Why Google’s Attribution Reporting Is Good News for Marketers

Now more than ever consumers are routinely switching between devices when conducting online research and making purchase decisions. The ads they see on one device can drive them to take action on another device, which makes attribution reporting a challenge for marketers. Fortunately for us, Google has provided marketers with additional tools to understand and track such behavior via Attribution Reporting.

From Mobile to Tablet to Desktop

A Google-Ipsos survey conducted earlier this year found that 6 in 10 users start shopping on one device, but continue or finish on another. This is no surprise given that many consumers find it easy to conduct research on-the-go with their mobile devices, but feel more comfortable completing their purchase on a desktop.

By setting up Google conversion tracking or by linking Google Analytics and AdWords accounts, you can now create Attribution Reporting for these common, cross-device consumer journeys. However, it’s important to note that the data is determined via models using aggregated and anonymized Google data, so consider the information more directional rather than absolute.

New Device Insights

The Attribution Reporting includes three specific reports that provide different insights into user device behavior:

  1. Devices: See the overall picture of which devices fired ads and on which devices users converted.
  2. Assisting Devices: See how other devices may have contributed to the conversion via users clicking or seeing impressions of ads. For example, do tablet devices provide assistance to your desktop campaigns?
  3. Device Path: Take a deeper look into user behavior and see how users interacted with your ad and how they ultimately converted. For example, is there a drop off? Does everyone switch from mobile to desktop? Perhaps your mobile interface can be improved.

Bidding and Conversion Models

After reviewing the data, the easiest way to take action is to optimize your mobile-, desktop-, and tablet-specific bids. If you’re seeing a lot of mobile activity – even if it’s just assists and not actual conversions – then consider increasing bids to increase their visibility. Conversely, if the ads aren’t doing much of anything, implement a negative bid adjustment.

In addition, consider moving away from a last-click attribution model. If you’re seeing a lot of interplay between devices, stop simply giving full credit to the paid ad the user last interacted with and, instead, divide the credit between all of the different touch points users interacted with. Choose from one of Google’s six attribution models based on your needs.

Final Thoughts

As more users have more devices in their household, it becomes increasingly critical to develop a strategy that accounts for and understands the interplay between them. By creating the cross-attribution report, Google is giving marketers tools to gain deeper insighs into this behavior, thereby enabling them to adjust their tactics and strategies

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