Smarter attribution for everyone

Cross-posted from the Google Analytics blog.

In May, we announced Google Attribution, a new free product to help marketers measure the impact of their marketing across devices and across channels. Advertisers participating in our early tests are seeing great results. Starting today, we’re expanding the Attribution beta to hundreds of advertisers.

We built Google Attribution to bring smarter performance measurement to all advertisers, and to solve the common problems with other attribution solutions.

Google Attribution is:

  • Easy to setup and use: While some attribution solutions can take months to set up, Google Attribution can access the marketing data you need from tools like AdWords and Google Analytics with just a few clicks.
  • Cross-device: Today’s marketers need measurement tools that don’t lose track of the customer journey when people switch between devices. Google Attribution uses Google’s device graph to measure the cross-device customer journey and deliver insights into cross-device behavior, all while protecting individual user privacy.
  • Cross-channel: With your marketing spread out across so many channels (like search, display, and email), it can be difficult to determine how each channel is working and which ones are truly driving sales. Google Attribution brings together data across channels so you can get a more comprehensive view of your performance.
  • Easy to take action: Attribution insights are only valuable if you can use them to improve your marketing. Integrations with tools like AdWords make it easy to update your bids or move budget between channels based on the new, more accurate performance data.

Results from Google Attribution beta customers

Last April, we shared that for AdWords advertisers, data-driven attribution typically delivers more conversions at a similar cost-per-conversion than last-click attribution. This shows that data-driven attribution is a better way to measure and optimize the performance of search and shopping ads.

Today we’re pleased to share that early results from Google Attribution beta customers show that data-driven attribution helps marketers improve their performance across channels.

HelloFresh, a meal delivery service, grew conversions by 10% after adopting Google Attribution. By using data-driven attribution to measure across channels like search, display, and email, Google Attribution gives HelloFresh a more accurate measurement of the number of conversions each channel is driving. And because Google Attribution is integrated with AdWords, HelloFresh can easily use this more accurate conversion data to optimize their bidding.

“With Google Attribution, we have been able to automatically integrate cross-channel bidding throughout our AdWords search campaigns. This has resulted in a seamless change in optimization mindset as we are now able to see keyword and query performance more holistically rather than inadvertently focusing on only last-click events.
– Karl Villanueva Head of Paid Search & Display, HelloFresh

Pixers, an online marketplace, is also seeing positive results including increased conversions. Google Attribution allows Pixers to more confidently evaluate the performance of their AdWords campaigns and adopt new features that improve performance.

“By using Google Attribution data we have finally eliminated guesswork from evaluating the performance of campaigns we’re running, including shopping and re-marketing. The integration with AdWords also enabled us to gradually roll-out smart bidding strategies across increasing number of campaigns. The results have significantly exceeded expectations as we managed to cut the CPA while obtaining larger conversion volumes.” – Arkadiusz Kuna, SEM & Remarketing Manager at Pixers

Google Attribution can also help brands get a better understanding of their customer’s path to purchase. eDreams ODIGEO, an online travel company, knows that people don’t usually book flights or hotels after a single interaction with their brand. It often requires multiple interactions with each touchpoint having a different impact.

“Some channels open the customer journey and bring new customers, whereas other channels are finishers and contribute to close the sales. Google Attribution is helping us to understand the added value of each interaction. It enhances of our ability to have a holistic view of how different marketing activities contribute to success.”
– Manuel Bruscas, Director of Marketing Analytics & Insights, eDreams ODIGEO

Next steps

In the coming months we’ll invite more advertisers to use Google Attribution. If you’re interested in receiving a notification when the product is available for you, please sign up here.

Don’t forget, even before adopting Google Attribution, you can get started with smarter measurement for your AdWords campaigns. With attribution in AdWords you can move from last-click to a better attribution model, like data-driven attribution, that allows you to more accurately measure and optimize search and shopping ads.

Posted by Bill Kee, Group Product Manager, Measurement and Attribution

Ramp up your calls with call bid adjustments

Click-to-call ads were introduced seven years ago to help you connect with more customers over the phone. Since then, we’ve heard one thing loud and clear: you want to drive even more calls. And it’s no surprise—on average, calls convert three times better than web clicks.1

To help you generate more calls, we’re rolling out new call bid adjustments, which allow you to control how often the call option appears with your search ads. Use call bid adjustments to increase bids on campaigns that drive valuable phone calls. For example, if you’re a travel advertiser, you may see higher order values from calls because it can be easier to cross-sell rental cars, group tours and other vacation add-ons during a live conversation. Raise your call bid adjustments to show call extensions more frequently and drive more of these high-value call conversions.

“Calls are an important source of new customer leads for us. Call bid adjustments help us improve our click-to-call visibility and ensure we’re appearing in the top 1-2 positions on mobile. Our on-the-go customers convert quickly within a short window of time, so it’s critical to be front and center, and show them that we offer storage units at the right price and location. Since implementing call bid adjustments and bidding higher for calls, we’ve seen a 37% increase in call volume with a 22% decrease in average cost-per-call.”
– Stephanie Christensen, Paid Acquisition Analyst

“Our customers want to speak to a real person to make sure they’re choosing the right medical alert system for themselves or a loved one. When we can walk them through our offerings live and give them that peace of mind, they have a 30% likelihood of converting, which is nearly 2x higher than with web leads. Someone connecting with us from a call extension is more valuable than a website click, so call bid adjustments allow us to optimize for that greater value. We’ve worked with our agency, Metric Theory, to increase bids specifically for calls and improve how often the call extension shows. As a result, we’ve generated 20% higher call volume while decreasing the cost by 60%.”
– 
Matt Guerrieri, Director of Marketing

“Call bid adjustments have helped us meet a key marketing objective by delivering a strong uplift in performance year over year, with a 79% increase in click to call rate. It has also enabled us to target our audience to generate higher value insurance policies. The flexibility of the service allows us to make the call option more prominent, thereby driving a greater number of relevant calls. Calls deliver a significant proportion of our monthly leads and we are currently working to push call bid adjustments even harder.”
– Anthony Gamble, Head of Digital Marketing (Acquisition)


Call bid adjustments are available exclusively in the new AdWords experience, which will roll out to all advertisers by the end of the year.2 To learn more about AdWords calls solutions, visit our Help Center. You can also check out best practices for maximizing calls performance and improving the caller experience.

Posted by Amit Agarwal, Senior Product Manager, Calls & Messaging


1. Google internal data, 2016
2. The new AdWords experience is rolling out to all advertisers throughout 2017. Once you have access, you can easily switch back and forth between the new and previous experiences.

Say It in Six: Why marketers and creatives are embracing the newest video ad length

Have you heard the good news about YouTube’s six-second bumper ads? These little wonders have swept the globe for three simple reasons: they provide wide reach, they drive brand results and they’re a great canvas for creativity.

And we’re ready to mark the one year anniversary of bumpers by giving them their star turn – for the 2017-2018 upfront season, we’re making bumpers available for Google Preferred buys. This format is a perfect match to the sought-after content included in Google Preferred and will help advertisers drive reach and build awareness during increasingly mobile viewing moments.

Let’s take a closer look at this little format that could, built to capture attention wherever and whenever it’s available.

Bumpers drive efficient reach
Sold on a simple CPM, bumpers aren’t just an easy way to get your brand in front of a lot of people – they also effectively drive upper funnel results. We looked across 122 bumpers campaigns in the US last year and found that 70% drove a significant lift in brand awareness, with an average lift of 9%.1 On ad recall, they perform even better – over 9 in 10 drove ad recall globally, with an average lift of over 30%.2 Given their high success rate and ease of use, bumpers can be a great building block for your YouTube campaigns.

Bumpers work for brands
Thanks to their efficiency and efficacy, many brands are weaving bumpers into their campaigns. For instance, Busch used bumpers to continue the story from their first-ever Super Bowl ad. Busch worked with their creative agency Deutsch to collect extra footage from their Super Bowl shoot and create bumpers with different themes. This approach resulted in a double-digit lift in both purchase consideration and brand awareness among viewers. Knowing how well its bumpers performed across various brand lift metrics, Busch was also able to optimize its campaign in real-time, tailoring its creatives to audience segments most likely to consider buying the beer after seeing a particular ad. As Anheuser-Busch’s Senior Director, Digital Victoria Vaynberg points out, “Capturing consumers’ attention is always a challenge, so short and contextually-relevant content is key to getting over this hurdle. By using YouTube bumpers, we were able to tap into a great product that is built to address this challenge and successfully break through with consumers.”

Under Armour also turned to bumpers for a recent product launch. They took a strategic hybrid approach for advertising on YouTube, leading with a TrueView ad, which helped to engage the audience through an emotional narrative, followed by bumpers that highlighted the innovation of the new product.

“Under Armour is committed to making all athletes better through performance and innovation, while inspiring the next generation of athletes with powerful storytelling,” said Jim Mollica, Vice President of Consumer Engagement at Under Armour. “Our forward-thinking strategy guided our athletes through a unique engagement funnel, which was evidenced by double the lift in product interest among people who saw our YouTube bumper ad and our TrueView ad combined, compared to those who only saw our TrueView ad.”

We’ve also seen strong results in third party studies when using a comparable approach to Under Armour’s – using bumpers to remarket to TrueView views produced a significantly higher lift in ad recall vs TrueView alone, with an average higher lift of 42% for the skipped views and 104% for the paid views.3 We’re excited to see other brands follow a similar playbook, orchestrating their storytelling across ad lengths to maximize results.”

Bumpers offer a great canvas for creativity
It’s no surprise that some of bumpers’ earliest fans have come from the creative community. Part of the reason bumpers are such a fertile format for storytelling is that creativity thrives in constraint. At SXSW, we challenged artists, filmmakers and agency creatives to re-imagine classic works of literature in six seconds – effectively re-telling these stories in miniature. The results were by turns evocative, funny, poignant and beautiful, and they showed that six seconds is a natural and adaptable ad length. For more insights into how to build bumpers that work, check out our new article “Success in Six” on Think with Google.

For more information on bumpers, including how to set up a campaign, check out the Help Center and don’t forget to #bumpitup.

Posted by
Zach Lupei, Product Manager
Jim Habig, Product Marketing Manager



1. Google Bumper Ad Brand Lift Meta Analysis, 2016 [US]
2. Google Bumper Ad Brand Lift Meta Analysis, 2016 [Global]
3. Google/Eye Square Experiment 4 ads (n=4000 YouTube weekly users, 18-64 years old). March 2017, U.S.

Data-driven attribution delivers better results than last-click

There are more moments throughout the day for businesses to connect with consumers than ever before. It’s critical for marketers to know which moments matter, and which ones don’t.



The search process doesn’t start and end with “buy the exact product I already know I want.” People tend to click on multiple ads before converting. This process makes it challenging to assign the proper credit where it’s due. Last-click attribution, the default choice in AdWords, ignores everything except for the final, “buy the exact product I already know I want” ad click.



As marketers, it’s crucial to understand which of your clicks are the most impactful, whether or not they’re the last click before a conversion.



Data-driven attribution (DDA) uses Google’s machine learning technology to determine how much credit to assign to each click in the user journey. With DDA, you can understand how much credit should be assigned to the click on an ad for “features for product I think I want.” Even though it doesn’t convert immediately, you might see that people who click on that ad are much more likely to become customers later on.



DDA was introduced to AdWords back in May 2016, and since then, we’ve been studying how it affects performance. A recent analysis of hundreds of advertisers using DDA revealed that performance improved when compared to last-click attribution:



When compared to last-click attribution, DDA typically delivers more conversions at a similar cost-per-conversion



For Search, data-driven is now the recommended model for all eligible advertisers. It is a better way to measure and optimize performance.



How data-driven attribution works



DDA is different from rules-based attribution models. It uses your account’s conversion data to calculate the actual contribution of each search ad click along the conversion path. By comparing the paths of customers who convert to those who don’t, DDA determines what truly matters for each conversion path.



As long as your account has enough clicks and conversions, you’re eligible for DDA. We automatically train a model that’s unique to each of your conversion types. The model observes what your customers do before converting, and what they do when they don’t convert, to measure what’s important. Using Google’s machine learning, the models continue to improve over time. Read more about DDA.



The benefits of knowing which clicks matter



Here’s how DDA has already created value for other companies:




Select Home Warranty, which provides warranties to homeowners for household repair projects in the United States, saw a 36% increase in leads and a 20% decrease in cost-per-conversion after making the change to DDA.



“Switching to a data-driven attribution model unlocked growth for our business because it allowed us to give proper credit on mobile devices and non-brand keywords, resulting in a significant increase in overall conversions.” – Joseph Shrem, Founder, Select Home Warranty





Medpex is one of the largest mail-order pharmacies in Germany. Using Smart Bidding  and data-driven attribution, they drove 29% more conversions while reducing cost-per-conversion by 28%.



“An algorithm is better equipped than any manual optimization to react to dynamic changes such as price changes of competitors or delivery bottlenecks.” – Frank Müller, Chief Marketing Officer, medpex





H.I.S., a travel agency with global presence in over one hundred cities worldwide, combined DDA with Smart Bidding and Dynamic Search Ads to grow conversions by 62% at a constant cost-per-conversion.



“Data-driven attribution helped us to acquire new users because we could strengthen our approach to users in the consideration phase.” – Ryoko Kume, Customer Communications, WEB Promotion , H.I.S. Head Office WEB Division


Updating your model



Making this change is straightforward. When you change your conversion action settings, use the dropdown in the Attribution Model section to select Data-driven as your attribution model:



DDA Picker.gif



Going forward, your “Conversions” column in AdWords will report your conversions based on the new DDA model. Smart Bidding will automatically adjust to this new way of measuring conversions. If you’re bidding manually, use the “current model” columns to make the initial set of adjustments. You can find these under the set of attribution columns.



Making the most of DDA



Updating your “Conversions” column is a big step, but there are a couple of other steps to ensure that your account sees the most potential improvement:



  • Adjust bids considering your new DDA-based conversions. Once you’ve updated your attribution model, your “Conversions” columns will begin to populate with stats that reflect your choice. From there it’s easy: Optimize your bids to account for the numbers in those columns. The recommended approach is to adopt an AdWords Smart Bidding strategy, like Target CPA or Target ROAS. Historical performance for that model can be found in the “current model” columns, which you should use as you make initial bid changes.
  • Give DDA some time. Those multiple clicks in a user’s conversion path take some time to happen. Give users a chance to convert or make a purchase before evaluating results. Once your account has settled into the new method, allow a couple of weeks to pass where you gather results.
  • Re-evaluate keywords that tend to be earlier in the click path. Last-click attribution could have favored some keywords at the expense of others. Now that you’re doing a better job measuring what matters, you may find that some campaigns make a big difference in the user journey. That difference may not have been measured appropriately in the past.
  • Stop reviewing assisted conversion metrics. In the coming months, we’ll be removing columns that reference assisted conversions from your statistics tables and reports.



Watch this video for more information about getting started with data-driven attribution. For more detailed guidance, including the steps to follow to properly test a new attribution model, check out our best practices for going beyond last-click attribution.



DDA is recommended for all Search ads, and we’re dedicated to improving DDA elsewhere. You can also take action on DDA if you use DoubleClick Search. In addition, DDA is also available in Google Analytics 360 and Attribution 360. We’ll continue to invest in DDA to make it even better across platforms.



Posted by
Joan Arensman, Product Manager, AdWords Attribution

Wilfred Yeung, Senior Product Manager, Bidding

Reminder: Transition to expanded text ads before January 31, 2017

This is a friendly reminder that starting on January 31, you’ll only be able to create and edit text ads using the expanded text ads format. You’ll no longer be able to create standard text ads. While this will be the last date to create them, existing standard text ads will continue to serve.


Expanded text ads can deliver great results, particularly with a commitment to testing new creatives.
As one of the top places people go online to search for apartments, Apartments.com knows the importance of having a strong digital presence. Wanting to provide renters with even more information about its listings, Apartments.com added expanded text ads to its Search campaigns. Apartments.com’s results were strong across its campaigns. It saw 15% and 10% increases in CTRs for expanded text ads on mobile and desktop, respectively.


While making similar improvements to your ads, keep these best practices in mind:


  • Implement multiple versions of your ads. Aim for at least 3-5 per ad group.
  • Leave your standard text ads running.  You can’t create new ones, but the old ones can still serve. Don’t delete them until they stop receiving impressions on their own or the message is no longer accurate.
  • Plan to optimize your ad rotation for clicks or conversions. These options give preference to ads that are likely to perform better.
  • Focus your testing on headlines. They’re the most important part of your ads.
  • Consider shorter headlines on things like brand terms where someone might not need more info.
  • Iterate new ads based on previously successful creative. Learn from what already works.
  • Add terms from user queries and your keywords in your longer headlines whenever appropriate.


Along with those best practices, remember that after January 31 you can pause and resume standard text ads, but it’s best to create new expanded text ads.

As you prepare for expanded text ads to become the only way to create new text ads, check out our best practices guide for creating effective ads or our previously-hosted Hangout-on-Air for more advice. Take advantage of AdWords Editor, the AdWords API or the ETA Transition Helper to make these changes across your entire account.

Posted by Senthil Hariramasamy, Senior Product Manager, Ad Formats