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Google Analytics Attribution Models

Attribution Models

What are attribution models? How can they help you understand your website? And how do you access these models in Google Analytics? Find out in this quick Google Analytics tip video.


In this video, we’re going to discuss one of the more complicated reports in Google Analytics, but it’s also one of the most valuable tools to help you understand how your website and how your visitors really perform, and that’s attribution modeling.

Let’s start by talking about what exactly attribution modeling is by going through a couple examples. So the first thing to understand is there are many different sources leading traffic to your website. People might find your website via a Google search, something shared on Facebook, they might access it directly, or maybe people click on a link in an email newsletter, but here’s the key, it isn’t just about all those visitors who use all those different sources, instead it’s that just one person can use all of these different sources to find your website.

Somebody might initially find your website from a Google search, they’re interested in what they see, so they like you on Facebook. A week later because they liked you, they saw something you posted on Facebook and now they visited your site again because of that thing you posted. Now that they visited a second time, they saw a product that they liked or a service that they like that you offer. It took a week of consideration, but they came back to your website directly to review the product again.

So why does this matter? Well, what happens if a visitor who visited from these three different sources converts by buying that product or purchasing that service during their last visit? Which traffic source gets the credit for driving the conversion? By default in Google Analytics and other analytics tools, the credit or the attribution goes to the last source. So in this case, where somebody visited from organic, direct, and Facebook, we’d ignore Google or Facebook as sources and give all of our credit to direct. If this happens often, your reports will make it seem like you shouldn’t invest in Google or Facebook marketing, but we know that isn’t really the case. These channels matter, you wouldn’t have gotten that conversion if it wasn’t for Google and Facebook and it’s the attribution reports in Google Analytics that tells us how much these sources matter.

Let’s go over to Google Analytics to pull this report. You wanna start by going to the sidebar, click on Conversions, Attribution, Model Comparison. This loads the model comparison tool. You can then click select model button above the table to view all the different models. In this video, we’re only going to compare the first and last click interaction models. First interaction would be the first source that brought people to the website. Last interaction is the last source before somebody converted. In comparing these models, you can see that focusing only on last click attribution would attribute more conversions to direct, while attributing 12% fewer conversions to paid search and 32% fewer conversions to organic search.

If you have other questions about Google Analytics, or you have other questions about measuring your website’s performance, please contact me.