An attribution model is the rule, or set of rules, that determines how credit for sales and conversions is assigned to touchpoints in conversion paths. For example, the Last Interaction model in Analytics assigns 100% credit to the final touchpoints (i.e., clicks) that immediately precede sales or conversions. In contrast, the First Interaction model assigns 100% credit to touchpoints that initiate conversion paths.
You can use the Model Comparison Tool to compare how different attribution models impact the valuation of your marketing channels. In the tool, the calculated Conversion Value (and the number of conversions) for each of your marketing channels will vary according to the attribution model used. A channel that predominantly initiates conversion paths will have a higher Conversion Value according to the First Interaction attribution model than it would according to the Last Interaction attribution model.
Attribution modeling example
A customer finds your site by clicking one of your AdWords ads. She returns one week later by clicking over from a social network. That same day, she comes back a third time via one of your email campaigns, and a few hours later, she returns again directly and makes a purchase.
- In the Last Interaction attribution model, the last touchpoint—in this case, the Direct channel—would receive 100% of the credit for the sale.
- In the Last Non-Direct Click attribution model, all direct traffic is ignored, and 100% of the credit for the sale goes to the last channel that the customer clicked through from before converting—in this case, the Email channel.
- In the Last AdWords Click attribution model, the last AdWords click—in this case, the first and only click to the Paid Search channel —would receive 100% of the credit for the sale.
- In the First Interaction attribution model, the first touchpoint—in this case, the Paid Search channel—would receive 100% of the credit for the sale.
- In the Linear attribution model, each touchpoint in the conversion path—in this case the Paid Search, Social Network, Email, and Direct channels—would share equal credit (25% each) for the sale.
- In the Time Decay attribution model, the touchpoints closest in time to the sale or conversion get most of the credit. In this particular sale, the Direct and Email channels would receive the most credit because the customer interacted with them within a few hours of conversion. The Social Network channel would receive less credit than either the Direct or Email channels. Since the Paid Search interaction occurred one week earlier, this channel would receive significantly less credit.
- In the Position Based attribution model, 40% credit is assigned to each the first and last interaction, and the remaining 20% credit is distributed evenly to the middle interactions. In this example, the Paid Search and Directchannels would each receive 40% credit, while the Social Network and Email channels would each receive 10% credit.