Attribution Analysis

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Attribution Analysis

  1. 1. Whitepaper Contents Attribution Analysis–Best Practices for Finding Your Quick Links Path to Success One of the persistent challenges marketers face is how to most effectively manage Introduction their marketing spend to achieve the best outcome for their advertising programs. [PG. 1] This is further compounded when independently managing multiple online channels Track and Manage (e.g., display, paid search, natural search, affiliate, social, mobile and email Marketing Channels on marketing programs) with little to no visibility into how these programs may a Single Platform impact each other. How can marketers better understand how each component [PG. 2] of their marketing program is really affecting conversions to make truly informed Path to Conversion Data decisions? While managing to the true Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) across marketingCombined with Intelligent, channels is the desired outcome, how can marketers do this in both a cost- Ongoing Analysis effective and meaningful way to achieve the results they desire? [PG. 3]Path to Conversion Studies: These challenges illustrate the importance of understanding how each component Client Examples of your marketing activity impacts desired conversion activity. After all, without [PG. 5] these insights, how can you make the informed decisions to drive optimal results? Conclusion and Key In a recent report on the value of integrating search and display channels, Takeaways for Marketers eMarketer further underscores this sentiment, explaining: [PG. 11] “Most conversions occur as a result of long-term, complex interactions among a variety of ads and marketing channels. However, even after years of research, some marketers still give more weight to the consumer’s last click – often on search results, both ads and organic listings- than any other step in the purchase funnel leading to conversion. That mistaken notion makes it hard to effectively blend search and display advertising into an overall campaign and allocate spending based on true performance.”1 This whitepaper reviews best practices to help you understand what is really driving conversion activity across all your online marketing channels and sites, and how these valuable insights can help you make better decisions around marketing spend allocation for optimal ROAS. You will learn the importances of the following practices: ✓ Track and manage all your marketing programs through one system ✓ Gather and identify the Path to Conversion data you will need to answer your questions 1 Hallerman, D. (2011, April). Integrating Search and Display: Tactics for More Effective Advertising. Retrieved from eMarketer database. www.mediaplex.com © 2011 Mediaplex, Inc. All Rights Reserved 1
  2. 2. ✓ Identify the right questions to put you on the road to success ✓ Apply both data and analysis to deliver your specific formula for success ✓ Commit to ongoing data collection, analysis and refinementTrack and Manage Marketing Channels on aSingle PlatformBefore marketers can even begin to understand how their marketing channelsinfluence each other and impact conversion activity, they must first ensure theyare properly tracking and managing all of their marketing channels in unison –using a single system. Even if marketers are using various, independent solutionsfor managing paid search or email, for example, those marketing channels shouldstill use a unified analytics platform for tracking clicks and impressions. Moving toa single, comprehensive platform allows marketers to accurately track conversionsand view consumer interaction data from ALL online channels and sites, as well asestablish the baseline for how they will define the data for any future analysis.Path to Conversion® DataNow that a solid foundation for consistently tracking and managing all thedata across online activity has been established, the next step is to take a lookat identifying all the different paths, or sequence of events, a user took thatled to the conversion event. This view into the entire path of events leadingup to a conversion plays a critical role in helping marketers understand thetrue performance of their marketing efforts across all the different programsand channels they are now tracking. This data delivers the critical informationnecessary to understand how the advertising campaigns work together with asingle marketing objective, rather than as channels in silos competing againsteach other.The sequence of events leading up to a conversion is known as Path to Conversiondata. Examples of these events include impressions, clicks and any other trackedevent within a marketing channel. Path to Conversion data allows advertisersto view and analyze their media buys beyond the last click event - giving themgreater insight into their data by revealing the entire path of events leading up toa conversion.www.mediaplex.com © 2011 Mediaplex, Inc. All Rights Reserved 2
  3. 3. Path to Conversion Data Combined with Intelligent, Ongoing Analysis Once the foundation for the data has been established, and the relevant data paths for the conversion activity have been gathered, the next step is to establish the questions marketers want answered in order to achieve their goals. Years of experience demonstrate there is no one size fits all approach to understanding the Path to Conversion. Marketers should evaluate their specific business goals and objectives alongside their Path to Conversion data in order to develop a customized solution that they can then continue to optimize and refine. The following attribution framework is useful in helping marketers identify the marketing mix variables (sites, creatives, channels, etc.) and conversion types (e.g. number of orders, number of sales, number of registrations, etc.) that apply to their current business in order to identify which pieces are most relevant. The subsequent Path to Conversion analysis then shines a light on the process through which the marketing mix variables generate conversions. It shows how the marketing mix variables interact, where adjusting spending on the marketing mix variables can lead to more efficient conversion generation, and how marketers can create more conversions. For example, marketers looking to achieve maximum SITES ATTRIBUTION FRAMEWORK Site 1 Site 2 ROI 1 orders Site 3CREATIVES CUSTOMER PROFILE Size New Introducers Influencers Converters Content Return Profile & Event Data ROI 2 Rich Media Attribute 1 sales Broad Search Fuzzy Search Exact Search Dynamic Messaging Profile 1 CHANNELS Natural Display Search Paid Email Search ROI 3 registrations Offsite Social Affiliate Mobile Marketing Mix Conversions www.mediaplex.com © 2011 Mediaplex, Inc. All Rights Reserved 3
  4. 4. scale with their marketing investment will often focus as much attention towardthe top of the funnel as the bottom of the funnel, and optimizing the significantrole introducers play in generating conversions. Path to Conversion provides theinsights to support these sophisticated goals, enabling marketers to make themost effective adjustments to the marketing mix and achieve the desired results.After the attribution framework has been identified, marketers can begin to definethe key questions they want answered by their Path to Conversion model. Oncethey have selected the right questions, they can then set out to determine thetime frame during which they need their activities to run and be measured beforebeginning to analyze the data. When phrasing each question, they should try todo so in the form of a testable hypothesis. An example of this might be stated as:True or false? Display and paid search can be proven to perform better with userswho have interacted with both. Oftentimes, when first approaching the process,the advertiser may not realize that the answers are not always black and white,but more like shades of grey. Framing a question as a hypothesis helps the marketerfocus the study. Once a marketer has identified the questions, the data andanalysis will reveal if the answers to the questions are statistically significant.After establishing the questions for the study, the following is recommended:• Track and analyze Path to Conversion data for one month. This timeframe is an average which may vary depending on the volume of the data.• For each conversion, include up to the last 10 impression (14 day window), last 10 click (120 day window), and last 10 natural search (30 day window) events.• Path to Conversion data should include all media exposures within the utilized marketing channels.• All Path to Conversion data should be tracked and managed in a single technology platform.Once Path to Conversion data has been captured for the established time period,the analysis can begin.www.mediaplex.com © 2011 Mediaplex, Inc. All Rights Reserved 4
  5. 5. Path to Conversion Studies: Client ExamplesLet’s review how a few advertisers framed successful Path to Conversion studiesto not only ensure they were properly crediting conversions, but also using theinformation to better allocate marketing spend across all relevant sites andmarketing channels for the best possible performance.The following five questions provided these advertisers with the right mix of dataand actionable insights to better understand what drove conversions, as well ashow to use this information to refine their media decisions and spend to mostpositively impact their bottom lines.1) Which marketing channels are influencing response rates?To answer this question, the following two types of analysis were performed:Channel Analysis: This shows the number of conversions credited to eachchannel based on single attribution (conversions won), and how many conversionswere influenced by the channel (conversions influenced).Cross-Channel Analysis: This shows how one channel is having an impact onanother channel’s conversions. This type of analysis may reveal that one channelis simply self-sufficient in converting users while another channel is heavilyinfluenced by other channels. Source: MediaplexConvert Media Conversions Conversions Paid Affiliate Display EmailChannel Exposures Influenced Credited Search Paid 110,293 97,270 96,347 96,347 548 11,327 232 Search Affiliate 44,754 28,364 27,669 504 27,669 3,456 82 Display 130,118 34,246 17,491 281 56 17,491 50 Email 11,674 9,058 8,694 138 91 1,971 8,694 Total 296,838 168,938 150,202 97,270 28,364 34,246 9,058 Influence % of Conversions Credited Convert Media Conversions Conversions Paid Affiliate Display Email Channel Exposures Influenced Credited Search Paid 37% 65% 64% 100% 1% 12% 0% Search Affiliate 15% 19% 18% 2% 100% 12% 0% Display 44% 23% 12% 2% 0% 100% 0% Email 4% 6% 6% 2% 1% 23% 100%www.mediaplex.com © 2011 Mediaplex, Inc. All Rights Reserved 5
  6. 6. AnswerAs a result of this analysis, the advertiser learned the following:• The most valuable insight in this study is that display has a much bigger impact on conversions than is obvious from the standard last click attribution. It influenced nearly twice as many conversions (23%) as it was credited (12%).• Paid search accounted for 37% of all media exposures but influenced 65% of conversions and was credited with 64% of conversions.• Display accounted for 44% of all media exposures but influenced 23% of conversions and was credited with only 12% of conversions.• 12% of the conversions that were credited to the paid search channel were influenced by display.• Email played a significant role only in conversions credited to that channel.2) How does a channel’s ROAS change when that channel’simpact on non-credited conversions is included?To answer this question, standard conversion metrics, along with path toconversion (influence) metrics, were collected and analyzed to more effectivelyevaluate performance of the entire media plan. Standard conversion metrics helpidentify which media buys are effective “converters.” Path to Conversion metricsand analysis help identify and quantify the value of “influencers” on conversions.The following Path to Conversion performance metrics were then applied toanswer this question:• Conversions influenced• Cost per conversion influenced• Average revenue per conversion influencedwww.mediaplex.com © 2011 Mediaplex, Inc. All Rights Reserved 6
  7. 7. Source: MediaplexMedia Buy Conversions % Total Total Cost Cost Per Conversions % of Total Total P2C Avg. # of Cost Per Avg. Won Conversions Conversion Influenced Conversions Media P2C Media Conversion Revenue Won Win Influenced Exposure Exposure Influenced Per per Conversion Conversion Influenced InfluencedAdvertising. 201 9.70% $20,000 $99.50 301 14.60% 1220 4.1 $66.45 $115.23comAOL.com 246 11.90% $25,000 $101.63 299 14.50% 814 2.7 $83.61 $134.56Google. 301 14.60% $20,500 $68.11 378 18.30% 822 2.2 $54.23 $138.22comMSN 211 10.20% $20,000 $94.79 239 11.60% 1083 4.5 $83.68 $111.55Yahoo.com 263 12.70% $30,000 $114.07 426 20.60% 1878 4.4 $70.42 $147.30Other 846 40.90% $115,500 $136.52Total 2068 100% $231,000 $111.70 Answer Including the supporting role of a media exposure in leading to a conversion can have a dramatic impact on valuing the benefits of media spending. At first glance, analysis shows us when using standard metrics that the MSN buy appears to be the better performing media buy with a $94.79 cost per conversion. But when the Path to Conversion metrics are incorporated, one will notice that the Yahoo buy may be the more efficient and effective media buy in the overall impact on all conversions. • Yahoo was credited with 12.7% of total conversions but had an influence on 20.6% of total conversions. • Yahoo interacted 4.4 times with the conversions that it influenced (slightly less than MSN at 4.5). • Yahoo had a lower “cost per conversion influenced” than MSN ($70.42 vs. $83.68). • Yahoo also influenced conversions that had a higher revenue value than MSN ($147.30 vs. $111.55). www.mediaplex.com © 2011 Mediaplex, Inc. All Rights Reserved 7
  8. 8. 3) What are the effects of generic search terms on branded search terms?To answer this question, the advertiser first identified branded keywords. Anexample of a branded keyword would be the name of the company or product.Next the advertiser reviewed the conversion path data to identify how many timesa relevant, non-branded keyword preceded a branded keyword in the conversion path. Source: MediaplexSearch Type Wins Share of WinsBranded 14,495 71%Not Branded 6,023 29%Total 20,518 100%Number of Generic Number of Search Wins Number of Search WinsSearch Words BeforeFirst Branded SearchEvent in BrandedSearch Win0 9,453 65%1 4,220 29%2 800 6%3 12 0%4 4 0%5 4 0%7 1 0%8 1 0%Answer• 29% of the search channel wins were based upon keywords that were not brand specific. This is a significant lift above an earlier study where they only accounted for 10% of the keyword wins.• Non-branded keywords had a noticeable influence on branded search wins. 35% of brand keyword search wins had a non-branded search event occur somewhere earlier in the Path to Conversion.• 9,453 of the 20,518 Search channel wins (46%) were based upon someone already searching for the client, using search as more of a navigational rather than influential tool.www.mediaplex.com © 2011 Mediaplex, Inc. All Rights Reserved 8
  9. 9. 4) What are the most common multi-site paths to conversion? To answer this question, the full path to conversion data for the last 20 events prior to conversion was analyzed. Source: MediaplexTop 6 Conversions Events Winning Entire Last Event 2nd Last 3rd Last 4th Last … 10thPaths Won In Timelag Path last Path (Median Length Hours) (Median Hours)1 358 10 1.39 19.71 Advertising. Right Media Right Media Right Media … Right Media com Display Display Display Display Display2 346 2 0.77 0.93 Advertising. ValueClick … com Display Display3 202 2 0.04 0.38 Yahoo Advertising. … Search com Display4 151 3 0.04 0.35 ValueClick Advertising. Advertising. … Display com Display com Display5 141 3 0.22 7.82 ValueClick ValueClick Advertising. … Display Display com Display6 140 10 0.31 0.33 Advertising. ValueClick ValueClick ValueClick … ValueClick com Display Display Display Display Display...2000 Answer • Long path conversions (3+ events) are driven by either Right Media or ValueClick.com impressions. Advertising.com is involved in shorter path conversions. • Time lags between the last event and the conversion are also identified, as well as the time taken for the entire conversion path. www.mediaplex.com © 2011 Mediaplex, Inc. All Rights Reserved 9
  10. 10. 5) What is the impact of changing the attribution model from last click to first click? 1st Click Events Not Credited with Conversions Source: MediaplexConvert Conversions Conversions Media $ Per Display Email Social Natural Paid Re-Scored Re-Scored Re-ScoredChannel Credited Credited Spend Conversion Networks Search Search Conversions Conversions $ Per Share Credited Credited Conversion ShareDisplay 2000 44% $2,000 $1.00 20 30 400 2,450 54% $0.82Email 300 7% $600 $2.00 (20) 75 355 8% $1.69Social 500 11% $1,000 $2.00 500 11% $2.00NetworksNatural 200 4% - - (30) 170 4% -SearchPaid 1500 33% $750 $0.50 (400) (75) 1,025 23% $0.73SearchTotal 4,500 100% $4,350 $0.97 (450) (55) - 30 475 4,500 100% $0.97 Answer • Display gets credit for 20 email attributed conversions, 30 natural search attributed conversions and 400 paid search attributed conversions. This increases its conversion share from 44% to 54%, a 22% increase. • Paid search gives 400 attributed conversions to display and 75 attributed conversions to email, dropping its share by 30%, from 33% to 23%. • Re-scoring the cost per conversion drops the display cost per conversion from $1.00 to $0.82, and increases paid search from $0.50 to $0.73. These questions and resulting answers are great examples of how advertisers were able to frame successful Path to Conversion studies in order meet their specific goals and objectives. These examples also further demonstrate that Path to Conversion data is unique to each organization, so marketers need to decide the questions that will be most actionable for them based on their own marketing channels and sales cycles. This should also be approached as a continuous process on the path to achieving the greatest ROAS. The following are examples of some other potential questions marketers may want to ask: www.mediaplex.com © 2011 Mediaplex, Inc. All Rights Reserved 10
  11. 11. • What are the effects of display on search (both paid search and natural search)?• How many times is your advertising interacting with users prior to their conversion?• Is a long haul campaign with multiple media exposures over a long time or short intense bursts of media more rewarding?• How many different creatives do customers usually see before they convert?• How do channels differ in latency (time between media exposure and conversion)?• How does the conversion lift from display ads diminish over time?Conclusion and Key Takeaways for MarketersFinding the right formula for attribution success will certainly vary from businessto business, but by following the fundamentals outlined above, marketers can beconfident they are moving in the right direction. While many takeaways may begleamed from this whitepaper, the following key benefits of attribution analysisfurther underscore the importance of getting started now if you haven’t already:1. Achieve better ROAS – Reviewing your conversion path data will reveal the true role of all your sites and channels in the conversion process, yielding significant insights you cannot gleam from a single attribution model. This will allow you to confidently and successfully allocate marketing spend to the sites and channels that will yield the best ROAS.2. Deliver more effective messages – Path to Conversion helps you to understand the role each site and channel plays in the conversion process. Knowing which one plays the role of “the introducer” or “the influencer” or “the converter” allows you to most effectively message to you audience based on the site’s specific role in the conversion path.3. Understand true ROI behind search activity – Reviewing the conversion paths within paid and natural search clearly separates branded keywords from non-branded ones. This allows you to identify what really generates new recruitment of users to your site from online advertising activities versus those users who are strictly clicking on branded keywords as a means of site navigation.www.mediaplex.com © 2011 Mediaplex, Inc. All Rights Reserved 11
  12. 12. About MediaplexMediaplex provides cross-channel advertising technology solutions and services that enablemarketers to achieve one-to-one messaging, greater efficiencies and a competitive edge throughinsightful reporting and analytics. Our team of industry experts focuses on putting the customer first,providing advanced technology solutions alongside consulting services for the greatest return ontheir marketing spend. Our ability to blend technology, campaign experience and customized expertanalysis gives our clients more than just a product or service but a true partnership. Since 1996,Mediaplex has serviced more than 20,000 marketers and currently manages more than $1 billionin annual digital ad spend for its clients, which include AccuQuote, eBay, Shutterfly, Sirius, UnitedAirlines and Wells Fargo.Contact Us to Learn MoreMediaplex Headquarters160 Spear Street, 15th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105415.644.1400 direct | 1.877.402.7539 toll freeinfo@mediaplex.comVisit us online at www.mediaplex.comwww.mediaplex.com © 2011 Mediaplex, Inc. All Rights Reserved 12

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