Attribution reports and conversion data
Once you've set up conversion tracking, you'll have access to a handy set of reports about your conversions (those important actions your customers take on your website, such as a purchase or email signup).
Attribution reports show you the paths customers take to complete a conversion, and attribute the conversion to different ads, clicks, and factors along the way.
Attribution reports can give you detailed information about the paths that lead people to conversions for your business. You can see whether certain keywords assisted conversions that eventually happened through other keywords. This gives you a better sense of your potential customers' conversion paths than just looking at the last-clicked keyword.
We'll tell you where to find Attribution reports and what they can tell you below.
If you manage multiple AdWords accounts with a manager account (MCC), you can use cross-account conversion tracking. You'll then be able to see customers' conversion paths across multiple AdWords accounts in your Attribution reports.
Attribution reports are only available for Search Network ads, and are not available for app, phone call, and in-store conversions.
Show me how
Find your Attribution reports
- Click the Tools tab in your AdWords account, and select Attribution.
- You'll now see a series of reports that you can click on to learn more about your clicks and conversions.
Follow the steps below to find Attribution reports in your manager account (MCC):
- Sign in to your AdWords manager account.
- Click on the Accounts tab.
- Click Attribution in the menu on the left.
- You'll now see reports that you can click on to learn more about clicks and conversions for your managed accounts.
- On the Campaigns tab, click the Columns button and select Modify columns.
- There, you'll see data that you can add to your data table. Select the data you'd like to include.
Reports and data
Besides the Overview and Top Conversions report you'll see in the Attribution section, you'll also find several more detailed types of reports. These include:
- Reports on customer search patterns
This report, known as Top Paths, shows you the most common paths your customers take to complete a conversion. It provides this information based on the ads that were shown or clicked, or both, before a conversion took place. Within this report, there are four more specific reports. Click the links below to learn about each one: Top Paths (Clicks) report
This report shows the sequence of keywords that customers clicked before completing a conversion, and how frequently that sequence happened.
This report is available at campaign, ad group, and keyword levels.
This report shows the numerous related keywords customers searched with before completing a conversion. It also shows the sequence of keywords where your ads appeared for customers as they searched, regardless of whether they clicked.To protect people's privacy, this report is cut off at a frequency of 10 or fewer conversions.
This report also shows paths, but collapses any keywords that were repeated along the way. This is useful for seeing conversion paths that consist of different keywords, and how customers move between keywords.
This report is available at keyword, ad group, and campaign levels.
- Reports based on different attribution models
An attribution model is the rule, or set of rules, that determines how credit for conversions is assigned to steps on conversion paths. Click the link below to learn more about Attribution Modeling: Attribution Modeling
Attribution Modeling offers five models for assigning value to the keywords, ad groups, and campaigns that lead to conversions.
Most advertisers measure the success of their online advertising on a "last click" basis. This means they give all credit for a conversion to the last-clicked keyword. But the path to a conversion is complex. On that path, customers can interact with many different AdWords ads. Giving the last click full credit for a conversion results in missed opportunities to influence customers earlier on their path to conversion.
By recognizing the value of these earlier keywords, you can drive more customers toward conversions.
The attribution models included in Attribution Modeling are:
Last click: Gives all credit for the conversion to the last-clicked keyword
First click: Gives all credit for the conversion to the first-clicked keyword
Linear: Distributes the credit for the conversion equally across all clicks on the path
Time decay: Gives more credit to clicks that happened closer in time to the conversion
Position-based: Gives 40% of credit to both the first- and last-clicked keyword, with the remaining 20% spread out across the other clicks on the path
You own the Hotel Paulina in Florence, Italy. A customer finds your site by clicking on your AdWords ads after performing all of these searches: "hotel tuscany," "hotel florence," "3 star hotel florence," and then "3 star hotel paulina florence." She makes a reservation after clicking on your ad that appeared with "3 star hotel paulina florence."
- In the "Last Click" attribution model, the last keyword, "3 star hotel paulina florence," would receive 100% of the credit for the conversion.
- In the "First Click" attribution model, the first keyword, "hotel tuscany," would receive 100% of the credit for the conversion.
- In the "Linear" attribution model, each keyword would share equal credit (25% each) for the conversion.
- In the "Time Decay" attribution model, the keyword "3 star hotel paulina florence," would receive the most credit because it was searched for closest to the conversion. The "hotel tuscany" search would receive the least credit since it was earliest.
- In the "Position-based" attribution model, "hotel tuscany" and "3 star hotel paulina florence" would each receive 40% credit, while "hotel florence" and "3 star hotel florence" would each receive 10% credit.
You can compare up to three different attribution models at once. To find keywords, ad groups or campaigns that are undervalued on a last-click basis, start by comparing two different models.
- Compare the “Last click” model to the “First click” model to identify undervalued keywords that are starting customers down the conversion path. This is particularly valuable if you’re looking to drive more new customers to your website.
- Compare the “Last click” model to the “Linear” model to identify undervalued keywords that are assisting customers all along the conversion path. This is particularly valuable if you want to stay in touch with customers throughout their purchase process.
Tip: Analyze your CPA or ROAS for different attribution models
You can use Attribution Modeling to compare your cost-per-acquisition (CPA) and return on ad spend (ROAS) for different attribution models. This allows you to identify campaigns or keywords which are undervalued using a last-click attribution model. You can then change your bids based on the actual value of your campaigns and keywords across the full conversion path.
To access Attribution Modeling, follow these steps:
- Sign into your AdWords account.
- Click the Tools tab, then Attribution.
- Click Attribution Modeling from the side navigation menu.
- Select the dimension for which you want to view attribution models: Campaign, Ad Group or Keyword
- Click Last Click to change the attribution model you want to see, or click Select model to add another model to compare with "Last Click." You can search for specific keywords, ad groups or campaigns from the search box above the table.
For My Client Center accounts, follow these steps:
- Sign into your AdWords manager account.
- On the side of the page, click Attribution.
- Follow steps 3 through 5 above.
- Reports on click-assisted and impression-assisted conversions
Often, the "last click" before a conversion gets all the credit. But along the way, other clicks and impressions might've guided your customers toward that conversion. Two numbers can help you see that fuller picture:
- Click-assisted conversions: All the conversions assisted by clicks—except for the last click—for each keyword.
- Impression-assisted conversions: All the conversions from customers who were shown ads but didn't click.
The "Assisted Conversions" tabs show the number of conversions your advertising assisted.
This report is a great resource to quickly identify which keywords are helping to drive the most conversions. You may find that some keywords are the last click for very few conversions, but actually assisted many conversions. In those instances you may choose to test increasing investment for these keywords to see whether you can drive more conversions for your business.
Since assisted-conversion data is most useful when considered alongside the rest of your performance data, we've made this information available within your keyword, ad group, campaign and ad reports. Assisted conversion statistics can give you a more complete picture of the value of your individual keywords. To include this data in your core reports, simply navigate back to one of these tabs, click "Modify columns," and look for the Attribution category on the left hand side of the Modify columns menu. By integrating this information directly into your reports, you can more easily make targeted decisions based not only on conventional metrics like average cost-per-click (CPC), clickthrough rate (CTR) and conversion rate, but also based on the value your keywords contribute throughout the entire search experience.
Keep in mind, if conversion tracking is currently enabled, but you aren’t seeing data in these columns, it could be that there’s no data for the date range you’ve selected. (This data is not available for dates prior to May 1, 2011.)
- Reports on first and last clicks
First click is a good way to find what keywords introduce customers to your site, while last click helps you see what completed the conversion. Think of these as different salespeople in a department store: one salesperson might be the person who first spoke to the customer, while another salesperson closed the deal.
- Reports on timing
These reports can give you a sense of the steps your customers take or the pages they visit as they complete a conversion. This process is often called a funnel, which leads to a conversion or business goal. These reports can also give you a sense for how long a funnel takes.
Click the links below to learn more about each report:Path Length
This report gives you a high-level look at the steps your customers take or pages they look at on their way to completing a conversion.
You can use the Path Length report to look at clicks. For example, if you see that most of your conversions happen after multiple clicks, there might be some opportunities to refine your keywords and ads. Keep in mind, this report only reflects the keywords and ads in your account, so if these paths of clicks seem shorter than you might expect, that's why.
You can also use the Path Length report to look at impressions. For example, you can see whether most conversions happen after the customer searches multiple times or the first time he or she sees your ad.
As you probably guessed, this report has to do with time. Specifically, it's how much time it takes for a customer to complete a conversion after the following:
- The first impression of a display ad
- Their first click on your website
- Their last click on your website
Overall, there's a lot of great data and information to glean from your AdWords account. Because it might take some time to remember all of it, click the link below for a cheat sheet on the terms we've mentioned here.Conversion terminology cheat sheet
- Ad clicks per conversion: The total number of ad clicks on conversion paths divided by the number of conversions.
- Ad impressions per conversion: The total number of ad impressions on conversion paths divided by the number of conversions.
- Assisted conversions: The number of conversions that were assisted by a particular campaign, ad group, or keyword. Assisted conversions don't include last click conversions.
- Attribution: Assigning value to the different interactions on a customer’s conversion path.
- Last clicks: Any search ad click that happened just before a conversion.
- Last click conversions: The number of conversions that had a particular campaign, ad group, or keyword as the immediately preceding search ad click.
- Path length (impressions): The total number of search ad impressions that preceded a conversion. These could've been clicked or not clicked.
- Path length (clicks): The total number of search ad clicks, including the "last click," that preceded a conversion.
- Time lag (from first impression): The total amount of time from when the viewer first sees one of your search ads (clicked or un-clicked) until conversion.
- Time lag (from first click): The total amount of time from when the user first clicks on one of your search ads until conversion.
- Time lag (from last click): The total amount of time from when the "last click" happened, until conversion. There can be significant lag from last click, as AdWords will count a conversion happening after the last click within your conversion window.
- Top paths (clicks): Describes the sequence of search ad clicks leading up to conversion. Can be at the keyword, ad group, and campaign level.
- Top paths (impressions): Describes the sequence of search ad impressions leading up to conversion. Can be at the keyword, ad group, and campaign level.
- Top paths (clicks, transition only): Collapses consecutive "repeat clicks" on a conversion path.
- Top paths (impressions, transition only): Collapses consecutive "repeat impressions" on a conversion path.
View-through conversion data
A view-through conversion happens when a customer sees an image or rich media ad, then later completes a conversion on your site. This is different from a click-through conversion, which happens when a customer had previously clicked on an ad (such as on the Google Search or the Google Display Network) and then completed a conversion on your site.
The last impression will get credit for the view-through conversion. View-through conversions automatically exclude conversions from people who have also clicked your Search or other Display ads.
Benefits of view-through conversions
View-through conversions is a helpful way to track the value of your display ad campaigns on the Google Display Network. That's because it measures the conversions where a customer saw—but didn't click—a display ad on the Google Display Network before completing a conversion. In turn, this can help determine the best places to advertise.Review view-through conversions
To review your view-through conversion settings for a particular conversion action, follow these steps:
- Sign in to your AdWords account.
- Click the Tools tab, then select Conversions.
- Click the conversion you'd like to edit, then click the Edit settings. Note that you can only set view-through conversion windows for website conversions and clicks on a phone number on your mobile website.
- Adjust the view-through conversion window.
Low conversion data
Sometimes, conversion numbers are lower than you might expect on your reports. This can happen for a few reasons. Here are the most common ones:
- Conversions are counted within your chosen conversion window.
Conversion tracking only records conversions that happen within your chosen conversion window after an AdWords ad is clicked. So, if your customer completes a conversion after that time, it's not recorded.
- Customer disabled cookie
If a customer disabled cookies in her web browser before visiting your website, or blocks Google's conversion tracking cookie, we can't record her conversions—there's no cookie to record the information.
- Customer didn't get to your site through Google
If a customer reached your site through a search engine other than Google, his conversions won't be recorded.
- You can select between 30 (default), 60, and 90 days of history data leading up to a conversion using the conversion history window. For any time span you select, you’ll be able to see the search ad impressions and clicks within that time period prior to a conversion. The information will be included in each Attribution report, with the option to toggle between time spans.
- You can compare Display Network conversion and search conversion rates in your reports down to the ad group level.
- Pausing your campaign or capping your budget can cut off potential customers who're in the middle of researching your products.
- If you know customers are visiting multiple times before conversion, consider re-engaging these repeat visitors—say, with targeted website content or a discount.