Google Attribution – Last Click’s Last Days
With this month’s Google announcement of Google Attribution, we’re all one step closer to deep diving into multi-channel attribution. Access to probability modelling and machine learning has arrived… and it’s a game changer for the middle market marketer.
Attribution is an imperfect and tricky process. For every attribution model, there is an equal and opposite number of caveats… or something like that. It’s a modern day conundrum that would tax any ancient greek mathematical genius let alone the humble digital marketer (or in my case ancient geek). Just getting your head around the differences between attribution models and which to use for reporting to the C-suite is a fraught process. How much weight should you give the upper and mid-funnel touches, those with the most traffic, the most cost, the least intent… Importantly, how can you stop your sales director from focussing only on last click conversions!
The digital marketer’s Holy Grail remains to understand the contribution of campaigns and channels towards persuasion and ultimately conversion. But with the sales funnel so fragmented, one man’s brand search is another man’s follow. Pity the poor marketer, picking their way through this trying to allocate budget where it’ll make the most difference to the bottom line.
Capturing touches across channels and assigning value to reflect importance over the purchase decision-making process is never going to be clear cut.
In recent years, we have been given the tools to get a better understanding of what influences decision-making. To date these have been locked up with a concentration on search channels (Google Analytics/Adwords). Last year Google migrated from converted clicks to conversion action to reduce the skewing of last-click in measuring decision-making.
The use of marketing automation tools where you can track an individual’s touches to find some insight is incredibly enlightening, as long as you have structured campaign tracking, enough activity and the ability to slice and dice the data.
This month Google announced the rollout of Google Attribution; a watered down version of Google Attribution 360 for the great unwashed with shallower pockets. That’s most of us.
A true multi-channel view could be around the corner. Importantly, and probably more revolutionary, is the ability to more easily apply this insight through modelling, probability and machine learning.
As it rolls out, marketers will be able to better understand how channels interact as fractions of individual conversions are attributed to each tracked touch.
Marketers can create and manage models in Google Attribution and, this is the real game changer, push them into Adwords to influence bidding.
The caveat, as with anything that uses algorithms and machine learning, is that you really need to have the activity to reach statistical validity and reliability.
What’s the next step?
Mid to large brands will be able to avail of this as the product rolls out this year. Exciting stuff for paid search nerds and digital marketers alike.
AI and machine learning are going to make a huge impact of paid search and social over the next couple of years. This is a giant step towards the efficient use of data to predict and work towards future conversions.
What It Means To You (WIMPTY)
If you’ve been avoiding it, now is the time to bone up on attribution. Get your head around marketing touches and their contribution to your conversions. Here are a few exercises to get you started.
- Make sure you have your Google Adwords and Google Search Console linked to your Google analytics.
- Put a Do Not Disturb sign on the door. If you haven’t looked at this before you’re about to disappear down a rabbit hole. Expect lots of “!”,“?” and even a few !!?”
- In Google Analytics, scroll down to the Conversion reports and choose Attribution models. Play with the different attributions across your channels. Here are some ideas
- Compare Last interaction vs First Interaction vs Linear.
- In the conversion drop down in the top left, filter by the goals you have set up
- Repeat exercise filtering only Adwords traffic and review campaigns
- Still in Conversions, move back up to Multi Channel Funnel > Overview. Interrogate the venn diagrams showing overlaps of channels. Filter by conversion.
- Path lengths. Have a look at this report and filter as above but also look at the shipped segmentation and why not have a go at building your own.
- If you are not already using conversion values in GA, seriously consider adding the commercial value of a conversion into your goals or switching to e-commerce tracking if appropriate. Seeing the ££ and not just the % will certainly focus the mind!