Google Removing Attribution Models

Google Deprecates Multiple Attribution Models: All You Need to Know

In Analytics, Google Analytics 4, The Digital Marketing Blog by Nay JacksonLeave a Comment

Each week for our clients, we send a round-up of the weekly digital marketing news they need to know about. In this week’s round-up, we included an article about the attribution models that Google is sunsetting in both Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and Google Ads. 

This is quite a big change, especially if you’ve been using one of the models that will be removed. So we thought we’d share this post, which details exactly what’s happening, our view, important dates for these changes, and our recommendation. So, let’s dive in and take a look at what’s going on. 

Google announced on the 6th April 2023 that they’ll be deprecating several attribution models in GA4 and Google Ads over May – September 2023. The exact dates for each stage of the change are below. 

The models that will remain available are data-driven and last-click. Google explained this is because adoption of the data-driven model has been extremely high, causing the other models to be used very little. 

We think this is a good move by Google because the data-driven model (now the default in both platforms) should provide the most accurate attribution of conversions to each channel/touchpoint in your users’ journeys. So reporting should be more reliable than ever. 

By bringing GA4 and Google Ads more in line with each other, reporting differences between the two should be greatly reduced as well. 

Google’s reasoning for keeping the last-click model could indicate it’s still used by enough companies that it wouldn’t go down well with them for it to be taken away (there’s already quite enough that isn’t going down well because of GA4 and Looker Studio). Although saying that, we suspect Google will remove the last-click model in the near future because its benefits are far outweighed by what the data-driven model offers.

Which Attribution Models are Staying & Which are Going? 


  • Data-driven
  • Last-click


  • First-click
  • Linear
  • Position-based
  • Time decay

Important Dates:

May 2023: Time decay, position-based, linear and first-click attribution models will no longer be available to new conversion events in GA4. Google’s actual wording on this was ‘conversion actions’, which is Google Ads terminology. We believe they’re actually referring to ‘conversion events’ and we suspect it means the attribution models won’t be available in properties created after April 2023. We’ll be keeping an eye on what happens in GA4 from May, but hopefully Google will provide more clarity on this before then.

June 2023: Time decay, position-based, linear and first-click attribution models will no longer be available to new conversion actions in Google Ads.

September 2023: Time decay, position-based, linear and first-click attribution models will no longer be available in GA4 and Google Ads.

Our Recommendation

We recommend using the data-driven model in GA4 and Google Ads for the reasons mentioned above. 

You should expect results between models to differ, so your top-performing channel under last-click may not be top under data-driven. Likewise, a low-performing channel under linear may be high-performing under data-driven. 

It’s important to note that if you don’t make the switch to either data-driven or last-click before the deadlines, Google will automatically switch to data-driven for you. Don’t wait for Google to force it on you, make the switch now so you can start making more informed decisions about the channels you allocate budget and resource to based on their TRUE contribution to your marketing.

If you need help with GA4 or Google Ads, or any aspect of your digital marketing efforts, don’t hesitate to get in touch! You can leave us a message via the form below. We’d love to help!

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