New Google Ads Default: Data Driven Attribution

Data Driven Vector

by Shaun Bond

October 15, 2021

Google has announced that data-driven attribution will become the default Google Ads conversion attribution model.

Currently, Google Ads uses last-click attribution as the default model and offers data-driven attribution as an option for advertisers that meet minimum data requirements.

In their recent announcement, Google has said that they are planning to:


  • Remove the data requirements
  • Add support for additional types of conversions to take advantage of data-driven attribution
  • Make data-driven attribution the default attribution model for all new conversion actions in Google Ads

What Is A Data-Driven Attribution Model?

Data-driven attribution (or DDA) analyses how people engage with ads and eventually (hopefully!) become customers, giving credit for conversions based on that analysis.

The model uses account data from Search, Shopping, YouTube, and Display ads, alongside data from the website, shop visits, and Google Analytics, to determine which keywords, ads, and campaigns have the greatest impact on business goals.

What Are The Benefits Of A Data-Driven Attribution Model?

There are a few key benefits to a data-driven approach to attribution:


    1. This type of model allows you to better understand which keywords, ads, ad groups and campaigns play the biggest role in achieving business goals. Instead of only knowing what resulted in the last click to conversion (or assigning an arbitrary weighting to an interaction that happened before the final conversion), data-driven gives you deep insight into how different ads, keywords, etc. impacted the customer’s ultimate decision to purchase.
    2. Because of the deep insight into the performance of pre-last click interactions, data-driven attribution provides the opportunity to optimise your bidding based on your account’s performance data. If you use an automated bid strategy, your bidding will use the detailed knowledge of searcher behaviour and interactions to improve the number of conversions received overall for an account.

What To Expect With A Non-Last Click Attribution Model

Your current attribution model for conversions will not change but should you decide to move to data-driven attribution, or when you set up a new conversion action with data-driven attribution as the default, what should you expect?


  • You’ll start to see fractional credit for conversions: Because there is only 1 final conversion but it has potentially been impacted by a few touchpoints, Google Ads will give fractional credit to those elements in the funnel that assisted the conversion. As a result, you’ll notice decimals in your ‘Conversions’ and ‘All conv.’ columns.
  • You’ll start to notice shifts in how conversions are credited across the account: Once an attribution model has been changed, you could start to see a shift in which campaigns, networks, ad groups, and keywords are given credit, with mid to upper-funnel elements potentially receiving more credit for conversions than they would have previously received.

When Will Google Make This Change?

Google is planning to roll out data-driven attribution as the default model for all new conversion actions starting in October 2021 this year, with plans to have it in all Google Ads accounts by early 2022.

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