Evaluating Marketing Efforts with Google Attribution

In 2014, Google acquired a multi-channel attribution service – Adometry which has now been incorporated into its enterprise offerings. Now, a simplified reformatting of the service is already available. The rollout of the new free version of Google Attribution is aimed at bringing attribution to the masses, as was the case with web analytics in 2005.

For those who feel last-click models don’t offer sufficient explanation on customer behavior, this is the tool to adapt. Google basically seeks to make the tool attractive to advertisers and marketers alike by creating a tight loop between feedback, ad spend, and strategy. The company wants this group of business people to see Attribution as a strategic hub necessary for evaluating marketing campaigns regardless of the device or marketing channel.

In the world of marketing, it is important to know that a panacea for attribution is not a new construct. For some years now, companies like Adobe and startups Bizible and BrightFunnel have been developing tools that allow marketers to break free from the outdated last-click paradigm. Before now, most marketers only assigned credit of any sale to the last path the customer interacted with before taking the purchase decision. The strategy was more of a trial and error method than veracity. Though it allowed marketers to quantitatively evaluate marketing campaigns it remained a flawed strategy.

The main problem with last-click attribution which had been long running is that it ignores any touch point (such as generic search ads, display impressions, and email) preceding the final touch before purchase or a conversion. For those advertisers who are not capable of evaluating the contributions of their advertising efforts as well as upper- and mid-funnel marketing strategies, this model can lead to unnecessary bind spots. No doubt, Google is interesting in providing full visibility into the impact of video ads views, display impressions or generic search terms in the conversion cycle.

The aim of Google Attribution

Google Attribution is a free tool designed for checking the role played by different marketing strategies in determining customer purchasing decisions. The main aim of this service is to simplify the complex problem of multi-device, multi-channel attribution. It is designed to leverage on the data available in the DoubleClick Search, AdWords or Google Analytics accounts of advertisers. In a bid to inform efficient bidding optimizations, multi-channel attribution data is fed back into DoubleClick Search and Google AdWords.

While also taking the impact of the last-click model into consideration, Google Attribution is also focused on understanding the full customer journey. It offers a much more informative method of evaluation which enables marketers to model the relative contribution of disparate advertising efforts. With this new machine learning-powered method, it’s no more reasonable to ascribe all the credit to the final social media since there are more materials that work in consonance to drive conversions including emails, banner ads, and video ads.

As long as there is a click along the path to conversion, Google Attribution will capture the clicks, it can. For the most part of it, the tool offers zero cost, copious integrations, and ease of use. As a product of performance, it seeks to add a more accurate cost-benefit analysis to facilitate a better marketing campaign. Despite being limited to analyzing the impact of last-click, Google Attribution is just focused on understanding the full customer journey taking in data across DoubleClick Search, Google Analytics, and AdWords without any additional tagging.

Cater to inform bidding optimizations

Ultimately, advertisers will be able to incorporate Google Attribution data into the automated bidding strategies of AdWords and DoubleClick Search to run the advertiser’s selected attribution model across multiple channels and devices. Interestingly, they (marketers or advertisers) do not need extra tags to their websites to use the tool.

In recent years, several steps have been taken to improve attribution and get beyond a reliance on last click. It wasn’t until 2014 when Google added Attribution modeling for search funnels to AdWords. As part of efforts to cater to inform bidding optimizations, this integration is aimed at helping advertisers and marketers alike to make strategic use of other models to evaluate the impact of their search ads. In a bid to offer an attribution model to conversion events in AdWords, Google recently incorporated the ability for search marketers. This also includes its data-driven attribution model. Obviously, these will still be available in AdWords.

When it comes to assigning credit to touchpoints, the recently launched, data-driven attribution model does this using machine learning. It may interest you to know that this model is also supported by Google Attribution. While the paid version of Google Attribution (Attribution 360) is still very much available, advertisers are advised to make use of the right attribution model, as this is what matters. Already advertisers are adjourned to expect a better rollout of the product in the near future as it is stuck in beta.