Is this the end of “Last Click Attribution”?

Last click attribution is dead… or is it?

The best way to define last click attribution is the following:
Last-Click Attribution refers to a web analytics model in which the “last click” is given credit for a sale or conversion.  In other words, if someone comes to your website and orders some flowers, you should have a web analytics system in place that tells you where that customer came from.  Did they come from an advertisement in a newspaper, or the natural search keyword ”romantic flowers,” or did they find you after they followed your post on Facebook?  But the great flaw in web analytics packages is that many visitors come to your website multiple times before converting, and you need to choose whether you want the credit for a sale to go to the “first click” that brought them to you, or to the “last click” that brought them to you. Most web analytics packages are defaulted to “last click” analysis.” (source: William Marlow Agency)

It’s no secret that, during the last years, many marketers have obsessed over the idea of the last click attribution. We are talking about the last interaction of a user before making a purchase. Therefore, the money would go to that click, explaining the obsession, obvious, right?

Yet it seems like those days are gone. Google has another plans to cut this attribution. The search engine wants to establish a more realistic one. It aims to provide insights into how earlier ad dollars perform in different areas. In this manner, Google has worked to put in place some advancements such as:

  • The attribution modeling for search funnels. Google already included it to AdWords in 2014. It’s very helpful for advertisers to test the impact of their search ads using different models.
  • Now, search engine marketers have the ability to assign an attribution model to conversion events in AdWords. Especially, the Google’s data-driven attribution model incorporated last year.
  • Also, the data-driven attribution model uses machine learning to assign credit to each interaction along a conversion path. But, if you want to use it, your account must count with at least, 15,000 clicks. Besides, you need a conversion action with at least 600 conversions within 30 days.
Last Click Attribution
Last Click Attribution

Why is the Last Attribution saying goodbye?

The answer is very simple; not every sale made online can be determined by the last touchpoint that leads to that transaction. It’s more realistic thinking that it can be determined by different touch points made throughout the whole journey. In this manner, if we want to understand the process of purchase and what motivates customers to do it, it’s necessary to understand its journey.

That’s why Google has been focusing its efforts to understand the whole journey of a user. How? Analyzing the different touch points that eventually directs someone to make a purchase.

For example, sometimes we note that the last action before buying something was a Google Search. In reality, a customer could have been exposed to the product or service through in other ways. These can be email, display impressions or generic search ads. In this case, other components took part in the purchase process and have some of the credit for a transaction.

If we follow the directions of the “Last Click Attribution”, these different touch points are ignored. After that, the conversion is only attributed to search. This completely ignores the previous touch points made before the final stage that preceded the purchase.

This situation can lead to blind spots for marketers. They will be unable to evaluate correctly the contributions of upper and mid-funnel marketing and advertising efforts. Google is also interested to provide visibility into the impact of generic search terms. This also includes display impressions, or video ads views in the conversion cycle.

The new Google’s proposal

The Google’s new Free Attribution changes the rules of the game. Marketers will now be able to track the different touch points that a client makes along its purchase journey. It will help to draw a path from the beginning to the end of a transaction.

This analysis may change the likelihood of a conversion. A more ambitious project is in the mind of Google; the Attribution 360. It has an annual price of $150,000 that is aimed at agencies that launch powerful marketing campaigns.

Google is trying to simplify the complex problem of multichannel and multi-device attribution. They focus on understanding the full customer experience, not just the last-click impact.

Clients can share results by uploading marketers’ own first-party data, as well as data from Google’s AdWords and DoubleClick.

This new Google’s secret weapon aims to answer these questions:

  • How do my customers make their online purchasing decisions?
  • How much value does each of my channels drive?
  • Which channels should I invest in to increase revenue?

How does the Google’s “Free Attribution” works?

The “Free Attribution” that will replace the “Last Click Attribution” uses a machine learning. Its job is assigning a weighted value to every touchpoint along the consumers’ path to purchase. It’s about figuring out the effectiveness of ad dollars across different channels and devices.

We call it a “Multichannel Attribution”. The data collected from this attribution feeds back into Google AdWords and DoubleClick Search. This helps to inform bidding optimizations. These new integrations are excellent news for advertisers. They will be able to incorporate Google Attribution data into their automated bidding strategies.

Whats great is advertisers don’t need to include additional tags on their sites to use the Google’s “Free Attribution”. This “multi-touch” attribution will be more realistic. Besides, it’s by far, the most accurate and fast concept. If you have a small or a medium-size business, you will be able to enjoy its free version!

To understand better how it will work, look at its three-stage operation’s system:

  1. Unify Data: Google’s Free Attribution will take in data across AdWords, Google Analytics and DoubleClick Search without any additional tagging.
  2. Analyze Performance: It runs your selected attribution model across devices and channels.
  3. Take Action: Google Attribution sends the results back for easy reporting and optimization.

This tool uses the data collected from six Google products, each one with billions of active users:

  • Android
  • Gmail
  • Youtube
  • Chrome
  • Search
  • Maps

Having a clear view of the full customer journey will help marketers to understand the effect that their decisions have on the end customer. This data-led approach offers a more representative reflection of each channel’s value.

 Google is putting more attention on the In-market audience: 

Google has the idea that when people search for something online, it will see an ad for a related product. The search engine will reinforce this statement. It will enable marketers buying search ads that appear only for “in-market” shoppers. This means that they have previously made a search for similar terms.

Google will analyze trillions of search queries across its users. They want to understand the behavior of the people who are about to make a purchase. As some proofs of their efforts, we have:

  • Google analytics processes half a trillion data points across devices. 
  • In 30 months, the company measured more than 5 billion store visits across 17 countries.
  • The partnerships of Google have stored information about approximately 70% of all the credit card transactions in the U.S.A.

Take in count that there are two different versions of this Google tool. The Google Attribution is the free version and Attribution 360 was designed for an enterprise-level. Both provide actionable insights, but to get the full advantage of each one, marketers should have their data in order.

It doesn’t matter if you are using the best and ultimate tools for your marketing strategy. There is a final and more important step in this process of analyzing the journey of a customer before it makes a purchase. We are talking about taking action from the insights these tools provide. 

Of course, you need to invest budget into the channels that will deliver the most value. The efforts of Google Attribution and Attribution 360 integrated with AdWords, DoubleClick and Google Analytics want to make things easier. Its main purpose is facilitating an easy process to update bids and move budget between channels.

In this manner, we are very sure that it’s the end of the “Last Click attribution. However, the most important is finding a way to adapt your business and strategies to the newest advances and changes in Google.

If you need some help to get the most out of these new Google attributions, feel free to contact us. Finepoint Design will guide you in everything you need to know about it. You will be able to take the best and smartest decisions for your marketing strategy!