Navigating the End of First Click, Linear, Time Decay, and Position-Based Models

In the ever-evolving landscape of online advertising, accurate attribution modelling is crucial for marketers to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns and allocate budgets effectively. Google Ads has been at the forefront of introducing new attribution models that better reflect the complexities of the customer journey. With the recent announcement of the end of first click, linear, time decay, and position-based models, advertisers must prepare themselves to navigate the future of attribution in Google Ads.

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The Evolution of Attribution Models

Traditional attribution models such as first click, linear, time decay, and position-based models have long been used to assign credit to various touch points along the customer journey. However, they often oversimplify the path to conversion and fail to account for the multiple interactions that occur before a user completes a desired action. Google Ads recognised this limitation and embarked on a mission to develop more sophisticated attribution models.

Enter Data-Driven Attribution

Data-Driven Attribution (DDA) is the attribution model that Google Ads has been promoting as the future of accurate measurement. Unlike the traditional models, DDA utilises machine learning algorithms to analyse conversion patterns and assign credit to each interaction accordingly. It takes into account various factors, such as the order, frequency, and recency of touchpoints, to provide a more nuanced understanding of the customer journey.

The Benefits of Data-Driven Attribution

  • Granular Insights: DDA offers advertisers a granular view of their campaigns by considering all relevant touchpoints. This level of detail enables marketers to identify high-impact channels and optimise their advertising strategies accordingly.
  • Improved Budget Allocation: By accurately measuring the impact of each touchpoint, DDA helps allocate budgets more effectively. Advertisers can focus their investments on channels and campaigns that have the greatest influence on conversions, ensuring maximum return on ad spend (ROAS).
  • Holistic Approach: DDA considers the entire customer journey, from initial awareness to final conversion. It provides a holistic understanding of how various marketing efforts interact and contribute to the final outcome, helping advertisers identify areas of improvement and refine their marketing mix.

Preparing for the Transition

As Google Ads phases out the first click, linear, time decay, and position-based models, advertisers should begin preparing for the transition to DDA. Here are some steps to navigate this change effectively:

  • Familiarise Yourself: Take the time to understand how DDA works and the underlying principles behind the model. Google provides comprehensive documentation and resources to help advertisers get up to speed.
  • Review Historical Data: Analyse your historical data to gain insights into the performance of your previous attribution models. Identify patterns and trends that can inform your future DDA implementation.
  • Set Conversion Goals: Clearly define your conversion goals and determine the desired outcome you want to track. This clarity will help you configure DDA accurately and align it with your business objectives.
  • Monitor and Optimise: Once you've implemented DDA, closely monitor its performance and make adjustments as needed. Regularly review the attribution reports provided by Google Ads to understand how each channel contributes to conversions.


Google Ads' shift toward data-driven attribution marks a significant step forward in accurately measuring advertising effectiveness. By retiring first click, linear, time decay, and position-based models, Google aims to encourage marketers to adopt a more sophisticated approach to attribution. Advertisers should embrace this change, leverage the power of data-driven insights, and adapt their strategies to maximise the impact of their Google Ads campaigns. With the future of attribution now focused on a more holistic understanding of the customer journey, advertisers can make better-informed decisions and drive more meaningful results.

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