Why you need the Google Analytics Attribution tool

Alazne Carro

9 March 2023

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In a previous article, we explored the world of Google Analytics attribution, learning how to use each model and integrate them into our business strategy. Without any doubt, they are essential to analyse the performance of our digital marketing campaigns, as they help us gather information to make better decisions regarding resource allocation.

Today, we will dive deeper into this aspect and learn to use one of the latest (and best) innovations created by Google in recent years: the Attribution Tool.

So, without further ado… let’s begin!


Attribution, What is it and what is it used for?

Indeed, the latest attribution tool is called Attribution, with all due redundancy, and it emerged as a replacement for the reports that we used to find in the Attribution section. Yes, they didn’t put much effort into the naming.

What is its function? To determine how much each touchpoint contributes to the conversion, that is, to the actions that generate value and help us achieve our company’s objectives. How? By assigning a value to the different channels based on how much they have helped the user to convert.

Do you want to learn more about it and discover everything it can offer your company? Keep reading and start creating your own Attribution projects.


What value can Attribution bring to your company?

So, let’s start at the beginning: Attribution is set to be your brand’s great ally, regardless of the area or department. Still not convinced? Well, look at all you can do with this tool:

– Control of business objectives

In every project there are several types of conversion. As many as there are business objectives. We need to monitor them individually and collectively to ensure that we are achieving our desired outcomes and identify the best strategies to accomplish our goals.

This is something that Google Analytics already allows us to do, but it is usually just a simple count or, in the best of cases, a slightly deeper analysis using segments, secondary dimensions or a small report.

However, Attribution goes a step further and allows us, with a single click, to control what type of conversion we want to monitor. This means that all reports from this tool are tailored to show only the data for the selected conversion types, which we can change at any time.

As a result, we can have more comprehensive control over each type of conversion, analyse them according to our preferences, and determine the best channels for each conversion type and their economic profitability.

– Time Management Strategies

In the previous article, we discussed one of the functionalities of Attribution, the Conversion Interval. Simply put, it is the number of days that pass from when the user becomes aware of our brand until they convert.

This information is interesting in itself and provides valuable insights about our conversion processes

Often, we find that a person takes months to take that final step towards purchasing a product or hiring a service. While it may be due to the high involvement nature of the purchase, where the user needs time to consider various alternatives, it may also indicate that our conversion channels are not working effectively. In other words, we may not be able to lead the user to conversion, and we need to optimise our processes.

This is precisely where this report comes in handy. We can quickly and easily determine if conversion intervals tend to be long or short, detect anomalies and trends, and determine if the time until conversion is linked to the amount or type of product or service.

All this, in turn, will allow us to optimise the channels with the worst ratios and take advantage of those that have proven to be better at converting users.

– Touchpoint management

Very much in line with the previous point, Attribution also allows us to manage the different touchpoints through two reports: Conversion paths and Conversion path length.

By showing us which channels users have been interacting with from the moment they met us until they converted, we will have visibility of the main routes that users follow on their way to conversion, which channels are the most effective and which touchpoints do not work as they should.

For example, a short conversion path with few touchpoints will, in most cases, indicate that our channels are optimised and we are successfully convincing the user to complete a transaction without a long or complex process. 

Conversely, if users have to interact with many touch points, it may be a sign that we are not communicating effectively, and we are investing a lot of media in a single sale. In short: we will not be guiding the potential customer to the purchase by the quickest and easiest route.

– Optimisation of advertising campaigns 

In the current context of saturation of social networks and other digital channels, performance marketing is one of the most powerful resources we have for creating brand awareness, generating business opportunities and marketing our products and services. 

However, precisely because of this saturation, optimising our investment in paid media is more important than ever. And although the advertising tools offer us the possibility of analysing our campaigns’ performance from the interface of their ads managers, sometimes it’s not enough.

It is true that the integration of advertising platforms with other more advanced analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, or through the development of a dashboard, using for example Google Data Studio, will allow us to make a more in-depth examination, but, even so, there will still be points left uncovered. Here the Attribution tool can help us make a difference. 

For example, Attribution allows us to see, in a straightforward way, how much revenue and profit each account, campaign and ad group has made. It also gives us the possibility to test different conversion models and see how the results vary depending on which one we have chosen, something that can be especially useful for those situations in which we don’t know which one to choose.

This way, we will be able to know which campaigns work best to obtain quality traffic, which ones need to be optimised and what are the points for improvement.

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Attribution vs Google Analytics reports: which is better for your business situation?

At this point, you probably think that the Attribution tool is one of Google’s best new features in recent months, if not years. However, I’m sure there are those who still cling to the old query model of going through the reports one by one within the Google Analytics interface.

To help you get rid of doubts, here is a comparison between the two options that will allow you to choose the one that best suits your needs.

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– Accessibility

Google Analytics reports are available to all users working with this tool, while the Attribution tool, although generally available to everyone, has features that are in a Beta phase that may be inaccessible to some users, even if it’s just a minority.

– Stability

Attribution, being in a Beta phase, can change from one day to the next: a change of interface, new functionalities or sections, etc.

This continuous improvement can be seen as a positive thing, but it is still confusing and requires some familiarisation with the tool each time you log in. This is why some prefer the stability offered by Analytics reports.

-Data format

The data in Google Analytics attribution reports is organised in a table format, which can be cumbersome to consume.

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In contrast, the data we can see in the Attribution tool combines this quantitative part with a more visual part that makes it easier to understand the information being consulted.

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– Data model selection

The default attribution model in Google Analytics is the last click model, which makes it very complicated to review data using other models and almost impossible to change.

However, one of the great advantages of  Attribution is that it’s very easy to switch from one model to another, without the need for any configuration or additional implementations.

– Level of detail

The Attribution tool only shows data relating to acquisition channels, so it remains at a more superficial level that allows you to detect trends, opportunities or problems in a relatively simple way. 

Google Analytics, on the other hand, contains a large number of reports, each one concerning a different aspect: audience profiling, user interactions with the different elements of the website or, as is the case here, user acquisition and conversion attribution. 

The latter reports, however, tend to start from the most general level (channels), but at the same time allow us to go deeper, because they show us the data relating to the source and the medium.

– Price

The vast majority of Google tools are free, and this is no exception. 

However, Attribution has some paid features. For example, data-driven attribution is only available to users who have Google Analytics 360 (the paid version of Analytics). However, we can use the other five models for free.


Will your brand incorporate the new attribution tool?

Taking this comparison into account, here’s a recommendation whether you’re a fan of the Attribution tool or a loyal defender of Google Analytics acquisition reports: use both tools.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The Attribution tool will be of great use to us in seeing conversion paths, checking the number of touchpoints and days required for conversion, or making model comparisons.

However, it is not useful if we want to delve deeper in terms of source and/or medium, and we will have to turn to traditional Google Analytics reports to see this information.

In summary: Attribution will give us visibility of trends and allow us to locate potential problems or opportunities; Google Analytics reports will provide us with the keys to analyse that information in greater detail and confirm or discard our suspicions.

Incorporating a new tool always involves a learning curve that can initially make us give up. However, at Good Rebels, we are convinced that there are enough reasons to embark on the path towards optimising your conversion rate today.

A path in which the Attribution tool will be your great ally, so you don’t have to travel alone. Since acquiring Aukera, at Good Rebels we are experts in digital analytics. Are you ready to take your conversion rate to the next level?