BLOG-adwords-attribution-modelsAn attribution model is the rule, or set of rules, that determines how credit for sales and conversions is assigned to touchpoints in conversion paths. For example, consider the following scenario:
Walking to work one day, you accidentally drop and break your sunglasses. While waiting to cross the street, you start searching Google for sunglasses. You click on a Shopping ad and find a good site with a brand you like, but it’s time to get to work. Later that day at lunch, you pull out your tablet. You search Google again, this time for the specific brand of sunglasses. You click on an ad and end up on the same website. You browse and decide on a pair to buy, but lunch is over and there isn’t time. Later that night, you go to your desktop computer, Google the name of the store you went to earlier, click on their ad, and buy the pair of sunglasses you found earlier.

In this example, three different searches took place:
1. Mobile Device – keyword

[sunglasses] 2. Tablet Device – keyword [sunglasses brand] 3. Desktop Device – keyword [store name]

You finally made your purchase on the last search of the store name on your desktop computer. So where does that conversion get attributed? Up until now, all credit for this conversion would be given to the last-clicked ad and corresponding keyword. The branded [store name] keyword and desktop device gets the credit. But what about the other clicks that happened along the way that led to that conversion? Shouldn’t they count for something? Enter attribution modeling for conversions. You no longer have to measure the success of your Google PPC campaigns based on “last click” conversions. Now, you can choose a model that suits your business specifically.

Attribution models give you more control over how much credit each ad, keyword and device gets for your conversions. You can reach customers earlier in the purchase cycle by finding opportunities to influence customers earlier in their conversion path. You can also optimize bids based on a better understanding of how your ads perform.

Conversion Attribution Models

AdWords offers six different attribution models:

  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 across the other clicks on the path.
  6. Data Driven – Distributes credit for the conversion based on the past data for this conversion action. This is only available to accounts with at least 20,000 clicks and 800 conversions within 30 days.

Attribution modeling is currently only available for clicks on Search Network and Shopping ads on It is not yet available for interactions with Display Network ads and is only available for website and Google Analytics conversion actions, not for app, phone call, and in-store conversions.

The Best Model for Your Business

There is no right or wrong answer to attribution modeling. Get together with your marketing team and analyze your entire conversion path. Determine what each stage in that path is worth to your business. Once you can answer those questions, it will become clear which attribution model fits your business best.

If you’re already a client at JumpFly, just get in touch with your account manager and we’ll be more than happy to discuss the pros and cons of each attribution model and help you choose the best one for your business.