Choosing Best Attribution Model for AdWords: 7 Major Options

on Marketing Analytics, Sales Analytics, Tutorials • December 30th, 2021 • Write for Hevo

Attribution model for Google Ads

Google provides marketers different types of Attribution Models.  If you’re not familiar with Attribution Modeling, you may find it challenging to choose the right Attribution Model to use. Attribution Modeling helps marketers know when, how, and why individuals converted on your Ads on Google. 

If you choose the wrong Attribution Model, you will be left confused and with inaccurate data, which can negatively impact your future Marketing Campaigns. In this article, you will be learning about the basics of Attribution Models, the parameters to assess them for your use case, and the Best Attribution Model for AdWords.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Google Ads

Google Ads Logo - Best Attribution Model for AdWords
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Google Ads is an online paid advertising platform that was developed by Google. Here, advertisers bid to display advertisements, product images, videos, etc. Google places these Ads on the results of a search engine and non-search websites, applications, mobiles, etc. Google Ads works on an auction system which happens whenever a user performs keyword searches. To win this auction, you need to optimise your quality score and your bid amount. Quality score is affected by the history of click-through rate (CTR) of the ad and ad groups, the relevance of your ad to the landing page, the relevance of your ad to search query, etc. 

Understanding Attribution Models

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Attribution Models are not unique to Google Ads alone. Actually, Google Analytics has Attribution Models. This is the case with any other analytics platform. 

Basically, an Attribution Model is a method for attributing conversions to marketing channels. The use of Attribution Models helps marketers to know the campaign that should gain credit for each conversion. 

For example, is it your AdWords Campaign, Facebook Ads, Email Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, or referral program? After knowing which strategy is working well, you can leverage it further for more conversions. 

On the other hand, it’s practically impossible to empower your marketing strategy without an Attribution Model. It is possible that you would be using different marketing strategies. However, you don’t want your time and money to go to waste. That’s why you must have an Attribution Model for your marketing campaigns. 

A Marketing Attribution Model is like a clock. If there is no nearby clock to tell you the time, then you will use the light outside to guess the time, but you won’t get it right. The same also happens in marketing. Most marketers spend too much of their time guessing and less time knowing. However, with Attribution Modeling, you can accurately give credit to the correct marketing activities. 

More in depth information regarding Attribution Modelling can be found here.

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Types of Attribution Models

Google Ads provides the following types of Attribution Models:

  1. Best Attribution Model for AdWords: First-Click Attribution
  2. Best Attribution Model for AdWords: Last-Click Attribution
  3. Best Attribution Model for AdWords: Linear Attribution
  4. Best Attribution Model for AdWords: Time-Decay Attribution
  5. Best Attribution Model for AdWords: Position-Based Attribution
  6. Best Attribution Model for AdWords: Last Non-Direct Click
  7. Best Attribution Model for AdWords: Last Google Ads Click

1. Best Attribution Model for AdWords: First-Click Attribution

It gives all credit to the first point of contact between the customer and the Marketing Campaign, regardless of whether the conversion was influenced by that campaign or not. 

2. Best Attribution Model for AdWords: Last-Click Attribution

In this type of Attribution Model, 100% of the conversion’s credit is given to the last ad campaign that the user interacted with, regardless of the number of interactions the user had made with the brand prior to conversion. 

3. Best Attribution Model for AdWords: Linear Attribution

In this type of Attribution Model, credit for the conversion is divided evenly across all the channels that the user came across in his path to conversion. 

4. Best Attribution Model for AdWords: Time-Decay Attribution

In this model, more weight is given to the more recent points of contact. The last point of contact is given more credit, followed by the second last, and the credit keeps on declining up the line until the first touchpoint, which is given the least amount of credit. 

5. Best Attribution Model for AdWords: Position-Based Attribution

This model gives the highest weight to the start and the finish of the path to conversion. The first and the last touch in the line of conversion are awarded 40% each. The remaining 20% is distributed evenly among the middle touchpoints. 

6. Best Attribution Model for AdWords: Last Non-Direct Click

In this model, Attribution is given to the last point of contact that did not result from a direct visit to a website. Google Analytics uses it as the default Attribution Model. 

7. Best Attribution Model for AdWords: Last Google Ads Click

In this model, credit is only given to the last touch with a Google Ads product. It’s very useful in the evaluation of the performance of Google Ads campaigns than other marketing channels. 

Assessing the Best Attribution Model for AdWords

Now that you know the different Attribution Models provided by Google, you need to know how to choose the right one for your business. Each Attribution Model comes with pros as well as cons. When it comes to Attribution Models, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy. 

To choose the right Attribution Model, ask yourself this question: What’s the goal of the marketing campaign?

You can then determine the Attribution Model that will help you achieve that with ease. Some marketers will choose this model, while others will choose another model. The reason is that each Attribution Model works best in its own right and in different circumstances. 

Also, consider playing around with different Attribution Models to know the one that works well for your marketing campaigns. You may be shocked to realize that the Attribution Model with the best results is not the one that you expected. Also check out Attribution Model Google Ads.

Limitations of Attribution Models

The following are the drawbacks of using Attribution Models to credit marketing channels for conversions:

  1. Google AdWords Attribution Models don’t account for immeasurable factors that contribute to conversions. For example, word of mouth and offline marketing. 
  2. Google AdWords Attribution Models don’t account for organic behavior when crediting Ad campaigns. For example, user acquisition campaigns that already have strong brand equity. 
  3. Attribution Modeling doesn’t give the true ROI (Return on Investment). The reason is that it divides up credit among different touchpoints on the way to conversion. However, that’s not how marketing works in the real world. 


This is what you’ve learned the basics of Attribution Modelling, different types of Attribution Models provided by Google AdWords, the methods to assess these models, and limitations for the same.

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