Attribution Model

Table of Contents

Attribution Models

On the path to a conversion, a customer may do multiple searches and interact with multiple ads from the same advertiser. Attribution models let you choose how much credit each click gets for your conversions. You can attribute the credit to the customer’s first click, last click, or a combination of multiple clicks.

In this blog, I’m going to explain what attribution is and outline the different attribution models available to take advantage of.

What is Attribution

Attributions help you understand how people engage with   your different marketing channels before  they convert. And there are options that let you control how each of those different  marketing touch points receives credit after the conversion occurred. For example, if someone found your website by clicking on an ad, and then returned to your website via an organic search result before converting, In this case, which touch-point should receive the credit for the conversion? The ad? The organic search results Or both? The attribution reports help you to understand this path to conversion. And you can apply and compare different attribution models in Google Analytics.

Types of Attribution Models

  1. First Interaction
  2. Last Interaction
  3. Last Non-Direct Click
  4. Position-Based
  5. Time-Decay
  6. Linear
  7. Custom

Last Click Attribution Models

Let’s look at the  different standard attribution models. First  is the last click model – as the name suggests this model gives all of the credit to the final  click or touchpoint leading to a conversion.  

First Click Attribution Model

Then we have the first click model. This is where all of the credit goes to the first touchpoint.  It’s important to understand that this will vary depending on the look-back window.  The look-back window controls how much historical data Google Analytics should consider when a conversion occurs. So, this will impact the results you see for the first-click attribution model.  

The other important thing to consider is the lead time for people converting to your website. If you expect a longer lead time, then using this model probably isn’t going to be very helpful.

Linear Attribution Model

Next is the linear attribution model. This is the first  model we’re looking at that makes use of multi or mixed attribution – or in other words – where  we split credit across multiple touch points. The linear model is simple – credit is evenly divided  across all of the different touch points used to find your website that led to the conversion. 

Time Decay Attribution Model

Next is time decay which gives more credit to the final (or most recent) touchpoint and then credit diminishes the further back in time we go. The model uses a seven-day half-life which means that if we had a conversion today then that touchpoint would receive credit and then the touchpoint seven days ago would receive half of the amount of  

credit from today’s touchpoint. Then there is the position-based model. This attribution model gives  40 percent credit to the first touchpoint, 40  percent credit to the final (or last touchpoint), and the remaining 20 percent of the credit is divided evenly between the middle touch-points.  

Google Ads Last Click Attribution Model

Next is ‘Google Ads last click’. This is very  similar to the last-click attribution model,  

but if there is a touchpoint from Google Ads in  the conversion path then Google Ads will receive  full credit for the conversion. I also wanted  to mention, there are a couple of differences  depending on the version of Google Analytics  you’re using. If you’re using Universal Analytics,  then there are two last-click attribution  models. One that is called ‘Last Interaction’  and another called ‘Last Non-Direct Interaction’.  The ‘Last Interaction’ model will give credit to  direct traffic if it’s the final touchpoint.  If you’re using Google Analytics 4 (GA4),  then the last-click attribution model will ignore  direct traffic for the final touchpoint.

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