Attribution Models in Google Analytics


You have created an amazing eCommerce website.

Your objective now is to bring in traffic.

So, you launch and run campaigns.

Campaigns include

-marketing automation (emails)

-google ads (search, PPC, video)

-social media ads (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

You are successful in bringing in traffic to your site.

And thereby conversions as well.

So all well?

Not entirely.

You spend money on all your campaigns.

How do you know which campaign/channel worked in getting conversions?

Every campaign does provide its own Ad analytics in its platform.

But there are limitations there.

You won’t get all the data.

And you will need the big picture.


Consider the below customer journey from initiation to conversion.

-a customer sees your Display ad, does not click.

-then he sees your Facebook ad, clicks, lands on the website, does not convert.

-then he sees your Instagram ad, clicks, lands on the website, finally converts!


The million-dollar question…

Which of the above three campaigns is responsible for the conversion?

In other words,

This conversion can be attributed to which campaign?

It can be done using

Attribution Models in Google Analytics

In this post, I’ll cover

-what is Attribution Modelling

-different types of Attribution Models in Google Analytics

-prerequisites for Attribution Modelling

-attribution models for Google Adwords

-benefits on Attribution Modelling

Starting with

What is Attribution Modelling?

It is a process that determines how a conversion, in a customer’s journey, is assigned to a marketing channel or touchpoint.

What is a touchpoint?

It is an instance when a customer comes in contact with your business in any form.

It can be

-an ad


-print media

-TV ads etc

Attribution Model report is one of the important Google Analytics reports you should check for website optimization.

To elaborate,

What made the customer convert?

Was it the Facebook ad? Or the reminder email?

How do you find out?

Answer: Using..

The different Attribution Models in Google Analytics

In your Google Analytics account, under Reports,

Click on Conversions

Conversion report

Click Multi-Channel Funnels

mcf report

Click Model Comparison tool

Model comparison tool

Here is where you will compare and analyze all your Attribution Models.

Before covering this, let us learn about the types of Attribution Models.

There are totally 8 types.

attributioin model types

7 standard ones and one custom.

It is better to explain these with an example.

Let me take the previous one with a few extra steps.


Consider the below customer journey from initiation to conversion.

-a customer sees your Display ad, clicks, does not convert.

-he sees your Search ad, clicks, does not convert.

-then he sees your Facebook ad, clicks, lands on the website, does not convert.

-then he sees your Instagram ad, clicks, lands on the website, does not convert.

-then after a few hours or days, he visits your site directly, and finally converts!

Coming to the models…

1. Last Interaction

Last interaction

In this Attribution Model, the last touchpoint, whatever that is, will be assigned the credit for the conversion.

In the above example, this would be the Direct visit or Direct Channel.

2. Last Non-Direct Click

Last non direct

This is similar to The Last Interaction model, but the difference is…

This model excludes or omits any Direct clicks that happened in the customer journey.

In the above example, the last Direct click event would be ignored and the entire conversion credit would be given to the Instagram ad.

3. Last Google Ad Click

last google ad

In the customer journey if there is any Google Ad touchpoint then that gets the credit.

If Ads is missing then the last touchpoint would be considered, basically the Last Interaction model.

4. First Interaction

First interaction

The first touchpoint of the customer is credited here.

In the above example, this would be the Display ad.

The drawback of this model is

a. It will not give you the final touchpoint.

The final touchpoint is generally more important than the others, especially the first touchpoint.

The last touchpoint is the one that converts, hence it is an important aspect.

b. The first interaction can happen outside the lookback window.

What is a lookback window?

This is the historical data (time-wise) that is available for Google to track your Ad details.

Usually, it is a 30-day window period.

As in, the first ad click and the final conversion should happen within 30 days of each other.

Else the first interaction cannot be tracked or attributed.

Hence, it is better to avoid this Attribution Model.

5. Linear


As the name indicated, like a straight line, this Model assigns equal credit to all the marketing channels involved.

In the above example, all the channels will get equal credit.

6. Time Decay

time decay

This Attribution Model will assign increasing values as the channel’s progress.

In the above example,

Search ad will get more credit than the Display ad.

Facebook ad will get more credit than the Search ad.

And so on.

This attribution model is spread over a 7-day half-life period.

Meaning, a click that occurred 8 days before conversion will get half the credit compared to a click that happened a day before the conversion.

7. Position based

Position based

Here, the first and the last touchpoint will each get 40% of the credit,

The channels in between will get 20% divided among them.

8. Custom models

Custom model

These are, as the name suggests, custom Attribution Models that you can create as per your requirements.

Why should you create your own Attribution Models?

-with these models, you can arrive at a new perspective for your business.

-you will get a holistic view of Channel performance.

-you can see undervaluing and overvaluing channels.

-you can experiment with your hypothesis.

How to create custom Attribution Models?

In the drop-down list, click on

“Create new custom models”.

attributioin model types

You get the below.

custom model window

-enter your model name

-select the baseline model

This is where you can customize.

Example: Select ‘Position Based’

Here, the default attribution is 40-20-40 as I explained earlier.

position based custom model

But you can change that to your estimate.

More features include…

a. You can change the Lookback window period

Lookback window

b. You can adjust impression credits

Adjust credit

c. You can also adjust based on user engagement with the below 2 options.

user engagement credit

d. Finally, a list of customization can be done in the last custom credit rules.

custom credit rules

Once all this is filled, double-check and click “Save and Apply”.

Compare Attribution Models

So, in your Google Analytics, you can see the default attribution model as below.

last interaction google analytics

To get a much better idea, you can compare multiple attribution models.

Say, you want to compare the last interaction vs first interaction.

You get the below.

last vs first interaction

You can now accurately determine the worth of each channel for your business.

Prerequisites of Attribution Modelling

1. First of all, connect your accounts

Which ones?

Google Adwords and Google Analytics.

Process to connect:

In your Google Adwords,

a. Click Tools & Settings

google ads tools option

b. Under “Set Up”, click “Linked Accounts”.

linked accounts

You get the below page.

linked accounts page

c. Under Google Analytics, click “Details”.

You will get an option to “link” your account.

Link it using the UA ID in Google Analytics.


You can also link these two accounts in your Google Analytics.

2. Use UTM parameters in your ads

When you run many ads across platforms, it gets difficult to track them inherently.

Hence it is always better to add tracking campaign parameters.

Also called UTM parameters.


UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module.

Developed by Urchin Software Corporation.

This was acquired by Google in 2005 to form Google Analytics.

UTM has five tracking parameters.

1.Source Ex: Google

2. Medium Ex: CPC (AdWords)

3. Campaign Ex: New_Year_sale

4. Term Ex: sports+ shoes

5.Content Ex: text link, CTA etc

You need to add these parameters to your campaign URL.

Using Campaign URL builder.

In the options, fill in the data.

Your link will be generated as below.

utm builder final link

You don’t need to add all the parameters.

It will vary with campaigns.

Attribution models for Google Adwords

Just like Google Analytics, Adwords also has Attribution Models.

In your Google Ads,

Click “Tools & Settings”.

Under “Measurement”, click Conversions.

You get the below.

conversion option google ads

Click on the + symbol.

conversion actions

Click “Website”.

conversion options

Scroll down.

You will see the Attribution Model option.

Attribution model google ads

There are 6 Model options here.

attribution model types google ads

You can directly use 5 of those.

The 6th one  – Data-driven model – needs enough data to provide a model.

How is this Attribution Model different from others?

The main factor is this model uses data almost exclusively from your business/account.

It takes into consideration aspects like

-how people searched for your business

-how they interacted

-which ads & campaigns that a better impact on your goals

-actual individual keyword contribution in the conversion path

Needless to say, each data-driven attribution model is unique to each business.

Requirements to create a data-driven model

To avail & use this model, you must have

-at least 15,000 clicks on Google Search

-600 conversions within 30 days

Once these two criteria are met, you will start to see data in this model.


You need to maintain these criteria.

If the data drops below the above two thresholds, then you again won’t have access to this model.

Benefits of using Attribution Models

Usually, brands look only at the last channel that brought in sales.

-using Attribution Models and comparing them will open up new potential sources of sales.

-the customers or the channels that were ignored earlier can now be taken into consideration.

-you will understand the customer journey better.

-you will get an in-depth view of each channel contribution.

-you can optimize your ad bidding based on channels

-you can align a model that matches your business best


Determining the worth of channels is imperative to any business.

It provides an insight to upscale your business.

It opens up opportunities to acquire new customers.

You can streamline your customer journey.

Interact with customers at the proper channel touchpoints.

All in all, making your business conversions easier and growing it.

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