Google Analytics Attribution 

It is crucial that marketers know as much as they can about every tool being used in digital marketing. This is why it is so crucial that marketers learn how to effectively use Google Analytics attribution.

Google Analytics can help you determine how consumers are finding your website. Are they finding it through email? Maybe from text marketing? Regardless of how consumers are finding your website, understanding where they are coming from is crucial. Once you know where a majority of your consumers are coming from, you can start to improve your company’s marketing efforts. Additionally, there are different Google Analytics attribution models and knowing how each one is calculated is essential.

multi channel attribution modeling

How to Select An Attribution Model in Google Ads 

Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics don’t work the same. UA only allows you to track the default attribution model in the acquisition report to track conversion performance. However, GA4 has different types of attribution models. Different models attribute conversion credit differently. However, you can use the model comparison tool to compare your data using alternative attribution models. Find it in your accounts under “Conversions” > “Multi-Channel Funnels” > “Model Comparison Tool.”

Before you learn about some of the different Google Analytics attribution models you can use, it is important that you know how to select the different models. After all, there is no point in learning how the different models function if you are unable to change the model you are using. Luckily, this is a super user-friendly and easy process.

Steps to Select an Attribution Model in GA

First, go to your Google Ads dashboard then select the Tools tab from the top right corner. If you are having trouble finding the tools tab, look for a wrench symbol. After selecting the tools tab, select the conversions option under the measurement section. There will be a list of different conversion actions you can take. You will have to individually select each campaign that you wish to change the Google Analytics attribution model used. Google Analytics 4 will recommend the data driven attribution model by default.

Once you have selected the campaign you want to change the attribution model for, there will be a new screen with an edit settings option in the bottom left corner. Select the edit settings option. At the bottom of the new page, there will be a section titled attribution model. From there you can choose between the last click, first click, linear, time decay, last non-direct, and multi-touch model. Once you have selected the model you want to use, select the save button in the bottom left corner and start using whatever model you had selected.

If you want to compare different attribution models, you can always go back into the tool dashboard from the main page. Then, under the measurement section, you can select the search attribution option. On the left-hand side, you can select the attribution modeling option and see how each model will impact your data.

You can also have the option to create custom attribution models.

First Click Attribution Model 

One of the most commonly used analytics attribution models is the first click attribution model. The first click attribution model assumes that wherever the first point of contact with the customer was is where the final conversation will be. This is one of the simplest attribution models. Since it is so simple, it can be a great attribution model to go with if you are just starting to work with attribution models.

This model does have some downsides. For example, what if a consumer found your website through multiple channels? By using the first click attribution model, you would only be informed on one of the ways consumers are finding your website. If a consumer saw an ad on social media and then decided to visit your website through a search engine, the first click attribution model would only count that the consumer found your website through social media.

Google analytics attribution models

Time Decay Attribution Model 

Another common Google Analytics attribution model is the time decay model. The time decay model is a type of multi-channel attribution modeling. The time decay model more heavily weighs the marketing interaction the consumer had more recently. This model accepts that consumers are likely to be convinced to make a purchase through multiple different interactions.

There is more weight assigned to the later activities because they are closer to when the consumer became a customer. This model can be great if you are attempting to find which channels are most likely to close a sale. This model still acknowledges that other steps affected the consumer’s purchasing decision. If you are attempting to decide which channel first got the consumer’s attention, then you will likely want to use a different model. This is especially true since the channel the consumers first found your website through will get the lowest ranking.

Last Click Attribution Model 

GA uses this model by default. The last click attribution model is exactly what it sounds like. It is an attribution model where only the last contact point is factored into the attribution model. For example, if a consumer last visited your website through a social media link, only the social media link would be counted. It is still the case even if someone found your originally via an organic search. This is helpful if you are looking to see which link finally convinces consumers to visit your website.

This model isn’t recommended highly because it ignores all the work that goes into getting a lead before that last link. If you were to base an entire campaign around the last touch model, you would likely be missing out on some crucial pieces of information.

Still, this model could be used if you want to know where the best place is to place pop-ups. For example, if you notice you are finding a lot of success with pop-ups on social media you might want to continue to invest there.

Google analytics attribution

Last Non-Direct Click 

The last non-direct click model is one of the most important analytics attribution models to learn how to use. This is because last non-direct click is the default analytics attribution model for Google Analytics. Since it is the default model used by Google Analytics, it is typically considered the standard.

The last non-direct click model takes a different approach by ignoring any direct visits to your website. Instead, the last non-direct click model is calculated by the last marketing effort that persuaded the consumer to become a customer. This is really effective because you do not have to worry about how many consumers were persuaded to become customers based on your website alone. This is also another reason it is the default Google Analytics attribution model.

You might be wondering what a non-direct click is. A non-direct is any click that is not the exact URL for your website. So even a consumer searching for your website on Google would count as a non-direct link.

Multi-Touch Attribution Model 

If you are looking for a type of multi-channel attribution modeling, you might want to consider using the multi-touch attribution model. The multi-touch attribution model takes into consideration all the marketing channels a consumer experiences. However, in the multi-touch attribution model, there is a greater emphasis on the first and the last channel.

The first and last marketing actions both receive a weight of 40%. Any marketing actions that occur after the first action or before the last action will share the remaining 20%. This is a great model if you want to place a lot of importance on both the marketing action that caught the consumer’s attention and the marketing action that finally convinced them to visit your website. It is worth mentioning that one of the marketing actions in between could have also had a large impact on convincing the consumer to visit your website. It may not leave a big impact but it is still worth considering when learning more about Google Analytics attribution.

analytics attribution models

Linear Attribution Model 

If you are looking to use a Google Analytics attribution model that considers every marketing activity before purchasing of equal importance, then you should consider using the linear attribution model. Every marketing action is considered of equal importance regardless of when the consumer interacted with it.

This is great if you are simply looking to see which marketing actions consumers see before they visit your website. This is especially true if you want to analyze multi-channel attribution modeling. It gives you more insight into how even small marketing actions can have great importance in the buyer’s journey. The main disadvantage of using this model is that you will likely not be able to tell which marketing action was the one that finally convinced the consumer to visit your website. This can make it difficult to tell where you should invest your resources for more marketing in the future.

Position-Based Attribution Model

In the position-based attribution tool, 40% credit is given to the first and last click touchpoints. The other 20% is distributed evenly across the other interactions.

Last Google Ads Click

This model prioritizes Google Ads. It assign credit (yes, 100%) to the last Google Ads interaction in a conversion path.

Reports Available in Attribution

  • Conversion Paths
  • Conversion Lag
  • Conversion Path Length
  • Model Comparison

Using Google Analytics Attribution for Your Business

Now you know a bit more about Google Analytics attribution, get out there and start using some of these models! Google Analytics attribution can be a great tool to inform you what marketing activities are successful and are bringing lots of consumers to your website. Additionally, Google Analytics attribution can tell you which marketing activities are working best, whether that is paid search ads or social media ads. Make better use of your time and money by analyzing your marketing efforts with Google Analytics attribution.


  • What is attribution in Google ads?
  • How does the multi-touch attribution model weigh actions?
  • What are the disadvantages of using last click attribution?
  • Which attribution models does Google Analytics use?
  • What is attribution modeling used for?

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