6 Google Ads Attribution Models – Which One Is Best For Your Business?

Published by Pedro Campos on

attribution models google

Attribution models isn´t something people talk about all the time.

You might log in to Google Ads every day and take a look at keywords, audiences, or ad copy, for example.

But it´s not every day that you think about attribution.

In most cases, it´s a “set it and forget it” thing. However, the day has come!
The day you got confused about which models to use in your Google Ads campaigns.

Well, I´m going to make it clear for you in this article.

In a few minutes, you´ll discover the different types of attribution models and which one(s) will bring the best results for your business.

Are you ready to go?

Google Ads Attribution Models

As the title implies, so far, there are 6 types of attribution models to choose from.

These models attribute different percentages or values to the various stages of the customer journey.
As you´ll discover later on, choosing the right one comes down to understanding your prospect´s customer journey.

Personally, there´s only one or two I use frequently, first-click, or data-driven.
So, let´s break down each of them, in order of appearance on Google.


The name data-driven doesn´t give you much insight into how it actually works.
Basically, it uses machine learning to determine the best values of attribution, taking into consideration your account data.

Last Click

As the name suggests, this attribution model gives most of the conversion credit to the last click or ad interaction.

First Click

Similar to the model mentioned above but in the opposite way, first click attribution assigns most of the conversion credit to the first clicked ad.

attribution models google ads


This attribution model distributes the credit for the conversion equally across all clicks throughout the customer journey.

Time Decay

For this one, Google gives most of the credit to clicks that have happened closer to the conversion. Think of it as a staircase.

Position Based

This model gives 40% of the conversion credit to both the first and last click, and distributes 20% among other clicks that happened in between.

For most businesses advertising on Google, with small to medium budgets, first-click is the attribution model of choice.

Choosing The Right Attribution Model

As I mentioned earlier, choosing the best Google Ads attribution models, comes down to business type and customer journey.

Choosing the right model isn´t something you should take lightly!

This is where advertising strategy and business goals meet. You need to think about these models before getting serious about spending money on ads.

That being said, let´s take a lot at some examples.

Scenario 1 – The General Approach

For most businesses advertising on Google, with small to medium budgets, first-click is the attribution model of choice.

That is the case because it allows you to better understand the effectiveness of the first interactions with your advertisements.

If you´re on a limited budget, you´ll use more direct response ads.
Therefore, you´ll have the tendency to focus more on that first ad interaction.

Scenario 2 – Large Budget & Tons of Data

If your Google Ads account is cranking a fair amount of ad spend, meaning you have at least 15,000 ad interactions and 600 conversions within 30 days, then you can use this model.

However, and Google clearly states this, if your ad interactions drop to 10,000 or below 400 conversions while using data-driven attribution, you won´t be able to continue using it.

So, make sure you have the constant volume necessary to take full advantage of this model.

(RELATED: Improve Google Ads Performance With These 13 Actionable Tips)

Scenario 3 – Long Sales Cycle

In the case that you´re marketing to a B2B audience, where sales cycles are more extended, you might want to consider these models.

Linear, time-decay, or position-based can work well if you´re in the B2B space.
All of these attribution models assign credit to ad interactions that have happened along the way towards the conversion.

Scenario 4 – Leading With Content First

Let´s say you have a massive ad budget and your main strategy with Google Ads is to build awareness before making offers.

For instance, you might want to promote your blog or YouTube channel and then retarget people with direct response advertising.
In this case, a last-click attribution could benefit your business.

Since you´re putting your emphasis on leading with content and those ad interactions are secondary, you´re able to better optimize your performance, considering the last clicked ad.

One attribution model might work phenomenally for company A but completely flop for company B, even though they´re in the same industry.

Test Different Google Ads Attribution Models

The tips I´ve shared in this article can help you improve and better measure the performance of your Google Ads campaign.

Nevertheless, you shouldn´t take my advice literally!
It´s important to consider the specifics of your business and test the best approach.

One attribution model might work phenomenally for company A but completely flop for company B, even though they´re in the same industry.

You can always compare these models’ performance by going to Tools & Settings » Attribution » Model comparison.
Keep testing until you find the perfect attribution model for your business.

We´d love to hear from you.
What has been your experience like with these models?

Categories: Google Ads

Pedro Campos

Pedro is the founder of Advertongue, a performance-based digital advertising agency. He is a paid media strategist for high-growth companies and experts all over the world, with over a million dollars in managed ad spend. You might have seen his content on sites such as Funnel Magazine, G2, Content Marketing Institute, or FitSmallBusiness, to name a few.


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