Differences Between Google Attribution & Multi-Channel Funnel Reports

An attribution project provides four reports for attribution analysis:

  • Conversion paths
  • Conversion lag
  • Conversion path length
  • Model comparison

These reports are collectively known as attribution reports. 

Google Analytics provides the following eight reports for attribution analysis:

  • Multi-channel funnels overview
  • Assisted conversions
  • Top conversion paths
  • Time lag
  • Path length
  • Model comparison tool
  • ROI analysis
  • Model explorer

These reports are collectively known as multi-channel funnels reports.

Before the advent of attribution reports, we used and relied only on multi-channel funnel reports for attribution analysis. With the advent of 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 modeling is quite different. 

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Following are the key differences between how attribution reports and multi-channel funnel reports handle attribution:

#1 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.

#2 There are more attribution models available in multi-channel funnel reports than in attribution reports. 

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

  • Last interaction
  • Last non-direct click
  • Last Google ads click
  • First interaction
  • Linear
  • Time-decay
  • Position-based
  • Data-driven 

Whereas, attribution reports provide six different attribution models:

  • Data-driven (non-direct)
  • First click (non-direct)
  • Last click (non-direct)
  • Linear (non-direct)
  • Position-based (non-direct)
  • Time-decay (non-direct)

#3 The model comparison tool in multi-channel funnel reports allow you to create a new custom attribution model and import custom model from the GA solutions gallery. You can not create a new custom attribution model or import custom model from the GA solutions gallery in attribution reports.

#4 Attribution reports provide a free data-driven attribution model to all users. Whereas in multi-channel funnel reports, the data-driven attribution model is available only to GA 360 customers. 

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

The data-driven attribution model used in 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. 

#6 There are twice as many multi-channel funnel reports as attribution reports for attribution analysis.

#7 Google Ads clicks and cost data are available in multi-channel funnel reports but not in attribution reports. So if you want to do attribution analysis for your Google Ads campaigns, you can do that only via multi-channel funnel reports.

#8 You can use custom channel grouping in multi-channel funnel reports but not in attribution reports.

#9 You can create and apply conversion segments in multi-channel funnel reports but not in attribution reports.

#10 The conversion path report in an attribution project shows the conversion credit score assigned to each touchpoint on the conversion path. This is not the case with the top conversion paths report in GA multi-channel funnels:

#11 The default channel grouping used in multi-channel funnel reports is called ‘MCF Channel Grouping’:

The default channel grouping used in attribution reports is called ‘default channel grouping’:

As you can see from the screenshot, the default channel grouping includes improvements over ‘MCF Channel Grouping’. 

The default channel grouping reports not only on the performance of the ‘Paid Search’ marketing channel but also on the performance of ‘Branded Paid Search’, ‘Generic Paid Search’ and ‘Shopping’ marketing channels:

Similarly, the ‘default channel grouping’ reports not only on the performance of the ‘Display’ marketing channel but also on the performance of ‘Display General’ and ‘Display Remarketing’ channels.

#12 Attribution reports provide a secondary dimension called ‘Paid/free’ through which you can separate paid and free marketing channels. This is something which is not available in multi-channel funnels reports:

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Himanshu Sharma

Digital Marketing Consultant and Founder of Optimizesmart.com

Himanshu helps business owners and marketing professionals in generating more sales and ROI by fixing their website tracking issues, helping them understand their true customers' purchase journey and helping them determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.

He has over 12 years of experience in digital analytics and digital marketing.

He was nominated for the Digital Analytics Association's Awards for Excellence. The Digital Analytics Association is a world-renowned not-for-profit association that helps organisations overcome the challenges of data acquisition and application.

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