AdWords Attribution Modeling for Beginners

As a beginner, you might be wondering which attribution model for PPC will work best for you. Actually, there are several of them and it could really be overwhelming for a newbie like you. Listed below are some of the most common models being used by successful digital marketers. Take time to read them for you to know which is perfect for your client or business.

Last click attribution has long been the favorite of most digital marketers. Why? It is very easy to use, tangible, and close to the finish line. Generally speaking, it makes you look awesome! However, is this all good? Not really.

The last click technique most marketers have been using for years now also has its flaws. It is over assigning credit to the last interaction. Let us take an example. Everybody seems to love watching Usain Bolt end a relay race by sprinting 30 miles per hour, correct? But can he achieve success if his team would drop the baton? If you are watching Jordan Speith’s games, you would see him drop putt after putt in every tournaments that he has joined, but does it make a difference if he hit his first drives out of bounds?

Think again. Last click is somehow wrong. Unfortunately, first click attribution is not good as well. So which one is right then? It all depends on your goals and what story or message are you trying to give. You have to understand that attribution modeling is entirely made up. It should be unique per business. You will be the one to assign credits to the channels and metrics that you think are very significant for your company or client. All  have its pros and cons.

Let us try to check each one of them so you would know which one would suit you best.


First Touch

It works by assigning all credits to first Adwords touch point. This is good as it helps you maximize the TOFU credit distribution. It likewise favors customer acquisition very well. The problem with this model is that it also gives so much focus and importance on highly competitive terms, which is likely to be inefficient.


U-Shaped (Position Based)

This model allows 40% of credit to the first and last touch points. The remaining 20% are distributed evenly. What is good about this model is that it focuses more on key touches and gives credits to early efforts as well. The only downside of U-Shaped is that does not give much emphasis on middle touch points, especially for long purchase cycle.



This model assigns equal credit to all touch points. However, this somewhat undervalues major touch points as minor touch points are being given the same level of focus.


Time Decay

Most of the credits are being assigned to the last touch. This works efficiently while also distributing some credits to TOFU. One drawback of this model is that it overrates last touch efforts, which includes remarketing and brand.


Last Click

This is probably the worst model one could ever use. Though it shows to maximize efficiency, it tremendously overrates brand terms, remarketing, and always favors customer recycling.

If you want to be as efficient as possible, Last Click is the most extreme of the efforts here, but again, it is not that recommended. If you want PPC efficiency and you do not mind outward growth that much, you should stick to Time Decay.

If you want growth and new customer acquisition, First Click would be your option, but remember that it just focuses on a single piece of the entire pie.

There is one commendable model that you can use for your business however it is not offered by Google. You can do a reverse iteration of Time Decay, popular as First Preferred in several bid tools. But since it is not available, you can use Position Based or U-Shaped methods.


Is it good to always stick to Google’s data driven attribution modeling?


Perhaps yes. Google makes use of several user behavior data and formula to create a model that is most likely effective in maximizing conversions.

But in-Adwords data drive attribution offers just a single channel view. It will just consider Adwords data when making a decision. This means you are not targeting new clients and will not be able to know conversions that may have come through emails or social media.

Again, the best model to choose and use would depend greatly on your goal as a marketer. Set your goals first and then weigh which among the models mentioned above will give you the greatest advantage.

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