Forget about last click: rolling out Google Attribution

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Google Attribution is the new, free solution can pull in data from Google Analytics, AdWords or DoubleClick Search to provide a more holistic view of conversion actions across channels and devices for attribution modeling and bidding information.

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What is Google Attribution?
Google Attribution is the simplified version of Attribution 360, the enterprise-level offering.
It integrates with Google Analytics, Google AdWords and DoubleClick Search and doesn’t require any additional site tagging.

Marketers link a Google Analytics view that’s already associated with a Google AdWords or DoubleClick Search account. Once the account is set up, Attribution is populated with the channel performance data from the connected Analytics view. That can include offline conversion event data uploaded to Google Analytics.

Marketers can then assign an attribution model to their conversion events. And as in Analytics, it’s possible to compare models side by side.

There are two key problems Google is aiming to address with this product

1. How to see and credit upper- and mid-funnel interactions: Google Attribution is focused on understanding the full customer journey versus only last-click impact. The limitation with last-click is that gives all the credit to the user’s very last touch point before converting. For example, if a user searches and clicks on an ad on a non-brand search term, then converts later from a brand ad click, only the brand ad will get credit in a last-click attribution model.
And if a marketer can’t see that a generic keyword actually got the ball rolling, she might lower the bid or pause the keyword altogether. 

2. How to easily inform bidding decisions based on full-funnel attribution data: By automatically sending modeled conversion data into AdWords, advertisers can see the conversion impact of keywords and ads based on multichannel and multidevice conversion path data. Automated bidding can take upper- and mid-funnel contributions into consideration. 

Google has been taking steps over the past several years to take AdWords from an exclusively last-click platform to one that is more flexible. 

All of the attribution models in Google Attribution include more touch points than they do in Google Analytics. It also includes Google’s data-driven attribution.

What is the data-driven attribution model?
Attribution is by nature an imperfect science. Capturing all the touch points involved in a conversion event in one system, then assigning credit to one, some or all of those steps in a way that accurately reflects the impact on a consumer’s purchase decision is what Google is trying to get closer to with data-driven attribution.
Google’s own data-driven attribution model uses machine learning to understand how marketing touch points increase the likelihood of conversion given a particular sequence of exposures. Based on the custom probability modeling, the data-driven model assigns fractional conversion credit to each touch point.

Google is encouraging adoption of data-driven attribution, but advertisers can still use the other models in Attribution. It’s possible to monitor and evaluate how the various models perform for each conversion action within Attribution before opting to push new models into AdWords. Once pushed, the models will override whatever models were set in AdWords, and conversion columns will reflect the new modeling. Automated bidding strategies will then use that data in decisioning.

Google Attribution is now in beta and will roll out to more advertisers over the coming months.