Tag Archives: Attribution


AdWords Attribution: Give Your Clicks Some Credit! by @GrpTwentySeven

Here’s a recap of AdWords attribution models and what you can expect when you use them.

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Evolving past last-click attribution in paid search

“Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”

That famous quote applies to the many marketers who default to last-click attribution, even with its well-documented failure to take the entire customer journey into consideration.

During ClickZ’s latest Masterclass on paid search optimization, in association with Fospha and Kenshoo, we surveyed 800 marketers on their greatest challenges. 36% cited maximizing return on their advertising spend, while an additional 24% consider “accurately attributing value to each marketing channel” to be their biggest struggle.

From this, it’s clear that marketers want to go beyond last-click and adopt a more effective attribution model. But faced with more channels, more data and more opportunities to experiment than ever before, they don’t always know how to go about implementing one.

Here are four takeaways from the webinar:

1. Understanding the problem

The fact that marketers struggle with measurement isn’t surprising, given how many different channels and devices go into the path to purchase. “Increasingly, expensive marketing decisions are based on more limited windows into the customer journey,” says Sam Carter, Sales and Marketing Director at multi-touch attribution specialist Fospha.

True marketing effectiveness requires integrating as much consumer data as possible to create a single user profile. A multi-touch attribution model assigns value to every touchpoint, eliminating the notion that the last thing someone clicked on is the catalyst for conversion. This often results in marketers having inaccurate perceptions of their best-performing keywords.

2. Starting small

To implement full-scale optimization overnight is an impossible task. Carter recommends starting with a few key foundational data sets, such as paid search cost data and revenue data from your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform.

“When the cost is tied to a visit or conversion, you’re able to shine a light on costly keywords that aren’t playing any role in conversions,” says Carter, adding that this method saved Procter & Gamble $140 million in a single quarter (without any reduction in growth rate).

3. Combining complementary platforms

Once you’re comfortable with your understanding of the role keywords play in each step of the customer journey, it’s helpful to take your data and “let it breathe” by utilizing another tool, such as a bid management platform that’s more focused on optimizing paid search campaigns.

Using technologies in tandem can help improve accuracy, something of significant importance to 64.5% of our webinar attendees.

Evolving past last-click attribution in paid search

“Kenshoo can take any attributed data source and create a bid policy that uses a custom calculation,” explains David Bowen, the platform’s director of client success. “Similar to the Stock Market, we use a system of machine learning to look at how all the keywords are working together and make predictions based on the outcome of a bid change.”

4. Dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s

According to Darral Wilson, Director of Solutions at Kenshoo, one of the most crucial elements of dynamic attribution is attention to detail. Is everything tagged? Do you unknowingly have duplicate keywords that are competing?

“If there are gaps in the data or if your search campaign isn’t structured properly, you won’t get as much from it as you possibly could,” he says.

Wrapping up

Your data is only as valuable as what you do with it. The last click may have been an instrumental element of a conversion—but not necessarily, and that common attribution model doesn’t paint a clear enough picture.

Understand why measurement is an issue and tackle it piecemeal. Eventually using powerful platforms together will then allow you to obtain the data and operationalize it, making the most of your keywords, improving your attribution and making your marketing more effective.

Content produced in partnership with Fospha and Kenshoo. Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Search Engine Watch.

SearchCap: AdWords parallel tracking, Google Attribution & local search updates

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: AdWords parallel tracking, Google Attribution & local search updates appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Google expanding Attribution beta to hundreds more advertisers

Google’s anticipated multi-channel attribution product is rolling out to more advertisers.

The post Google expanding Attribution beta to hundreds more advertisers appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Google Attribution Merging AdWords, Google Analytics & DoubleClick Search

Google announced their intentions to rid of last-click attribution and replace it with Google Attribution. Google Attribution is Google’s effort to give you a more complete view of the customer journey from start to finish and beyond…


Can Call Tracking Solve the Last-Click Attribution Problem? by @nancy_elle

Want to better understand your customers and increase conversions? Then call tracking technology is a must-have.

The post Can Call Tracking Solve the Last-Click Attribution Problem? by @nancy_elle appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

Content Attribution: Identifying content that converts

Content may be a critical part of your marketing toolkit, but do you know how it performs against your business goals? Join our digital marketing and data science experts from Cardinal Path and Intel as they demonstrate how to use content attribution – both practically and strategically – as a…

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SearchCap: Attribution models, local authenticity & more

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: Brand vs. local Knowledge Graph result: Which is better? Jan 6, 2017 by Tony Edward Columnist Tony Edward explains which Knowledge Graph results are appropriate…

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How to deal with attribution fraud

While ad fraud has become part of every marketer’s vocabulary, attribution fraud – the practice of gaming outdated attribution models to justify self-serving means – has been mostly ignored up until now.

As marketers and media owners shift dollars into digital channels, however, serving ads outside of an attribution model’s measurable capabilities in order to achieve financial benefit has quietly been ramping up in response. Attribution fraud is fast becoming the ad industry’s next big quality headache.

Attribution fraud includes everything from retargeting users about to convert to knowingly cookie-bombing users with non-viewable ads. And the costs of attribution fraud are not just the valuable advertising dollars wasted on ineffective media.

Attribution fraud leads marketers down a rabbit hole of fundamentally misunderstanding their customers’ behavior. It leads advertisers to misinterpret how various channels, devices and tactics lead to consumer actions.

But all hope is not lost. With advances in cross-device attribution and experimental design methodologies, marketers are able to create randomized controlled experiments that measure combinations of investments in channels, regions or media types.

These randomized controlled experiments are able to accurately attribute business outcomes to specific marketing activities – and leave scant opportunities for fraudsters in the process.

Don’t leave the door open for fraudsters

The multifaceted, multichannel nature of consumer behavior and advertising programs today has made true attribution difficult to measure—but marketers tend to default to what they can easily measure. And what is easy to measure is often first or last touch.

Fraudulent ad impressions without value frequently clutter attribution methodologies such as last touch/view. Marketers are unwittingly leaving the door wide open for fraudsters by using attribution models which are neither accurate nor effective.

And even sophisticated multi-touch or split-funnel attribution models still rely on impressions that are measurable – leaving these models vulnerable to fraud as well.

Take a look at advertising investments relative to desired outcomes

Marketers should consider taking a more holistic view of campaigns across all channels to better protect themselves from fraud.

One way to do this is by activating a scientific experimentation framework through a cross-channel technology measurement partner. Here’s what such a framework looks like:

1. Run many small, isolated experiments to understand the impact of each investment on desired business outcomes.

Marketers can run many parallel experiments to achieve a holistic understanding of their advertising investments and returns. This “design-of-experiments” methodology is superior to traditional media-mix models for three reasons:

  • Runs in real-time. Media-mix models measure the relationship between historical investments and outcomes over multi-year periods. But multi-year models are often outdated by the time they are complete. Design-of-experiments methodology, in contrast, allows advertisers to run many short-duration, randomized controlled experiments in order to pulse different levels of media investments across regions, devices and channels.
  • Normalizes reporting. Existing attribution models suffer from the lack of apples-to-apples comparisons of outcomes from digital channels. The design-of-experiment model uses true outcomes data (i.e., offline or online sales), however – which remains comparable no matter the channel – to calculate the optimal investment level and saturation level of each channel. This method can include purely offline channels such as print and traditional TV in addition to digital channels
  • Demonstrates causation instead of correlation. Traditional models are only able to show correlation—not causation. The learnings from the sum of experiments, however, can be used to establish a causal link between marketing outcomes and media investments.

2. Consumers use multiple devices, so all measurements should, too.

Consumers use multiple devices to research, plan, compare, consider and complete their purchases. When looking at attribution models, it is important to consider both the cross-device nature of today’s modern consumer and the role of each device within the conversion path.

Graph technologies identify unique users across multiple touchpoints, including touchpoints outside of paid media, and are crucial to identify and curb impression-level attribution fraud. Transparent multi-touch attribution models built on this foundation can help advertisers recognize fraudulent impressions and discredit them, thereby assigning credit to the rightful touchpoint in the consumer journey.

3.Work with partners you trust.

As more money flows into an industry, the incentive for fraudsters to find new ways of gaming the system increases. The advertising industry is no exception to this trend. So just like in any other financial relationship, it is very important for advertisers to know and trust the partners and vendors with whom they are working.


Given the vast amounts of money spent on digital by global advertisers, there has never been a better time to transition to more complete attribution models that represent the reality as a minimum standard.

Last-touch modeling is outdated, impression-only models are incomplete, and walled gardens (intentionally) make it difficult for advertisers to uniformly measure advertising performance.

As digital marketing becomes more complex and fragmented, it is critical for marketers to modernize their attribution modelling to ensure they fully understand the ROI of their media investments.

The good news is that more than 50% of marketers in US companies already plan to use multichannel attribution models in 2017, according to eMarketer. These marketers have the right idea.

Only a holistic look at advertising investments across all devices, channels and media types will lead to a true understanding of attribution. And only then will attribution fraud become a thing of the past.

Five mobile must-haves to impact the customer journey this holiday season

According to Deloitte’s annual retail holiday sales forecast, retailers should expect to see an uptick in both in-store and online sales this coming holiday.

With a stable economy, low unemployment and more disposable income, sales are expected to exceed $1 trillion, or a 3.6%-4% increase in sales over the same period last year (November-January).

That’s good news for many retailers who have been forced to close some stores, streamline SKUs and reduce expenses, but it’s no time to sit back and rest on the innovation front.

While most retailers have finalized their holiday plans by now, use the next few weeks to test, pilot and innovate to yield new learnings, insights and sales moving into the new year.

With that in mind, here are a few of my top recommendations focused on bridging the gap between digital and brick and mortar, improving the customer experience and keeping sales moving in the right direction.

Mobile is the bridge between digital and brick and mortar as the number of devices and time spent with those devices continues to accelerate.

Consequently, mobile is now the top digital marketing priority for marketers, according to Forrester Research. For marketers looking to further accelerate sales and improve customer experiences this holiday season, no program would be complete without a focused effort around mobile innovation spanning SMS, push, mobile advertising and location-driven marketing/intelligence.

Consider the following:

Text for save programs

Millions of consumers armed with smart phones in hand will be in and out of retail locations over the next few months. While many may not have downloaded your app, nearly all have the capability to text.

In fact, SMS remains the workhorse of mobile marketing because it’s easy, real-time and ubiquitous.

Smartphone chatting SMS Messages speech Bubbles. Vector Illustration

Retailers seeking to increase year over year sales for a particular category or product should consider the following: analyze last year’s average spend and margin for that category (i.e. $50), determine the desired increase in average sales/basket size and encourage users to spend more by texting in to receive a bonus or discount (i.e. spend $100, receive double rewards points).

Geo-triggered push notifications

Let’s face it, they say timing is everything. If you’re fortunate enough to have users download your app, you have a unique opportunity to not only learn more about them but to also connect existing data you have about those users via an in app purchase, registration or loyalty sign in.

Combining that knowledge with existing CRM data (i.e. past purchases) and when available, location will give you the ability to trigger a hyper-relevant message when a particular user crosses a geo-fence (i.e. within X feet of your retail location).

But why stop there? Consider testing a conquesting program by setting up geo-fences around your competitor location(s) and sweetening the deal to increase your share of wallet and loyalty.

Beacon/WiFi intelligence and messaging

There has been a lot of talk about the promise of Beacon and WiFi signals to support better customer knowledge, messaging and experiences in-store.

According to Retail TouchPoints, just 29% of retailers surveyed worldwide have implemented beacon technology thus far and of those who have, other research shows they are satisfied with them.

LED Display - Free wifi signage

The key to beacon success and satisfaction is to move forward with some goals in mind and setting up milestones and measures of success. Whether it is trying to get a better understanding of the customer journey in store, improving store operations via better data for staffing or impacting the experience and sales creating hyper-relevant offers and services in-store.

If you haven’t implemented beacons yet, consider a pilot with those things in mind and be sure to share learnings internally to further fuel innovation.

Ad retargeting

As marketers, we all aspire to better understand and impact the customer journey in a positive way. After all, in the end, creating positive customer experiences is really how one brand can truly differentiate itself from another in today’s competitive market.

So far, we’ve talked about pre-visit messaging with geo-location triggered messages and beacon/WiFi triggered messaging in-store, but what about post visit?

Using the IDFA (Apple Identifier for Advertiser) or Google Advertising ID, marketers have the opportunity to re-target their app users in app and via mobile ads across major ad ad networks.

By using CRM, geo-location data (recent store visit), beacon signals (in-store movements and linger time) and actual purchase data, marketers can now intelligently retarget users with hyper-relevant mobile ads that either reflecting interest or actual purchases (up-sell).

If access to various components of this effort is difficult, consider starting with testing a simple ad retargeting program to encourage another online or instore visit and move up in sophistication from there.

Mobile analytics and attribution

The wealth of data mobile offers is immense. The mobile landscape continues to expand with innovative start-ups focused on helping brands leverage the power of mobile and specifically mobile data.

Look for providers who can help you visualize this data to yield a better understanding of your customers based on their physical movements. One leading hospitality company I know, is using their app users location data off property to better understand and segment their users (i.e. foodie, sport enthusiast, etc.), inform on property services and refine messaging across all channels.

Location data can also be used to determine attribution – did that mobile ad drive an in-store visit and purchase?

We are living in exciting times and there is little doubt that mobile and mobile marketing is increasingly becoming central to not only understanding the customer journey, but impacting and evolving it in new and exciting ways.

While marketers continue to shift dollars towards the mobile channel, testing innovating new ways to impact the customer journey needs to be an essential part of any marketing effort today.