3 Ways to Track Marketing Attribution in Google Analytics

Posted by tina on October 5, 2017 Data, Data Analytics, Marketing Analytics

This is part two of our Advanced Google Analytics Tips and Tricks installment. In our first installment we shared advanced tips in optimizing your content using Google Analytics. Learn how to leverage Google Analytics, a tool you already use, to measure and understand marketing attribution.

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A lot has been said about today’s marketing attribution problem. The challenges associated with marketing attribution are well documented and range from starting the conversation, to building out a proper attribution model and agreeing on first-touch or last-touch.

With that, there are a lot of ways companies can go about in thinking and implementing their attribution model. In our recent webinar with Charles Farina, Director of Growth & Development, at Analytics Pros, showed us three ways to use Google Analytics to move the need on attribution.

##Tip #1: Think About If You Really Need an Attribution Model

Attribution is such a challenge for marketers because, admittedly, it’s quite difficult to prove and therefore difficult for companies to start thinking about. With that in mind, Charles’ first tip on attribution is simply to answer the following question:

From a business standpoint, does it make sense for my company to think about attribution?

And yes, the type of business does heavily factor in whether or not you need a sophisticated marketing attribution model. If you’re unsure of how to answer this question, Charles suggests that you use Google Analytics to help answer this question.

As a tool that measures website activity, Google Analytics does offer a few features that help with marketing attribution and the first one is under the Acquisition tab, particularly the Source Medium report.

Head on over to your Google Analytics instance and go to the Acquisition tab > Source Medium. Once this report populates you’ll see a list of the last non-direct clicks users have taken on your site. This report shows a high-level attribution model where the last click gets attributed, even if there are multiple channels in the conversion journey.

To get a more granular look at attribution, Charles suggests using the advanced attribution feature called Multi-Channel Funnels (Conversion > Multi-Channel Funnels). The Multi-Channel Funnels report allows you to use a linear model to share attribution credit equally across different channels, not only giving first and last-touch equal weight, but giving you the understanding of how your channels are working (or not working) together.

From this report you can also see how many touches or visits it takes a user to convert in a specific time period. Charles suggests that, “if your business has a model where almost everyone converts in a single visit, on the same day, you can use whichever attribution model you prefer. But, the more varied your business, the more important conversations around attribution models.”

##Tip #2: How to Use the Time Lag Report

The Time Lag report (Conversion > Multi-Channel > Time Lag) in Google Analytics tracks the number of days from when a user first interacts with your site (such as a transaction, form submission or download) to their final conversion.

Watch the video below to get further insights on how to leverage the Time Lag report:

From this report you can get granular insights in understand how your channels are working together and optimize the performance of those channels.

##Tip #3: How to Use the Top Conversion Path Report

The third type of report that will help you analyze conversion and attribution is the Top Conversion Path report (Conversion > Multi-Channel > Top Conversions Path). Watch the video below to see how this report helps you understand which campaigns to keep running or turn off, which ultimately optimizes for more conversions:


While attribution may seem like a difficult task, you can leverage Google Analytics as a foundation to figuring out your company’s attribution model. For more advanced Google Analytics insights from Charles, watch our full webinar Advanced Google Analytics Tips & Tricks with Analytics Pros.