Google is retiring four rules-based attribution models for all properties in Google Ads and Google Analytics in mid-October 2023:
- Time decay.
The models listed above will be removed from both the Analytics user interface and Admin API.
Why we care. If you’re using these models in Google Ads, it will affect you. And tracking anything other than the last click is about to become more challenging because the data-driven attribution formula differs for each advertiser – and it’s not visible. As Greg Finn, director of marketing for Cypress North, told Search Engine Land:
- “In the past, you could use linear and give each touch the same credit. You will no longer be able to do so. There will be no impact on last touch, as that is still available. But finding some of the first-touch information will be much muddier because there will no longer be a way to see the formulas that compute the attribution scores.”
What happens next. If your existing property uses one of the impacted models, it will automatically default to paid and organic data-driven attribution. Paid and organic last-click and Google paid channels last-click models will also continue to be available.
Why the change. Google is retiring these four attribution models because of “increasingly low adoption rates, with fewer than 3% of conversions in Google Ads using these models” according to a Google spokesperson. They added:
- “Switching to the data-driven attribution model typically results in a 6% increase in conversions for advertisers.”
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What Google is saying. A Google spokesperson said in a statement:
- “Rules-based attribution models assign value to each advertising touchpoint based on predefined rules.”
- “These models don’t provide the flexibility needed to adapt to evolving consumer journeys. Data-driven attribution uses advanced AI to understand the impact each touchpoint has on a conversion. That’s why we made Data-driven attribution the default attribution model in Google Analytics 4 and Google Ads.”
- “For these reasons, First click, Linear, Time decay, and Position-based attribution models across Google Analytics 4 will be going away.”
Dig deeper. Data-driven attribution: How to think about Google’s default attribution model
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