Attribution model

The attribution model helps you more accurately identify the return on your advertising investment. Users may arrive at your site multiple times from various sources. For example, they might click an ad, then click a link in search results or open a bookmark in their browser. It's important to correctly determine the click source: only sessions that are initiated by clicking on an ad are recorded in Yandex Direct statistics.

You can choose an attribution model:

For product campaigns and campaigns created in the Campaign Wizard, automatic attribution is set by default. You can't change the attribution model.

For pay-per-conversion campaigns, the attribution model you select significantly affects which user sessions you pay for. See the recommendations on selecting an attribution model for such campaigns.

What is an attribution model?

An attribution model is a rule that determines which click is assigned as the source for a session on your site. Choose from among these models:

  • Automatic attribution: Conversions generated by the ad campaign are identified using machine learning algorithms. These algorithms analyze a variety of factors, such as the time before and after the conversion, the type of used device (cross-device), and whether the user or their family members (household members) showed interest in the product or service. For example, a family member views an ad for the product on a mobile device in the morning. Later, they read more about it on the computer and send the link to their partner, who makes a purchase.

    Use automatic attribution to train conversion strategies: it can more accurately identify conversion clicks and audience profiles, providing more signals for training.

    To decide whether you need to switch your existing campaigns to the automatic attribution model, use already generated reports to compare the quantity and quality of conversions across different attribution models in Yandex Metrica. Automatic attribution statistics are available as of April 8, 2023.

  • First click: Whatever source initiated the first click within the last 180 days is attributed as the source for any user session during that period. This model lets you track the source that originally leads a customer to your site and influences the user's later activity on the site.

  • Last click — The session source is attributed to the click that most recently brought the user to your site (regardless of their session history). This model may be used for a technical analysis of your site.

  • Last non-direct click — All sources from the last 90 days are divided into non-direct clicks (like ads, search results, and other sites) and direct clicks (like cached pages, internal traffic, or direct traffic to your site). If a session takes place after a direct click, the last non-direct click is considered the session source. This model allows you to count conversions that get lost in the Last click model, like if a user left the tab open, the idle time exceeded the timeout, and a new session was registered when activity resumed.

  • Last click from Yandex Direct — Out of all non-direct clicks over 90 days, only Yandex Direct clicks are counted. If the user landed on your site by clicking an ad in Yandex Direct, this click is attributed as the source of all subsequent sessions until the user clicks your ad again. This model helps you see all sessions related to Yandex Direct, including those attributed to other sources by other attribution models.
  • First impression from Yandex Direct cross-device: Sources of site conversions include the first impression of your display ad in any format over the past 30 days. The model enables you to see the statistics of how display ads affect sessions and conversions. Clicks from all the devices used are included. The model is only available in Report Wizard.
  • Last impression from Yandex Direct cross-device: Sources of site conversions include the last impression of your display ad in any format over the past 30 days. The model enables you to see the statistics of how display ads affect sessions and conversions. Clicks from all the devices used are included. The model is only available in Report Wizard.
For example, let's say you sell tours to Mars:
  • A user clicked through to your site from search results 10 days ago, but they didn't buy anything.
  • Then they clicked your Yandex Direct ad.
  • Later, they clicked a link in social media.
  • Yesterday, they accessed your site again from an open browser tab and purchased a tour.
For different attribution models, the session source is assigned differently:
  • Last click — The open browser tab.
  • Last non-direct click — The click on a social media link.
  • Last click from Yandex Direct — The click on your Yandex Direct ad.
  • First click — The click in search results.

To learn more about goals, session sources and attribution models, see Yandex Metrica Help.

Selecting an attribution model

If the session history is not so important to you and you need to track which channels are key conversion stimulants, use Last non-direct click.

To evaluate the impact of Yandex Direct ads on conversions, choose Automatic.

First click is good for well-known brands, like businesses with existing demand. Choose this model if you think that the first click is sufficient for the user to make a purchase decision.

If you pay per conversion, follow the recommendations below.

Attribution models in strategies

Strategies use an algorithm that predicts the probability of clicks on your ad and conversions. The algorithm uses Yandex Metrica statistics according to the selected attribution model. For example, when you select Last click from Yandex Direct, the algorithm uses statistics generated by this attribution model.

When you change the attribution model, the statistics data used by the algorithm also changes. It will take time to build a new forecast and select the optimum bids.

When you switch attribution from Last click from Yandex Direct to Automatic, you don't have to train your strategy from scratch. Your strategy continues to use and consider the conversion data collected while using the previous model. If there is a noticeable difference (for example, of more than 20%) in the number of conversions between the old and the new attribution model, then the strategy may take some time to adapt.

Attribution models in pay-per-conversion campaigns

For pay-per-conversion campaigns, the attribution model significantly affects which of the user's converted sessions are counted and paid for. By properly selecting an attribution model, you can effectively control your campaign's budget spending.

Last click

You only pay for the sessions converted directly after clicking on a Yandex Direct ad.

Choose this option if your customers have a very short decision cycle: for example, immediately after clicking on an ad they order food delivery, call a taxi, or enjoy instant special offers.

Last non-direct click

You pay for the sessions converted between the ad click from Yandex Direct and the next significant event (for example, a click from social media, newsletter, or other ad).

Use this attribution model if your customers usually need more time and several sessions to make a purchase, like if you sell household appliances or clothing.

Last click from Yandex Direct, Automatic

You pay for all sessions converted after interacting with Yandex Direct. All the subsequent significant events are ignored.

Select this option if Yandex Direct is your main channel to attract traffic. We also recommend using one of these attribution models if you have a small number of conversions.

First click

You pay for every session of the users that land on the website for the first time by clicking a Yandex Direct ad. You also pay for every subsequent converted session.

We recommend this option if your customers have a long purchase cycle (for example, if you sell real estate or cars).

Cross-device

The “Cross-device” mode counts clicks from all the devices used. For example, a user can click on a search ad from an office desktop. On their way home, they can open the site from their smartphone. Then they can buy the product at home by entering the online store's URL on their private laptop.

If you need to attribute conversions on different devices, enable Cross-device when selecting an attribution model. Cross-device is used in three attribution models:

  • Last click from Yandex Direct.
  • Last significant (non-direct) click.
  • First click.

For the Automatic attribution model, cross-device is enabled by default and can't be disabled.

Attribution models in statistics

You can view statistics for any attribution model in Report Wizard. To monitor compliance with goal indicators in conversion strategies, such as Maximum conversions or Maximum conversions with an ROI limit, make sure that the report uses the same attribution model that is chosen in your strategy settings.

If it takes more than two weeks on average for an ad click to result in conversion, then the Yandex Direct reports with attribution based on the last click from Yandex Direct or last non-direct click will show up in statistics with a significant delay. Keep this in mind when evaluating the average CPI and average ROI.

Attribution models in display ad statistics

To analyze events that occurred after the display ad impression, in the Report Wizard, select the “First impression from Yandex Direct cross-device” or “Last impression from Yandex Direct cross-device” attribution model. For the selected session attributes, you'll see the post-view and post-click metrics (“Conversions”, “Conversions (%)”, “Goal cost (rub.)”, “ROI”, “Cost-revenue ratio (%)”, “Income (rub.)”, “Profit (rub.)”):

  • post-view: The field's value shows sessions that occurred within 30 days after an unclicked ad impression.
  • post-click: The field's value shows sessions that occurred within 30 days after your display ad was clicked.

For example, the Post-view: Conversions report shows events on your site (order, request, or call) that occurred within 30 days after an ad impression. In this case, it includes only the actions that are specified in the campaign settings as conversions. Clicks aren't included in the post-view conversions report.

The Post-click: Conversions report shows how many users who clicked a display ad were converted.

The Total conversions column is available only for conversions, showing the sum of your post-view and post-click conversions.

Data for the Last impression from Yandex Direct cross-device attribution model is available as of May 12, 2022.

Data for the First impression from Yandex Direct cross-device attribution model is available as of May 1, 2023.

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