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December 23, 2020

Posted by: Leonardo Moura


Finding The Right Path: Attribution Modeling in Google Ads

A user’s path towards conversion can be tricky to navigate from an advertiser’s perspective. It usually takes 7-13+ different engagements for a user to convert with your business. Our goal is to identify which ads actually influenced someone’s decision in clicking on our landing page. In Google Ads, the default option gives all of the conversion credit to the final ad click. Although the conversion does happen in the last click, a previous ad may have had a bigger impact on the user’s decision. By choosing the right attribution model, you can understand your customers journey and make optimizations to different elements, such as changing the bidding in order to generate a greater volume of conversions at a similar cost-per-conversion.

Attribution Models

Google Ads has six different attribution models, each with its own set of rules. They allow you to reach and influence customers earlier in the purchase cycle, identify undervalued keywords, and to optimize your bids based on a better understanding of how your ads perform. Picking a model should connect with your goals for your Google Ads account. Certain strategies tend to be growth-oriented, while others are more focused on efficiency.

1.     Last click:  Gives all credit for the conversion to the last-clicked ad and corresponding keyword. This is considered to be the most conservative model for growth.

2.     First click: Gives all credit for the conversion to the first-clicked ad and corresponding keyword. This is considered to be the most growth-oriented model.

3.     Linear: Distributes the credit for the conversion equally across all ad interactions on the path. This is a moderate attribution model for growth.

4.     Time decay: Gives more credit to clicks that happened closer in time to the conversion. Credit is distributed using a 7-day half-life, meaning that an ad interaction 8 days before a conversion gets half as much credit as an ad interaction 1 day before a conversion. This model is relatively conservative from a growth perspective.

5.     Position-base:  Gives 40% of credit to both the first- and last-clicked keyword, with the remaining 20% spread out across the other clicks on the path. This tends to be the most used model, since it indicates which first keywords or ad drew attention, which closed the deal, and which ones in between supported their journey with relevant information This is a growth-oriented attribution model.

6.     Data-driven: Distributes credit for the conversion based on your past data. It then calculates the actual contribution of each interaction across the conversion path. For this model to be available, you must have at least 3,000 ad interactions in supported networks, and a conversion action must have at least 300 conversions within 30 days.

Attribution for Conversions and Bidding

The attribution model you choose only affects the conversion action and bidding strategy to which it's applied. Google Ad’s Model comparison report allows you to better evaluate how different attribution models of conversion are impacting your data. These reports can be useful for confirming whether you’ve targeted a good audience, the quality of your call to action, and if you’re generating awareness. You can also use these model reports to identify undervalued keywords that are starting customers down the conversion path. Generally, keywords earlier in the click path, often generic terms, have a high CPC and a low CTR. Meanwhile, keywords later in the click path, like brand terms, tend to have a low CPC and a high CTR.

Use this guide as a reference for your future campaigns, and unlock some powerful data about your customer’s journey.

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