Measure for Measure Blog

How to Understand Campaign Attribution

Written by Andrew Edwards on . Posted in Web Analytics

At a recent cocktail reception part of Econsultancy’s Digital Cream series, the talk turned to campaign attribution and the challenges to its success. I was thrilled to hear that brands are beginning to grapple with this–its certainly been long enough that companies have been captive to last-click attribution and the way that’s manipulated by ad serving technologies.

It’s easy to say the most important click is the last, and lack of visibility has enforced the misconception. But each clickthrough is important, and each has its part in the conversion scenario.

Lack of visibility is the result of a technology gap. Put simply, it’s because many companies lacked the expertise to pull of a real campaign attribution effort.

Here’s how it’s done, assuming you’ve got an analytics tool that supports it (most do).

Goal: Determine where campaign spend should be concentrated

1) each campaign needs to have its own identifying data–banner, email, affiliate link etc.

2) each unique visitor needs to be served an identifying cookie

3) each visit by each unique visitor needs to be linked to either a campaign or a direct visit so they can be trended (we are not looking at individual visit data but aggregated data)

4) the visits needs to be captured and linked to scenario completion or conversion.

5) once the conversion has taken place, each campaign is assigned a credit towards that conversion. Some analytics tools provide for this natively; if not, then the data should be exported into a spreadsheet so each campaign clickthrough is recorded as part of the conversion.

6) the visits need to be scored based on business rules. Typically the first and the last visits get extra credit. But the intermediate ones may also need scoring. Did one of the campaigns result in a trend of deep-dives on a relevant subject matter? Did one of the campaigns result in frequent one-page visits? The deep-dive gets more points than the one-pager.

6) add up the weighted scores for each campaign that was part of the conversion trend

7) which campaigns scored highest?

Action item: emphasize spending on high-scoring campaigns; cut back or eliminate low-scoring campaigns

Focusing spend on high-scoring campaigns increases ROI; campaign analysis gives the marketer visibility in order to make these decisions.

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