Your Guide to AdWords Attribution Modelling

Attribution Models – you’ve heard the words, but have no clue what they mean and what they can do for your campaigns. We’ve all been there. As defined by Google, “An attribution model is the rule, or set of rules, that determines how credit for sales and conversions is assigned to touchpoints in conversion paths.”

In simple terms, they define how each customer interaction is rewarded on a conversion journey.

You’ve got your campaigns and your goals set up, but you don’t know how to optimise for the best Attribution journey. There are currently 5 Attribution Models for AdWords campaigns. So, which is the best model for your campaigns?

1. Last Interaction

This attribution model is pretty straight forward- the last touchpoint gets the credit for the sales. This model is great for new campaigns or beginner-advertisers. It’s straight-froward and delivers results.

2. First Interaction

This model is the opposite to Last Interaction and the first touchpoint gets 100% of the credit. Again, reasonably simple and measurable.

3. Linear Model

This model ensures that every touchpoint gains equal credit for the sale, meaning each point is rewarded the same way. If I a customer journey there were five touchpoints, each point would gain 20% of the credit. This model is a good way to remove any bias to interactions that advertisers may have.

4. Time Decay

The Time Decay model gives credit to the touchpoints closest in time to the sale/conversion. This ensures that the interaction that influenced the decision making is rewarded for that.

5. Position Based

This model is the most sophisticated, allocating 40% credit to the first interaction, 40% to the last and 20% spread evenly over the rest of the interactions. This model is a combination of First Interaction, Last Click and Linear, giving rewards to every point, but more to those that are most valuable. It is recommended to use this model when there is a significant amount of conversions already gained.


Finding the Best Model for your Campaigns

If those summaries still don’t help you know which to use- Google Analytics has some tools to help you with this decision making. The first tool to help you is the Model Comparison Tool (seen below) in Google Analytics under Conversions > Attribution. With this, advertisers can see forecasted metrics for their data with different attribution models.



The second Analytics tool to use is the Top Conversion Paths located under Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels. This shows you the top-rankingcustomer journeys, be it from Organic or Paid traffic. From this, you can decide which interactions are valuable to your business and which model works best for you.


More info on Attribution Models can be found here, with tips on picking the best model.

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