AdWords Attribution Models [Complete Guide]

adWords-attribution-modelsAttribution Models and Google AdWords

A potential customer completing a valuable action on your website, such as filling a contact form, completing a product purchase or calling your business is called a conversion. And during the path to such a conversion a customer can interact with multiple ads from the same advertiser.

Conversion attribution is one of the most debated issues in marketing. When a customer engages with multiple touch points during a conversion, it is very important to give credit to all these touch points. The classic attribution model in digital marketing is last click attribution, and AdWords is no exception. The default attribution model in AdWords is last click attribution.

Last click attribution model gives 100% credit of a conversion to the last click (channel, ad or keyword). But when a customer interacts with multiple ads from the same advertiser during the conversion journey, last click attribution will not give a fair reflection of the contributions of different advertising channels and ad formats.

The solution to this problem is using different attribution models. Attribution models let an advertiser to choose how much credit each click gets for his conversions. Advertisers can give credit of a conversion to a customer’s first click, last click or a combination of clicks with different attribution models.

AdWords is now offering multiple attribution models on the search network and shopping ads. It is not available for interactions on the display network.

AdWords is offering 6 different attribution models.

  • Last click
  • First click
  • Linear
  • Time Decay
  • Position based
  • Data-driven

Understanding AdWords Attribution Models – With a Simple Example

It will be easy to understand different attribution models with the help of a simple example.

Imagine you are a florist in San Francisco and you are using AdWords to sell flowers online.

A customer looking for birthday flowers starts searching for flowers online.

The customer uses the following keywords to search on Google.

‘flowers, birthday flowers, flower delivery & flower delivery san francisco’

The customer starts the search with the keyword ‘flowers’ and finally uses the keyword ‘flower delivery San Francisco’ just before placing the order for flowers.

Now let us analyse how different attribution models will give credit for the conversion to each of these 4 keywords, which was part of the conversion journey.

Last click attribution model

Last click attribution model gives 100% of the credit of the conversion to the last clicked ad and corresponding keyword.

Based on our example, last click attribution will give 100% credit of the conversion to the keyword ‘flower delivery san francisco’ as it is the last clicked keyword before purchase.last-click-attribution-modelFirst click attribution model

First click attribution model give all credit of conversion to the first clicked ad and corresponding keyword.

In our example, as per the first click attribution model the keyword ‘flowers’ will get full credit of the conversion as it is the first keyword in the conversion path.first-click-attribution-modelLinear attribution model

Linear attribution distributes the credit of the conversion equally across all clicks in the conversion path.

As per linear attribution model, each keyword in our example will get equal credit (25% each) for the conversion.linear-attribution-modelTime decay attribution model

Time decay attribution model gives more credit to clicks that happened closer in time to the conversion.

In our example, as per time decay attribution model, the keyword ‘flower delivery san francisco’ will receive the most credit because it was searched closest to the conversion.time-decay-attribution-modelPosition based attribution model

Position based attribution model gives 40% credit to both first and last clicked ads and corresponding keywords. The remaining 20% will be spread across the other clicks on the conversion path.

In our example, ‘flowers’ & ‘ flower delivery san francisco’ will receive 40% credit each, and ‘birthday flowers’ and ‘ flower delivery’ will get 10% credit.position-based-attribution-modelData driven attribution model

Data driven attribution model distributes credit for the conversion based on past data of conversion actions.

In the “Data-driven” attribution model, each keyword will receive part of the credit, depending on how much it contributed to driving the conversion. As this attribution model depends heavily on past conversion data, it is only available on accounts with a minimum 600 conversions within 30 days.

AdWords attribution models – comparison

The charts below will help you to compare different attribution models in AdWords.adwords-attribution-model-comparisonSome important points to consider

You can compare attribution models in AdWords. Go to Tools – Attributions – Attribution Modeling and Compare different attribution models.

If you use an attribution model that gives fractional credit for your conversions, you may see fractions (like 0.25) in conversion value. You may also find fractions in end of the month conversion value.

To use data driven attribution model, an account must have at least 15,000 clicks and a conversion action must have at least 600 conversions within 30 days.

Without the required minimum data, you will not see the option to use data-driven attribution in your AdWords account.

Conclusion

Attribution models will help advertisers across the world to find the true value of their advertising budget spends. It will help you to identify keywords, ads or campaigns which are undervalued using a last-click attribution model.

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