A Google Attribution (and Attribution 360) readiness checklist

With a full rollout of Google Attribution approaching, marketers need to be prepared to get the most out of Google's attribution services. Columnist David Booth offers a checklist to help ensure you're ready.

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Google Data Measurement Analytics Trends Metrics Ss 1920 800x450Today’s path to purchase has become more complex than ever before, with consumers crossing channels and devices and interacting across a new and ever-expanding set of “always on” touch points. As marketers, this presents a significant challenge as we try to understand the impact and value that each of those touch points is responsible for.

To help address this challenge, we turn to attribution tools and technologies, which leverage vast data sets and methodologies that allow us to model and attribute value to the multitude of channels and campaigns we’re managing.

While there are a number of vendors and solutions in the marketplace today, with Google’s 2014 acquisition of Adometry and more recent announcement of both a free Attribution (available in beta to select advertisers) and paid Attribution 360 offering, these capabilities are becoming accessible to the masses.

To be ready to get the most out of these tools when they become available, here’s a checklist of what you can be doing now to be ready to reap the rewards of knowing which campaigns and dollars are actually working for you.

Get your Google Analytics implementation in order

Google Analytics is a staple of tracking who’s visiting your digital properties and apps, how they’re getting there, what they’re doing, and how their experience with you grows over time. Google’s Attribution platform will leverage Google Analytics data, so there’s no better time than the present for an audit to make sure you’ll be feeding your attribution capabilities good, clean data.

  • Ensure that advertising reporting features are enabled.
  • If conversions are being tracked in Google Analytics, think through and configure goals and ecommerce tracking (if applicable).
  • Default channel groupings adjusted to
    • break down paid search into branded vs. non-branded.
    • break down display media into prospecting vs. retargeting
  • Consider and implement other breakdowns to split upper- and lower-funnel marketing activities.
  • Ensure Google platform integrations such as AdWords and DoubleClick (for Google Analytics 360) are in place and working correctly (more on these below).
  • Implement, audit and ensure you have consistent campaign tagging (UTM parameters) in place across all non-integrated channels you’d like to attribute value to.

If you’re planning on using the upcoming paid (360) version of Google Attribution, to be ready for the full set of features, you’ll also want to do the following:

  • Create a View dedicated solely to attribution.
  • Don’t use a user ID in this view.
  • Do not strip out URL parameters.

Review your AdWords setup

  • Ensure that autotagging is on.
  • Ensure that AdWords is linked for cost data import.
  • Review campaign naming conventions for accuracy and consistency.
  • Link AdWords with your Google Analytics attribution view.

Use and configure DoubleClick Campaign Manager (DCM)

  • DCM is required to track impression data, so ideal users of this solution will have the bulk of their media served using DCM with third-party media being tracked by DCM.
  • Ensure that autotagging is on.
  • Add display activity service OR ensure impression and click tracking are in place.
  • If conversions are being tracked via DoubleClick Floodlight conversions, ensure these are configured, clean and correct.
  • Ensure that accurate media cost data is present for all campaigns.
  • Review campaign naming conventions for accuracy and consistency.
  • Enable DoubleClick Campaign Manager integration within Google Analytics attribution view.

Review your DoubleClick Search (DS) setup

  • Ensure that autotagging is on.
  • Enable Google Analytics linking. (Note that at this time, no cost data will be imported.)
  • Enable DoubleClick Search integration within Google Analytics attribution view.

Get ready

While digital, multitouch attribution is not new, nor is it uniquely offered by Google, the upcoming full rollout of Google Attribution will enable attribution tools and methodologies to be accessed by everyone who is already leveraging Google platform advertising services. If you plan to board Google’s attribution train, it’s time to start packing.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

David Booth
David Booth is a co-founder and Partner at Cardinal Path, where he helps organizations use data and digital intelligence to gain competitive advantage in their markets. He is an author, adjunct professor, and public speaker, and as a consultant David has worked across five continents helping audiences ranging from C-level executives to technical implementation teams with digital analytics, business intelligence and digital marketing.

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