Marketing Attribution: Questions and Answers

Wednesday, May 02, 2012 | 4:12 PM

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Last week, we hosted a webinar on marketing attribution. We had a lively discussion about our recent attribution whitepaper, and we looked at Google’s solutions for attribution -- including Search Funnels in AdWords and Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics, and the Attribution Modeling Tool in Google Analytics Premium. During the webinar, many of you wrote in with great questions, and we’ve provided answers below to some of the top questions.

If you weren’t able to join us last week, you can view a recording of the webinar here.

Questions & Answers:
Q: How can I learn more about getting started with attribution using Google’s tools?
A:This webinar was the first in a series on attribution -- please watch the blog for updates and registration information for our next webinar, “Building Blocks of Digital Attribution.” In the meantime, read on for some more tips.

Q: Where can I learn more about setting up conversions?
A: Setting up conversion tracking in Google Analytics is one of the most valuable things you can do to make your reports actionable and meaningful, and getting these set up properly will allow you to use Google’s attribution solutions. There are resources available in the help center to help you set up goals and ecommerce tracking. You can also view the recording of our recent “Reaching your goals with Google Analytics” webinar.

Q: When should I use AdWords Search Funnels compared to Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels? 
A: Both tools can give you insight into how your customers ultimately end up converting on your site. If you are using AdWords Conversion Tracking today, Search Funnels is available without any additional configuration. You can see the interactions your customers have with your search ads leading up to conversion, including both clicks and impressions. However, you can only see these interactions for paid search on Google AdWords.

Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics allows you to analyze traffic sources beyond search, including display, social, email, referrals, affiliates and more - putting your conversion path data in a broader context. Using these reports requires installing Google Analytics tracking code on your site, and setting up goals and/or ecommerce tracking (see links above) -- once these are set up, Multi-Channel Funnels reports work automatically. Note that you  are not able to analyze search ad impressions in Multi-Channel Funnels.

Watch this blog for updates on future webinars in our attribution series that will provide more details on Search Funnels and Multi-Channel Funnels.

Q: How much of an impact does the use of multiple devices have in skewing the numbers we see in these reports? 
A: Mobile and other devices are becoming increasingly important. Multi-Channel Funnels will report on conversion paths that take place on a single device, but not across devices. For example, if a user visited your site on a mobile phone, and then completed a purchase in a desktop browser, those interactions would not be included in the same conversion path.

Q: Can I report on both AdWords Keyword and Matched Search Queries in Google Analytics?
A: You have the option to view either the AdWords Keyword or the Matched Search Query by choosing these dimensions in the data table. Multi-Channel Funnels and Attribution Modeling support a wide range of AdWords and non-AdWords dimensions for reporting and creating attribution modeling rules.

Q: Can you add your own models to the Attribution Modeling Tool or they are all built in? 
A: You can create and save custom models in the Attribution Modeling Tool in Google Analytics Premium. Custom models allow you to create rules that adjust credit based on attributes like the traffic source (e.g. search vs. direct), position (first, middle, last) the level of engagement driven (time on site and page depth), and timing (how much time prior to conversion).

Q: How do advertisers take action on attribution data?
A: Attribution data can help advertisers identify marketing efforts that may be undervalued or overvalued under models such as the last click, so they can adjust their marketing programs. For example, a general keyword like “shoes” may show fewer conversions compared to a more specific, branded term for a type of shoe on a last click basis. However, applying a model that gives some credit for searches prior to the last click may show that “shoes” is credited with more conversion value. When making optimization decisions around which keywords to invest in or cut, advertisers can look at multiple models, and then experiment with investing in keywords that show higher value under alternative models. Similar methods apply to channels like display, social, email, and affiliates. This can help identify areas of opportunity that are missed when using only the last click.

Happy Analyzing!