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.
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.
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.
Google Ads data-driven attribution is one of six attribution models advertisers can select for their conversion actions:
To understand how they differ, let’s look at a the following conversion scenario:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.