The Google Ads data-driven attribution (DDA) model has become a hot topic since Google announced a series of moves to encourage advertisers to adopt DDA. Google said they will change the default attribution model for new conversion actions in Google Ads from last click to data-driven attribution, and in the coming months they plan to notify advertisers that your existing conversion actions will be switched to DDA unless you opt out.
To support this push for data-driven attribution, Google is adding support for DDA to more conversion types — including in-app and offline conversions — and removing the previous DDA data requirements (at least 3,000 ad interactions and 300 conversions over 30 days to start using it) to make it available for more conversion actions and advertisers.
It’s big news. There are significant benefits for most advertisers in switching from last click to data-driven attribution — especially when you combine DDA with Google Ads smart bidding — and Google is eliminating the barriers to adoption.
What If I Want to Use Data-Driven Attribution for Phone Call Conversions?
When considering a switch to DDA, many advertisers will ask: “How do I make data-driven attribution work for the phone call conversions I’m driving from Google Ads?” Phone calls are popular conversion actions from Google Ads — many consumers call advertisers to ask questions, get assistance, book appointments, place orders, and feel more confident about a buying decision. To get the most benefit from DDA, you don’t want to leave these conversions out, but getting the right data on calls in Google Ads can be a challenge.
We're here to help. Read on to learn what data-driven attribution is, how it differs from other Google Ads attribution models, and how you can get the right data on phone call conversions in Google Ads to use with DDA and smart bidding to improve results.
What Is Google Ads Data-Driven Attribution, How Does It Work, and What Are the Benefits of DDA?
While researching products and services online, consumers often interact with multiple ads from the same brand before converting. It raises a natural attribution challenge for advertisers: how much credit should each of my ads/keywords receive for driving a particular conversion? Data-driven attribution is Google’s solution.
- What Data-Driven Attribution Is: When a conversion occurs, the data-driven attribution model uses machine learning to allocate credit to all the touchpoints in Google Ads — including Search and Shopping ads clicks, Display ad clicks, and YouTube ad clicks and enhanced views — based on their role in driving the conversion.
- How DDA Works: It compares the paths of customers who convert to the paths of customers who don't, looking at things like time from conversion, device type, number of ad interactions, order of ad exposure, and the type of creative assets to determine which touchpoints are most likely to drive conversions. It then assigns a percentage of credit to each campaign, ad, and keyword based on their role in driving the conversion.
- DDA Benefits: DDA enables you to better understand the role all your Google Ads keywords, ad groups, and campaigns play in driving conversions. And using DDA with Smart Bidding should drive an increase in conversions and revenue at a similar or lower CPA for most advertisers.
How Does Data-Driven Attribution Compare to Last Click and Other Models?
Google Ads data-driven attribution is one of six attribution models advertisers can select for their conversion actions:
- Data-Driven: Distributes credit based on past data for this conversion action to calculate the actual contribution of each interaction.
- Last Click: Gives all credit for the conversion to the last-clicked ad and keyword.
- First Click: Gives all credit for the conversion to the first-clicked ad and keyword.
- Linear: Distributes the credit for the conversion equally across all ad interactions on the path.
- Time Decay: Gives more credit to ad interactions that happened closer in time to the conversion.
- Position-Based: Gives 40% of credit to both first and last ad interactions and their keywords, with remaining 20% spread out across other ad interactions.
To understand how they differ, let’s look at a the following conversion scenario:
- A consumer does a Google search for “new running shoes” and clicks on a brand’s generic keyword search ad and visits their site.
- Later, the consumer clicks on a display ad from the brand and visits the site again.
- Later, the consumer views a YouTube ad for that brand.
- Lastly, the consumer searches for the brand, clicks on their brand keyword search, and buys a pair of shoes, resulting in a conversion.
This is how each attribution model might assign credit to the four touchpoints for that conversion:
You can see how the five non-DDA, rule-based models can be problematic for Google Ads reporting and optimizations. Last click and first click don’t provide any credit to three of the four touchpoints in the conversion process. Linear, time decay, and position-based are improvements, but they still lack nuance, with each using a rigid method to assign credit for every conversion that doesn’t account for context.
The data-driven attribution model, however, analyzes the context of every conversion to assign the appropriate credit. Touchpoints in the beginning, middle, and end of the conversion path receive credit depending on the importance of their role. It gives a truer picture of your ad/keyword performance, which in turn fuels better smart bidding optimizations that drive growth.
If you are curious how a change to DDA would alter the way conversion credit is assigned in your Google Ads accounts, Google does offer a Model Comparison Report to compare any two attribution models you select side-by-side.
You Won’t Get the Most Value From DDA Without Including Phone Call Conversions
If you want to switch your conversions to DDA to improve reporting and smart bidding, you should include phone call conversions. Most advertisers today generate phone calls from Google Ads, either directly from the search ads themselves or from website visits driven by ad clicks.
And for industries like automotive, healthcare, home services, financial services, insurance, and travel, the majority of your Google Ads conversions and customers might come from those phone calls. Excluding phone call conversions from your switch to DDA would be problematic — it would throw off your data and have a negative impact on smart bidding results.
Advertisers Driving Phone Call Conversions Need the Right Data to Use DDA
But including phone calls in your switch to DDA is also problematic if you aren’t capturing the right data on calls. That’s because many calls from Google Ads are not conversions — they are not calling you to book an appointment, make a purchase, or take whatever action your business defines as a conversion.
So if your Google Ads account doesn’t have data on calls — or if you treat every call as a conversion regardless of intent or outcome — you either can’t use DDA for calls or else DDA will credit your ads and keyword for driving calls that are not true conversions. Any smart bidding optimizations Google makes on your behalf would therefore be based on incomplete or inaccurate data and could lead to poor results.
Invoca Makes It Easy to Use Google Ads Data-Driven Attribution With Phone Call Conversions
Google Ads doesn’t provide accurate data on phone call conversions natively the way it does online conversions. For that, advertisers should use a conversation intelligence solution like Invoca.
Invoca provides a complete solution for attributing and analyzing phone call conversions from Google Ads and other marketing channels, making it easy for advertisers to get the right data on calls in their Google Ads accounts for use with DDA. The Invoca conversation intelligence solution for Google Ads includes:
- 100% Attribution for Google Ads Calls: For every call from Google Ads (Search, Shopping, Display, and YouTube), Invoca attributes the ad and campaign that drove it. For calls from Search ads, Invoca also accurately attributes the keyword, regardless of whether the call came from a call extension, call-only ad, location extension, or website visit after an ad click.
- Intelligence on Conversion Outcome and Value: Invoca automatically analyzes the conversation between the caller and your business in real time to measure the signals that matter to you, including call intent, product/service interest, and conversion outcome. For every call, Invoca accurately detects if it matches your business’s specific definition of a conversion (sales lead, new patient, appointment booked, order placed, etc.) and can assign a revenue value to the call based on its value to your business.
- Conversion and Revenue Matchback: If you have a CRM or lead management system, Invoca can also ingest data on the call’s lead stage or conversion outcome along with any revenue it generated for your business, matching that data to the caller and ad/keyword that drove the call.
- Real-Time Google Ads Integration: Finally, Invoca activates accurate data on the volume and value of your phone call conversions in Google Ads in real time. That data can be used with DDA for accurate reporting and insights, and you can include phone call conversions captured by Invoca in Google Ads smart bidding with confidence, knowing that you have the best data on calls to drive the best results.
Get Started Using DDA for Phone Call Conversions
For Invoca customers, switching to DDA is easy. If you are already passing phone call conversion data from your Invoca account to Google Ads, simply log into the Invoca platform, go to your Google Ads configuration page, and select “Data-Driven” from the Attribution Model dropdown list. Be sure to check the “Include in Automated Bidding” box to include that conversion in smart bidding.
If you aren’t currently using Invoca but would like to see the platform, schedule a personalized demo and we will show you how it works. And if you want to learn more best practices for driving phone call conversions from Google Ads, check out our guide on 10 Paid Search Tactics That Drive Quality Inbound Calls.