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4 Attribution Tools in Google AdWords You Should Know

David Bosley

If you’re using Google AdWords, you probably use last click attribution to determine the attribution credit for a conversion. In this model, whatever sources the final click before an eventual conversion receives 100% of the credit for that conversion. This is a simple, reasonable way to understand which of your campaigns is most valuable at driving conversions.

The problem is that this doesn’t capture the whole picture. Think about your online purchase journey. Let’s suppose that you’re looking to make a fairly simple purchase: a new toaster. You’re not going to simply search for a toaster and buy the first one you see. You’ll likely do a little bit of research, read some reviews, and check out some deals. By the time you make that final click and purchase a toaster, you very well could have gotten information from a half dozen or more websites. If it’s a more complex purchase, that number can skyrocket.

Still not convinced? Unwilling to change? Unfortunately, that might not matter soon. Rumor has it that Google is considering moving away from last-click attribution at the default in the very near future. Even if you may be able to access it by opting it, combined with the launch of their own Google Attribution model early last year, it seems clear that the last click attribution model is not very long for this digital world.

Luckily, this isn’t any reason to panic. It might take a little getting used to, but there are other, better options. Here are four other models you should consider leveraging in Google AdWords instead of (or in addition to) last click attribution:

1. Google Attribution

Let’s start off with the aforementioned Google Attribution model. In essence, it’s a multi-touchpoint attribution model, where each touchpoint along the way is tracked and assigned a weighted value. This model uses machine learning to constantly assign the best weight possible to each touchpoint and leverages data from a variety of sources, including Google AdWords, Google Analytics, and DoubleClick Search. While multi-touchpoint models have been around for a little while now, Google believes this is its ultimate evolution, designed to be efficient and accurate.

2. Position-Based

Last click attribution is the default model for Google AdWords, but not the most valuable

This model assumes that the first and last click are the most valuable, and that all the clicks in-between have some, but not a great deal of, value. The first and last click will receive 40% credit each, while the remaining 20% is split between the rest. This is more valuable than last click attribution because it does assume that there is value in the rest of the sources, and it makes sense that the first click is just as valuable as the last. Sources in the middle do have some value in that they were able to keep the target interested, but they weren’t valuable enough to close.

3. Time Decay

A time decay model is close to the last click model, but does give out attribution to other sources, too. The closer in time a touchpoint is to the actual conversion, the more credit it receives. If you’re looking to stick close to the last click attribution model but would still like to see credit given to other touchpoints, this is the model you’ll find most comfortable.

4. First Click

Like the last click attribution model, but this will only give credit to the very first source. If your company is trying to figure out how to reach brand-new customers and place them into your sales funnels, this could provide some valuable insight.

Last click attribution does provide valuable insights into our Google AdWords campaigns, but it’s time to take the next step. Leveraging the models discussed above will help you better understand what touchpoints are really driving results. If you need help with Google AdWords, either analyzing the campaign or just getting it off the ground in the first place, all you have to do is click here to reach out to us.