Google Attribution vs Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnel Reports

Before the advent of Google Attribution reports, we used and relied only on Google Analytics multi-channel funnel reports for attribution analysis. 

With the advent of Google attribution reports, we now get a second set of reports to do attribution analysis in GA.

Although both attribution reports and multi-channel funnel reports are used for attribution analysis, their approach to attribution modelling is quite different. 

Google Attribution vs Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnel Reports

Following are the main differences between how Google Attribution and Multi-Channel funnel reports handle attributions:

#1 The number and types of attribution reports

An attribution project provides five reports for attribution analysis:

  1. Conversion paths
  2. Conversion lag
  3. Conversion path length
  4. Model comparison
  5. Google Ads performance
Google Attribution vs Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnel Reports

Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels (MCF) provide the following eight reports for attribution analysis:

  1. Multi-channel funnels overview
  2. Assisted conversions
  3. Top conversion paths (does not show conversion credit assigned to each touchpoint)
  4. Time lag
  5. Path length
  6. Model comparison tool
  7. ROI analysis
  8. Model explorer

As you can see the attribution reports provided by Google Analytics Multi-channel funnels are almost twice the attribution reports provided by Google attribution.

#2 Differences between MCF Top Conversion paths report and Conversion paths report of Google Attribution

MCF Top Conversion paths report vs Conversion paths report of an attribution project

Both the MCF Top Conversion paths report and Conversion paths report (of an attribution project) are used to understand customers’ paths to conversion for a particular conversion type, attribution model and conversion path length.

However, both reports have around dozen different differences. To know more about these differences check out this article: Top Conversion Paths Report vs Conversion Paths Report

#3 Differences between Time Lag report and Conversion Lag report of Google Attribution

Time Lag report vs Conversion Lag report of an attribution project

Both the Time Lag report and Conversion Lag report (of an attribution project) are used to determine the number of days it takes for your website users to convert on your website.

The time lag is known as the conversion lag in the context of an attribution project. In the offline world, the conversion lag is known as the ‘sales cycle’. 

However, both reports have a lot of differences. To know more about these differences check out this article: Time Lag Report vs Conversion Lag Report

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#4 Differences between MCF Path Length report and Conversion path length report of Google Attribution

MCF Path Length report vs Conversion path length report of an attribution project

Both the MCF Path Length report and Conversion path length report (of an attribution project) are used to determine the number of touchpoints it takes for users to convert on your website.

However, both reports have few key differences then you need to be aware of. To know more about these differences check out this article: Path Length Report vs Conversion Path Length Report

#5 Differences between MCF Model Comparison Tool report and Model Comparison report of Google Attribution

MCF Model Comparison Tool vs Model Comparison report

Both the MCF Model Comparison Tool report and Model Comparison report (of an attribution project) are used to compare different attributions to each other. This comparison is carried out to determine how marketing channels can be valued from a different perspective.

However, both reports have few key differences then you need to be aware of. To know more about these differences check out this article: Model Comparison Tool vs Model Comparison report

#6 Different Conversion Credit distribution

All attribution models available in attribution reports do not give any conversion credit to direct visits unless a conversion path is made up entirely of direct visits.

This is not the case with the attribution models available in multi-channel funnel reports.

#7 There are more attribution models available in MCF reports than in attribution reports 

For example, multi-channel funnel reports provide the following eight different attribution models:

  1. Last interaction
  2. Last non-direct click
  3. Last Google ads click
  4. First interaction
  5. Linear
  6. Time-decay
  7. Position-based
  8. Data-driven 
12 3

Whereas, Google Attribution reports provide the following six different attribution models:

  1. Data-driven (non-direct)
  2. First click (non-direct)
  3. Last click (non-direct)
  4. Linear (non-direct)
  5. Position-based (non-direct)
  6. Time-decay (non-direct)
12 4

#8 Creating or importing an attribution model

The model comparison tool in Google Analytics multi-channel funnel reports allow you to create a new custom attribution model and/or import a custom model from the GA solutions gallery.

You can not create a new custom attribution model or import a custom model from the GA solutions gallery in Google Attribution reports.

#9 Availability of the Data-Driven Attribution Model

Google Attribution reports provide a free data-driven attribution (DDA) model to all users.

Whereas in multi-channel funnel reports, the data-driven attribution model is available only to GA 360 customers. 

#10 The working of the DDA Model

The data-driven attribution model used in Google Attribution reports works differently than the data-driven attribution model used in multi-channel funnel reports. 

The data-driven attribution model used in Google attribution reports includes all touchpoints within the set lookback window, and it does not give any conversion credit to direct visits unless a conversion path is made up entirely of direct visits. 

The data-driven attribution model used in multi-channel funnel reports includes only the last four most influential touchpoints on a conversion path and can give conversion credit to direct visits.

So if you try to compare the results of the DDA model used in attribution reports with the DDA model used in multi-channel funnel reports, it is not going to be the same. 

#11 You can use custom channel grouping in MCF reports but not in attribution reports

custom channel grouping

#12 You can create and apply conversion segments in MCF reports but not in attribution reports

conversion segments 1

#13 Changing Reporting time

reporting time

Google Attribution reports allow you to change your reporting time to conversion time or interaction time.

Whereas the GA MCF reports do not allow you to change your reporting time. The reporting time for the MCF reports is ‘conversion time’ only.

#14 Impressions included as events

Google Attribution reports do not include impressions as events. Whereas the GA MCF reports can include impressions that lead to sessions.

Articles on Attribution Modelling

  1. How to analyse and report the true value of your SEO Campaign
  2. How to valuate Display Advertising through Attribution Modelling
  3. Understanding Shopping Carts for Analytics and Conversion Optimization
  4. 6 Keys to Digital Success in Attribution Modelling
  5. Google Analytics Attribution Modeling Tutorial
  6. How to Measure and Improve the Quality of SEO Traffic through Google Analytics
  7. How to explain attribution modelling to your clients
  8. Default and Custom Attribution Models in Google Analytics
  9. Understanding Missing Touchpoints in Attribution Modelling
  10. What You Should Know about Historical Data in Web Analytics
  11. Model Comparison Report Explained in Google Analytics Attribution
  12. Data-Driven Attribution Model in Google Analytics – Tutorial
  13. Conversion Lag Report Explained in Google Analytics Attribution
  14. Selecting the Best Attribution Model for Inbound Marketing
  15. How to do ROI Analysis in Google Analytics
  16. Conversion Credit Models Guide – Google Analytics Attribution
  17. Introduction to Nonline Analytics – True Multi Channel Analytics
  18. Conversion Types Explained in Google Analytics Attribution
  19. Attribution Channels Explained in Google Analytics Attribution
  20. Differences Between Google Attribution & Multi-Channel Funnel Reports
  21. Introduction to TV Attribution in Google Analytics Attribution 360
  22. Conversion Credit Distribution for Attribution Models in Google Analytics
  23. Conversion Paths Report Explained in Google Analytics Attribution
  24. Attribution Model Comparison Tool in Google Analytics
  25. Touchpoint Analysis in Google Analytics Attribution Modelling
  26. Attributed Conversions & Attributed Revenue Explained in Google Attribution
  27. Which Attribution Model to use in Google Analytics?
  28. Google Attribution Access and User Permissions – Tutorial
  29. Conversion Path Length Report Explained in Google Analytics Attribution
  30. How to set up a data-driven attribution model in Google Analytics
  31. View-Through Conversion Tracking in Google Analytics
  32. Offline Conversion Tracking in Google Analytics – Tutorial
  33. How to Create Custom Attribution Model in Google Analytics
  34. 8 Google Analytics Conversions Segments You Must Use
  35. You are doing Google Analytics all wrong. Here is why
  36. How to Use ZMOT to Increase Conversions and Sales Exponentially
  37. Connected Properties Explained in Google Analytics Attribution
  38. Marketing Mix Modelling or Attribution Modelling. Which one is for you?
  39. How is attribution modelling helpful for ecommerce and non-ecommerce websites?
  40. Conversion Time & Interaction Time Explained in Google Analytics Attribution
  41. How to Allocate Budgets in Multi Channel Marketing
  42. How Does Attribution Work?
  43. Data-Driven Attribution Model Explorer in Google Analytics
  44. Introduction to Attribution Beta – Attribution Project in Google Analytics

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Maths and Stats for Web Analytics and Conversion Optimization
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About the Author

Himanshu Sharma

  • Founder, OptimizeSmart.com
  • Over 15 years of experience in digital analytics and marketing
  • Author of four best-selling books on digital analytics and conversion optimization
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  • Runs one of the most popular blogs in the world on digital analytics
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