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Attribution Modeling Now Available within AdWords

A few months ago, I introduced you to attribution models within Google Analytics. Now, Google has announced the global roll-out for attribution modeling within AdWords Search Funnel Tools. The 5 available models are the same as ones available in Analytics:

Last Click: 100% of the credit for conversion goes to the last keyword clicked

First Click: 100% of the credit for conversion goes to the first keyword clicked

Linear: Credit for conversion is split evenly for all clicks in the conversion path

Time Decay: Higher credit percentage to keywords clicked closer to conversion

Position Based: 40% credit to each the first and last keywords clicked, with the remaining 20% split amongst any keywords in the middle

In order to get started, your AdWords account will need to have conversion tracking enabled. All available models can be applied at the keyword, ad groups, or campaign levels. Before jumping in, I started a short list of some pros and cons to think about when using attribution models within AdWords.


  • You are now able to report on keywords that are assisting in conversions. You will be able show ROI for those keywords that you inherently know are providing valuable traffic to your site, but previously weren’t showing any return.
  • The First Click report will help you determine what initial keywords are driving people to your site vs. the Last Click report which will tell you which keywords are ultimately leading to the conversion. Last Click is the default for attribution conversions within AdWords.


  • Using attribution models solely within Adwords doesn’t tell you the whole story. It doesn’t tell you about the other channels in which users came to the website to complete the conversion - it’s only accounting for paid search visits. For a full mix of referral sources, you’ll need to use attribution within Analytics.
  • If you do begin to use the various models to report on your keyword performance, you will likely need to spend some time educating your team and others who see the reports. Time is a valuable thing afterall, so be aware that educating others may be added to your list.

I’m excited that Google is making strides to help us marketers accurately attribute success to the entire marketing mix, and not just the sources immediately preceding conversion. With these updates from Google, we’re much better poised to tell the story about how we’re getting those coveted leads and sales.

Read more about attribution modeling within AdWords from Google.

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