Image: Google | Google Marketing Next 2017

Google Aims to Solve Advertising Attribution Problem

Google loves conferences and this week they held a three-day conference called Marketing Next 2017. At this event, Google’s Bill Kee announced: “This year we are solving the attribution problem.”

Typically, most marketing campaigns credit a sale to the last click before conversion. In many cases, this is a flawed assumption and doesn’t tell the whole story.

Most marketing campaigns encompass a variety of advertising channels. You may purchase exposure through Gmail links, social media Ads, Site Banner Ads, or Search Results. As a shopper visits these channels, each marketing channel makes an impression.

Since each impression adds to the buyer’s awareness of your brand or product, individual impressions provide value to the campaign.

However, in the standard last click attribution model used by most advertisers, only the last click receives full credit for the sale.

Advertisers then evaluate their campaigns on this skewed data and make advertising decisions that may not reflect real-world shopping patterns. As a result, changes in channel advertising buys do not end up with desired conversion results.


The company’s new Attribution service was developed to fix this problem. It takes information from Google Analytics, AdWords, DoubleClick and other platforms to develop a real marketing channel assessment report.

Google Attribution will evaluate the each marketing channel and establish the value for each channel based on observed behavior.

This data will allow an advertiser to fine tune each channel for maximum impact and conversion for the entire marketing campaign.

Best of all, the core Google Attribution service is free for all users.

An enterprise version called Attribution 360 was also announced. It will provide even more insight for enterprise users, including offline advertising channels.


Another important factor that Google Attribution solves is consumer screen change.

Many shoppers may start off searching for an item on their smartphone. Then they use a laptop or tablet for further research and finally decide to purchase the item on their desktop.

With Google Attribution, advertisers will have connected dots between all devices. As long as users stay signed into the same Google account, Google can monitor all devices and create a purchasing pattern.


Good advertising attribution is the Holy Grail for advertisers. Google aims to provide advertisers advanced tools now that will help make better marketing decisions.

Google stressed that shoppers will always be able to opt out of tracking, but the probably correct assumption is that most people do not bother.

To fill the gaps, Google will also use machine learning as part of the attribution reports. So whatever Google may learn from millions of shoppers may help you gain more insight into your advertising strategy.

Google’s experience of 2 decades of data mining may finally provide even small businesses marketing insights they lacked. The service is still in beta, but that shouldn’t stop you from using it.

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