In this post I’ll talk about how Google Analytics attributes a conversion, technically talking. This is not about how you should analyze conversion attribution, if you are interested in that I suggest you to visit Constraint Management vs Direct Attribution.
Google Analytics, as the other Web Analytics solutions allows you to identify from which source each conversion came from. Each platform has a particular attribution definition, ergo, it attributes the conversions in a very particular way and could or could not be the same as any other tool you may use. The key, as always in digital measurement, is identifying how the platform processes the information.
Google Analytics attributes the conversion to the most recent campaign by default, unless the second session’s traffic source it is a Direct Visit. Direct Visits won’t take credit from a previous referring campaign.
If you prefer to attribute the conversion to the very fist campaign, instead of the most recent, then you have to use a new query parameter into the query string of your campaign. If this is the case, then the query parameter to be used is “utm_nooverride=1“. If you do so, when a previous visit that cames from Campaign 1 cames back by clicking in Campaign 2 and converts, this conversion will be attributed to Campaign 1 instead of Campaign 2 as would do Google Analytics by default.
However, if for some reason the same visitor from Campaign 1 and 2 cames back but in this case from Campaign 3 without the parameter “utm_nooverride=1″ then the conversion will be attributed to Campaign 3.
What’s the best way of attributing Conversions? It isn’t a best way, it depends on what makes sense to you based on which decisions you make and how you do it, take a look at the post suggested above.