Lesson 04 — Conversions and conversion attribution


Conversions and conversion attribution

Lesson objectives

  • Define the term "conversion"
  • Explain how marketing attribution works in Google Analytics and why understanding attribution is important for good analysis
  • Understand the “last-click” attribution model versus other models

Additional resources

  • Overview of macro and micro conversions
  • Attribution modeling examples

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Text Version

Digital Analytics Fundamentals
Course overview

In this lesson we’re going to discuss two important concepts used to measure the customer journey ­­
conversions and conversion attribution.
Macro and micro conversions
One of the most important concepts in digital analytics is the idea of macro and micro conversions. A macro
conversion occurs when someone completes an action that’s important to your business. For example, if
you’re an ecommerce company, the most important macro conversion is usually a transaction.
A micro conversion is also an important action, but it does not immediately contribute to your bottom line.
It’s usually an indicator that a user is moving towards a macro conversion. It’s important to measure micro
conversions because it helps you better understand where people are in on the journey to conversion.
Marketing attribution
Many times, when we talk about macro and micro conversions we discuss the idea of attribution. Simply
put, attribution is assigning credit for a conversion.
We want to assign credit to our marketing channels in order to understand the return on our marketing
investment for each channel. If we spend $100 on a marketing activity our hope is that we will generate more
than $100 in revenue.
Last­click attribution
The most common type of attribution is called last­click attribution. “Last­click” means that all of the value
associated with the conversion is assigned to the last marketing activity that generated the revenue. The
last marketing activity gets all the credit.
1We’ve used last­click attribution for many years because it’s the best measurement we’ve had. But we’re
now able to look at all of the marketing activities that helped generate each conversion. This is important,
because the reality is your customer will likely interact with you many times before a conversion occurs.
How do we understand the value of those other marketing channels prior to conversion? We use the concept
of an assist.
You see, attribution is a lot like scoring points in a basketball game. It takes more than one player to make
it happen. One player scores the goal, but other players may help, or assist, in the process. If you were
coaching a basketball team, you’d want to understand which of your players score the goals and which
players assisted in the scoring. This helps you understand how your team works together to be successful.
It’s the same in online marketing. If you think of the marketing channels as your players, some make
assists and some score goals. To properly understand the value of each channel, you need to know which
role it has played in your customer’s journey to conversion.
Other types of attribution models
There are many different ways to assign value to channels.
Rather than assign all of the value to the last channel, you might want to assign all of the value to the first
channel ­­ the one that started the user on the customer journey. This is called first­click attribution. The
reason you might do this is to understand that the channel is a good channel for initiating conversions.
Or, you might assign a little bit of value to each of the assisting channels in the customer journey.
In summary, the whole point of attribution is to better understand the value of each marketing channel and
how multiple channels work together to drive conversions. You can then use this knowledge to better
understand your customer’s journey and allocate your online marketing budget.


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