What is Google Attribution and why we can, and should, say goodbye to Last Click Attribution

Google has launched the Google Attribution platform, with Data-Driven Attribution available for cross device and multi-channels helping marketers understand more precisely how they are getting their sales.

At Key Principles, we know it’s important to understand where conversions are coming from and which of our advertising methods is helping us the most. That’s where Google Attribution comes along; it helps identify the customer’s journey to a conversion or purchase so we can understand which strategies are leading to the leads and sales.

For example, when travelling to your office in the morning you may ride your bike to the train station, get the train, and after getting off the train walk to the office building, then finally you will take the lift to your office. In some attribution models the ‘lift’ will take all the credit for getting you to the office. Yet in reality, the bike, the train and walking were also involved in you getting to the office.

Google allows you to see and view attribution whilst assigning credit to the various touch points that a user interacts with. These touch points are the advertising or communication methods the marketer is using. There are several different attribution models to attribution statistics; First Click, Last Click, Linear, Position-Based, Time Decay and most recently Data-Driven.

Google Ads Attribution Models

(Source: Google Partners Livestream (2017). “Elevenses – What attribution model should I use? (08.02.2017)”. Available online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0v7fdT-lAs) 

So how does our examples tie into the world of online advertising? Well another example of a conversion line would be if a potential customer visits your site by clicking an AdWords search advert. He then returns to the site a few days later through an email campaign. Then a few hours later, he once again visits your site via Facebook or another social media network and directly makes the purchase.

The Last Click attribution model, in these instances the ‘lift’ or ‘social media network’ will receive 100% credit for the sale.

For First Click interaction, the first touchpoint, for example the bike or AdWords advert will receive 100% of the credit for the conversion.

The Linear attribution model, provides an equal credit share between the different touchpoint. For example, the Adwords ad, email campaign and social network would share equal credit (33%) for the sale.

With the Time Decay, the touchpoints nearest in time to the conversion or sale gets most of the recognition. For our example, the ‘social network’ and ‘email’ channels would obtain the more recognition because the customer interacted with them closest to the sale. The Adwords channel would receive less credit as it was during the beginning of the customer’s sale journey.

Position Based attribution assigns 40% credit to each of the first and last interaction, whilst the outstanding 20% credit is shared equally to the in between interactions. For example, the ‘Adwords ad’ and the ‘social network’ channels would receive 40% each, and the ‘email’ channels would receive 20% credit.

The upcoming Google Attribution platform will allow marketers to get further data and insights into a customer journey to a conversion; sign up, lead or sale. The aforementioned attribution models have limitations. They don’t give the marketer or business owner a real picture of how much each channel is worth in the conversion or sale. Customers are said to use different devices before making their purchase, for example doing product research on their smartphone and then making the purchase online. Data-Driven attribution models consider many factors in a customer journey, including path length, order of ad/communications exposure and now devices too.

The Google Attribution platform links to Google Adwords, Google Analytics and DoubleClick accounts, and to mobile apps; allowing marketers to gain extensive insights into attributions.

The new Google Attribution platform will also heavily benefit advertisers using Display campaigns, as the Data-Driven attribution will also cover Display impressions. Display typically does not receive a high attribution credit with other attribution models, such as Last Click, as Display tends to not work on a last touchpoint basis.

By moving your campaigns to Data-Driven attribution models, you’ll get a better insight into your advertising, marketing campaigns and channels, and understand which areas you need to develop and optimise. Google advertisers who have adopted the Data-Driven attribution model already say the results show more conversions at a similar cost per conversion.

Measuring the impact of digital marketing is becoming more complex with the multitude of channels to engage with audiences, and to analyse the result of these and how the channels maybe working together has been, until now, difficult to ascertain. Advertising platforms, such as Facebook have had trouble and have admitted to making measurement errors, leading to overcharging some businesses.

Google has made it more efficient and effective for marketers to understand the customer’s conversion journey by finding data across channels and devices, and therefore providing a more comprehensive measurement.

We still need to wait until 2018 to start using the Google Attribution platform. However right now Data-Driven Attribution is available cross device for some AdWords customers.  You need at least 600 conversions within the last 30 days, and you can see if you can move to this new Attribution model.

Google Ads Data Driven Attribution Model

Overall, the number of touchpoints a customer is exposed to and interacts with before their purchase can be quite extensive and involve numerous devices and channels. With the Google Attribution model, we can get a more complete insight as to where and how conversions are occurring. However, we will have to wait a short time to get the most out of the Attribution platform.

If you or your business would like help with their online attribution models, conversion tracking, or Paid search campaigns contact Key Principles.

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