Are you spending your marketing dollars in the right areas? Are you reaching consumers at the right time and way during their decision-making process? What drives them to choose your brand? A solid understanding of the customer journey can answer all of these questions. But you can never truly understand that journey without using the correct Google Ads conversion model.
In the marketing world, conversion attribution is how we identify how much each marketing channel, initiative, and strategy has contributed to the overall success of one’s business. Each time the potential customer is exposed to an ad, product, website, or post, it builds brand recognition for your business.
Different Google Attribution models award different percentages of that conversion or sale to each touchpoint during the attribution window. There are currently six uniquely different Google Ads attribution models available. With the upcoming changes to Google Analytics and the loss of 3rd party tracking data, selecting the suitable attribution model for your customer journey will become even more imperative than ever before.
Why Use An Attribution Model?
Google Attribution isn’t just how credit is given to the desired action – it’s understanding and following the customers’ journey. When reading a book, do we skip to the last chapter to see how it ends? Do we record a football or basketball game and fast forward to the final score? No, we don’t. We read the book cover to cover and watch the game from the beginning until the end. Why? Because we love the journey. These are examples of that customer journey. Without reliable and effective attribution modeling on your Google Ads campaigns, you only read that last chapter or see the final score.
Unlike in sports or books, we have to use tools to find that customer journey and to be able to answer simple questions that can make or break your marketing efforts:
- How did they get to me?
- Where did they find me?
- How many times did they look for me or see me?
- How do I get more people like them?
- Did I waste an opportunity for them to see me?
- Did they see me at the right time?
There are different conversion attribution models for a reason, and that’s why we have to understand which model is relevant to you and your company. Knowing which model makes the most sense for your Google Ads campaign will help you determine which touchpoints value your brand and business and where to focus your efforts.
Last Click Attribution Model
The default setting in the Google Ads model and the most common attribution model is Last Click. This attribution gives 100% of the credit for the conversion, sale, and lead to the very last click and the keyword associated with that click. It ignores all the touchpoints along the customer journey. This practice is not recommended when reviewing the account for optimizations. This, in turn, will undercut the account productivity, and instead of driving better results, you will negatively impact your account.
This method should only be used when you are having a hard time converting a user that has already been exposed to your brand several times. But even then, there are much better attribution models to see your data.
First Click Attribution Model
The opposite of Last Click is First Click. This model limits and removes the entire customer journey from your analytics. The user could click your ads one time or nine times, and the whole conversion will be attributed to the first click and the associated keyword only.
In the ever-evolving digital marketing world, the need to understand the customer journey is becoming a necessity. There are few times when utilizing the First Click attribution method makes sense for any marketing strategy, but it is not entirely without purpose.
If you only focus on user acquisition and brand awareness, this method is for you. Only use this method if you want to know how new users were introduced to your brand.
The Last Click and First Click models only show us one touchpoint and ignore the rest of the customer path. Use these at very strategic and specific times. Be cautious using these ad models, especially if you use conversion-focused automated bidding strategies or conversion data primarily when optimizing your account.
Linear Attribution Model
The Linear attribution model divides the conversions evenly to all touchpoints. For example, if you have four clicks to get to the conversion, each click and the associated keyword would get attributed 25% towards that conversion. Linear attribution is a good starting point, especially if the complete customer journey is unknown or you are unsure which touchpoints hold the most value.
If you are unsure of the journey’s touchpoints or have a long customer journey, this attribution model is right for you.
Time Decay favors touchpoints closest to the conversion – based on how recent the point was to the actual conversion. This method lets you see and place value on the clicks, spend, and the conversion that interacts closest to the conversion. This attribution model works great for those who want to figure out the best optimization strategy and budget allocation while being conscious of the budgets.
If you want to see and value all touchpoints but want to give preference to lower-funnel marketing, then test this model out. It is beneficial when you have a longer sales cycle or marketing towards a sense of urgency.
Positon-Based Attribution Model
Unlike Liner, Position-Based attribution gives 80% of the conversion to the first click and last click. The remaining 20% gets divided evenly among the other touchpoints. This attribution model is used when you value the top of the funnel and the bottom of the funnel equally. ‘What brought them to me?’ and ‘What sealed the deal?’ are viewed as the priority of this attribution model while still providing a solid understanding of the steps in between.
Use this method if you’re looking to focus on not just the conversion but full-funnel health. This model isn’t for everyone and does have its drawbacks, but when used correctly can keep the sales funnel full while driving conversions.
Data-Driven Attribution Model
Data-Driven attribution is set up similarly to the position-based attribution model, except that it uses Google’s algorithm and AI learning for weighing conversions. This model uses machine learning to evaluate all converting and non-converting paths and gives out credit for each touchpoint. This model looks deep into the journey and considers the number of times that person interacted with the ads, the ad creative, the order of exposure to the ads, and other factors like keywords and clicks.
Use this method if you fully understand the conversions of value and are willing to give up some of your control. Keeping control of your account is vital to being a successful digital marketer, and the Data-Driven attribution model does not always allow for that.
Work With ZGM
Choosing a Google attribution model for your campaign isn’t as simple as we would like. If you understand your goals, expectations, and business, selecting the right Google Ads conversion model will give you the best opportunity to optimize your accounts.
Contact Zero Gravity Marketing today if you have any questions or would like your account reviewed by the best-paid media agency in CT!