Changes Made To Earned Subscribers Column in Google Ads



Have any of you video marketers noticed a change in your campaign reporting in Google Ads within the past few weeks? Don’t worry. You’re not the only one if you did.  If you didn’t, it’s a minor but important change to be aware of.

This past weekend, I logged into an account to check on some video campaigns I’m running. When I looked at the earned action columns, I immediately noticed a change. I’ll go over this change really quick, but first let me explain what earned actions are to anyone who isn’t familiar with them.

What Are Earned Actions?

No matter which type of video campaigns you are running in Google Ads, there are certain viewer actions taken that the advertiser will pay for. These actions could be video views or clicks on video ad elements such as the call-to-action extensions, shopping cards, companion banners, and a few others. After the initial interaction with your video ad, there are five related actions users can take, and the advertiser will not be charged for these additional actions. These are the earned actions which include:

  1. Earned views
  2. Earned subscribers
  3. Earned likes
  4. Earned shares
  5. Earned playlist additions

youtube earned actions columns

All of these additional actions users take after interacting with your video ad are a great way to monitor the value of your video ads beyond the initial view. We can monitor the earned stats with specific columns in Google Ads (image above). We can also create audiences based off of these actions in the Audience Manager tool. The only clarification is the audiences will include all actions instead of just the earned ones. For example, your YouTube user audience will include all subscribers in your set cookie length and not just the subscribers from an earned action.

So What Changed?

When I looked at my earned action columns, I noticed my Earned subscribers column showcased a range instead of an exact number. I reached out to fellow YouTube ad pro, Bryant Garvin, and he confirmed he started seeing this in his accounts this past week. So why is this happening?


earned subscribers range


After looking around online for a definitive answer, I notice Google Ads Help updated the video ad metrics and reporting page. Their direct quote about the change is the following:

Due to privacy requirements, values of the Earned subscribers metric under 100 will show as a range instead of the actual value that it shows today. For example 14 will show as a range of 11-20 instead of the actual value. Metric values over 100 will still show actual value.

Is this a major change? No, it is not, but it does make the numbers a little more vague for reporting in Google Ads. I respect the privacy portion of the change but have 1 earned subscribers is a LOT different than 20. For now, it looks like we’ll have to deal with more guesstimating in our reporting until our video campaigns have accrued enough actions to show the exact number.

Have you noticed this change too? Has it impacted your reporting? Comment below to let us know.