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PPC 19 min read October 2, 2018

Which Google Analytics Attribution Model To Choose?

Which Google Analytics Attribution Model to Choose?

Vince Lambert
Owner and SEO Specialist at TactikMedia
Marketers have got an end number of options but the point is that everybody is seeking an answer to the question which one will be best for my business? Facebook ads, Adwords, Organic Search and content creation are only a few tactics at your fingertips.
In social media marketing, there is a dash of sponsorships and a touch of affiliate partnerships, and also that clutter which rapidly muddies the complete marketing process. When you have your hand in such a sound number of piggy banks, how would you know which one is generating the most profit, which ones are playing for themselves and which one should be reached?

No doubt, all such questions make answering really difficult. You may be doing ample of marketing stuff. But the question is if you are doing the right stuff.

That is the real question you need to answer.

If you find yourself helpless in answering this, calm down, you are not alone in this race. More than 40% of the marketer's list is under the ROI of their marketing activities which is the topmost challenge for them. In simple words, marketers are really struggling to determine which methods they need to prioritize, which need optimization and which one they should quit. With all the techniques floating around the internet, willing and eager marketers try to get in on the latest trends. But there is hardly any problem with this. Paying attention to a lot of different things at a time subtract the ability to measure the real effectiveness of any one on those specific channels. Eventually, the funnel ends up appearing more like a twisted Pretzel rather than a linear code. And if in any case, you are unable to measure the tactics that working and the ones which aren't, it may hurt your business somehow. You may get successful, but you can certainly not keep your momentum when you have not known where it is actually coming from.

So, what is the answer?

All you have to do is choose the perfect analytics attribution model for every marketing strategy. But before that, let's start with talking exactly about what an attribution model is. Before diving down deep into the topic, the foremost important thing is to understand what exactly an attribution model is.

What is the Google Analytics Attribution Model?

Approaching its most basic form, an attribution model is one of the methods for attributing conversions to the marketing channels. But the most important thing that you need to consider is which campaign is bringing the biggest benefit. For instance, should it be Facebook Ads, SEO, Adwords Campaign, a referral program or email marketing? Once you understand which tactics work best for you, you can easily build up a momentum and then leverage all those strategies.

Without an attribution model, empowering your marketing efforts with Google Analytics is really impossible. A very simple thing is when you are already bringing so many different strategies in use, why would you want your time and money to go to waste? That means that you should have attribution models for your campaigns. Just think of it like it is a clock. If you do not have any clock to tell you the time, then you may be able to guess the time which is totally based on the reflection outside, but you would not know it certainly. The same goes for the most of marketing efforts. You spend plenty of time guessing and so less time actually understanding the things. That is something which leads to the key reason that marketers make use of attribution models. It is mainly to give credit to the right marketing activities.

Now, do you know that you need an attribution model?

But there is definitely not a single sized attribution model for all the business ventures and even all the campaigns. So before you go off on your very own, you also should understand various types of attribution models. So, let us discuss the chief attribution model, how all of them work and then how can one choose the perfect one for your business or the individual campaigns.

What model to choose?

First-Click Attribution Model

You see a Facebook Ad for a particular piece of content from some e-commerce platform. You are right away intrigued, and click on the Facebook Ad and read through the entire landing page. Just after a few moments of investigation, you decide that you want to download the gated resource to it. Thus you enter your email address and requested contact information. After that, a few days later, you get an email for a follow-up SaaS product that you definitely think of having. You simply talk with the team and purchase the product.

But the question is which channel gets credit for such conversion?

According to this first-click attribution model, the real Facebook Ad does. The first click attribution model offers credit to the first touch point, no matter if that marketing campaign straight away influences the sale or not. A visitor may bounce from one marketing campaign to another, but under such a situation this first click attribution matters the most. This is one of the powerful attribution models when you wish to discover the strategies and methods of driving the newest consumers. Once you determine this, you may increase your ad spend for the successful channels to generate new customers at a faster pace.

Last Click Attribution Model

Again, you are scrolling through Facebook.
Once you note an ad on your feed, you simply click it, browse through the content of the page, and then leave. A few days later, you decide that you are interested in that specific service that the company offers. So what you do is: enter the website URL, pick your plan, go to their pricing page and make a purchase. With the last-click attribution model, the direct traffic gets the credit for the conversion.

Why is it so?

Simply because this attribution model gives value to the last touch point. But when is this type of attribution model most effective? Well, it is most effective when you wish to find out which channels are offering the most conversions. In simple words, the last click attribution model permits you to measure where your bottom of the funnel transitions is taking place. You may notice that they occur when you send some particular kind of emails. And that is undoubtedly one of the valuable information for a marketer like yourself to approach to. After all, if you do not know which channels will close the most deals and pull in the most cash, then you can just not leverage those channels to pull in more cash. People may interact with a variety of marketing channels. But in most of the case, the place they transform is the channel which deserves most of your attention. With the last click attribution, you can actually determine where all the conversions are coming from.

The Non-Direct Click Attribution Model

The last click attribution model offers the conversion credit to the place clicking people last. But, the last non-direct click attribution model offers credit to the last source that was not direct traffic. For instance, say that someone clicks on the display but that does not convert somehow. The very next day, they type in the URL of your website, browse it and buy your product. In such a situation, the display receives the real credit.

But why does this Display Ad win?

Simply because the attribution model measures the last click for long as that was not the direct traffic. This is one of the useful ways to measure your marketing success when you do not wish to account for direct traffic. Most of the times, direct traffic conversions are the result of people who have already experienced some of your marketing campaigns. And because you are most interested in the effectiveness of your marketing plan, then you are in how many people actually know the name of your website domain through measuring the last click that was not direct is a better use of your time. There is no point of fetching any direct traffic to your website if you do not know the initial marketing trigger behind that certain traffic. And that last non-direct click attribution is one of the great ways to locate those marketing triggers.

Linear Attribution Model

There are certain marketing campaigns for which you do not wish to give all the credit to that single channel. Many times, there are channels that contribute to an individual conversion. The person gets to see the Facebook Ads, SEO results before they buy it ever, and then display ads. So, is it something reasonable to offer all the credit to a single marketing channel? If in any case, you do not think so, you may wish to consider using this linear attribution model. This is one of the models that attribute equal credit to all of the channels that a buyer visits or clicks before conversion. Just think: someone goes ahead with the organic search and eventually land on your blog post. Later on, they subscribe to your email newsletter.

After all this, Facebook ad retarget it all, which certainly encourage them to pay a visit to your website as direct traffic. But they do not buy it still. Just a few days later, it is the display ad that targets them, they click through to your website, and convert. In such a scenario, email, organic search, direct traffic, Facebook Ads, and display ads all of them divide the revenue equally. This is one of the valuable models when you seek to measure your marketing strategies After some time, when you are done doing this, you may pay attention to note down specific marketing channels, finally bringing in more conversions as compared to others. When you do this, you are able to pay attention to energy on the channels that are literally generating revenue for your business.

Position-based attribution model

Start by doing a search on marketing tips. Click on one of the results, browse through the website and visit the pages. Maybe just a few days later, an email sequence and Instagram ad target you. In the end, you convert because of a display ad. Under the position-based attribution model, the first and last click matter the most. Everything happening in between gets a little credit only. More particularly, the first and the last clicks both get 40%, and everything in between gets the remaining 20% distributed evenly. This makes real sense only when you think about it. No matter what, the first touch point is the one that gets the customer, and the last touch point is one that gets converted. This is an attribution model that will tell you which marketing channels are best for reaching to an audience and which are the best for converting that specific audience. Everything in between this would get a little bit less attention.

Data-Driven Attribution Model

The data attribution model has the savviest mind of all the models. You can simply tell that the attribution model lives on the extreme level of assumptions. The first click attribution model, for example, a percept that the first click is the most valuable click. The last click model, on the contrary, assumes the opposite.

    Time-Decay Attribution Model

    If you are a marketer, you would definitely be interested in conversions. Leads, traffic and a loyal audience all are just perfect. But they prove to be perfect when they turn into hard cash. After all, your key goal is to generate the revenue for your business.

    This means that you have to be aware of the channels that are generating most of the conversions. However, there is an attribution model for that. It offers to multiply credit to each channel driving the customer close to the actual conversion. In simple words, the last touch point gets the most of the credit, whereas the first touch receives the least of all. If you move from display ad to an email to a Facebook ad to get traffic to organic search, in that case, split credit may appear something like this. This is a type of attribution model which is efficient for deciding which channels constantly drive conversions and which one are on the top of funnel channels. Once you have received that awareness, you are free to spend more time, money and energy and using each channel in the way it can be more effective for lead generation, customer acquisition, and traffic generation.

    But again the question is which one is better?

    When you have a data-driven attribution model, there emerges no need to choose it. This is a type of model that permits you to plug in your eventual goals and then weight every particular channel on the basis of its effectiveness in achieving those goals. Someone may visit social media, check on your display ad, click on your email and then finally convert through the paid search. With such a model, every channel receives the weight that it deserves for the end goal. And to name that goal, it is conversion. Since most of the other models fall to the extremes, the data-driven model makes use of technological algorithms and weighted credit to make out which channels are literally driving you and your business towards most of the success. And once you are aware of that, you can actually ditch the most efficient channels and optimize the money-makers.

    Last Adwords Click Attribution Model

    Do you run Adwords Campaigns?

    Are you wondering which Adwords campaigns are performing to the best? If yes, this is the attribution model for you! With the last-attribution model, the last click from Adwords campaign gets the most of the credit. Now, you may be wondering when this model is actually useful for your marketing knowledge. There are many other models that offer some kind of balance between the marketing channels. But this appears to care about the Adwords only.

    Now when could this attribution model be useful?

    Whenever you wish to determine which Adwords keywords are bringing the most revenue for your business. You simply run this attribution model for a long time, and you will see which Adwords campaigns are performing the best and which ones are not. Once you are done with this, the only task left will be cutting the chaff and reaping the wheat.

    How to choose the perfect analytics attribution model?

    Now, you are aware of all the mission-critical attribution models for your marketing campaigns. You also know about eight different models, which one is good for what and how you can use each of them to iterate on your present strategy.

    But that's just half of the trouble.

    At the same time, you need to know how you can choose the perfect analytics attribution model for your business. Every model has its positives and negatives. The key point is to make out which one is a good fit for your marketing campaign or business. If you seek an answer to that query: question yourself: what is the eventual goal of my marketing campaign, and which attribution model will make the most efficient measuring stick?

    And here are some of the perfect attribution models for your reference once again. There will be some marketers who will swear by a single model, and others will swear by some different model. This is the reason each model work in its own distinctive way in different situations. For this reason do not be afraid to play around with a variety of attribution models to determine which works best for your marketing campaigns and your business. You may find the one in your answer that you may have not expected.
    Papers cover the space in your desk. But your desk is not as cluttered as your marketing precedence. Each new trend and the opportunity that presents itself look like the next best chance to build up your business. However, the truth is that gluing to just a few strategies, calculating their effectiveness and then pivoting as per your results is a more lucrative method to grow your business. And in order to test all such different methods, it is required to offer credit wherever the credit is due. Think of trying all the above-mentioned attribution models: first click, last click attribution, last non-direct click, linear, time-decay, position-based, data-driven and last Adwords click.

    In the end, the conclusion is: there is no right answer to this.

    The only attribution model is the one that offers you the valuable information in order to increase ROI from your specific strategy. If in any case, a model is not doing that, then it is better if you spend your testing and using the energy somewhere else.

    Now, go ahead with your research and tell us which attribution model you prefer the most!

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