What is Attribution?
Wrongful attribution is a huge contributor to wasted media budgets. That is why it’s important for businesses to understand attribution and ways in which it can be applied.
So what is Attribution:
– A rule-based or statistical method for assigning conversions to media channels.
– It’s a tool to help optimize allocation of marketing budget across channels or campaigns.
– It’s also a very difficult problem.
Attribution Model Overview:
The image below looks at an Attribution Model Overview, there are 2 model types that businesses use today, Simple Models or Complex Models. Businesses that use complex models will have a greater understanding on attribution within their business offering.
Simple models look at first click and last click attribution. They are easy to track and monitor but the problem is that your Facebook ad may have driven the user to the website, but Search was appointed the conversion value due to last click. That’s why in simple models some businesses look at First & Last Touch to see which channels are impacting and driving conversions further up the funnel. Most businesses have simple models in place however they still lack real depth and analysis in understanding your audience online behaviour in driving that conversion.
Complex Models looks are various touch points, they may have custom rules or statistical models in place that identify what is driving a sale and conversion. For example, A rules-based model is humanly defined, and as a result, fairly subjective. These models are based on easily understood assumptions, we have such as first and last touch, equal touch and other clear-cut scenarios. For example, it was the last exposure that drove the sale or the first and last equally.
Clickers aren’t always converters:
From the analysis of over 1000 campaigns from Sizmek the following statistics appeared:
– only 20% of the conversions are the results of a click
– remaining 80% of the conversions saw the ad and converted later
Therefore, if a business is solely focusing on Last Click models for attribution, they are losing out on identifying where the other 80% of sales are appearing from. Too often are channels that drive a low conversion rate on last click overlooked on the impact they could be having on the first impressions.
Last click should only be one part of your campaign evaluation, it’s important to understand and create a value for the channels higher up the purchase funnel driving traffic to the website.
The Purchase Funnel:
The purchase funnel if used correctly can help identify multiple touch points of a customers purchase journey. Looking at the image below we can see that a consumer may hit several touch points before the first site visit occurs, and if they don’t convert post site visit retargeting begins.
Businesses need to be able to identify the impact of the different touch points that drive the first site visit. A customer may well see a Search Ad, Facebook Ad or YouTube pre-roll video and it may be the Facebook post that drives the first click through to the website. That’s why last touch models undervalue the impact of upper funnel activity. Although the simple models are used predominately by businesses because they are easier to attribute, it takes away a huge impact of upper funnel activity and the efforts driven in driving the first visit to the website.
By using a tailored attribution model, you can understand the full impact of a consumers journey through the purchase funnel by analysing individual touch points.
Split Funnel Attribution Model Approach:
Business should therefore look at a split funnel approach, where multiple touch points that lead to the first site visit and through to the last touch are all attributed and valued as part of the purchase journey through the funnel.
The image below shows an example approach to split funnel attribution. Upper funnel activity is Prospecting. This looks at the First Touch (this could be the first video view or Facebook post like) and then looks at the last touch before first site visit (consumer clicking through on a display ad). All marketing activities have incurred a cost to the business at this stage, whether in video views, social posts or display ads. Therefore, if tracked effectively we can attribute the value the channels further up the funnel play in driving the desired customer to the website. Retargeting then takes over, where a customer may see many retargeting messages with offers that ultimately lead the consumer back to the website to complete a conversion. However it’s tracking the last touch before the website visit to see the impact of channels further down the funnel.
There is not one perfect solution. Attribution is complex and specific to each advertiser. Your solution should take your individual needs into consideration (e.g. campaign goals, budget, partners).
Last touch undervalues upper funnel activity. Work with your agency partner to tailor attribution solution that considers multiple touch points e.g. Split Funnel
Attribution is worth the time and investment. It provides detailed insights into different tactics and their effectiveness helping to understand what works and what doesn’t.
Attribution is the foundation for further measurement. Before you start looking at viewability or brand safety, make sure you have an effective attribution solution in place.