GA4 and Google Ads Attribution: A Deeper Dive into Data-Driven Models

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With the enhanced emphasis on data-driven models in both GA4 and Google Ads, it’s vital to understand how they differ, their limitations, and their unique advantages.

Google now recommends Data-driven models with a 90 day lookback window.  The Data-driven model is based on machine learning and allocation of credit based on prior conversion events.

GA4 and Google Ads Model Types

Whilst data-driven models are gaining traction, they may not align with specific business models.  The Last Click attribution model still remains relevant for many businesses, in particular, those in the e-commerce domain, might find that their customers often make decisions based on the last interaction. Think of impulse buys or time-sensitive promotions. In such scenarios, understanding the last motivator can be more valuable than tracing the entire journey.

Best Practices for GA4 Setup

Consideration should be given to the lookback windows for certain businesses.  GA4 recommends and defaults to a 90 day lookback window, however, this might not be suitable for all businesses. For example, e-commerce businesses typically have shorter sales cycles and may require a 7-30 day lookback window, depending on specific product ranges.

It is good practice to use the model comparison tools available in GA4 and Google Ads to see the impact of different model use on conversions.

Where to Find These Results.

GA4: Navigate to “Model Comparison” under the “Attribution” section.

Google Ads: Head to “Tools & Settings”, select “Attribution”, and then “Model comparison”.

The evolution in GA4 and Google Ads towards favouring the data-driven models underlines its effectiveness in a dynamic digital ecosystem. Tailoring the attribution model to your business type, combined with a proper lookback window, will not only provide richer insights but also drive more significant optimisations and eventually a higher return on investment.

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