Data-Driven Attribution to Become the Default in Google Ads

Late September, Google announced data-driven attribution will soon be the default attribution model for all new Google Ads conversion actions.

As the industry continues to evolve, Google understands the need to more accurately understand how each marketing touchpoint contributed to a conversion, all while respecting user privacy.

What Happened

For the past few years, last-click attribution has been the default attribution model in Google Ads. The last-click model only counts the final ad interaction as a conversion. As the industry continues to evolve and the need to identify patterns throughout the consumer journey becomes increasingly prominent, last-click will fall short of advertisers’ needs.

How it Works

According to Google, data-driven attribution, also known as DDA, uses advanced machine learning to more accurately understand how each marketing touchpoint contributed to a conversion, all while respecting user privacy. It uses your account’s conversion data to calculate the actual contribution of each ad interaction across the conversion path.

To respect people’s decisions about how their data is used, Google has strict policies in place that protect against compromising user privacy.

Prior to this announcement, data-driven attribution required advertisers to have at least 3,000 ad interactions with at least 300 conversions within 30 days. This meant that as an advertiser, you could only use data-driven attribution if you met these requirements. With the switch to data-driven attribution as the default model, Google is removing the data requirements so that all advertisers have access.

What This Means For You

As attribution has long been an issue advertisers have faced, this is yet another great example of Google’s commitment to helping you make every marketing dollar count, especially as the industry continues to shift.

Since data-driven attribution no longer requires specific data thresholds, this update shows how confident Google has become in their machine learning and algorithms.

Gone are the days where smaller businesses only had the option of using one of the five rule-based attribution models such as last-click attribution. With this change, businesses of all sizes will be eligible to clearly understand the full value of their Google Ads campaigns.

Unlike other attribution models available, data-driven attribution provides more accurate results by analyzing all of the relevant data about the marketing touchpoints that led up to a conversion.

What You Should Do Now

If you’re currently using data-driven attribution, that’s great! There is no action required. However, if you are currently using one of the five rule-based attribution models such as last-click attribution, keep an eye out for the rollout of data-driven attribution within your Google Ads account.

💡 Test data-driven attribution. As Google recommends, when trying a new attribution model for the first time, it’s worth testing the model first to understand how it affects your return on investment

What’s Next

Google will be rolling out data-driven attribution as the default model for all new conversion actions starting this month, and plans to have it in all Google Ads accounts by early 2021.

When your Google Ads account is eligible for data-driven attribution, you should see the following within Tools & Settings > Measurement > Attribution:

When setting up a new conversion action within Tools & Settings > Measurement > Conversions, it will default to data-driven attribution instead of last-click attribution, as conversion actions have in the past:

  • Existing conversion actions will be migrated to data-driven attribution, but with plenty of warning from Google.
  • If preferred, advertisers also have the option of selecting a different attribution model by opting out of the migration.

At Seer, we believe in data-informed decision making and we’re excited about this change. As more of our clients make the switch to data-driven attribution, we’ll let the data do the talking and speak to the effectiveness of this model.

Until then, if you have questions or thoughts about this change, drop them in the comments below or reach out on Twitter (@SeerInteractive)!

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Source:, originally published on 2021-10-04 14:32:54