Google Analytics announced a big update affecting all GA4 properties a couple of weeks ago. They’re updating GA properties to now use data-driven attribution, causing concern about what this means for users and their GA4 properties. We’ll explore those concerns deeper in the article.
What was the previous attribution method? Most analytics properties used last-click attribution. This means 100% of the conversion was given to the way the user most recently reached us.
One of the drawbacks of this method is that it ignores actions that push the user farther down the sales funnel but don’t result in a conversion at the end of the session. This leads to false conclusions: this acquisition source isn’t converting well, so we shouldn’t prioritize it as much.
The data-driven attribution solves this problem. Its purpose is to show a ‘bigger picture’ view of conversions through learning algorithm to collect and analyze conversion data. Over time the algorithm is able to interpret trends in the ways people convert. It uses this information to assign weighted conversion values to acquisition sources.
For example, have you ever clicked to a website from social media to learn more about a product, and then later Googled that company and bought the product? If that’s a trend of a lot of our users, Google will give a small part of the conversion to the social media platform they originally came from.
These changes are likely to be very gradual. Once properties are switched to the new attribution model the learning algorithm needs time to analyze user behavior. Both the lookback window (how far the model looks back for previous user activity to attribute conversions to) and attribution settings are customizable.
This all may sound confusing. Reach out to a representative today for more information on this big Google update.