Google, the end of last-click measurement, and the future of attribution

Google just dropped the mic in a very big way, and barely anyone noticed. Maybe we’ve been too busy talking about Facebook going down yesterday.

Pretty much every bit of digital marketing for well over a decade has been primarily measured by last-click attribution: the last click before a sale, an app install, a customer action is what gets the credit. Of course, everyone knows this is nonsense: what motivates people to do something or buy something is much more complex.

But we’ve essentially accepted last-click measurement as a good-enough proxy for what marketing is working.

I chatted about this on the Singular blog:

Is last-click measurement dead?

That would appear to be the logical conclusion if you read Google VP Vidhya Srinivasan’s blog post last week. She’s the general manager of buying, analytics, and measurement for Google Ads, and her blog post was a massive shot across the bow of last-click measurement.

Of course, mobile attribution continues to be last-click. Apple’s SKAdNetwork is last click. Facebook is last click. App installs driven by Google are still … last click. With a few small exceptions, the entire mobile measurement industry is last click.

(None of which guarantees that last click is necessarily a great, amazing, foolproof model for all time and all purposes, of course.)

But despite the fact that last-click attribution is basically the default today in the wider marketing industry and to an even greater extent pretty much the only methodology that the average user acquisition specialist uses, the mobile user acquisition industry hasn’t really responded to Google’s post.

So let’s do that.

Check out the post here for all the details …