Manage attribution models

About attribution models

By default, Search Ads 360 gives all credit for a conversion to the last click that leads a customer to your site. But a significant number of conversions may result from a path with several interactions—clicks on display ads as well as paid search clicks driven by shopping campaigns, generic or brand keywords, and other biddable items. By analyzing these interactions you may learn that some types of keywords or other biddable items tend to play a larger role in driving conversions than simple last-click attribution can reveal. If you increase bids for some of these previously undervalued keywords, you may gain efficiency with your advertising spend.

To give some amount of credit to all biddable items in a conversion path, import attribution models from Campaign Manager or Google Analytics, or create a data-driven model in Search Ads 360. Then apply the models to custom conversion columns in Search Ads 360 and compare the number of conversions reported by one of the models with last-click attribution. You can apply Campaign Manager or Search Ads 360 attribution models to conversions recorded by Floodlight, and apply Google Analytics models to conversions recorded by Google Analytics.

Note that:

  • By default, Search Ads 360 uses the last-click attribution model and provides the Campaign Manager time decay model.

    Even if you're using other attribution models in Campaign Manager or Google Analytics, you can't use the other models in Search Ads 360 until an agency manager or advertiser manager adds them to Search Ads 360.

  • Bid strategies can only use attribution models added from Campaign Manager or created in Search Ads 360.

Pre-defined models

Both Campaign Manager and Google Analytics provide a set of basic attribution models that you can add to Search Ads 360. In addition, you can create custom models in Campaign Manager or Google Analytics and add them to Search Ads 360.

Basic attribution models

Both Campaign Manager and Google Analytics provide a common set of basic attribution models that you can add to Search Ads 360:

  • Time decay: Most heavily credits the interactions that occurred nearest to the time of conversion. The half-life for the decay is 7 days. That is, clicks that occur 7 days before the conversion receive half the credit, while earlier clicks receive less than half, and later clicks receive more than half. Use this model if your ads and campaigns are typically short-lived and promotional. The Campaign Manager time decay model has been added for you.

  • Linear: Gives equal credit for the conversion to each interaction click in the conversion path. For example, if a consumer clicks on a display ad, a paid search ad, and a natural search result before a conversion, a Floodlight or Google Analytics activity column that shows actions will credit the keyword responsible for the paid search click for 33% of the action. If the column attributed 200 actions to a keyword before the conversion, it will show 200.33 actions after the conversion. Use this model if your goal is for your ads and campaigns to maintain contact and awareness throughout the sales cycle.

  • First interaction: If the first click in the funnel to a conversion is on a paid search ad, then that click receives 100% of the credit for the conversion. If the first click is from a display ad or a natural search result, the conversion is not reported.

  • First paid search interaction: Attributes 100% of the credit for a conversion to the first click on a paid search ad. Even if a customer clicks on a display ad or a natural search result before clicking a paid search ad, all credit is given to the paid search ad. If there are no paid search clicks in the funnel, the conversion is not reported. That is, if a funnel only contains clicks on display ads and natural search results, Search Ads 360 does not report a conversion. Use this model to emphasize the role of paid search clicks in initiating conversion funnels.

  • Last paid search interaction: Attributes 100% of the credit for a conversion to the last click on a paid search ad. Even if a customer clicks on a display ad or a natural search result after clicking a paid search ad, all credit is given to the paid search ad. If there are no paid search clicks in the funnel, the conversion is not reported. That is, if a funnel only contains clicks on display ads and natural search results, Search Ads 360 does not report a conversion. Use this model to emphasize the role of paid search in closing conversions, or as a basis of comparison with other models.

  • Position based: Most heavily credits the first and last interactions in the conversion path and gives less credit to any interactions in between. Specifically, this model attributes 40% of a conversion to the first click, 40% to the last click, and distributes the remaining 20% evenly among the clicks in between. Use this model if you value the role of paid search in initiating conversions but also want to assign significant credit to the channels that resulted in a conversion.

  • Assists: Attributes the credit evenly among all clicks except the last click. Use this model if you place the highest value on all the clicks that assist in a conversion.

Note that Campaign Manager models can only be used with Floodlight columns, and Google Analytics models can only be used with Google Analytics columns. For example, if you wanted to use a Linear model in both Floodlight activity columns and Google Analytics activity columns you'd need to add both the Campaign Manager linear model and the Google Analytics linear model.

The Google Analytics Last Google Ads Click and Last Non-Direct Click attribution models cannot be added to Search Ads 360.

Scaled conversion data for Floodlight attribution models

The basic attribution models from Campaign Manager use scaling to account for the conversion data that can't be directly measured. Learn more

Custom attribution models

You can create custom attribution models in Campaign Manager and Google Analytics and then add them to Search Ads 360. Some of the options and rules you can specify in Campaign Manager and Google Analytics are not compatible with Search Ads 360.

Custom attribution models do not include scaled conversions. Learn more

Before you create custom models, see:

Syncing 60 days of historical performance

When you add an attribution model to Search Ads 360, Search Ads 360 applies the model to the previous 60 days of performance data, as well as to all performance data going forward. Because Search Ads 360 needs to wait until performance data for the current day is complete and available, the sync may not finish until the next day.

Data-driven attribution models

Search Ads 360 can analyze real data that's unique to your search campaigns and use the data to generate a data-driven attribution (DDA) model. The DDA model learns how to distribute credit for conversions across all of the interactions in a conversion path based on actual interactions that are driven by your search campaigns. (Campaign Manager can also generate a data-driven attribution model, but the model you create in Campaign Manager is completely separate from Search Ads 360 models. It cannot be imported into Search Ads 360, so it can only be applied to performance data in Campaign Manager.)

Data driven attribution use scaling to account for the conversion data that can't be directly measured. Learn more

Learn more about DDA models in Search Ads 360.

Attribution models and impressions

Attribution models always ignore impressions of search ads. This applies to the basic models and to custom models in Search Ads 360 and in Campaign Manager.

In Search Ads 360, the basic models and any custom models that you create for use in Search Ads 360 ignore impressions of display ads. However in Campaign Manager, the same basic models do include impressions of display ads, and you can create custom models that include display impressions. This means that reports in Search Ads 360 and Campaign Manager may not match. For example, a Search Ads 360 report that uses the Linear attribution model does not attribute credit to display impressions. A report in Campaign Manager that uses the Linear attribution model does attribute credit to display impressions.

Best practice: remove unused attribution models

To reduce reporting lag time during heavy volumes, it's recommended that you remove any attribution models that you're no longer using.

Total number of attribution models per advertiser

Each Search Ads 360 advertiser can contain up to 5 attribution models from Campaign Manager, 5 attribution models from Google Analytics, 5 data-driven attribution models, for a total of 15 models.

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