Marketer’s Guide to Data-Driven Attribution

Laura Caveney
7th March 2022

Data-driven attribution is a tool that you can obtain via a number of sources, including Google Analytics. In this blog, we explore the different types of data-driven attribution tools you can try and what impact they can have on your marketing results. 

Attribution is a tool that marketers are slowly realising needs to be a major part of their marketing stack. According to Think with Google, 76% of all marketers say they currently have or will have in the next 12 months, the capability to use marketing attribution.

Related: Complete guide to marketing attribution

And it’s no surprise. Reporting on marketing is hard work. 

When it comes to reporting, marketing has endless amounts of data. 

And all the stats you want are siloed (aka you can’t link your revenue data in your CRM to your website data in analytics). 

Then if you try to manually cross-reference that data, you wind up pulling your hair out due to the tons of discrepancies you find, tool to tool. So much so, that 40% of marketers believe that more accurate data would improve the performance of their marketing

💡 Tip

Want to smash through the data silos you’re likely encountering with Google Analytics, Google Ads, Meta and so on? Read how to get a single source of truth for your marketing data, here. 

In this blog, we’re going to dig deep into data-driven attribution so stick around to learn: 

Let’s get started. 

What is a data-driven attribution model?

Data-driven attribution is where a tool will assess and analyse customer behaviour to identify patterns among those users who convert, compared to those who don’t. 

Google offers data-driven attribution within both Google Ads and Google Analytics. These tools will compare the customer paths of those who do and don’t convert to find patterns within their interactions. 

💡 Tip

You can also get data-driven attribution with our own tool, Ruler Analytics. Read more about how Ruler works and the data you can access here. 

Using data-driven attribution is a great option for marketers as it allows you to spot new trends in how users are engaging with your content and campaigns. Instead of having to analyse data yourself, data-driven attribution allows you to clearly see what’s working best and what isn’t. 

Related: Complete guide to marketing attribution

You can select data-driven attribution as your chosen model type for conversions within Google Analytics and Google Ads to see how your marketing stacks up when it comes to driving new leads. 

Let’s explore how each one works and what requirements you need to get the data in-app. 

🎓 Pro Tip

Want to learn more about attribution? Well, we’re the experts so we put all our knowledge into one free e-learning platform.

Enrol in Attribution Academy today

Data-driven attribution in Google Ads 

Data-driven attribution is a feature in Google Ads that allows you to credit conversions based on how people engage with your ads. 

It analyses all of the data in your ad account to determine which keywords, ads and campaigns have the biggest impact on your bottom line. 

It looks at all engagements and interactions across your paid history to build a better understanding of how your ad campaigns work to drive conversions and sales. Your data-driven model is specific to you and will allow you to: 

With data-driven attribution in place on your paid reporting, you’ll see which ads have the greatest effect on your business goals. 

And, if you use an automated bid strategy to drive more conversions, your bidding will use this important information to help you get more conversions.

Related: Guide to smart bidding on Google Ads

Data requirements for data-driven attribution in Google Ads

Sadly, not everyone will be able to access data-driven attribution as it does rely on a large amount of data in order to accurately predict trends. 

As such, not all advertisers will see ‘data-driven’ as an attribution model type. 

As a general rule, you need to have: 

Because of the eligibility criteria, it’s possible that you’ll see data-driven attribution for some of your conversion actions, and not for others. 

If you can’t access data-driven attribution, then Google Ads offer other attribution models that don’t have any data requirements gatekeeping them. 

And remember, the main issue with Google Ads is linking your lead generation to your closed revenue so you can see exactly which sales your paid advertising influenced.

If that’s the main problem you’re struggling with then read more on getting revenue into your Google Ads with offline conversion tracking.

How to set up data-driven attribution for your conversions in Google Ads

If you hit the data requirements mentioned above, then you can get started with setting up your data-driven attribution model. 

Here’s how to set it up: 

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account
  2. Click the tools icon and select Conversions

3. In the table, select the conversion action that you want to edit

4. Click Edit settings.

5. Select Attribution model, then select Data-driven attribution from the drop-down menu.

6. Click Done, then click Save.

And that’s it! From there, it’s all set up and the data will start to roll in and attribute automatically. 

✉️ If you’ve got any more questions about data-driven in Google Ads, then give us a message in our live chat box. 

Data-driven attribution in Google Analytics 

New to the Google suite is Multi-Channel Funnels (MCF) data-driven attribution. This uses real data from your account to build a custom model to attribute conversion credit to marketing touchpoints. 

Data-driven attribution is now the default attribution model type for Google Analytics. It looks at all the interactions that make up customer journeys including clicks and video engagement on channels like: 

It can link through data from all of your other Google products too, including Google Ads, Google Display and Campaign Manager 360. 

Using your Default Channel Grouping aka your main marketing channels, MCF will provide attribution recommendations for each channel. 

Data requirements for data-driven attribution with MCF

Sadly, you have to be a paying member of Google Analytics 360 to get access to data-driven attribution with MCF. 

You also need to: 

How many conversions do you need to be able to use data-driven attribution in Google Analytics? 

Data-driven relies on a lot of data and as such, you need to consistently generate conversions to use data-driven attribution within multi-channel funnels. 

To continue using MCF, you need to hit the following as minimum criteria for the previous 28 days: 

But wait, don’t worry! You can still use MCF in Google Analytics. You just can’t access the data-driven model. 

How to set up data-driven attribution in Google Analytics

If you’re a Google Analytics 360 user with the Editor role, here’s how you can enable MCF Data-Driven Attribution for your account:

  1. Sign in to Google Analytics.
  2. Click Admin, and navigate to the view for which you want to enable MCF Data-Driven Attribution Modeling.
  3. Click View Settings.
  4. Under Modeling Settings, turn on Enable Data-Driven Models

If you don’t make the criteria to access data-driven attribution in MCF, don’t worry. You can still use MCF in Google Analytics. You just can’t access the data-driven model. 

What is the Model Comparison Tool in Google Analytics?

Head to Conversions, and Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics. From there, select Model Comparison Tool to see how your channels are driving revenue or conversions based on a particular model type. 

Related: Guide to Google Analytics attribution modelling 

While in the Model Comparison Tool, you can switch between the following model types: 

💡 Tip

Read our guide to marketing attribution and model types to understand which one will best suit your needs

You likely have goals set up in Google Analytics, which you can use as a count for your modelling in GA. That means you’ll just get the number of conversions attributed to the corresponding model type. But with just this data, you’ll miss out on: 

To get this data into Google Analytics, you’ll need to connect with a marketing attribution tool. 

Understanding Google Analytics model comparison tool with Ruler data 

While the model comparison tool alone is a good start to understanding the impact your marketing has, it’s pretty inaccurate on its own.

The way to get around this is by integrating an attribution tool like Ruler Analytics that will allow you to play with attribution through different model types. Let’s say you connect Ruler Analytics to your marketing stack. 

Related: How Ruler affects paid advertising strategy 

This tool allows you to track anonymous website visitors and build customer journeys. Ruler does this so that when those users convert into leads, whether that’s by call, form or live chat, their lead source will be sent over to your CRM, or wherever you’re holding your lead data. You’ll also have full visibility of their current customer journey. 

tracking sara's customer journey in ruler analytics

Related: How to view full customer journeys in Ruler 

So, when a user closes into revenue in your CRM, Ruler will scrape that data and fire it to relevant apps. 

In this case, it will scrape the revenue data and fire it to Google Analytics’ Model Comparison Tool. You’ll get to see the spend, CPA, conversion value and ROAS by channel, and by the model types mentioned above.

⚡️ Pro Tip

Want more support with your paid efforts? Read how Ruler can support you to optimise your paid advertising strategy.

What does that mean? Well, you don’t have to try and collate data together and make sense of it. Ruler takes all of the hard work out of it and automatically, and accurately, attributes it based on what matters most to you. 

Get more out of your stats with data-driven attribution 

Data-driven attribution in Google products isn’t simple to get or simple to use. But, if you can access it, it can revolutionise how you optimise your marketing and your budget. 

The sad truth is that many businesses can’t access these products. So what’s the solution? Well, with Ruler Analytics in place, you can basically recreate data-driven attribution in Google Analytics yourself. 

Ruler will push all the data you need, where you need it most. And you’ll be able to use the Model Comparison Tool to better visualise how your channels are working together to drive new revenue. 

Book a demo of Ruler to see the data in action. Or, read our blog on how Ruler actually attributes revenue back to your marketing. 

revenue attribution marketing attribution - ruler analytics