Are My Ads Working? Understanding Lead Attribution for Homebuilders In Google Analytics

Are My Ads Working? Understanding Lead Attribution for Homebuilders In Google Analytics

May 25, 2021 | By Sarah Simmerman


How do you know if your ads are working? Chances are you know which ads directly resulted in leads, but most people will interact with you 4-5 times before they complete a form or reach out to your online sales specialist. Think of the path people take before deciding to register on your website as a ladder. The last rung on the ladder may be the last touch before you reach the top, but you would not have made it there without all of the preceding steps.

This is where attribution modeling comes in. You can use different attribution models to give “credit” to every step on your ladder, allowing you to see what impact each of your advertising channels has on the acquisition of a lead. Marketing attribution and conversion tracking are just one piece of the puzzle when identifying areas of improvement of your marketing efforts. Combined with other metrics and feedback from your sales team, you can adjust your efforts to meet market demands.

What are the Attribution Models available in Google Analytics?

  • Last Interaction: This is the default model used when viewing conversions in Google Analytics, as well as many other programs. This model gives 100% of the credit of the lead acquisition to the channel that provided the last interaction. This is one of the most straightforward ways to assign attribution for your leads. 
  • First Interaction– This model gives 100% of the credit for a lead to the first source of interaction. 
  • Linear– This model gives equal weight to all interactions leading up to a conversion.
  • Time Decay– The time decay model gives all interactions credit for a conversion, but the most recent interactions are given more weight than previous interactions. The weight assigned varies by the number of interactions and the time between them.
  • Position Based– All interactions are given credit, but you can specify weights for first, last, and middle interactions. Generally, you would give 40% credit to both the first and last interactions, with the other 20% distributed across any middle interactions. This is also commonly known as “U-shaped” attribution.

Let’s use the following scenario for the attribution model examples above:

I am shopping for a new home and click on a Facebook ad for your builder. I look around at the homes but leave without filling out a form. 

A few days later, I search for new homes on Google and click on an ad for your builder, watch a few of your videos, browse photos, but leave again without completing a form.

Several days after that, I search for your builder on Google and click on a search result. On this visit, I complete a form. 

How would each attribution model distribute the credit?

  • Last Interaction:100% credit given to Organic Search
  • First Interaction: 100% credit given to Facebook Ads
  • Linear:Credit given equally to Organic Search, Paid Search, and Facebook Ads
  • Time Decay:Most credit given to Organic Search, then a bit less for Paid Search, then significantly less for Facebook Ads
  • Position Based:40% given to each Organic Search and Facebook Ads. 20% given to Paid Search

Comparing Models in Google Analytics

In Google Analytics you can find the Model Comparison Tool under Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Model Comparison Tool. 

You can choose to look at all conversions or just select specific goals to look at. You can also set a “Lookback Window,” which sets the timeframe to look for assisted conversions. It is set to 30 days by default, meaning it only counts interactions within the last 30 days.

You are able to select up to three Attribution Models to compare at a time within the tool.

Exploring More Detail on Specific Campaigns

The Model Comparison Report is by default organized around your Channel Grouping as the primary dimension. To get more detailed insights about how specific campaigns are helping people through your lead generation funnel, you can easily update the primary dimension.

Click “Other” as shown below.

Select Campaign under Acquisition.


You can also add a secondary dimension of Default Channel Grouping to help visualize the source of each campaign.



Now you can get detailed conversion information on every campaign tracked in Google Analytics.



So, how can Homebuilders use Attribution Modeling?These Attribution Models, just like anything in digital marketing, are just one part of your toolkit. While the first and last touch models are very easy to use, they only tell a part of the story. This could cause you to undervalue some marketing channels or campaigns that are essential in assisting users through the lead generation funnel.

The Time Decay, Position Based, and Linear models are very useful when you are analyzing the overall performance of your marketing efforts or working on making adjustments to your marketing budget. 

Time decay is best used for longer sales cycles (as many homebuilders have) and naturally gives more weight for interactions lower in the marketing funnel. This model is great for visualizing your funnel, and where each of your marketing channels or campaigns come into play.

The Position Based model is also good for looking at the entire picture, but without undervaluing the first touch, the source that first grabs the attention of your lead. The most important steps in the funnel are generally the first and last touch, and this model gives them the most credit without ignoring the other steps along the way.

Lead Attribution should be used to map your lead generation funnel and track changes over time. It will help provide insight that can be used to adjust your marketing efforts based on changes in the market or changes to consumer behavior. By understanding how your campaigns fit into and perform in your lead generation funnel, you can make strategic adjustments based on your needs at any given time. If you need help moving people through that last step of your funnel, you will know exactly where to start.

The post Are My Ads Working? Understanding Lead Attribution for Homebuilders In Google Analytics appeared first on Online Sales and Marketing for Home Builders - DYC.

Sarah Simmerman
Senior Marketing Strategist

Sarah Simmerman

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