If I’d say that conversion attribution window is a hot topic I’ll lie. BUT the way that you’ll set (or just keep default option) your conversion attribution windows for campaigns & GA will define your performance overall. Most of the marketers are not aware of that and keep windows as they are which means that they use the default 30 days click-based window for Google Analytics and AdWords & 28 days click-based (plus 1-day view-based) for Facebook. This is not necessarily bad, but most of the times you can adjust it to your company’s strategy and have a clear view that will help you evaluate your efforts efficiently.
If you don’t remember or you don’t know what is conversion attribution window check here.
Really, what is the best attribution window for your campaigns?
The answer to this question lies within another question which is:
How many days does a user need to convert?
Usually, B2B companies need more days to acquire a customer (a typical flow is: lead – demo or free trial – customer), while B2C companies need fewer days for user conversion ( users need just to register & perform their purchase or sometimes don’t need to register at all). Common attribution windows (besides default ones) are 14 days click for B2C & 60 days click for B2B.
One good method to define the ideal attribution window is to consider Google Analytics Time Lag. Time Lag data is my preferred way to set the best conversion attribution window regardless business sector (B2B/B2C). Note: You have to define goals and/or collect e-commerce transaction data in order for Multi-channel funnel reports to have data.
Time Lag Data
You can find “Time Lag” tab into your Google Analytics account in “Conversions” -> “Multi-channel Funnels” tab. This will help you understand how many days does a user need in order to convert.
Here are the settings of Time Lag tab:
Not all your goals are equally valuable. Select different goals and focus on those that matter the most, in order to find your ideal time lag.
Choose if you want to see all the data or only data for AdWords.
Here you can stick to clicks because Google Analytics cannot track Impression & Rich Media from other platforms besides Google Network.
Lookback Window would be a good way to experiment with different windows. Find the best time lag by checking conversions percentage in “distribution” tab.
If you want to be more specific about time lags for different channels you need to compare conversion segments. Here you can see the default segments and compare up to four segments.
Custom Conversion Path
Custom conversion paths are very useful but you need to have advanced knowledge of attribution modeling and know what you are looking for so you can set the right path.
You can create path options that include interactions (any/first/last/assisting), a couple of dimensions -mostly ad dimensions- & a number of occurrences.
How many days does your user need to convert?
Things to consider:
Keep in mind that you can set your attribution window anywhere from 1 to 90 days in GA.
Moreover, In case you have more than one goals you need to be sure that your selected window applies in every goal that matters to you.
Last but not least, remember that Facebook and AdWords/GA have different conversion attribution windows and they are not connected (so there is no holistic attribution modeling applied). Facebook Atlas and other tracking software (ex. Adjust) have conversion attribution windows as well. Feel free to check them all, but I recommend to experiment with attribution window in GA at first and evaluate performance from this specific source.
Conversion attribution windows along with attribution modeling are very interesting topics but not for everyone. Companies that spend large advertising budgets need to be sure that they optimize their performance based on users behavior and not just default settings of advertising & tracking platforms.