone has clicked on your ad. Here, find some common user questions, tips, and best practices when getting started with UET.

Universal Event Tracking (UET) is a useful way to track what happens after someone has clicked on your ad. Here, find some common user questions, tips, and best practices when getting started with UET:

What is UET and how does it related to Conversion Tracking and Remarketing features?expando image

Universal Event Tracking (UET) is a mechanism for advertisers to report user activity on their websites to Bing Ads by installing one site-wide tag. UET is a prerequisite for advertisers to track conversions and/or do remarketing. Once the UET tag is installed by the advertiser across their website, the tag reports user activity on the advertiser website to Bing Ads. Advertisers can then create conversion goals to specify which subset of user actions on the website qualify to be counted as conversions. If Bing Ads finds a match between a conversion goal and the user activity logged by the UET tag installed on their website, it counts a conversion. Similarly, advertisers can create remarketing lists based on user activity on website and Bing Ads matches the list definitions with UET logged user activity to put users into those lists.

Which Tag Management systems can I use when working with UET?expando image

UET will work with all industry ready tag management systems. The following table lists the current status of tested and supported tag managers for using UET:

  • Google Tag Manager
  • Qubit (Opentag)
  • Tealium
  • Ensighten
  • BrightTag (Signal)
  • Adobe Tag Manager

A few of these tag managers also have a UET template:

  • Google Tag Manager
  • Qubit (Opentag)
  • Tealium
  • Ensighten

To learn how to add the UET tag tracking code with the different tag managers, see the UET examples website (English-only). Note: You should refer to the specific tag manager website for the latest information about their product.

How do I validate if my UET tag is set up properly?expando image

See Is my UET tag working? to find out how to validate if your UET tag is set up properly.

What kind of site analytics reports can I get from Bing Ads? Why are we deprecating the enhanced engagement metrics introduced with UET v1? expando image

In UET v2, you can't get any site analytics data (such as visit counts and duration on various sections of the website, UET event logs, bounce rates etc).

UET v1 supported enhanced engagement metrics such as Bounce Rate, Pages/visit, Avg. Duration and Total visits in the performance reports. They will be deprecated with UET v2 due to potential incorrect reporting scenarios. Here is why:

  • UET v1 parented both UET Tags and Conversion Goals under the advertiser customer. This meant that during the last ad click conversion attribution, the credit of conversions can be assigned to latest ad clicked by the user across the customer shell. So if an advertiser has 2 accounts – A1 managing Website1 and A2 managing Website2, it is possible that conversions that happen on Website2 can be attributed to a click coming from A1 because that click could be the last ad clicked by the user. Advertisers that have multiple accounts driving traffic to different websites were impacted by this implementation.
  • In order to fix this issue with conversion attribution, we introduced the concept of account level goals wherein the advertiser can specify, for each goal at goal creation time, if the goal is to be parented under the account in context or across all accounts. Tags continue to stay parented under customer shell.
  • Coming to enhanced metrics, the way these metrics were attributed to keywords, ads, ad groups etc is similar to how conversions were attributed. Note that enhanced metrics don't require a conversion goal, just the UET tag had to be installed across the advertiser website. The user's visit was first attributed to the last ad clicked (across the customer shell) by the user in the last 90 days and then corresponding metrics were computed. The problem here with visit attribution, same as with conversion attribution, is that when advertiser has 2 different accounts managing 2 different websites, the visit to one website (and consequently the metrics) could be incorrectly attributed to the last ad clicked from an account that was running ads for a different website.
What are conversion goals and why do I need to create them in addition to creating and installing the UET tag on my website?expando image

Conversion goals and UET tags work together so you can track the actions people take on your website:

  • UET tags: Record what customers do on your website (actions) and sends that information to Bing Ads.
  • Conversion goals: Define the actions you want to track as conversions in Bing Ads.

So the UET tag gathers the information that the conversion goal uses to track conversions in Bing Ads. To learn more, see What is conversion tracking?

How does Bing Ads count and attribute conversions? ​expando image

Once advertisers install the UET tag on their website, the tag reports user activity on advertiser website to Bing Ads. When a visitor to an advertiser website performs an action that matches with the advertiser`s conversion, the action qualifies to be counted as a conversion. However, before Bing Ads actually counts it as a conversion that happened because of the advertiser`s campaign on Bing Ads, Bing Ads checks to see if the user clicked on at least one advertiser ad before visiting the advertiser`s website. In other words, Bing Ads will not count any user activity as a conversion (even if it matches goal definition) unless it is able to find an advertiser ad that the user clicked on before converting. If the user clicked on more than 1 advertiser ad before converting on the advertiser website, then the closest ad click is said to have caused the conversion and the remaining ad clicks are said to have assisted the conversion. This process of attributing the credit of one or more conversions to advertiser`s ad campaigns, ad groups and keywords is referred to as conversion attribution. There are multiple models used in the industry when attributing conversions to ad clicks. These are referred to as attribution models. As explained above, Bing Ads uses last ad click attribution, meaning if the user clicks on multiple ads before converting on the advertiser`s website, the last (most recent) click before the conversion gets credit for the conversion. Some of the other models include last click, first click, linear, time decay etc. ​

Does Bing Ads detect fraudulent/duplicate conversions reported via UET? Did Campaign analytics offer that functionality? expando image

Bing Ads does not currently include any functionality to detect or eliminate test, fraudulent or duplicate conversions. The legacy Campaign analytics solution offered a dedup parameter (needs to be set in the tag) that allowed advertisers to select either one (not multiple) of the following options when reporting:

  • 1 — Count only one conversion for the click regardless of the number of conversions that the user made during the conversion period.
  • 2 — Count one conversion per unique referring URL. The referring URL is the URL of the web page with your published script.
  • 3 — Count all conversions for the click made by the user during the conversion period.

Option 1 (default) is equivalent to counting Unique conversions. Option 3 is ALL conversions and option 2 allowed for some de-duplication. Not all since the tag could be on multiple conversion pages and it wouldn't de-duplicate by definition. Also option 2 didn't detect fraud, test conversions. Finally note that advertisers can only select one of the above options. For instance, you can't count unique conversions and try to de-duplicate in the legacy campaign analytics solution.

Note

De-duplication/fraud detection should not to be confused with "Unique" conversions. Setting a conversion goal to report unique conversions basically tells Bing Ads to count only 1 conversion of that goal type for an ad click. It does eliminate duplicates but does not detect fraudulent conversions. Further "Unique" conversions is not always a good choice for several goal types such as purchases.

Why do I see discrepancy between Bing Ads conversion counts and those from Google Analytics and AdWords (or my own logs)?expando image

There could be several reasons why conversions may not match. Keep in mind that Bing Ads doesn't expose conversion data to any third-party platform, and each system uses its own logic and goal setup to track conversions. As such, some level of discrepancies are expected.

Why Bing Ads may not be counting conversions

  • Did you install the UET tag across your website (or at least on the conversion pages)?
  • Did you verify that the criteria you used in conversion goal definition matches the conversion pages? Spelling mistakes, incorrect page URL values etc in the goal definitions cause the UET events on those conversion pages to not match the conversion goal definition. When there is no match, conversions will not be counted.
  • Do you have a reasonably sized conversion window? Small conversion windows should be used wisely since users generally spend a few days before making a purchase.
  • If you are using Custom Event type goals or tracking Variable Revenue, are you actually customizing the UET tag to send in the custom events/variable revenues and are you using the correct values in the goal definition?
  • Are you sure users are actually going to the conversion pages? If testing, note that Bing Ads does not count a conversion unless user clicks on an advertiser ad in Bing Ads before converting on advertiser website.
  • See How can I validate my set-up of conversion tracking below to validate conversion tracking is set up properly.

Why Bing Ads may be over counting

  • Did you verify that there is no duplication of the UET tag installation on the site (specially on the conversion pages)? If you have install the same UET tag twice on conversion pages, conversions will be double counted.
  • Did you verify that there are no duplicate goals? It is also possible that multiple goals match with the one user event thus increasing #conversions.
  • Did you verify that the goal definitions are the same across all the platforms being compared? Are the conversion windows similar?
  • Do you have test/fraudulent/duplicate conversions being generated on your site? Bing Ads does currently does not filter those out.
  • Are you using the same counting method (Unique vs All) in your comparisons?
  • Note that Bing Ads includes any cross-device conversions that it is able to identify as part of the conversion count. AdWords reports those via estimated conversion columns. Google Analytics has a custom solution for cross-device that most advertisers may not be using.
  • When comparing with Google Analytics (GA), note that GA does cross-channel attribution which means that some of the conversions that Bing Ads (or Google AdWords) take credit for may be attributed to other channels by GA.

Why Bing Ads may be under counting

  • Did you verify that UET tag is present across the site (or at least on the relevant conversion pages)?
  • Did you verify that goal definitions are not too restrictive such that they don't count all conversions?
  • Is your conversion window too small?
  • Are you counting Unique conversions (and comparing to All conversion counts in AdWords etc)?
  • Note that if your users are converting directly or via other channels, Bing Ads will not count conversions. They are reported in Google analytics and AdWords (if AdWords determines conversion was caused by their ad click).
Note

If you still have questions about the discrepancy, here is a checklist of things you need to verify:

  • UTM auto-tagging for URL tracking is working properly
  • Same number of conversion goals are created and goal criteria are the exact same in both Bing Ads and AdWords/Google Analytics
  • Conversion goal criteria are the exact same in both Bing Ads and AdWords
  • Bing Ads and AdWords/Google Analystics tag associated with the conversion goal is added to the same pages of your website
  • Conversion window and counting (Unique vs. All) settings are exactly the same
  • Time zone for reporting is the same
If you still want to contact support, you need to have the following information:
  • Tag name and the website pages you put the tags on for the conversion goals you are comparing
  • Goal name and criteria for the conversions goals you are comparing
  • Column names for the data you are comparing and where this information is located in the product
  • Report name for the reports you are comparing
  • Screenshot of the goal setting from AdWords/Google Analytics

How can I see conversion counts by goal name?expando image

You can view aggregate conversion counts for each goal in the Conversion Tracking > Conversion Goals page. Further, you can run the Goals reports in the UI (Reports tab) or API to segment that data by accounts, campaigns, ad groups and keywords.

Is Campaign Analytics deprecated?expando image

Campaign Analytics sunset on Nov 1, 2016 after months of migration. We’ve been working on migrating active Campaign Analytics customers to the more powerful UET since this May. If you haven’t already done so, you’ll want to ensure UET is set up so you can continue to track conversions (i.e. purchase, sign up, download) to your site.

How long before conversions show up in Reports? expando image

The SLA for conversion data to show up in reports is 4 hours from when the conversion occurred. For Mobile App Install type conversions that we track with the help of certified partners, please consult that partner you use for their SLA on reporting app install actions back to Bing Ads.

How can I validate my setup of conversion tracking?expando image
  1. Create and add the UET tag to all pages of your website.
  2. On the UET tags page, make sure the tag is Tag active.
  3. On the Conversion goals page, create a conversion goal.
  4. Trigger an ad on Bing, click the ad, and then convert on the site.
  5. In three hours, revisit the Conversion Goals page to see that the goal is counting conversions.
Are the tags SSL compliant? If so, how does it work?expando image

Yes, the tags are SSL compliant. The way it works is that it reads the protocol of whatever page it’s placed on (http or https) and matches the protocol.

What data does UET collect once I install it on my website?expando image

UET collects the following data and Bing Ads retains it for 180 days. In addition, Microsoft receives the Microsoft cookie (with an expiration date of 13 months) and the IP address via the UET events. In general, the cookie in the relevant domain and IP address are always passed with every http request and not just via UET. Bing Ads doesn't resell this data to third parties or share it with other advertisers.

Parameter Value Passed Purpose
ti UET tag ID Identifies tag.
ver Version Version of UET.
mid GUID generated by UET tag Used to relate page load and any custom events passed with each other.
evt Event type (page load or custom) Distinguishes page load event from custom events.
p URL of the page Identifies webpage.
r Referrer URL Identifies referrer URL.
ec Event category (custom value passed by advertiser) These are needed if advertiser chooses to use custom events for conversion tracking or remarketing.
ea Event action (custom value passed by advertiser)
ev Event value (custom value passed by advertiser)
el Event label (custom value passed by advertiser)
gv Variable revenue (custom value passed by advertiser) Needed if advertiser chooses to track variable revenue.
gc Variable revenue currency (custom value passed by advertiser) Needed if advertiser chooses to track variable revenue.
ifm 1 Indicates if the tag is being fired from within an iFrame.
rn Random number Handles browser cache.
tl Page title Used to construct digital signature so that we can detect fraud.
kw Keyword
lt Page load time
lg Browser language setting
sc Screen color depth
sh Screen height
sw Screen width
pi Digital signature - one way hash of tl, lt, lg, sc, sh, sw.
sid Random ID generated by UET tag Session ID, which is unique per domain.
Note

For additional details about Microsoft privacy policies for usage of data, please refer to Microsoft Privacy Statement. Also note that we will not be reselling the data we collect via UET to third parties and/or share it with other advertisers using Bing Ads.

Are destination URL and custom event goals case sensitive?expando image

No. When Bing Ads matches UET logs with conversion goals to count conversions, it isn't case sensitive.

Does the tag use browser caching and does it have an expiration date?expando image

Yes, it leverages browser caching with an expiration time of 30 minutes.

See more videos...