How To Setup Query Attribution Modelling In Google Analytics [PPC]

by Kristian Humle Lauritsen August 2nd, 2012 


Value attribution of online marketing activities is an area that is given much attention these days and something the different Web Analytics and online marketing systems is working hard on implementing in their products. For example the Google Analytics Premium product now offers an Attribution Modelling tool that is not available in the standard free Google Analytics product.

The main concept of the attribution modelling is to provide the online marketer alternative models of attributing the conversion value than the current last-click attribution model used by most systems and marketers.
This blog post will provide some methods of how to take some attribution insights into account when evaluating you search campaigns. The examples is based on Adwords but the concept can also easily be applied SEO and other marketing channels.

Segmenting your search queries

In terms of search queries these can roughly be categorized into 3 types of searches:

  1. Informational searches: queries that are used to discover information relative to a topic, problem, or desired subject.
  2. Navigational searches: queries that are used to locate a specific web site
  3. Transactional searches: queries that are used to find information related to buying a particular product or service

Within these types of searches the transactional searches are often the search resulting in a conversion while the other two search types seldom gets the last-click conversion but however often is a mean of getting the transactional click. To explain this below is an example of a user search behaviour including 3 interactions through paid search before a conversion is made:

  1. "smartphones comparison" (informational search)
  2. "iphone features" (navigational search)
  3. "buy iphone 4 32gb" (transactional search)

In the example above the transactional search gets the conversion while the 2 other searches assisted the conversion. So while a traditional last-click attribution Adwords optimization approach would shut down much of the informational and navigational search keywords this would also affect the transactional keyword since they depend on the initial customers contact through these search queries.

Setting up your Google Analytics

To avoid shutting down these assisted conversions Google Analytics provide tools to identify and measure the impact of these assisted Adwords. These tools are located within the "Conversion" menu item:

Within these reports you need to create your own custom Channel Grouping where you define and segment your Adwords keywords or campaigns into for example informational, navigational and transactional groups:

Notice: you need to link your Adwords and Analytics accounts linked to have the detailed Adwords data available in your Analytics account.

The final data and insights

With these new custom segments it is possible to gain insight in the relationship and synergy between your Adwords campaigns and apply a more detailed attribution modelling to your online marketing activities.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy How To Use Analytics To Determine How You Are Doing With Social 

Kristian Humle Lauritsen

I have over 10 years of experience within online marketing from both the "buyer" and "seller" side of the online marketing table. My buying experience is from managing various online marketing projects in Nykredit, one of the largest financial companies in Denmark. My selling experience is from my current position as founder and COO in Marketing Lion an online marketing agency specializing in search marketing with offices in London and Copenhagen.

Marketing Lion

You May Also Like

2 Responses to “How To Setup Query Attribution Modelling In Google Analytics [PPC]”

  1. Ben says:

    This is all very interesting but i don't know how relevant this really is for small to medium business. The volume in these cases are too small for this type of data segmentation to be of use. But I could be wrong.

    • Hi Ben

      Thank you for your comment.

      You are right that with all Analytics you need a certain amount of data for it to become valid/useful. However I still think you can gain insights through even small samples of data.

      First of all the concept of value attribution and looking beyond the last click is an eye-opener for many which can be of great value in itself.

      You could also define your channel groupings differently than in my example and instead setup the groupings that makes sense (and volume) for your online marketing. A very simple broad groping would be taking an overview look at how many PPC conversions are located 2nd and beyond in the conversion funnel and that you currently are not "getting credit for" (by last-click attribution). Add these conversions in your CPA calculation and see how it changes your ROI.