Digital Marketing Attribution

April 21, 2022

Knowing how people come to your website is one of the most important components of your digital marketing. How did they find you? Where did they find you? Are they a new user or returning user? Did they convert?

Each business and website will have their own set of key performance indicators and priorities for what they deem is a qualified conversion. A law firm will focus on generating leads through phone calls and form submissions. While an e-commerce clothing boutique will focus on sales made through the website.

What is attribution? 

Attribution is the credit given to the click from the channel(s) that lead to the conversion action.

Rules based attribution models

  • Last click: Gives all credit for the conversion to the last-clicked event.
  • First click: Gives all credit for the conversion to the first-clicked event.
  • Linear: Distributes the credit for the conversion equally across all clicks on the path.
  • 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.
  • Position-based: Gives 40% of credit to both the first- and last-clicked event, with the remaining 20% spread out across the other clicks on the path.

Data-driven attribution 

The credit is distributed throughout the observed data of each conversion type. Google’s machine learning algorithms uses data to calculate the actual contribution of each click interaction. This is significant to your marketing as you’ll be able to determine with confidence the different touch points that impact conversion outcomes.

There are requirements for your account to use the data-driven model. In general, an account must have at least 600 conversions within 30 days for the data-driven model to be available. If you fail to maintain the minimum requirements, you will be unable to access this reporting.

What tools do I need?

You will want to have your website linked with Google Analytics. As of 2022, Universal Analytics properties are still in use, but in June 2023 all Universal Analytics properties will be retired and replaced with Google Analytics 4. So, if you haven’t already, make sure to setup your Google Analytics 4 property today so you can start to generate performance data.

In Google Ads the attribution model will default to last-click and a 30-day time frame. This means that credit is only given based on the last click that occurred that directly lead to a conversion action over a 30-day period. You can open your attribution time frame and adjust from 1-90 days. Now we know the customer journey is much more nuanced than that. So we recommend changing your attribution to the position-based model. This disperses the credit given along the user’s journey. We know that someone might first see and click and ad, might come back a few days later by doing a Google search by clicking an organic result listing, then the next day when they’re ready to convert, go directly to the site. The position based modeling still allows your ad to get credit for the initial click even though it didn’t directly lead to the conversion action.

If you’re unsure of where your digital marketing dollars are going or how users are interacting with your website our account managers can help. Call us or fill out a form today.

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