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Analytics: What Sources are Stealing Your Paid Revenue Attribution?



Analytics: What Sources are Stealing Your Paid Revenue Attribution?

“Where should we attribute revenue?” is a question every digital marketer has asked themselves at some point. In two different accounts, we found that referral and affiliate websites were receiving revenue credit for paid-initiated traffic. These two clients both use Analytics revenue for the account’s target ROAS goals rather than the platforms. At times, we had to pull back our paid spend when Analytics dipped under the target goal. After further analysis, I wondered if we should reconsider the attribution approach.

In one account, we noticed a 90% increase in revenue attributed to referral websites month-over-month. This caught my attention because this was a significant increase.

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I investigated what sources were contributing to the increase in referral traffic. Sometimes, platforms or banks appear under referrals. Sometimes, payment processing websites appear under Referrals, such as PayPal or to Affirm. These types of sources are not responsible for driving the traffic and are common referral exclusions. This means Analytics would ignore these sessions and give the credit to the previous interaction.

Analytics Attributing Revenue to Referral Sources

If we drill down into the referral websites, we can see that many of the websites receiving revenue credit are coupon websites.  

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Many times, the coupons do not even work on these websites, but Analytics will still credit the purchase to these domains if the user clicks the link that directs them back to the website.

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If we look at the Paid-Initiated paths that end with referrals, the coupon websites received $39,062 in revenue. 

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If we look specifically at Referral-initiated paths, out of the $87,729 in revenue, the coupon websites were only responsible for initiating 6 visits with $4,701 in revenue.  

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After a discussion with the client, they believed these coupon websites were not valuable and often did not have valid coupons. So, we made the decision to exclude these coupon websites to avoid having them interfere with our marketing objectives.

Analytics Attributing Revenue to Other Advertising

In the second account, we noticed it became increasingly difficult to hit their target ROAS goals during the summer. However, since this immediately followed the distribution of the first round of stimulus checks, we believed this attributed to the spike in revenue. They also had some larger coupon promotions on their website during the spring months.

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As you can see in this month-over-month trend, ROAS dropped below 300% starting in June. The value the platforms were reporting revenue $250k higher than what Analytics was reporting.  

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A few months ago, Analytics had revenue bucketed as other, and it was often the last interaction in Analytics. This channel was responsible for 14% of the revenue in Analytics for 8 months.

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All of the revenue under Other Advertising was being attributed to a CJ Affiliates source. This started around the same time the account began to struggle meeting its ROAS goals.

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Analytics Paid-Initiated Traffic and Other Advertising

In the Multi-Channel Funnels in the Top Conversion paths, it shows that $1.4M out of the $2.5M of paid-initiated traffic was attributed to Other Advertising (CJ Affiliates). Most of this revenue would have been attributed to Paid Search if the affiliate source was not present.

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Note: This report is filtered to conversion types as transactions only. It is also filtered for traffic that begins with Paid Search and ends with Other Advertising.

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During one conversation with the client, we all agreed while the affiliates may be contributing to the revenue, but the question was exactly how much. If we change up the filters to show traffic that Begins with Other Advertising, we can see this channel is only responsible for driving traffic that resulted in 281 transactions and $47,268 in revenue.

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So, in this case, while we could say the affiliate program is assisting in the searchers making the purchase, it does not appear to be the primary channel driving searchers to the website. So, Analytics attributing 100% of the revenue in MCF is greatly devaluing Paid Search traffic’s role.

Google Analytics – Last Click Attribution

Another important consideration is how Analytics is reporting conversions and revenue. By default, Analytics is set up to give the last non-direct visit 100% of the conversions or revenue credit. One issue with this model is the user journey is complex; assigning all the credit to the “last touchpoint” may undervalue other sources. 

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In the paid-initiated traffic, we can see they visit the coupon or affiliate websites right before making a purchase, and then the revenue is attributed to the coupon websites. Sometimes we see the searcher visit multiple coupon websites in the same session. Also, we can see that some revenue was attributed to the Affirm payment option for when searchers prefer to make payments over time. 

For example, if a person clicks to your website from a Paid ad, then returns as a coupon ‘referral’ or ‘other advertising’ traffic to convert, Analytics will report 1 transaction for Referral or Other Advertising. The Multi-Channel Funnels report will show 1 conversion with the path paid search > referral. Paid search will get 1 assisted conversion.

In the Last Interaction attribution model, the last touchpoint—in this case, the Referral channel—would receive 100% of the credit for the sale.


In the following scenarios, the final touchpoint will get 100% of the credit in Analytics’ Last Click model unless it is Direct and then it gives credit to the previous source.

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In the scenarios above, the last click may be the reason you purchased, but it is not the reason you were interested in the first place. It may be worth considering upgrading your attribution model to something that gives more credit to other touchpoints along the journey. This type of attribution makes it difficult to assign credit where credit is due.

Let’s say we updated it to a Position-Based model. The attribution credit would look something like this with 40% attributed to the first and last touchpoints and 20% divided to anything in between.

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In Google Ads, most of us have moved away from the Last Click attribution model. This article From Last Click to Position-Based: An Attribution Test does a great job of discussing how changing the model impacted Google Ads campaigns. If your account has enough clicks and conversions, then the Data Driven Model will be an available option. 

Model Comparison Tool

You can use the Model Comparison Tool in Analytics or it is called the Model Comparison Explorer in Analytics 360. They can be found under Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Model Comparison Tool. 

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In the above scenario, the channels that would benefit the most are Paid Search, Organic Search, and Social Network. This data shows us that these paths may begin the journey more often and the Last Click model is not giving them the credit they may be entitled to receive.

You can also use the Attribution Beta in Analytics to explore the difference in the models without changing the settings. 

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Analytics Attribution Revenue to Referral Spam Coupon Websites

In this case, we see a large portion of the revenue is being attributed to coupon websites. These websites dominate the search results when you look for coupons for many brands. Oftentimes these coupons do not work, but searchers will try to get a promotion. You can see some ads are offering discounts for Macy’s here.

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One option might be to switch to another attribution model in Analytics. If the Data-Driven Attribution model is available this might be the best option. Your account would need to meet specific criteria for this option to be available. Another option would be to switch to Position-Based for conversions that involve multiple touchpoints.

Another option might be to create a special coupon page for your website that is not easily found on your website. Then you can set up a Brand Coupon ad group and target these discount terms to bring searchers back to your website with a valid coupon. While some people may continue checking out without a coupon, others may choose to abandon their cart. 


It may be time to really think about how we are attribution revenue in Analytics. The searcher’s journey can often be complex. Is the Last Click approach attributing too much revenue to sources that are less valuable? Are these referral sources devaluing your marketing efforts? Even if you decide you are not ready to rethink the attribution model in Analytics, it would be worth the time to deep dive into the list of referral sources getting credit for revenue. Maybe some of these referral sources could be excluded to give you a better vantage point of what is contributing the most.



Excellent Tips To Optimize Your Sales Funnel With The Help Of Heatmap Tools



Excellent Tips To Optimize Your Sales Funnel With The Help Of Heatmap Tools

The lives of enterprises are growing increasingly tough as people’s lifestyles change. People are increasingly turning to internet retailers to meet their needs, resulting in increased market rivalry.

Continuous conversion funnel and conversion rate optimization have become critical for the successful functioning of online enterprises, which is no longer as simple as it may appear.

Don’t worry, you can learn how to perform this optimization procedure quickly and easily with the help of heatmap tools in the sections below.

A few words about the conversion funnel

The conversion funnel depicts the journey from a casual visitor to a paying customer. Consider it a funnel or filter through which all of your visitors pass, with just the consumers emerging at the other end.

It’s vital to remember that just 4-9% of your visitors will make it to the end of the funnel on average, so don’t be alarmed if your measures reveal that you have considerably fewer customers than visitors. This is very normal.

There are three parts of the conversion funnel:

  • The top of the funnel
  • The middle funnel
  • And the lower funnel

However, various tactics must be used in each part. It makes no difference whether you use a top-down or bottom-up marketing strategy or analytic procedure.

If you don’t take these factors into consideration, you’ve already committed the most basic mistake in the optimization process.


You can find a different segment in each stage.

Simple visitors are found in the top funnel. They may have arrived with the goal of making a purchase, but they could also want to read your blog post. Of course, even if they didn’t mean to, you want them to purchase from you.

Because this stage comprises a huge number of people, you must pay special care to pique their interest and establish confidence. You risk failing at the first hurdle if you don’t examine these variables.

People that are interested in your goods and are familiar with you and your purpose are generally present in the middle part. This is one of the most difficult assignments since it has the highest chance of failure.

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Information retrieval is frequently the most important aspect of this stage of the conversion funnel. Your prospective clients will compare you to your competition and seek reviews and information.

People that wish to buy your goods are in the bottom funnel. They have already made a choice, nevertheless, a terrible action might cause them to reconsider.

Here, strive for genuineness. You must structure everything so that potential purchasers are not put off from making a purchase.

But how you can optimize these stages? What analytics tool do you have to use and how?


Let’s see the answer.

Heatmap tools in the optimization process

Let’s take a look at how it works in practice now that we’ve gone over the basic components and functionalities.

Continuous measuring is a necessary aspect of the procedure. Unfortunately, the procedure cannot be carried out successfully without it.

When you think about analytics, you probably think of a big chart or a lot of statistics, but you’ll need a far more creative and efficient approach here. Heatmaps are a good way to do this.

Heatmap analysis is a method for determining how effective a website is. You may use heatmaps to see how your visitors interact with your website, which subpages they visit, and which buttons they click.

Warm colors indicate high-performing areas of your website, whereas cold colors indicate low-performing elements. If you want to optimize your conversion funnel, you’ll need this information.

But, because you’re probably curious about how heatmap tools may be used in the optimization process, let’s get right in.


Upper funnel part

You must reach three elements at the top of the funnel:

  • A structure that is visible
  • Content of high quality
  • Personal information

Let’s get this party started. You must offer your website a clear structure in order for your visitors to spend more time on it and not depart after a few seconds.

We suggest that you examine the most popular portions of your website with heatmaps and then put each of the key subpages accordingly. This is significant because you may post them in a location where your visitors will be likely to locate them.

Also, keep in mind that these visitors will most likely arrive at your landing page first. You must only list subpages that are relevant to the upper funnel group.

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Using heatmaps to discover these might also be a useful approach to do so since the analysis will reveal which pages you visit frequently. You can rely on this information.

You should disclose as much information about yourself as possible at this point of the conversion funnel. You should be able to tell who you are, what your aim is, and what you’re dealing with right away on the landing page.

By doing so, you establish trust and assist your visitors in becoming prospective clients from the start. But where should you store this data?

Don’t worry, a heatmap will tell you all you need to know.

When it comes to optimizing your upper funnel, one last thing to think about is displaying high-quality content. Based on the facts you provide, visitors may figure out what you’re doing and how you evaluate your items. But how can they be sure it’s true?


Share some blog post data about you and your items on your landing page to give your visitors the impression that you’re speaking the truth.

If you don’t want this to happen, create a subpage on your blog where your readers may find these articles.

Feel free to utilize a heatmap to assist you to put this as well, since this will allow you to place your blog’s subpage in the best possible location.

As you can see, improving the top of your conversion funnel is a quite involved procedure. However, don’t panic you’ve already completed the most difficult of the three sections.

Middle funnel part

The deeper down the conversion funnel you go, the more specialized work you’ll have to undertake. This implies that while the number of jobs you have will reduce, you will have to cope with an increasing number of them.

Visitors have already turned into prospective consumers by the time they reach the middle stage. In this step, the most crucial thing is to persuade them to buy your goods.

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In this instance, there are two little things you should keep in mind:

  • Your products’ location
  • Building a foundation of trust

Use heatmap tools to make some basic analysis before you cut into it.

Determine which of your items is the most popular. Put these items or services near the top of your subpage so that potential purchasers don’t have to scroll too far to locate them.


We have the items and have been provided everything we need to purchase them. What may the issue be?

The danger. When making purchases, keep in mind that this influence is constantly there.

Make a scroll heatmap analysis of your website and put customer reviews depending on the measurement to remove this.

The scroll heatmap displays how long customers spend scrolling across your website, allowing you to strategically post reviews. This will lower the perceived risk and make it easier for your goods to be added to the cart.

Lower funnel part

Your product is already in the cart at the bottom of the funnel. The only thing that separates a potential buyer from being a buyer is this one stage. What kind of issue might arise?

If a potential buyer refuses to buy or cannot pay, the response is straightforward.

In the study of the cart, the use of heatmap tools is quite important. Examine how your customers utilize your cart, where they frequently click, and what they do.

Based on this data, you can set the payment CTA in the appropriate location and provide a clear, safe structure to your cart. If you want your conversion funnel to be well-optimized, these criteria are critical.


Also, make sure to include cash-on-delivery, as some consumers are still wary of online payment methods.


Heatmap tools are used throughout the conversion funnel optimization process, as you can see. Do not begin the procedure in any way unless you have this tool.

Other measuring methods, such as session replays, can, of course, be used in addition to a heatmap. This can also improve process efficiency.

We hope we can help.

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