Why do my impressions in this report differ from reported usage?
The Data Provider Billing report in the Audience Studio UI is intended to represent the amounts owed to Data Providers. There is a CPM you see in the UI when you build a segment, which represents approximately what you can expect to be charged for each of your segments on a monthly basis. That means that based on reported impressions, there is generally a fixed amount of cost that we charge you, and a fixed amount of revenue that we allocate to all the providers who contributed to the segments you targeted.
Each provider that contributes to a segment has a CPM they charge per segment. We use that provider CPM and the provider segment population to calculate the approximate fixed CPM cost of targeting each of your segments every month (this is the blended CPM). Based on this blended CPM cost and the impressions you or your activation partner report on a monthly basis, we calculate the cost you owe, and pass through that amount to each provider based on their segment contribution. The primary thing you will learn from the Data Provider Billing report is the cost of using data on a monthly basis. Based on how this has been allocated to providers, it is possible you may see discrepancies in impression amounts that do not match up exactly to what appears in your activation platform.
Reasons for impression discrepancies may include:
- Activating billable data to Google when your Google account utilizes a currency other than USD. When data is activated to Google, we send the blended CPM along with your segment on a monthly basis. Salesforce Audience Studio only operates in USD, but if your Google account uses another currency, the CPM we send in USD will be converted within Google to the expected currency of your account. At the end of the month, Google reports both the impression and revenue amount for the targeted segment, and pays us the cost on your behalf according to the CPM in Google’s system. If the currency has fluctuated over the course of the month, this may differ slightly from the expected revenue if the same number of impressions ran against the CPM in USD. After month end, Salesforce collects the amount of cost paid by Google based on their currency conversion, and this is what we allocate to providers. The allocation to providers is based on the original data provider weighted contributions to the blended CPM. Once Google cost is allocated to data providers based on their CPMs, the impressions that get calculated based on the owed revenue and provider CPMs in the data provider billing report may not match with your Google impression report. Please use your Google account as the source of truth for impression level reporting.
- Activating any billable data to Google. When billable data is sent to Google, we send the blended CPM of your segments along with each segment. The blended CPM value is fixed on a monthly basis, and adjusted each month to accommodate any fluctuations in segment composition. Depending on the refresh rate you have set for each segment, it’s possible that a slight delay in CPM update within the Google platform may contribute to a small discrepancy in monthly impression reporting. Once Google reports the cost they will be paying based on the CPM present in their system during the course of the month, cost gets allocated to data providers based on their CPMs and the weight of their contribution to the blended CPM on the Salesforce side.. Please use your Google account as the source of truth for impression level reporting.
- Utilizing Lookalike segments. The CPM for Lookalike segments is calculated via an Einstein generated weighting rather than the blended CPM algorithm used for non-Lookalike segments built from data provider data. Unlike blended CPMs, the construction of Lookalike segments rely on Einstein AI to assess data provider attributes and find users who look like your core segment. When the revenue collected based on each Lookalike segment is distributed to each data provider, the revenue is first allocated based on the Einstein generated data provider weights to ensure payments for segment usage are allocated to providers based on their Lookalike contribution. The calculated impressions based on each individual provider CPM may not match exactly to the overall impressions targeted against the combined segment. Please use your activation platform as the source of truth for impression level reporting.
- Utilizing lookalike segments with a lot of 1st party data or data with no CPM. In some cases, the 3rd party provider segments that contribute to Lookalike segments do not have a CPM cost associated with them. This is also the case for 1st party data that contributes to your Lookalikes. To properly pay Lookalike data cost, we only distribute revenue to providers owed money at a CPM price-- we don’t pay providers not owed a CPM cost or pay you for using your 1st party data. The impressions calculation that results from paying the owed revenue to the data providers who get paid at their CPM rate, may not match the reported impressions targeted against your segment. We are not representing impressions targeted against 1st party data or no cost data in the billing report in the case of Lookalike segment usage. Please use your activation platform as the source of truth for impression level reporting.
In summary, the function of the Data Provider Billing report is to show revenue owed to data providers. This report is not the source of truth for impressions targeted, which comes from your accounts at individual activation systems. Due to the manner in which we collect and pass revenue to many different data providers, there are various reasons why impressions in the Data Provider Billing report may not match your activation partner usage reports.
The most important thing is that the cost owed by you as a customer based on the CPMs of the segment you have built in the UI matches the revenue paid to each data provider based on their segment CPMs. We take the cost owed based on the UI CPM and targeted impressions and ensure that the owners of the data that you use are paid accordingly.