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About data-driven attribution

Before making a purchase or completing another valuable action on your website, people may do several searches and click several of your ads. Typically, all credit for the conversion is given to the last ad customers clicked. But was it really that ad that made them decide to choose your business?

Data-driven attribution gives credit for conversions based on how people search for your business and decide to become your customers. It uses data from your account to determine which ads, keywords, and campaigns have the greatest impact on your business goals. You can use data-driven attribution for website and Google Analytics conversions from Search Network campaigns. 

This article explains data-driven attribution, including the requirements for using it. To learn more about attribution models in general, or to learn how to select an attribution model for your conversion actions, read About attribution models.

Benefits

  • Learn which keywords, ads, ad groups, and campaigns play the biggest role in helping you reach your business goals.
  • Optimize your bidding based on real data for your account.
  • Choose the right attribution model for your business, without guesswork.

How it works

Data-driven attribution is different from the other attribution models, in that it uses your conversion data to calculate the actual contribution of each keyword across the conversion path. Each data-driven model is specific to each advertiser.

AdWords looks at all the clicks on your Google Search ads. By comparing the click paths of customers who convert to the paths of customers who don’t, the model identifies patterns among those clicks that lead to conversions. There may be certain steps along the way that have a higher probability of leading a customer to complete a conversion. The model then gives more credit to those valuable clicks on the customer’s path.

This means that when you’re evaluating conversion data, you’ll see which ads have the greatest effect on your business goals.  And, if you use an automated bid strategy to drive more conversions, your bidding will use this important information to help you get more conversions.

Example

You own a tour company in New York City, and you use conversion tracking to track when customers purchase tickets on your website. In particular, you have one conversion action to track purchases of a bike tour in Brooklyn. Customers often click a few of your ads before deciding to purchase a ticket.

Your data-driven attribution model finds that customers who click your “Bike tour New York” ad first, and then later click “Bike tour Brooklyn waterfront,” are more likely to purchase a ticket than users who only click on “Bike tour Brooklyn waterfront.” So the model redistributes credit in favor of the “Bike tour New York” ad and its associated keywords, ad groups, and campaigns.

Now, when you look at your reports, you have more complete information about which ads are most valuable to your business.

Like other attribution models, data-driven attribution is only available for google.com search ads, and only for website and Google Analytics conversion actions. To read about data-driven attribution methodology in greater detail, see the Data-driven attribution methodology document (which is only available in English).

Data requirements 

Data-driven attribution requires a certain amount of data to create a precise model for how your conversions should be attributed. Because of this, not all advertisers will see an option for data-driven attribution.  As a general guideline, for this model to be available, an account must have at least 15,000 clicks and a conversion action must have at least 600 conversions within 30 days. We can start preparing a data-driven model from the moment you receive the minimum necessary attribution data. Once we have collected sufficient data for the model for 30 consecutive days, you will see the data in AdWords. If you don’t have enough data, you won’t see an option to use data-driven attribution.

Because eligibility for data-driven attribution is determined by the data for each conversion action, you may see data-driven attribution for some of your website and Google Analytics conversion actions, and not for others.

Once you’re using data-driven attribution, you won’t be able to continue using this model if your data drops below 10,000 clicks for the account or 400 conversions for the conversion action within 30 days. You’ll receive an alert when your data drops below this level, and, after 30 days of continued low data, your conversion action will be switched to a linear attribution model. If the decrease in data is unexpected, you may want to check your conversion tracking tag, the status on your “Conversion actions” page, your conversion action settings, and other account settings to make sure everything is working properly.

If data-driven attribution isn’t available to you, AdWords offers other attribution models that don’t have data requirements.

When you’re trying data-driven attribution, or any new non-last-click attribution model, it’s recommended that you test the model first and see how it affects your return on investment.

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