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Google Gives Marketers Power to Open or Close Attribution Windows

Andre Golsorkhi

The 30-day conversion window has been a staple in Google AdWords—and the many other digital ad platforms trying to model themselves after it.  But that’s all about to change, now that Google has announced that advertisers can narrow the window down to just seven days, or open it wide, up to 90.

So what does this mean for online retail advertisers?

If a click from AdWords typically results in a sale in seven days, with the attribution window adjusted accordingly, that eighth-day purchase might be attributable to something else.

Different marketing channels have different sales cycles.  Some channels might inspire a purchase immediately after an ad click; others could take days, weeks, or even months to convert from ad click to sale.  The 30-day window, while previously accepted as the industry norm, made it hard to calculate the true ROI of channels.

By studying the time to purchase of consumers who engage with AdWords, retail advertisers can now determine an average purchase window that makes sense for AdWords. For example, with the old feature, if a purchase were made eight days after the AdWords ad was clicked, it would be easy to attribute this to the AdWords engagement.

But with the new feature, if we know that a click from AdWords typically results in a sale in seven days, with the attribution window adjusted accordingly, that eighth-day purchase might be attributable to something else.

Or, if we know that it can take as much as 60 days for a conversion, this new feature allows us to attribute that sale on day 56 to the initial AdWords engagement, because for this particular product, the purchase requires more planning and consideration.

Think of it like playing Goldilocks in the digital marketing world: one window might be too small, another too big—but one will almost certainly be just right.

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