Google Attribution is complex and challenging. Not everyone can master the subject and fake their knowledge when it comes to Google Attribution Modelling.
To master it, one requires a deep understanding of a business model and how different marketing channels work together to convert a prospect into a paying customer, and which all stages do a customer goes through his customer journey.
So, before we begin to dig deep into understanding Google attribution modelling, be sure to be aware of your business model and fully understand it. Along with that, make sure you know your industry and target market as well. Because if you don't, you may end up making applying/creating some wrong attribution models and lose a lot of money.
Attribution modelling goes beyond Google Analytics, and we can categorize it as a completely separate topic and not just a subtopic of Google Analytics.
What is Attribution Modelling?
Attribution modelling is a framework or a set of rules for analysing which touchpoints or interactions, or marketing channels, receive credit for a conversion (purchase). Each attribution model distributes the value of conversion across each interaction differently. In some models, the credit is given to the first interaction, whereas in others, it's the last interaction.
A model comparison tool allows you to analyse how each model distributes the value of a conversion. There are six standard attribution models: First Interaction, Last Interaction, Last Non-Direct Click, Linear, Time-Decay, and Position-Based. By analysing each attribution model, you can get a better idea of the ROI for each marketing channel.
Why Attribution Modelling is Important?
The most significant advantage and an insight that you get from the Google Attribution model is that you can determine which marketing channels are performing better than the other and where you should invest more effort and money.
Undoubtedly, attribution modelling is complicated, and the reason is that it deals with topics and analysis which cannot be carried out by an inexperienced professional. It deals with topics that seem intangible for a person unaware of how their business model works. Tracking just the conversion was an old school theory or technique and was the only way to understand the effectiveness of a marketing channel. The drawback of it was that it did not give the complete picture of all your marketing activities. You need to know which of your marketing activity is performing best so that you can align your efforts and budget appropriately.
Why do attribution models matter in digital marketing?
For a digital marketer, it gets difficult to manage various marketing campaigns running on multiple platforms. And it gets difficult to determine and measure which mix of PPC, display ads, landing pages, SEO, social media promotions, etc., are generating leads that get through the funnel and get converted. But, with Google Attribution Model, you get a clear picture and a bird's eye view of each customer and his journey from start till he becomes a paying customer. You get data about each interaction and touchpoint in his journey.
As a marketer, you are concerned about 'how and when' your ad campaigns create conversion events. An Attribution model can provide you all the relevant information that's necessary for you to understand your marketing efforts, including -
- What paid search campaigns work,
- What campaigns don't, and
- Where you should be allocating your money for optimal conversion rates at essential milestones in the sales process.
Before we dig deep into the Google Analytics Attribution model, let us understand some terminologies which will help in understanding.
Introduction to the Google Analytics Attribution Models
An attribution model is a set of rules that determine how value for sales and conversion paths should be attributed to various touchpoints of a user's conversion path.
Attribution models are broadly classified into two categories:
- Baseline Attribution model
- Custom attribution model
Baseline Attribution Model:
There are basically 8 types of baseline attribution models:
There are 8 types of baseline attribution models:
- Last interaction attribution model: This is a default setting in the google analytics multi-channel report. This attribution model applies 100% credit to the last interaction that took place before the conversion.
- First interaction attribution model: As the name indicates, this model applies the credit to the first interaction in a conversion path.
- Linear attribution model: This model involves dividing the credit equally amongst all of the touchpoints in a conversion path or customer journey. If there were three touchpoints in the consumer journey, each of those points would get 33.33% of the overall credit for that sale.
- Time Decay attribution model: This model is similar to the "linear attribution" model in that each of the touchpoints is ascribed some credit for a conversion, however, the most recent touchpoints are given more of the pie, and the least recent interactions get a smaller piece.
- Position-based attribution model: This model (also called Position-Based attribution) divides the credit for a conversion between a customer's first interaction with your brand and the moment they convert to a lead, with each receiving 40%. The remaining 20% of the credit is spread out between all other interactions that happened between the first interaction and the sale.
- Last non-direct click model: Last non-direct click attribution models give 100% of the credit to your customers' last non-direct touchpoint. Non-direct traffic is all traffic that's been guided to your website from another source. Your email campaigns, Twitter posts, influencer marketing campaigns, etc. should all be accompanied by a corresponding UTM.
- Last AdWords Click: This model assigns 100% credit to last AdWords click in the customer's conversion path.
- Data-driven attribution model: This model uses an algorithm to credit value to the interaction that takes place in the various phases of a conversion path.
There is no one size fits all approach. It would be best if you had a deep understanding of your business model to implement these attribution models correctly. A clear framework of advertising objectives must be laid down before deciding which attribution models to follow.
Custom Attribution Models
As the name indicates, these models are designed by individuals to meet their specific requirements.
When you build your custom attribution model, you assign your own rules about how to allocate value for interaction along each customer path; this is termed under 'custom credit rules' in Google Analytics.