About Attribution channels

Learn how Attribution classifies your traffic.
Attribution is currently released as a beta feature.

Channels are rule-based groupings of your events. Throughout Attribution reports, you can see your data organized according to the Attribution system-defined channels, such as Organic search and Email. This allows you to quickly check the performance of each of your traffic channels.

In this article:

Attribution channels vs. Google Analytics channels

Attribution maintains a separate set of channel groupings from other parts of Analytics. Learn about the other channel groupings available in Analytics.

Attribution's system-defined channel grouping includes several improvements over the default channel grouping in Google Analytics, including:

Google Analytics channel Attribution channels
Paid search Shopping
Paid Search Generic
Paid Search Brand
Display Display General
Display Remarketing

These smaller segments are significant for attribution purposes because each of these categories can have a distinct role in the typical customer journey.

You can see how the Attribution channels map to the Google Analytics channels in the Model comparison report by following these directions:

  1. Click Edit report in the top right to open the control panel.
  2. Click Add under Dimensions.
  3. Under Analytics, click Analytics default channel grouping.

The Analytics default channel grouping dimension reflects the default channel grouping of the linked Analytics view. You can edit your default channel grouping in Analytics to change the dimensions surfaced by the Analytics default channel grouping in Attribution. Changes you make to the Analytics default channel grouping will not affect the Attribution channels.

Attribution channel definitions

The definitions below reflect Attribution’s current view of what constitutes each channel in the Channel dimension. While these definitions may evolve as the market evolves, we provide the current definitions here for your information.

Note: The Attribution channel definitions are not case sensitive. 
Order applied Channels Paid/Free Definition
1 Direct Free GA Source exactly matches direct
AND
(GA Medium exactly matches (not set)
OR
GA Medium exactly matches (none))
2 Organic Search Free GA Medium exactly matches organic
3 Shopping Paid

GA Medium matches regex ^(cpc|ppc|paidsearch)$
AND
Shopping Campaign matches Yes
AND (Shopping Campaign matches YES OR GA Campaign contains (shopping))

4 Paid Search Brand Paid GA Medium matches regex ^(cpc|ppc|paidsearch)$
AND
GA Ad Distribution Network does not exactly match NETWORK_MOBILE_APP_DISPLAY|NETWORK_CONTENT
AND
Brand/Generic matches Brand
5 Paid Search Generic Paid GA Medium matches regex ^(cpc|ppc|paidsearch)$
AND
GA Ad Distribution Network does not exactly match NETWORK_MOBILE_APP_DISPLAY|NETWORK_CONTENT
AND
Brand/Generic matches ^(Generic|Unknown)$
6 Display Remarketing Paid (GA Source contains (criteo OR adroll)
OR
GA Campaign contains (remarketing OR retargeting)
OR
GA Targeting Type matches User List)
AND
(GA Medium matches regex ^(display|cpm|banner|cpc)$
OR
GA Ad Distribution Network exactly matches (NETWORK_MOBILE_APP_DISPLAY OR NETWORK_CONTENT))
7 Display General Paid GA Medium matches regex ^(display|cpm|banner)$
OR
GA Ad Distribution Network exactly matches NETWORK_MOBILE_APP_DISPLAY|NETWORK_CONTENT
8 Video Paid GA Medium matches regex ^(video)$
9 Paid Social Paid Social Source Referral exactly matches Yes
AND
GA Medium matches regex ^(cpc|ppc|paid)$
10 Organic Social  Free Social Source Referral exactly matches Yes
OR
GA Medium matches regex ^(social|social-network|social-media|sm|social network|social media)$
11 Email Free GA Medium exactly matches email
12 Affiliates Paid GA Medium exactly matches affiliate
13 Referral Free GA Medium exactly matches referral
14 Other Paid [anything that doesn't match any of the channels above]
  Unattributable N/A Reserved for conversions without prior events

About the Display remarketing channel

Attribution can capture both Google display remarketing events and non-Google display remarketing events. For the most accurate reporting, you should use auto-tagging for Google display remarketing. If you're using manual tagging or non-Google remarketing, make sure to accurately tag your URLs (i.e., utm_campaign=remarketing or utm_campaign=retargeting).

Learn about channels in Google Analytics
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