Google Ads drops four attribution models

By Jalaja Ramanunni

Google Ads is planning to drop four attribution models from Google Ads and Analytics – first click attribution, time decay attribution, linear attribution and position-based attribution.

“These models don’t provide the flexibility needed to adapt to evolving consumer journeys. That’s why we made data-driven attribution (DDA) the default attribution model in Google Ads and Google Analytics 4,” Google announced.

According to the announcement, less than 3 per cent of Google Ads’ web conversions are currently attributed using first click, linear, time decay or position-based models. Since the DDA model examines user data to evaluate the value of each interaction, it is widely used for most conversion actions.

Advertisers may need to adapt their strategies and approach to attribution modeling to ensure they can effectively optimise their marketing efforts and achieve their business goals. Any campaigns using previous attribution methods will be migrated to DDA.

Ginny Marvin, Ads Product Liaison at Google, explained in a social media post, “We’ll be deprecating non-last-click rules-based attribution models, which includes first-click, linear, positioned based & time decay, in Google Ads & GA4. Data-driven attribution (DDA) is recommended & last-click will remain available. Use of rules-based attribution models has dropped significantly with the introduction of DDA 3 years ago. Fewer than 3% of conversion actions in Google Ads use them now. DDA has the broadest adoption & is available to all businesses, with no data requirements. Time decay, position-based, linear and first-click attribution models will no longer be available to new conversion actions in GA4 starting in May and in Google Ads starting in June. They’ll begin to sunset in Google Ads and GA4 in September.”

However, with its removal, advertisers may have limited insights into how different channels or campaigns contribute to conversions, making it harder to optimise their marketing strategies based on accurate attribution data.

Attribution models allow users to customise the credit assigned to each ad interaction in relation to the conversions. Customers engage with multiple advertisements from a single advertiser, and several attribution methods, including last click, first click, linear, time decay, position-based and data-driven, are currently available in Google Ads.

The announcement further states that in June this year, Google Ads will remove the ability to select first click, linear, time decay, and position-based attribution models for conversion actions that do not already use one of these models. In September, conversion actions that still use these models will switch to data-driven attribution.