Google plans to discontinue four rules-based attribution models in Google Ads and Google Analytics, relying more on other models supported by artificial intelligence (AI).
The change, effective beginning at the end of the second calendar quarter, will impact anyone still using first-click, linear, time decay, and position-based models in Google Ads and Google Analytics.
Starting in June 2023, Google will remove the ability to select first click, linear, time decay, and position-based attribution models for conversion actions in Google Ads that do not already use one of these models.
Then in September 2023, Google will switch any conversion actions still using these models to data-driven attribution, which will become the default attribution model in Google Ads and Google Analytics 4. Mainly because it uses artificial intelligence to understand the impact of each touchpoint on a conversion, according to Google. When combined with auto bidding, data-driven attribution improves performance.
Attribution models can give marketers a better understanding of how ads perform and can help optimize across conversion journeys.
Data-driven attribution, which is the most-used attribution model for conversions in automated bidding in Google Ads, along with last click, and external attribution will not be impacted by the change
Less than 3% of Google Ads web conversions are attributed using first click, linear, time decay, or position-based models.
Google provided this example for someone who owns a restaurant. If a customer finds a restaurant’s site by clicking on an ad after performing searches such as "restaurant tuscany," "restaurant florence," "3 star restaurant florence," and then "3 star restaurant abigaille florence."
The person then makes a reservation after clicking on the ad that appeared with "3 star restaurant abigaille Florence,” the last click attribution model, the last keyword, "3 star restaurant abigaille florence," would receive 100% of the credit for the conversion. It’s probably one the oldest attribution model that Google offers.
In the data-driven attribution model, each keyword would receive part of the credit, depending on how much it contributed to driving the conversion.
Unlike some of the models Google decided to discontinue, the data-driven attribution model does not share percentages or formulas on how the clicks are counted for conversions.
The attribution models being discontinues such as the first click model, attributes 100% of conversions to first click. The linear model splits all conversions across clicks. The Time decay model is were conversions are based on half-life formulas, and the position-based model attributes 40% to the first and last click, and 20% to others.