Giving Credit Where Credit’s Due: Attribution Models in AdWords

If you’re like most of the companies TribalVision works with, many of your clients’ purchasing decisions aren’t made after just one interaction with your brand. Instead, it takes a period of time of intentional nurturing and repeated touchpoints before someone is ready to make a purchase or reach out for a conversation with your sales team. But does the data from your AdWords account “account” for this reality? If you’re using the “last click” model for your conversation attribution, you may not be getting the full story of how the ads in your campaigns are impacting the sales funnel.

Fortunately, Google now offers a variety of attribution model options for improved budget decision making, outlined here on Google’s support pages:

  1. Last click: Gives all credit for the conversion to the last-clicked ad and corresponding keyword.
  2. First click: Gives all credit for the conversion to the first-clicked ad and corresponding keyword.
  3. Linear: Distributes the credit for the conversion equally across all clicks on the path.
  4. Time decay: Gives more credit to clicks that happened closer in time to the conversion. Credit is distributed using a 7-day half-life. In other words, a click 8 days before a conversion gets half as much credit as a click 1 day before a conversion.
  5. Position-based: Gives 40% of credit to both the first- and last-clicked ads and corresponding keyword, with the remaining 20% spread out across the other clicks on the path.
  6. Data-driven: Distributes credit for the conversion based on past data for this conversion action. (This is only available to accounts with enough data).

Why does your attribution model matter? Better information about how your customers engage with your ads will help you glean information about how each of the ads in your account contributes to the customer journey, instead of just the last step of it. This then allows you to invest more funds in ads that are actually impacting the decision making process.

While each of Google’s attribution models provide important information about which ads are driving conversions, we’d recommend exploring data-driven attribution, which distributes credit for the conversion (such as a purchase or a contact form submission) across all of the ads that were part of the sales journey.

Data-driven attribution is available to accounts with at least 15,000 clicks and a conversion action with at least 600 conversions within 30 days. (Note this means that some of your conversions may be eligible for data-driven attribution, while others may not be). Data-driven attribution assesses all of the clicks in your campaign, then hones in on the click paths of individuals who drove a conversion versus those who did not. When this full-journey attribution model is integrated with an automated bid strategy, Google can boost spend on those ads that were part of successful click pathways.

Better data = better ad spending decisions. Try out a new attribution model today!