Google Removes Four Attribution Models: How It Affects Advertisers in 2023

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Starting May 2023, Google is removing four attribution models – first click, linear, time decay, and position-based – in Google Ads and Google Analytics. This change has sparked mixed reactions among advertisers, with concerns about losing valuable insights and potential biases towards Google Ads. In this blog post, we’ll explore the reasons behind this change, its impact on advertisers, and what you need to know to prepare for the upcoming changes.

Why is Google Removing These Attribution Models?

According to Google, the data-driven attribution model is the most used model for conversions in automated bidding, and the four deprecated models make up less than 3% of Google web conversions combined. Google believes that removing these less commonly used attribution models is a way to consolidate and simplify measurement.

Timeline for the Removal of Attribution Models

  • May 2023: For Google Analytics 4 properties, time decay, linear, first click, and position-based models will be unavailable for any new conversion actions.
  • June 2023: For Google Ads accounts, time decay, linear, first click, and position-based models will be unavailable for any new conversion actions.
  • September 2023: Google will sunset the four attribution models in both Google Ads and Google Analytics 4.

What Advertisers Need to Know

Accounts that are using any of the four attribution models being sunset should be ready to take action immediately. Existing conversion actions using the removed models will automatically convert to the data-driven attribution model, or advertisers can manually change to the ‘last click’ model.

How Will This Impact Reporting?

Once the models are sunset, they will also be removed from the Model Comparison Report in the Attribution tab, as well as the Overview page in Google Ads. This may lead to some loss of insight, particularly for ads engaged with earlier in the user’s journey.

Optimizing Your Strategy for the Future

As Google removes these attribution models, it’s crucial for advertisers to adapt and make necessary changes to their measurement strategies. Start comparing attribution models now to understand the impact and consider focusing on data-driven attribution or last click models for optimization and reporting purposes.

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