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Enhancing Conversion Tracking: Understanding and Using Attribution Models in Google Ads


As online marketing becomes more intricate, understanding how customers interact with your ads is crucial. To gain deeper insights into these interactions, marketers turn to attribution models in Google Ads. Attribution models assign credit to ad interactions that lead to conversions, providing a clearer picture of your ads’ performance.

Unravelling the Mystery of Attribution Models

Attribution models are tools that allow marketers to determine the value of each ad interaction in the customer’s conversion journey. Traditional models followed a ‘last-click’ basis, attributing all conversion credit to the last-clicked ad and its corresponding keyword. However, this doesn’t account for previous ad interactions that might have influenced the customer’s decision.

By utilizing different attribution models, you can:

  • Engage customers earlier in their purchase journey
  • Tailor your strategy to match your business requirements
  • Optimize your bids based on improved ad performance understanding

Decoding the Different Attribution Models

Google Ads offers several attribution models to choose from:

  • Last click: This model assigns all credit to the last-clicked ad and the related keyword.
  • Data-driven: This model divides the credit for the conversion based on your previous data for this conversion action. It calculates the actual contribution of each interaction across the conversion path, which differentiates it from other models.

Customizing Attribution Models for Conversions and Bidding

In Google Ads, the ‘Attribution model’ setting allows you to choose how conversions are attributed for each conversion action. This is applicable for website and Google Analytics conversion actions. The selected model affects how conversions are counted in your ‘Conversions’ and ‘All conversions’ columns.

Your choice of attribution model also impacts bid strategies that utilize data in the ‘Conversions’ column. Thus, it influences the optimization of your bids in automated bid strategies like Target CPA, Enhanced CPC, or Target ROAS.

Comparing Models with the ‘Model Comparison Report

If you’re unsure which model suits your needs best, the ‘Model comparison’ report can help. This tool lets you compare different attribution models and evaluate how each affects your return on investment.

Harnessing the Power of Data-Driven Attribution

Data-driven attribution (DDA) is the most advanced and default model for new web-based conversions in Google Ads. Leveraging historical account data, it credits impactful ad touchpoints across Search, YouTube, and Display. Unlike other attribution models, DDA uses conversion data to compute the real contribution of each ad interaction along the conversion journey. By comparing the paths of customers who convert against those who don’t, DDA identifies patterns in ad interactions that result in conversions. It then assigns more credit to these valuable ad interactions, enhancing the understanding of ad effectiveness.

Data-driven attribution is a unique model that uses data from your account to determine which keywords, ads, and campaigns impact your business goals the most. It examines interactions across Search, YouTube, Display, and Discovery ads. The benefits of data-driven attribution include:

  • Discovering which keywords, ads, and campaigns significantly contribute to your business goals
  • Optimizing your bids based on your account’s performance data
  • Choosing the best attribution model for your business, without any guesswork

How Does Data-Driven Attribution Work?

Data-driven attribution evaluates all interactions, including clicks and video engagements, on your ads in Google Ads. It identifies patterns among ad interactions that lead to conversions, attributing more credit to those valuable steps on the customer’s path.

Requirements for Data-Driven Attribution

To leverage data-driven attribution, certain types of conversion actions need at least 300 conversions and 3,000 ad interactions within 30 days to be eligible. If data drops below the required threshold, your conversion action will be switched back to the ‘Last click’ attribution model.

Setting up Data-Driven Attribution for Your Conversions

To apply data-driven attribution to your conversions:

  1. Access your Google Ads account and click the Goals icon
  2. Click the Conversions dropdown in the section menu, then click Summary
  3. Select the conversion action you want to edit, then click Edit settings
  4. Choose Data-driven from the “Attribution model” dropdown menu
  5. Click Save, then click Done.

Conclusion: Leveraging Attribution Models for Better Performance

Understanding and using attribution models in Google Ads can greatly enhance your online advertising efforts. With the ability to attribute conversion credits more accurately, you gain a better understanding of your customers’ conversion journeys. This valuable insight can help optimize your bids, tailor your strategies, and ultimately drive more conversions, improving the overall performance of your campaigns.

Whether you choose to stick with the traditional ‘Last click’ model or venture into the more intricate ‘Data-driven’ model, the key is to find an attribution model that best aligns with your business goals and advertising strategy. Don’t forget to continuously monitor, analyze, and adjust your attribution model as needed to ensure it effectively serves your objectives.

Remember, your online advertising strategy isn’t set in stone – it should evolve as your business grows and as you learn more about your customers’ behaviours. Stay informed, stay adaptable, and make the most out of attribution models in Google Ads.

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