Which attribution model are you using for your AdWords account currently?

Do you know that you can change the models to match your goals?  Google provides several different modeling types, which allow us to measure attribution in different ways.  Below is the list they provide.

AdWords Attribution Models

(1) Last Click Model – This model will give credit to all conversions that happen from the very last click.

Last click is the default model in place for AdWords usually and what most marketers and agencies tend to use.  The biggest problem with last click is we do not give credit to any of the other ads that may have driven activity at the top of the funnel.  Many consumers will see more than one ad before making a purchase and they click more than one ad as well.  Last click model does not provide credit for the previous clicks.

(2) First Click Model – This model does the opposite and provides all the credit to the ad driving the first click.

Similar to the last click model, this model negates all the other clicks that helped to drive a sale, giving all the credit to the very first ad clicked on.

(3) Linear Model – This model provides equal credit for every click, spreading out the conversion and revenue value equally.

The biggest issue with this model is it does not take into account timing of the clicks.

(4) Time Decay Model – This one provides the most credit to the last click, but still gives credit to the others.

Many clients prefer this model, because it still gives most of the credit to the ad driving the final purchase, but provides credit to the ads that helped to drive the sale.  The benefit of this format is we are not discounting the effort your top of funnel ads may have provided in helping the purchase decision.  We would not want to stop the initial ads, because without them, the final purchase may never have happened. An image of what the time decay might look like is below vs. last click.

time decay adwords modeling


(5) Position-based Model – Simple model that gives 40% credit to the first ad and 40% to the last ad.  The other 20% is spread between all the other ads.

Similar to the time decay model, it helps to provide credit throughout the funnel.  Some clients like this model, but it can put too much credit on the first ads driving a click vs. the ads further down the funnel (customer journey).

Each model has benefits and drawbacks.  The best choice will be dependant on your business and what is most important for you.  The important thing is to make sure your agency or in-house talent is talking to you about each one.  Understanding users may start on a phone and end on a computer, we do want to make sure we are crediting each ad.  My personal preference as a marketer is to use one of the models that gives credit to all your ads.

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AdWords Attribution Models