Which Attribution Model is Best For You?

Michael Burdsall

Michael Burdsall


When dealing with a Google AdWords account, in a far majority of cases the bottom line of account performance is the amount of conversions acquired and the cost associated with bringing in each conversion. As digital marketers know, there are multiple touchpoints a user may have with a website before converting, so providing proper credit to each source is crucial for understanding performance.

While using the attribution modeling tool, advertisers are able to view the impact of different attribution models. Advertisers want to select the most appropriate attribution model for each conversion rule in order to have an accurate view of conversion value from the campaigns overview section.

Types of Attribution Models

Time decay is an attribution model frequently used by 1SEO.com Digital Agency. Time decay attribution awards conversion value based on the amount of time which has elapsed between a click in AdWords and the eventual conversion. The closer that the click is to the conversion action, in terms of time, the more credit that click is given for a conversion.

Last-click is an attribution model which was commonly used in the past for AdWords conversion tracking. The last click attribution model awards all credit of a conversion to AdWords when a click is the last action which occurred before a user makes a conversion action. This attribution model can be inaccurate since some users may enter the top of a sales funnel through an AdWords ad which would not be awarded any credit in this model.

First-click attribution model is the inverse of the last click attribution model. First-click awards conversions entirely to an AdWords click when it is the first action which is taken before a user makes a conversion action. This can be inaccurate because it does not properly credit intermediate sources which may occur in conversion paths which can be multiple sources long.

Linear attribution model distributes conversion credit equally among all sources which are involved in the conversion path. While this does take into account the extended conversion paths which many advertisers see in the current climate of online advertising, it can be inaccurate by providing credit to actions which ultimately did not have a large impact on the resulting conversion.

Position-based attribution model distributes 40% of conversion credit to each the first and last click, while evenly distributing the remaining credit among other actions in the conversion path. This is a very useful attribution model because it rightfully attributes the most credit to the first and last actions which are generally the most important, while still offering credit to intermediate actions.

Before implementing a conversion rule within AdWords, the key is deciding exactly which attribution model is going to award the correct credit for a given action. The attribution model you should select is going to not only depend on an individual’s sales funnel, but also the ultimate goal which that conversion may represent for a given campaign. As digital marketing continues to become more intricate it is going to become more important to select the correct attribution model in order to properly judge the effectiveness that a given campaign may have.


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