Adwords have made another major change, this time to the way conversions are recorded. In the past Adwords has laid claim to any conversion that involved an Adwords click.

Analytics would report conversions differently – the channel that delivered the last click was awarded the sale.

Understanding how conversions are generated enables you to deploy your advertising budgets to the right channels.

With Euro 2016 well underway, a football analogy is in order.  How do you reward your team? It’s a similar problem to the selection of an Adwords conversion reward model.

The Euros 2016 are up and running and we’ve now seen each and every team play. Being an avid footie fan it is an interesting time at the moment. Wales (or Bales as it is commonly referred to) are all conquering and England has displayed their usual uninspired start to a major tournament. However performance of the round has to go to the minnows that are Iceland who held Portugal and the world’s best player (in my opinion) the mighty Ronaldo to a 1-1 draw!

The Ronaldo set up illustrates the issue with placing too much emphasis on a striker / last click model and ignores the contribution made by player first possession and all that work to get the ball to a striker. Iceland illustrate how, a solid but not exceptional combination of players can beat the world’s best striker with an average team putting all their faith in the golden boy.

So how would you reward the Iceland team. What model would you use? Would you reward all players equally, would place a greater reward on the player who got a first touch on the ball and successfully passed up the field. Would all the glory go to the goal scorer?

Returning to Adwords and Analytics the method for reward contributions towards a conversion is know as attribution.

The new attribution models in Adwords are

Last Interaction/ Last Click
Last non-direct click
Last AdWords
First interaction/First
Linear Distribution Model
Time Position

To illustrate the differences examine the following.

Below is a screen shot illustrating three different models – last click, custom model (30% to the first click, 10% for the mid field click and 60% for the last click) and linear (equal distribution)

Adwwords Attribution Model Comparison

Before I get into too much detail, I would point out that the choice of model could have a dramatic effect in how each advertising channel performs. Agencies providing paid search, seo or remarketing will have their views on the most suitable model – usually the one that supports their service.
The choice of model varies depending on your objectives. Brand awareness will place great emphasis on first click as the first click is of great importance. Ecommerce sites are concerned about the obtaining the first click but equally about the last click that converts. Selecting a first click last click model ignores the vital contribution of maintaining interaction with a prospect to get them to a last converting click. With Ecommerce a custom model where you can define the value of a first click, middle clicks and end click might be the wisest choice.

Next week I investigate in greater detail all the models. In the meantime if you’d like any assistance please call us.

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    John Langley

    John Langley


    I am the founder of Click Convert, an Award Winning agency, here to deliver great marketing for Small and Medium Businesses. We’ve created over $1.1 billion in sales for clients. We’re one of the top digital marketing companies in America and the UK for small and medium businesses digital marketing. We’re a Google Premier Partner, a Google Top 50 agency and our work was recommended by Google’s CEO in 2020. Outside of family and Click Convert, Cars, Adventure and Pizza are my passion. Our vision is to Inform, Empower and Deliver to help both clients and readers.

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