Manage attribution models

Use third-party attribution models in Search Ads 360

An attribution model distributes credit for a conversion across all of the activity in a conversion path. For example, if a consumer clicks on a paid search ad, a display ad, and another paid search ad before converting, a linear attribution model would give each click 33% of the conversion credit.

While Search Ads 360 provides attribution models, if you use a third-party service or a service you've developed to distribute credit to clicks, you can upload the third-party attribution data into Search Ads 360 and use the data in reports and Search Ads 360 bid strategies.

Search Ads 360 can only use third-party attribution data that distributes credit to Google click IDs.

How it works

Here's an overview of applying a third-party attribution model to your advertising data and using the model in Search Ads 360:

  1. Set up Search Ads 360 to support third-party attribution data:
    1. Activate the Search Ads 360 Conversion API for your advertiser.
      This is required to upload conversion data, and it ensures that conversions can be attributed to Google click IDs.
    2. Create a Floodlight activity for each conversion that your third-party attribution model reports on. Mark the activities for use as offline conversions.

      This enables Search Ads 360 bid strategies and other features that use the conversion data to work more effectively.

      Don't use an existing Floodlight activity that already has its tag installed on your site. You need a separate Floodlight activity for reporting the conversion data you upload. For example, if you already have a tag installed on your shopping cart page for recording Floodlight conversions, you can't use the Floodlight activity associated with that tag to report both conversions that are recorded on your site and your third-party attribution data. Instead, you need a separate Floodlight activity that you'll upload your attribution data to.

    3. Create a custom attribution model in Campaign Manager and import the model into Search Ads 360, as described below. Make sure you name the model External Attribution Model.

      You can import up to 5 default or custom attribution models from Campaign Manager into your Search Ads 360 advertiser. If you've already imported 5 models from Campaign Manager , you'll need to remove one before you can continue.

      Wait 48 hours before you upload the third-party attribution data. After you import the External Attribution Model, Search Ads 360 needs time to prepare the model.

  2. Apply the third-party attribution model to the conversion data you've collected for your site or offline business.
    For example, you may have your own analytics system that collects conversion data for your site and associates Google click IDs with conversions you've collected.
  3. Use the Search Ads 360 Conversion API to upload the third-party attribution data.
    For each conversion, you need to specify:
    • The Google click ID that will receive partial or full credit for the conversion
    • External Attribution Model as the name of the custom attribution model you imported from Campaign Manager
    • The amount of conversion credit
    • Additional information that's required by the conversion API
  4. To use the data in Search Ads 360 reports and bid strategies, create a custom Floodlight column and specify the custom attribution model you imported from Campaign Manager.
  5. Include the custom Floodlight column in reports or specify it as a conversion source in a Smart Bidding bid strategy.

Create and import a custom attribution model for your third-party data

Special permissions needed

To complete these steps, your Google account needs the following permissions:

Working with shared Floodlight configurations

In a shared Floodlight configuration, create and import a custom attribution model in each child advertiser that you want to upload attribution data into. You don't need access to the parent advertiser, nor do you need access to child advertisers that you're not uploading attribution data into.

How to create a custom attribution model in Campaign Manager

  1. Sign into the Campaign Manager Attribution Modeling Tool. Learn how in the Campaign Manager help center.
  2. Specify the following settings:
    • Name: External Attribution Model
    • Adjust credits by interaction type: On
    • High value social engagements: 0
    • Low value social engagements: 0
    • Standard impressions: 0

      Keep the default values for the other settings. These settings prevent Campaign Manager and Search Ads 360 from adjusting the data you upload, while enabling Search Ads 360 features to recognize that an attribution model has been applied.

  3. Click Save and Apply.

How to import the External Attribution Model into Search Ads 360

  1. In Search Ads 360, navigate to an advertiser.

    Steps for navigating to an advertiser
    1. Click the navigation bar to display navigation options.

    2. In the "Agency" list, click on the agency that contains the advertiser. You can search for an agency by name or scroll through the list.

    3. In the "Advertiser" list, click on the advertiser.

    4. Click Apply or press the Enter key.

    Search Ads 360 displays the advertiser page, which contains data for all of the advertiser’s engine accounts.

  2. In the left navigation panel, click Attribution.

  3. Above the list, click New ▼, and then click Predefined model.

  4. Select Campaign Manager logo External Attribution Model.

    Is "External Attribution Model" missing from the list? Make sure you've followed the tips for creating custom Campaign Manager attribution models that are compatible with Search Ads 360. In particular, sure to set the impression credit to zero.

  5. Optional. In the email box, enter a different email address.

    Because it can take up to 48 hours to prepare the model for use in Search Ads 360, Search Ads 360 sends an email notification when you can use the model.

  6. Click OK.

    Can't enable the OK button? If the OK button dims after you select a model, you've already the maximum of 5 models. You first need to remove an attribution model before you can add another model.

Search Ads 360 adds the model and starts preparing to use it. It could take up to 48 hours to finish preparations. When Search Ads 360 is ready to use the model, the Status column displays Successfully added and a + Column button appears.

Next steps

Wait 48 hours before you upload the third-party attribution data. After you import the External Attribution Model, Search Ads 360 needs time to prepare the model.

When Search Ads 360 is ready to use the model, the Status column displays Successfully added. Now you can do the following:

  1. On a regular basis, apply the third-party attribution model to the conversion data you've collected for your site or offline business.
  2. Use the Search Ads 360 Conversion API to upload the third-party attribution data.
  3. Create a custom Floodlight column and specify the custom attribution model you imported from Campaign Manager.
  4. Include the custom Floodlight column in reports or specify it as a conversion source in a Smart Bidding bid strategy.

Important details about using third-party attribution models

Historical conversions

The External Attribution Model can only be applied to conversions that occurred within the previous 90 days. For example, if today is January 1st, the model will be applied to conversions that occurred between October 2nd and December 31st.

Apply your attribution model to conversion revenue as well

If you track conversion revenue, be sure that your model distributes revenue across each touch point in a conversion path. For example, if your model uses a linear approach (equally distributing revenue across each touch point), in a conversion path that includes 4 ad clicks, each click will be attributed with 25% of the conversion. If the conversion earned $100 in revenue, make sure your model distributes $25 of revenue to each click, and make sure you upload only $25 of revenue for each click.

Click-based attribution only

Third-party attribution can only be applied to clicks. Search Ads 360 will automatically determine which keywords and ads were responsible for generating the clicks, so Search Ads 360 reports will show third-party attribution for keywords and ads (and ad groups, campaigns, and accounts). You can't use a third-party attribution system to distribute credit directly to keywords or ads.

Uploads from the Search Ads 360 Conversion API only

Uploading third-party attribution data requires special fields that are available only in the Search Ads 360 Conversion API. Bulksheets cannot be used to upload third-party attribution data.

In a shared Floodlight configuration, you need edit access to each child advertiser that you want to upload conversions into. You don't need access to the parent advertiser, nor do you need access to child advertisers that you're not uploading conversions into. Make sure you have edit access to the advertiser that generated the click ID. If you specify a click ID from an advertiser you don't have edit access to, the upload will not succeed.

Reporting from the Search Ads 360 UI and bulksheets only

To include your third-party attribution data in reports, create a custom Floodlight column and include the column in Search Ads 360 reports. You can download the report into a bulksheet for offline analysis.

Neither the Search Ads 360 Reporting API nor the Search Ads 360 Conversion API can report on conversions that specify third-party attribution data. For example, none of these API requests will show conversions that specify third-party attribution data:

I don't see data in my custom Floodlight column

Make sure the custom Floodlight column you create to report on your third-party attribution data specifies the following:

  • Activities: The Floodlight activities you uploaded your conversion data into
  • Metric: The type of metric needs to match the type of Floodlight activities you selected. For example, if you select Action Floodlight activities, select the Actions, Cost/action, Action conv % or other action-related metrics. If you select a transaction-related metric, the column will display 0.
  • Attribution model: External Attribution Model

How to edit conversions with third-party attribution data

The Search Ads 360 Conversion API can update existing conversions, but make sure you store the click ID, conversionID and other data that you specified when you first uploaded the conversion. Since you cannot get a list of conversions with third-party attribution data, you need to use the stored data to identify the conversions you want to update.

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