Google updates when 4 attribution models will be retired

Google will start to retire four rules-based attribution models in Ads and Analytics from mid-July:

  • First-click.
  • Linear.
  • Time decay.
  • Position-based.

Marketers still using these attribution models will be able to continue doing so until September, when they will be removed completely.

Why we care: This update will affect the Google Ads accounts of all marketers still using these attribution models. Moving forward, any model that isn’t last-click will prove more difficult to monitor as every marketer has different data-driven attribution formulas.

  • “In the past, you could use linear and give each touch the same credit. You will no longer be able to do so. There will be no impact on last touch, as that is still available. But finding some of the first-touch information will be much muddier because there will no longer be a way to see the formulas that compute the attribution scores.”

How will marketers be impacted? If your account has conversions using these models, you can continue to use them until September, but after that deadline, the models will be removed and data may be lost. If you are working on conversions not using these models, you will not have the option to switch over after mid-July. In addition, newly created conversions will no longer have the option of even choosing these four models.

Why now? Google has taken the decision to retire the four attribution models because of “increasingly low adoption rates, with fewer than 3% of conversions in Google Ads using these models” according to a Google spokesperson.

  • “For these reasons, first click, linear, time decay, and position-based attribution models across Google Ads and Google Analytics 4 will be going away. Data-driven attribution, last click, and external attribution won’t be impacted.”

Dig deeperData-driven attribution: How to think about Google’s default attribution model

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About the author

Nicola Agius

Nicola Agius is Paid Media Editor of Search Engine Land after joining in 2023. She covers paid search, paid social, retail media and more. Prior to this, she was SEO Director at Jungle Creations (2020-2023), overseeing the company’s editorial strategy for multiple websites. She has over 15 years of experience in journalism and has previously worked at OK! Magazine (2010-2014), Mail Online (2014-2015), Mirror (2015-2017), Digital Spy (2017-2018) and The Sun (2018-2020). She also previously teamed up with SEO agency Blue Array to co-author Amazon bestselling book ‘Mastering In-House SEO’.

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