Data As A Default, Google Leaves Last-click Behind


In keeping with the changing privacy landscape, Google Ads has introduced a data-driven model as the default attribution model. Now, marketers can observe how much credit each ad interaction is responsible for in leading to conversions.

Marketers need new measurement approaches that meet their objectives and put users first, especially in the changing privacy landscape. Vidhya Srinivasan, VP/GM Buying, Analytics and Measurement, Google Ads, calls the new move by Google to make data-driven attribution (DDA) the new default way to “future-proof your measurement” in a company post.

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It’s a positive move for advertisers and marketers since last-click attribution models have a number of significant pitfalls when it comes to accuracy. Last click measures which touchpoint a customer engages with before making a purchase and gives it 100 per cent of the credit for the sale or conversion. This is an oversimplification of the customer journey, which is growing more complex and nuanced. DDA works by looking at all the touchpoints like clicks and video engagements on your Search (including Shopping), YouTube and Display ads in Google Ads to compare the paths of customers who converted with ones who didn’t. The model then identifies patterns among those interactions that lead to conversations.

By comparing the paths of customers who convert to the paths of customers who don’t, the model identifies patterns among those ad interactions that lead to conversions. There may be specific steps along the way that have a higher probability of leading a customer to complete a conversion. The model then gives more credit to those valuable ad interactions on the customer’s path.

This means that when you’re evaluating conversion data, you’ll see which ads have the biggest effect on your business goals. And, if you use an automated bid strategy to drive more conversions, your bidding will use this critical information to help you get more conversions.

Google attempts to use machine learning to fill the gaps in observed data and unlock new insights into consumer behaviour. For example, conversion modelling powered by machine learning allows you to preserve measurement even when cookies or other identifiers aren’t present. Data-driven attribution in Google Ads takes this a step further and understands how each marketing touchpoint contributed to a conversion, all while respecting user privacy. Marketers are past mourning the impending death of the third-party cookie. It’s time to take action. Think of this move by Google as a step forward.

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Marketers need to embrace data-driven decision making and this attribution model also offers important information on how to make campaigns more customer-centric.

In the past, some advertisers couldn’t use the data-driven attribution model due to minimum data requirements or unsupported conversion types. Google has fixed this by removing the data requirements and adding support for additional types of conversions.

However, advertisers still retain the power to use another attribution model by switching manually on their Google Ads dashboard. They can choose between the last click, first click, linear, time decay, position-based or data-driven attribution models.