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Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)

6 Google Ads-Attribution Models & Which Suits You

An attribution model determines how value for conversions is assigned to different contact moments in conversion paths. By default, the attribution model within Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) is on last click . The value for a conversion is then fully allocated to the last contact moment for the conversion. Not always the desired situation, because other contact moments and campaigns can also contribute to a conversion. Which attribution model provides which insights?


In this article, I tell you all about the different attribution models within Google Ads, so that you can gather the right insights to optimize your campaigns!

Which Google Ads attribution models are there?

Within Google Ads there is a choice of 6 attribution models :

  • Last click model
  • First click model
  • Position-based model
  • Time decay model
  • Data-driven
  • Linear model


Default: last click attribution model

Currently, the last click attribution model is used within Google Ads by default. The last contact moment or the last used channel for the conversion is assigned 100 percent of the value. Of course not always the desired situation, since other contact points/campaigns have also contributed to the conversion in many situations, but in this form, they are not assigned value. On average, Google Ads requires 4 clicks to make a conversion. When using the last click attribution model, no value is assigned to 3 relevant clicks. That is why it is good to look critically at your current attribution model and move away from a load-click attribution model for a more realistic image.

Last click and first click attribution model

With the last click model, as indicated above, 100 percent of the value is assigned to the last point of contact for the conversion (for example, a quotation request or purchase).

With the first click model, 100 percent of the value is assigned to the first point of contact. If companies have the objective to grow quickly, regardless of the return, this attribution model can be applied.

With both the last click and the first click model, only 1 click is assumed. Not optimal in the case of more complex customer journeys and longer purchase periods.

Position-based attribution model

A position-based attribution model allocates 40 percent to each first and last contact point. The remaining 20 percent is evenly distributed over the middle contact points. This attribution model is most relevant for companies that mainly focus on new customers.

Time decay attribution model

With the time decay attribution model, contact points/channels closest to the conversion are assigned the highest value. 10 percent is allocated to the first contact point, 20 percent to the second contact point, 30 percent to the third contact point and 40 percent to the last contact point.

Data-driven attribution model

The data-driven attribution model differs from other attribution models. With this attribution model, own conversion data is used to calculate the contribution of each keyword in the conversion path. In addition to the click paths with conversions, this attribution model also looks at click paths of customers that do not lead to a conversion. This allows the model to get to know patterns. The attribution model logically assigns the highest value to clicks that have been most valuable in the entire conversion path.

The data-driven attribution model is not available for every advertiser. As an advertiser, you must meet a number of requirements. For example, you must have generated at least 15,000 clicks via search. In addition, you must have received at least 600 conversions within 30 days. If the number of conversions or clicks decreases in 30 days, you will receive a notification that the attribution model is no longer available to you as an advertiser.

Linear attribution model

Finally, with the linear attribution model, the value is evenly distributed over all clicks/contact points in the path.

Google Attribution: measure cross-channel and cross-device

Google Attribution is a solution of Google cross-channel – and cross-device –

This ensures better insights and making even better decisions. In addition, Google Attribution makes it possible to manage all marketing activities from one environment. Google Attribution is still waiting, the expectation is that this tool will be available to everyone from 2019 onwards.


Which attribution model do you choose when?

The final choice for an attribution model in Ads, therefore, depends on your marketing objective. This is different for every company. In addition, the advice is to look further than the load-click attribution model. In this way, you take the actual contribution of a non-branded campaign to the final conversions. And do not calculate everything based on the last click.

If the data-driven attribution model is available to you as an advertiser, I advise you to use it. This is because this model uses its own conversion data to calculate the contribution of each keyword in the conversion path. And it also looks at click paths that do not lead to a conversion.

Finally, a warning

Important to know: if you change the attribution model in Google Ads, your total conversions will of course not change! It’s all about the insights and the measurability to continuously optimize your marketing activities.

Which attribution model do you use? And what are your experiences? Share them especially in the comments!

About the author


Vikram is a Digital Media Strategy Consultant who helps small business owners grow their
business. He is passionate about blogging, digital marketing, and emerging technologies.

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