Introduction to Attribution Beta – Attribution Project in Google Analytics

Google Analytics now provides free cross channel Data-Driven Attribution (DDA) Model to all users via the new ‘Attribution’ tool (still in beta):

Earlier the data-driven attribution model was available only to Google Analytics 360 users. Now it is available to all Google Analytics users. 

You can access the new ‘Attribution’ tool from within your Google Analytics reporting view

In order to get started with this new attribution tool, you would first need to create an attribution project.

Introduction to Attribution Project

Attribution project is like a separate reporting view in Google Analytics which contains a set of reports similar to the multi-channel funnel reports.

Following is the list of attribution projects I have access to:

Each attribution project acts as a reporting view. When I click on the name of an attribution project, I can access it.

Following is an example of the set of reports which are available in each attribution project:

As you can see from the screenshot above, each attribution project provides the following set of reports:

  • Conversion Paths
  • Conversion Lag
  • Conversion Path Length
  • Model Comparison

Below these reports, you would see various settings for managing and configuring your attribution project:

  • Project settings
  • Connected properties
  • Conversion types

An attribution project can report conversion totals (which are de-duplicated) across digital channels and can provide consolidated reporting of the performance of various marketing channels. In order for an attribution project to work as a reporting view, you would first need to connect your Google Analytics reporting view(s) and conversions to the attribution project.

In the context of the Attribution project, a conversion can be a goal conversion and/or ecommerce transaction which has been defined in one or more GA properties.

That means if you have goal conversions and/or ecommerce transactions defined in multiple GA properties, you may choose to use them in the same Attribution project. 

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Google allows connecting more than one GA property to a single attribution project.

Following is the screenshot of the attribution project which is connected to two GA properties: ‘Even Education’ and ‘Optimize Smart Live Property’:

When you add two or more GA properties to a single attribution project, the project contains attribution results for the two or more properties.

Unless you own multiple websites that are part of the same business, you should add only one GA property to a single attribution project.

You can set up different users permissions for each attribution project. If your attribution project is connected to only one GA property, the users who have access to the attribution project can see attribution results for only the connected GA property. 

But when your attribution project is connected to multiple GA properties, the users who have access to the attribution project can see attribution results for all the connected GA properties. This is something that you should keep in mind while connecting multiple GA properties to a single attribution project. 

Note: At present, you can not add ‘App+Web’ property to your attribution project.

Google allows you to create up to 50 attribution projects per Google account. Google assigns each attribution project a unique ID called the ‘Project ID’:

Prerequisites for creating a new attribution project

Before you create a new attribution project in Google Analytics, you need to decide the reporting view you want to connect to your attribution project. 

Up to now, I have been telling you that we connect a GA property to an attribution project. But what we really connect to an attribution project is the specific view of the GA property.

The GA view that you choose to connect with your attribution project must meet the following criteria:

#1 The reporting view must not be a User ID view, Rollup view or Apps+Web view 

Your chosen view can not be a User ID view, rollup view (view used in a rollup property) or Apps+Web view. That is because Google Attribution doesn’t support such type of reporting views.

#2 The view can not contain a filter that strips the URL parameters 

Your chosen view should not contain a filter that strips the URL parameters. Reporting views that use filters that strip the URL parameters can not be used for Attribution.

Google recommends that you set up consistent URL parameters across all paid marketing channels. Use auto-tagging for Google ads and standard UTM parameters for non-Google ads.

#3 The view must have conversion data 

Your chosen view must have goal conversion tracking and/or ecommerce tracking (preferably enhanced ecommerce tracking) enabled with at least a few days of historical conversion data (however more the better). Without conversion data, the attribution tool is of no use. 

If your chosen reporting view does not meet any or all of the above criteria then Google recommends to update or create a new reporting view that meets these criteria.

If you want to get the best results from your attribution reports and/or if later on, you want to use the free data-driven attribution (DDA) model then select that reporting view for your attribution project which also meet the following criteria:

#1 Connection to as many Google accounts as possible 

Select that reporting view for your attribution project which belongs to the GA property that is connected to as many of your Google accounts as possible.

These Google accounts can be Google Ads, Google Search Console, Google Play, DoubleClick Campaign Manager, Google Big query, etc.

DDA model can analyze data from all Google accounts which are linked to your Google Analytics property.

So when you link all of your Google accounts to your GA property, you would get exponentially better insight from your DDA model.

#2 At least 30 days of high-quality conversion data 

Your reporting view contains at least 30 days of Goal conversion and/or e-commerce data (preferably enhanced e-commerce data) from as many marketing channels as possible.

And this data should be of high quality (free from any tracking issues like ‘duplicate transactions’).

#3 At least 600 conversions in the last 30 days

Your reporting view recorded at least 600 conversions (for one or more conversion type) in the last 30 days so that Google can create a DDA model for your conversion type(s).

If your reporting view recorded less than 600 conversions for any conversion type (in the last 30 days) then you won’t be able to use the DDA model for that conversion type in your attribution project(s).

#4 Your reporting view contains a high volume of high-quality data.

Your DDA model is only as good as the data you feed to it. If you feed it garbage, it will produce garbage.

As a result of flawed data, the data-driven attribution insight you get is most likely to be flawed, misleading and could result in huge monetary loss.

You can connect only one reporting view per GA property. So chose your reporting view wisely.

Creating a new attribution project

Follow the steps below:

Step-1: Login to your Google Analytics account and then navigate to your chosen reporting view. Let’s call this reporting view ‘Optimize Smart Main View’ for easy reference.

Step-2: Scroll down and then click on the ‘Attribution’ link at the bottom of the left-hand side navigation:

Step-3: Click on the ‘Get Started’ button:

Note: ‘Edit’ permission is required at the account level to create an Attribution project.

Step-4: Select the Google Analytics account from the ‘Account’ menu which contains the reporting view you want to use in your attribution project (in our case ‘Optimize Smart Main View’):

Step-5: Select the Google Analytics Property from the ‘Property’ menu which contains the reporting view you want to use in your attribution project (in our case ‘Optimize Smart Main View’):

Step-6: Select the reporting view from the ‘View’ menu which you want to use in your attribution project (in our case ‘Optimize Smart Main View’):

Step-7: Click on the ‘Next’ button. Your screen should now look like the one below:

Step-8: Click on ‘Select Conversion Types’ button:

Step-9: Select all the conversion types that you want to use in your attribution project (I like to select all the conversion types) and then click on the ‘Save’ button:

Step-10: Click on the ‘Complete Setup’ button:

Once you clicked on the ‘Complete Setup’ button, you will be able to access your new attribution project:

At this point your attribution project can take: 

  • Up to 72 hrs to collect enough data (from your reporting view) to create your first attribution model.
  • Up to 30 days to collect enough data to create robust attribution models (including the DDA model, if applicable in your case).

The best practice is to wait for at least 30 days (from the date you first created your attribution project) before you start analyzing the various reports in your attribution project.

Step-11: Add users to your attribution project.

To do that follow the steps below:

#11.1 Click on the ‘Project Settings’ link under the ‘Configure’ section:

#11.2 Click on the ‘User Management’ button:

#11.3 Click on the blue plus button on the top right-hand side:

#11.4 Click on ‘Add Users’ item from the drop-down menu:

#11.5 Enter the email address of the person you want to give access to:

#11.6 Click on the checkbox next to the permission you want to give to the new user:

You can provide the following types of permissions to a user:

  1. Edit – A user with ‘Edit’ permission can change configuration data and/or connect the attribution project to additional GA properties. But he can’t manage users.
  2. Read & Analyze – A user with ‘Read & Analyze’ permission can see report and configuration data. He can also manipulate data within reports (example: filter a table, add a secondary dimension). But he can’t manage users.
  3. Manage Users – A user with ‘Manage Users’ permission can add or delete other users. He can also change users’ permissions.

 

#11.7 Click on the ‘Add’ button at the top right-hand side:

Step-12: Click on the pencil icon next to ‘Project Details’ if you want to rename your attribution project and/or change the timezone for your attribution project:


Step-13: Click on the pencil icon next to ‘Lookback Window’ if you want to change the lookback window setting to 60 days or 90 days (the default setting is 30 days):

The period of 1 to 90 days prior to conversion is called the lookback windowThe lookback window determines how far back in time a touchpoint should be considered eligible for getting credit for a conversion(s). 

For example, 30 days lookback window means, a touchpoint should be considered eligible for getting credit for a conversion(s) up to 30 days prior to the date of conversion. Similarly, a 90 days lookback window means, a touchpoint should be considered eligible for getting credit for a conversion(s) up to 90 days prior to the date of conversion. 

The lookback window applies to all attribution models and all conversion types. Changes to the lookback window apply going forward.

That’s why it is important that you determine and change your lookback window as soon as you create a new attribution project. I like to keep the lookback window setting at 30 days. 

Step-14: Click on the ‘Connected Properties’ link (under ‘Configure’) if you want to add more GA properties to your attribution project:


Note: When your attribution project is connected to multiple GA properties, the users who have access to the attribution project can see attribution results for all the connected GA properties. This is something that you should keep in mind while connecting multiple GA properties to a single attribution project. 

Deleting an attribution project

If you want to delete an attribution project then follow the steps below:

Step-1: Navigate to https://analytics.google.com/analytics/attribution/projects

Step-2: Click on the three dots button next to the attribution project you want to delete:

Step-3: Click on ‘Move to Trash Can’:

When you add an attribution project to the trash can, you mark the project for deletion. The attribution project does not delete immediately.

You have up to 35 days to restore your project once you have added it to the trash can. During this time, your project will continue to collect conversion data even when the attribution project is in the trash can. After the project has been in the trash can for 35 days, it is automatically deleted for good.

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  17. Introduction to Nonline Analytics – True Multi Channel Analytics
  18. Conversion Types Explained in Google Analytics Attribution
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  21. Introduction to TV Attribution in Google Analytics Attribution 360
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  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
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  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
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  44. Introduction to Attribution Beta – Attribution Project in Google Analytics

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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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