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How Do I Use Attribution Models to Make the Best Marketing Investment Decisions?

Contemporary marketers generally have a large, bulging portfolio of ads that, like a holiday dinner cooking on the stove, must be checked frequently to ensure everything is in sound condition. 

Typically, they have ads for specific social media sites, multiple ads for a specific product, multiple campaigns with different sets of ads, new ads competing against old ads, and a variety of metrics to balance optimization decisions. 

All these different ads contribute, to one degree or another, to spreading public awareness of a company’s brand and/or their products. But the problem is figuring out which degree of impact can be assigned to a particular ad or campaign. 

When you have a plethora of different ads floating around in cyberspace, how do you know which ones are responsible for bringing in conversions? Is it the first ad that brought customers to the site? Or is it the last? Could it be that all of them contributed to the sale? The need for an accurate answer to these questions is what inspired the creation of attribution models.

Choosing the right attribution model—and there are more than a few viable options to select from—can help guide marketing decisions, including the optimal allocation of valuable resources, by distinguishing successful ads and campaigns from those that are relatively ineffective. Understanding marketing attribution models is essential for the modern-day marketer. 

Yet these tools, as they are generally used, have limitations that must be understood as well. AdBeacon has been designed to address these traditional shortcomings and aid marketers in getting the most out of their attribution modeling efforts.

Common Attribution Models

Although attribution models vary considerably in design, they’re all intended to address the basic fact that the customer journey to a conversion very often involves multiple touchpoints, or impressions, over a certain span of time. In other words, customers usually interact with your ad(s) or your website on several occasions before a conversion happens. Each model is intended to assign weight to those touchpoints considered relevant to generating the conversion. 

It’s worth taking the time to go over some of the attribution models in use today. These include:

First-click attribution – 100% credit is given to the first touchpoint.

Last-click attribution – 100% credit is given to the last touchpoint.

Linear attribution – Conversion credit is spread equally among all touchpoints—e.g., a four-touch journey will assign 25% credit to each impression. The full impact model, which assigns 100% credit to every touchpoint, can be considered a variant of the linear model.

Time decay attribution – Touchpoints are weighted according to how close they occurred to the conversion; each touchpoint is given more credit than the immediately preceding one.

U-shaped attribution – This model gives most of the credit to the first and last touchpoints (often 40% each), while the rest of the credit is spread evenly among all touchpoints in between.

Last non-direct touch attribution – This assigns 100% credit to the last touchpoint that is not a direct interaction. (For instance, it’s classified as a direct interaction when the customer manually enters the company URL into the address bar.)

Some marketers dispense with traditional attribution methods in favor of devising custom models in which touchpoints are assigned relative weight according to specialized criteria that are considered to more accurately reflect the customer journey.

The effectiveness of any particular attribution model depends largely on the type of business that uses it. First touch models, for example, are common among organizations with lengthy customer journeys, such as business-to-business (B2B) companies. Businesses with shorter customer journeys are more likely to opt for last touch attribution. 

However, one important factor that is often overlooked is that all traditional attribution models, as they are generally used, have serious shortcomings.

The Need for Real-Time Marketing Attribution

There’s no doubt that attribution modeling can help you in optimizing your ad campaigns. But there are several problems with these tools. 

One is an inability to see the complete customer journey, which is often due to time-window restrictions established by social media platforms. This leaves marketers with an incomplete picture of what their customers are doing online.

Another big problem that marketers tend to run into is reporting delays. It’s not uncommon for marketers to wait days for relevant data to arrive from the third-party platforms they rely on to promote their wares. That can be detrimental to the effectiveness of your marketing efforts—not to mention your ad budget. That’s why AdBeacon has been designed for real-time reporting

Today’s fast-paced marketing landscape demands a highly agile approach. It’s vital to be able to respond to ever-changing marketing conditions on the spot, not several days down the road. That’s why reporting delays can be so costly, as they deprive you of the information you need to make immediate adjustments to your campaigns—shifting funds from one ad to another, or tweaking an ad that is underperforming. 

The need for this kind of agility explains why the advertising sector has in recent years increasingly placed paramount importance on real-time data

When we talk about real-time data, we mean data that is immediately available. The only practical way to do this is by basing attribution models on first-party data—that is, data provided to you directly by your customers in the form of website visit information, past orders, revealed shopping preferences, and other interactions with your brand. AdBeacon is the tool you need to make the most out of this wealth of customer data.

Real-Time Marketing with AdBeacon

AdBeacon enables optimized ad performance in real time, based on your own first-party consumer data. With AdBeacon in your corner, you can chart the complete customer journey according to your own specifications, rather than being forced into arbitrary attribution windows. You can also make necessary changes to ad sets directly from the AdBeacon dashboard.

Scale ROAS faster with greater accuracy—that’s what AdBeacon can do for you, by leveraging the power of your own data, in real time. 

Book an AdBeacon demo today!