Attribution in GA4 Reports

2023-07-27 | Article | Insights

Where can you see attribution data in your GA4 reports?

The answer is, only in a few reports. Each individual report uses a different attribution model and this can be quite confusing. Let’s go through every report in GA4 that uses attribution data. But before we do that, the following is important to know:

In GA4 you have the ability to switch between different attribution models and pick the one that fits you best. On April 6, 2023 Google announced that it will be sunsetting the following attribution models starting September 2023: first-click, linear, time-decay and position-based. Cross-channel data-driven attribution, cross-channel last click, and Ads preferred last click will continue to be available.

Hence, the attribution model you select in the property settings, will be applied to some attribution reports shown later (in this case the cross-channel data-driven model).

Acquisition - User acquisition

This report focuses on the first session from a new user. You will notice that each dimension includes the text “First user”. These dimensions describe how the user was initially acquired.

Example: In the last 28 days, a total of 17’511 new users have made their first session on your website or app credited to the channel direct.

Acquisition - Traffic acquisition

This report focuses on the most recent session of the user. A user can have several sessions on your website and app so this report will always focus on the latest one. If you are familiar with the different attribution models, then you will now see that the traffic acquisition report is based on the last-click model and the user acquisition report is based on the first-click model.

Example: In the last 28 days, a total of 20’732 new and returning users have made 29’959 sessions credited to the channel direct.

Engagement - Conversions

This report will be based on the attribution model you selected in the property settings and by default it is the cross-channel data-driven attribution model. The data-driven attribution model distributes the credit for a conversion based on data for each conversion event. Each model will be specific for each website or app and the respective conversion events.

To get the attribution data per channel, you will need to firstly click on an event, e.g. purchase.

Example: In the last 28 days, a total of 630k purchase conversions are attributed to the channel direct.

Advertising - Performance & Conversion paths

The two reports “All channel” performance report within the advertising section as well as the conversion paths report will show data based on the attribution model you chose in the settings (e.g. cross-channel data-driven)

Advertising - Model comparison

As the name of the report reveals, one can analyze conversion credit shifts under different attribution models. Apart from selecting the time range, one can also select one, several or all conversion events in the dropdown (by default all conversion events are selected).

Example: The cross-channel data-driven model (selected in the attribution settings) is compared against the cross-channel last click model. For the last 28 days, and with purchase being the only selected conversion, the comparison shows no differences between the models. This is a quite common picture for the last click and data-driven model.


In the explorations section you can build your own reports beyond the standard reports provided by Google above. As you select the dimensions yourself, depending on which dimensions you choose to build your report, they will be based on different attribution models (e.g. if you select “Source” then it will be based on the attribution model selected in your property settings, if you select “User first source” it will be based on the first-click attribution model etc.).

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