by Jaeho


Google Analytics

Salesforce SalesCloud Integration with GA360 (2)

Attribution Tests

In this article, we will specify how attribution will be shaped regarding offline conversions in GA360. This data integration will provide an in-depth attribution perspective. It usually takes a long time to go through from a lead submission to a deal closed for most of the industries. This means there are many touch points during that time. Hence, understanding how each touch point influences decision making based on data is critical when you are thinking of the implementation.

If you are already aware of the attribution model of GA, you will be curious how the integration will affect the attribution and conversion window of each of Google’s platforms. You may also wonder how GA will record if a user purchased through a meeting with an account manager without visiting a website. We will summarise the basic rules for answering these questions and share our test results for detailed cases.

1. Basic rules

It’s always good to know the basics. Here are some ground rules about the conversions sent from SFSC.

1. All data will be in hit-level scope.
2. These hits are non-interaction. (NI parameter = 1)
3. These hits are recorded as Events in GA as follows1:

Name Lead form value Opportunity form value
Event Category Lead Opportunity
Event Action New | Change New | Opportunity
Event Label Lead status Opportunity stage
Event Value N/A Opportunity amount

4. Applied attribution model and remarketing limitations will be based on platforms.
5. Time of data import impacts on attribution whilst the fastest schedule for fetching data is by 1 hour.

2. Attribution of Salesforce Conversions

This diagram is designed to explain the differences in the attribution model between each platform. The channel attribution and conversion windows will be inherited from the main platform if you didn’t change anything. (Except DCM. We need to set a conversion window for each DCM campaign when we implement it.)

  • Attribution Model
    • GA: Last non-direct Model
    • AdWords: Last AdWords click
    • DCM: Last DC Ads click
  • Conversion window
    • GA: 6 month
    • AdWords & DCM: 1 month

There are a few obvious questions from the above:

1. What if a user visited your website in January via Google Search Ads, revisited by inputting the URL directly in April, and submitted a lead in June via a direct visit? GA will give credit to AdWords because AdWords is the last non-direct channel within 6 months.

2. What if a user who visited your website last October via AdWords search ads and submitted a lead directly in June this year? GA will give credit to the direct channel because the visit via AdWords is out of the conversion window.

3. What if a user visited via DCM on May 1st, revisited via AdWords on May 15th, and submitted a lead on May 31st? It will be different by each platform. GA will give credit to AdWords, AdWords will give it to AdWords, and DCM will give it to DCM.

4 Let’s say a user who visited a website via AdWords on May 1st submitted a lead directly on May 10th. After that, the user had phone calls with an account manager several times, revisited the website on May 25th, and converted to a sale on May 31st. In this case, GA will give credit to AdWords for both goals of lead submission and sales, because it’s how the last non-direct model works! AdWords will say that AdWords contributed to both goal completions based on their configuration.

If you are not familiar with the attribution model of each platform, you could say, “What? Ad platforms insist they’ve done it all!” However, a direct visit is feasible when users already have a brand awareness and a certain level of loyalty. Each platform has conversion windows or campaign timeouts without considering the influence of direct channel permanently, because each campaign that contributed to the creation of a direct visit needs to be emphasised when considering the attribution.

3. Test

1. What if a milestone moved without website visits?

As mentioned earlier, if a user submitted a lead online and purchased after a call with an account manager without further visits, which channel in GA will get credit for the conversion?

The answer is the last non-direct channel in the conversion window (if the attribution model is the last non-direct). The following is an example:

Consider the following scenario:

10:15am – A user visited a website directly

02:00pm – Converted to an opportunity over the phone

Outcome: GA will give a credit to the direct channel that is the last channel.

2. What if a session expires by time before the data is imported?

Consider the following scenario:

09:26 – A lead is submitted

10:00 – The conversion data imported as scheduled

Outcome: GA will record that the lead was submitted at 10 o’clock (the time of data import is important).

Tip: In the User explorer report, you can see that in this case the hit was sent at 10.00am with 1 session. This is a fake session. GA will create and store a fake session when it needs to record a hit being imported without a website visit, and this fake session will be excluded when calculating the conversion rate of the goal.

3. What if a user revisits a website via different channel after the conversion while data hadn’t been imported?

Consider the following scenario:

12:27pm – A lead is submitted while visits via Organic Search

12:28pm – Revisited via Paid Search

1:00pm – The conversion data imported as scheduled

Outcome: GA will give a credit to Paid Search that was the last non-direct channel when the data imported

Because of this, it is strongly recommended to set the data import schedule to hourly. Nevertheless, there can be a discrepancy between the actual time of conversion and the data import because data cannot be fetched in real-time.

4. What if each session had different channels and milestones?

What if a user submitted a lead via email campaign and converted to an opportunity via paid search? Each channel will receive credit for each conversion.

5. What about our lead accumulated before the integration?

If you’ve already been using SFSC, there could be many accumulated leads. Unfortunately, these leads are not easy to analyse or track if they were not ever integrated before. To track the milestone of objects, lead or opportunity should have a client ID. You can still utilise user ID if you have imported data with it. If not, we need to extract client ID from users’ _ga cookie to the lead or opportunity, which is a bit difficult. And this is without even mentioning GDPR.

The integration between SFSC and GA360 seems simple, but there will be many considerations when analysing the data. Just remember the basic rules which affect the attribution. If you have any questions or need help, please feel free to contact us.


  1. Use Salesforce data in Analytics,


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.