Attribution Modelling in Google Adwords

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Quite often, our PPC clients ask us about attribution modelling. Of course, it’s only natural to be curious when you see conversions for your accounts coming as fractional or decimal data rather than whole numbers. When people think of conversions, they envisage perfectly rounded up numbers. What they fail to understand is that there is a conversion attribution journey behind that expected beautiful, whole, perfect number.

Our Data Analyst, Gary, has covered attribution modelling beautifully before in this blog, which discusses the topic in general & how it is applied to numerous Digital Marketing platforms. In this blog, we will talk about the marriage of attribution modelling with Google AdWords.

What is Attribution modelling?

Attribution modelling is the rule that is used to credit touchpoints, ad interaction(s) or channels a user takes on their path to a conversion.

For example, a user might interact or engage with one or several ads from the same advertiser before finally converting. Attribution modelling lets you decide how much credit you want to attribute to the user channel or user’s interaction, starting from the first ad click to the last, in the actual conversion. You might want to assign a value of 0.2 to the first ad click, 0.3 to the last and so on, utilising the fractional conversation values in AdWords.

Benefits Of Attribution Modelling In AdWords

Most businesses can benefit from the knowledge of how different channels or campaigns play out in order to drive a user to convert. 

A brand might use brand awareness Display campaigns, SEO or Social campaigns to drive top of funnel (TOF) clicks. After that they might use a RLSA campaign on search to target those interested clicks and turn them into warmer, middle of funnel (MOF) leads. This entire process might span a month or more. A user might ultimately convert by directly typing the business URL in his browser after he has gathered enough knowledge about the brand! 

Attribution modelling throws light on which channels/campaigns were instrumental in this conversion journey. This in turn helps the brand decide how to optimise their marketing budget and resources, preventing unnecessary loss.

In AdWords, attribution modelling helps you clearly decide which click or keyword in the conversion path gets the most credit for the conversion. You can find more opportunities to target users early on in the buying journey, match your business service or offering to correct attribution and optimise keyword bids better.

Types Of Attribution Models In Adwords

Let’s quickly go over the attribution modelling available in AdWords. Google Adwords currently has 6 attribution models to choose from:

  • Last Click
  • First Click
  • Linear
  • Time Decay
  • Position Based
  • Data Driven Attribution

If you don’t choose one while setting up your conversion action in AdWords, it will use the Last Click Attribution modelling by default.

Last click lets you credit the last step or touch point prior to conversion. For instance, in the example in the start of the blog, the RLSA ad click would get credit, if the last click attribution modelling was to be chosen.

First Click,  like the name suggests, gives credit to the first touch point in the conversion journey. For instance, value will be attributed to the click/keyword that first drove traffic to your site. 

Linear Attribution credits all clicks/keywords, basically all user interactions a user takes before converting, equally. This modelling is super helpful in airing out which channels are worth investing in more, for a business. They are great for multi funnel campaigns that take a user from TOF to BOF, leading them to convert. There is a catch, though. The campaigns need to be running long term, in order to reflect true attribution.

Time Decay  attaches more credibility to the last few touch points, prior to a conversion, in the user journey than the initial ones. This modelling benefits brands that need a thorough understanding of their service more, rather than ecommerce brands where product transactions happen fast.

Position Based  gives 40% credit to the first and last interactions, while giving 20% to the rest, in a conversion journey. This modeling clearly tells you, instead of hinting,  which keywords/clicks are responsible for inspiring and show stopper-ing the buyer journey, and what interactions fell in between. 

Data-Driven modeling  lets you use machine learning to your advantage. This is based on account performance and intelligent learning of which keywords were the most influential in the conversion journey, with conversion credit being attached accordingly. This is ideal for big spenders where click and conversion volume are likely to be equally high.
*The prerequisites to using it are that in 30 days you should have gathered 15,000 clicks, 600 conversions. For continued use, you should be able to achieve and maintain 10,000 clicks & 400 conversions in the consecutive 30 days.

How to Configure Attribution to Conversion Action in AdWords?

Click the Tools & Settings gear icon in Adwords:

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Go To Conversions in Measurement:

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Choose your conversion action and go to Edit Settings:

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Go to Attribution model below, in the settings window:

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Then chose the attribution model of your choice from the dropdown and click SAVE:

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That is Attribution modeling in Google Adwords in a snapshot. We are curious to know what attribution models you are currently using and why do you think it is the best fit. Do share in the comments below! Happy Measuring!


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