What Is Attribution In Advertising Terms?

When we are trying to assess the value of a marketing campaign, we naturally want to work out just how many sales, or how much revenue, can be attributed to a particular campaign. What’s more, in the case of a PPC campaign, we really need to know exactly which ad is contributing the most, and which is the most productive keyword.

The problem is that this is notoriously difficult to do.

The famous department store pioneer John Wanamaker summed it up very well when he said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

He was really on the button with that one. Without top quality, in-depth, Analytics it is really difficult to know exactly where your business is coming from.

But, you may say, just take a look at Google Adwords Conversion Tracking, that will tell you which ads are working and which are not. You’d think so wouldn’t you? But in many cases you’d be wrong.

Why? – because in most cases the conversion is attributed to the action that led directly to the it but takes no account of the “journey” taken by the customer to get to that point. Take the following example:

Let’s imagine that you sell golf accessories. A potential customer searches for “Golf shoes in (your town), sees your entry in the Google listings and clicks on it, taking him to your website where he has a good look round, but does not buy.

Later,  he goes to Facebook where he might see a post or an article that you have written about a new type of golf club that you are stocking, or about a promotion you are running. Again he clicks the link and goes to your website but does not buy.

Fast forward a couple more days and the same person searches with a little more intent this time, for example, he searches for “buy golf clubs” and clicks on one of your ads. This time he makes a purchase.

Now, most attribution models would give that sale to the most recent click on an ad but that is really only half the story. In fact, the customer had probably already made up his mind after the first visit to your site, but maybe did not have the necessary funds until being paid his salary a few days later. Then there is the matter of the Social Media, we know that people are influenced by what they see and read on social media but not to what extent, perhaps it was that article on your Facebook page that really tipped the balance?

This is, of course, exactly the kind of situation that Remarketing is designed to deal with and we have lots of resources to help you to use that tool in order to mop up those sales.

Google includes a useful tool in the AdWords account called “Attribution” – you can access it from the “Tools” menu at the top.



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