Google launches free Google Attribution, hopes to kick last-click attribution to the curb

As it did with web analytics in 2005, Google is bringing attribution to the masses with the new free version of Google Attribution. Announced Tuesday ahead of the annual Google Marketing Next Event, Google Attribution is a simplified reformatting of Adometry, the multi-channel attribution service that Google acquired in 2014 and has woven into its enterprise offerings.

The aim of Google Attribution is to simplify the complex problem of multichannel, multidevice attribution by leveraging data advertisers already have in Google Analytics, AdWords or DoubleClick Search, said Kishore Kanakamedela, ​director of product ​management​ at Google, by phone Monday. Bill Kee, group product manager at Google​, added that Google Attribution is focused on understanding the full customer journey versus being limited to looking at last-click impact.

The long-running problem with last-click attribution is that the model ignores any touch point — e.g., email, display impressions, generic search ads — that precedes the final touch before a conversion. That can lead to blind spots for marketers who are unable to evaluate the contributions of upper- and mid-funnel marketing and advertising efforts. Of course, it’s also in Google’s interest to provide visibility into the impact of generic search terms, display impressions or video ads views in the conversion cycle.

With the AdWords and DoubleClick Search integrations, advertisers will be able to incorporate Google Attribution data into their automated bidding strategies. Advertisers don’t need to add any additional tags to their sites to use Google Attribution.

Google has taken several steps in recent years to move beyond a reliance on last click. Attribution modeling for search funnels, which Google added to Adwords in 2014, helps advertisers evaluate the impact of their search ads using other models. And roughly a year ago, Google added the ability for search marketers to assign an attribution model to conversion events in AdWords, including Google’s data-driven attribution model. These will continue to be available in AdWords.

The data-driven attribution model, launched in 2013, uses machine learning to assign credit to each interaction along a conversion path. Google Attribution also supports this model. In order to use it, accounts must have at least 15,000 clicks and a conversion action with at least 600 conversions within 30 days.

Google Attribution is now in beta and will roll out to more advertisers over the coming months. The paid enterprise version, Attribution 360, that launched as part of the Analytics 360 suite, is still available.


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