Google Whisperer’s Guide to Attribution Reporting in Google Analytics

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Google Whisperer’s Guide to Attribution Reporting in Google Analytics

Attribution. Defined by Merriam-Webster as “to explain (something) by indicating a cause.” It’s what we are all striving for in digital marketing. How do you know that the ad you ran, email you sent, or business listing optimized contributed to website activity and sales? As the complexity of the digital landscape increased so did the struggles for attribution reporting. Google says out of the 24 touchpoints before someone buys a car, nineteen of those are digital. With so many touchpoints, how do you start to know what’s driving the right type of traffic to your site? These next series of guides is a map to the journey of deciphering attribution in Google Analytics. This week’s journey is setting up data driven attribution modeling.

image of spreadsheet

Google Analytics has always had a plan for attribution. In 2011 they released multi-channel funnel reports and assisted conversions. Assisted conversions allows you to see the channels that drove users before they completed a conversion on your site. It’s a solid first step into understanding what campaigns influence conversions. In 2019, Google took a giant leap into attribution reporting by releasing attribution modeling to Google Analytics accounts. According to Google, “attribution model can be a rule, a set of rules, or a data-driven algorithm that determines how credit for conversions is assigned to touchpoints on conversion paths. There are two types of attribution models available in attribution: rules-based models and a data-driven model.” To us day-to-day folks, those words mean that Google has released 6 different attribution models you can now apply to your analytics data!

In the example Google gives for data-driven attribution, you’ll be able to see common paths your users want to take and probability of conversion for that particular path. We see the conversion probability increase by 1% when that last search ad is served. If you had the chance to know the impact a single ad had to overall conversions, wouldn’t you take advantage of it?

In order to be eligible for this data-driven model, there are two requirements from Google. First, you must have at least 600 conversions and least 15,000 ad interactions in supported networks over the last 30 days. You also must have goals set up in Google Analytics. Once you know you meet these requirements you are golden to go set up attribution modeling in GA.

google attribution project
  1. Visit the kickoff page for Google Analytics attribution. You must be signed into the Google account that manages your Google Analytics UA property.
  2.  It’s now time to connect your Google Analytics account. Select an account, property, and view in order to click “next” in the bottom right side. The view you are selecting must be the same view that has your goals set up in it.
  3.  It’s time to select “conversion types” you want data modeling built from. This is where you pick the goals or transaction types. The Google Whisperer suggests picking all of your major goals in this section. It’s best to have more data at the start rather than less. 
  4. Now it’s time to wait. It takes Google about 30+ days to build out the data models for your website. It’s also a good time to add annotation to your Google Analytics account that you turned on attribution data modeling on this day.

I know this was a lot to take in, but the Google Whisperer is taking this journey with you. The October guides won’t be a surprise, but a look at what data comes from the attribution reports and what we can do with it! And don’t worry. If I lost you in the land of attribution, reach out and I am happy to help anytime! 


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