Nuts & Bolts - Online Marketing: A Balanced Attribution Equation
The last click hardly tells the whole story to those who want to properly attribute sales to their marketing efforts, said Esco Strong, director of the Microsoft Advertising Institute. Speaking during a session in November at ad:tech New York, Strong suggested that for the last click to happen, the rest of the funnel needs to be there. For the rest of the funnel to exist, its creators need to be paid.
So, Strong said, marketers may want to consider a new conversion attribution model.
"It starts with not throwing out 94 percent of the data," he said.
Strong based his assertions on institute research reports, such as one from February titled The Long Road to Conversion: The Digital Purchase Funnel.
The top of the funnel, like editorial sites and games, does matter, he asserted. "They're going to get more credit as we move to a holistic model." During the 90 days before purchase, Strong said, the average Internet user sees nearly 19 display advertisements from the same brand. The day of conversion, the consumer experiences 2.2 touches.
If marketers optimize based on last click and ignore engagement further up the funnel, Strong said, "You're not going to have any offensive linemen."
Citing Expedia as an example, Strong said airlines' display advertisements on the travel site earned 1.2 percent of the credit for conversions based on the direct marketing model of last click, 12.4 percent of the brand-based credit and, if the proposal for balanced attribution were to apply, Expedia would earn 8 percent of the conversion credit. The February study shows that those who convert tend to have visited Expedia 17 days prior to purchase. (Speaking during the session, Doug Miller, global vice president of media solutions for Bellevue, Wash.-based travel site Expedia, said consumers who've visited Expedia.com are 300 percent more likely to visit an airline's site than the same ad viewers who don't visit Expedia.)