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They May Not Know What It Is, But Your Prospects Love Advanced Attribution

Written on
Nov 8, 2012 
Author
Paul Pellman  |

We all understand the imperative of serving the right ad, with the right message, at the right time to a brand’s intended audience. It’s one of the mantras of marketing today. Marketers themselves understand better than anyone the brands they represent and the audiences they need to reach. But marketers can work more efficiently and effectively with insights gained from advanced attribution about the right time to reach that audience, and even about what the right message looks like.

No one wants to waste time and money bombarding the wrong audience with irrelevant ads. But there are also risks in doing the wrong things with the right audience — for example, with remarketing, which can be extremely effective when your prospects encounter it at the right time, or simply annoying when the timing is off. There’s a fine line, but attribution done properly can reveal valuable knowledge about where that line might be. With that knowledge, you can plan more successful campaigns and improve your customers’ perception of and experience with your brand.

Know When to Retarget

Because it’s geared toward customers who have already shown interest in a brand, retargeting can be a potent part of a marketing campaign. But to work best, retargeting should happen neither too soon nor too late after the customer visits the brand’s website. An analysis we conducted for one of our clients revealed that retargeting customers while they were still on the client’s site actually had no impact on conversions, and retargeting them within four hours of visiting the site had a detrimental effect. Give your prospects some time: In this case, when website visitors were retargeted more than four hours after considering a purchase, conversion rates improved. And we saw optimal conversion rates between 16 and 24 hours, but no more than 24 hours, after the client’s customers were onsite.

The “right time” isn’t some mystical thing — it’s possible to pinpoint it through attribution done right. And doing it right means understanding the effect your campaign has on consumers who don’t click on ads as well as those who do. Retargeting is often measured by the increase in “clicks,” but pulling back the covers on this performance indicator reveals a flawed method. If we strictly look at impact to click through rates, a 100 percent increase could mean that two percent of the people that viewed the ad clicked on it, versus one percent before retargeting efforts. Advanced attribution allows us to look at the other 98 percent and understand why they didn’t click at all.

Even with insights into the best time frame to retarget, don’t use that time to deluge your customers with ads. More impressions don’t necessarily lead to more conversions. Frequency capping recommendations suggest serving between two and eight impressions in a retargeting campaign. By implementing frequency capping as well, you can avoid wasted impressions while maintaining optimal conversion rates.

Tailored Messages and Timing

Digital advertising offers a myriad of ways to tailor a message for a particular audience or potential customer, but it should be noted that tailored ads don’t always perform better than generic ads. In the aforementioned study, we found generic ads were just as effective as tailored for the first 16 retargeted ads served to customers. Make sure you have an understanding of whether an investment in tailored ads will pay off or result in a waste of resources.

Advanced attribution also incorporates an understanding of where consumers are in the purchase funnel and what variables are effective at each phase. With this approach becoming more common, we now have a chance to examine cross-channel purchase funnels, taking all marketing touch points into consideration. An attribution solution with funnel stage with funnel stage reports helps marketers understand the complete purchase journey and analyze how influential the channel/campaign/creative was at each position within the purchase funnel.

Although your prospects might not be aware of what you’re doing behind the scenes to assure they see the right ad, with the right message, at the right time, they respond to your efforts when you’re equipped with the insights advanced attribution offers. Those insights can underline the difference between the ad they see and the ad they want to see.





Paul Pellman is an expert on cross-platform ad analytics technology for the online advertising industry. He has spoken on the topic at Ad:Tech, OMMA, SES and Pubcon. As the CEO of Adometry (formerly Click Forensics), he oversees the development and delivery of the company's ad analytics offerings, which are used by leading brands and ad providers, including Facebook, eBay, Microsoft, AT&T, Expedia and more. Previously, Paul held executive positions at Hoover's and Terra Lycos and was CEO of two start-ups. He holds a B.S. from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Harvard University.

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