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Attribution – The Frenemy of the Display Marketer?

Let's all step back and take a deep breath; attribution doesn't have to be the terror machine we've made it out to be.

scare machine

What is attribution?

Firstly let’s dispel the myths around attribution, iProspect US have built a handy infographic that does just that.

iProspect US

Click here to read and download the infographic.

So now that we know what attribution is and is not why should you care about attribution?

In a global industry where 70-80% of all advertisers measure their digital advertising on a last click basis it can be difficult not to default to this performance model, but how much can last click really tell you about your consumer’s path to purchase? How often is there a single touch point in a conversion? It’s time to move away from last click and towards a consumer first model exploring all the touch points on the path to conversion.

Rarely is a channel more impacted by the last click model than display advertising, in the post click world display ads tend to lag behind, but is that to say that display is not doing a job? Of course not! As you move away from a last click model and to a touch point attribution model you begin to see the true value of upper funnel “Introducer” activity such as Prospecting, Social Ads and Generic Paid Search and the impact they have on closer activity like Brand Search and Retargeting.

What the Data is Saying and What it's Not

Take the below example for Client ABC: Looking at their Q1 activity we can see this in practice, on a last click basis Brand Paid search delivered 176 conversions in a three month period. Great right? Let’s put more money into Brand Search? Not necessarily, if we look at the number of unassisted conversions as a percentage of total conversions we can see that only 54 of 176 brand search conversions were unassisted, meaning that there was no other touch point in the conversion.  

So in real terms that means a potential loss of 122 sales when “introducer” activity like generic search and prospecting display is limited or de-valued which is often what we see with display activity that is not seen to “add value” in a post click model.

branded paid pie chart

Analysing the interactions between channels is just the first step in attribution, next is partner analysis but that’s a blog post for another day!

So what should you take away from our jaunt into attribution? 

There is no out of a box attribution solution or one size fits all model. It’s about taking the time to track, collect, measure and analyse your data to build out your consumer’s journey. And if you’re a display marketer like me, get comfortable with attribution it’s not the enemy!

Unsure how to approach Attribution for your business? Contact us if you have questions or wish to discuss how to leverage our attribution modelling service for organisation.