Attribution Today: What Advertisers Need to Know

Attribution Tracking in Digital Marketing

Source: Adobe Attribution

Studying 11 different advertisers in the retail sector, here are some common “how to” best practices around attribution tracking strategy and execution:

 

Approaches:

  • Last click (still dominant)
  • Algorithmic
  • First click
  • Hybrid model

 

What’s included in the attribution model?

  1. Paid search/display
  2. Organic / non paid / social
  3. Affiliate / referral

 

Attribution timeframes commonly tracked:

  • 30 mins
  • Less than 6 hours
  • 7-24 hours
  • 25 hours – 7 days
  • 7-29 days
  • 30 days+

Only 8% of advertisers factor in viewability.

 

Attribution tracking has three parts:

  • Campaign management – tag management systems, ad servers, ad view-ability measurement.
  • Analytics – web analytics, attribution pure players (adclear, encore)
  • Consultants – agencies and management companies who interpret and manage this data effectively.

 

Alternative methods:

  • Second opinion (about 15% of advertisers use this)
  • A/B tests (about 28% of advertisers you this model)

Mobile came sooner than anticipated by most. It breaks the tracking continuums thus making it difficult or advertisers to accurately report user behaviour.

 

Here are a few additional thoughts:

  • Companies are used to last click models and find it hard to move away from the internal systems that support this. Companies are forced to build a business case to showcase the reason behind moving to a different model all together.
  • Companies struggle with fitting the advanced tracking technologies with older internal technology integrations. The change is accepted and needed, but time and cost for technical transition remains a barrier.
  • Companies need to understand that in order to remain competitive this change is inevitable. Gradual analysis per channel is the way most companies are dealing with this.
  • There seems to be a disconnect between theory and effective execution and real life comprehension of data. Affiliates have to prove their value which could make them earn less, but on the flip side, if they can prove their value, then they can earn more.
  • Unless you’re accurately testing the data and understanding it correctly, you’re taking a gut feeling guess from one channel and putting it into another channel. With the time commitment to proper attribution tracking, the guess work is removed and true ROI realized.
  • More effort needs to be put into AB testing affiliate sites and advertiser landing pages and campaigns.
  • Companies need to consider the differences in tracking mechanisms, such as the accuracy of cookie tracking, and what alternatives need to be considered.
  • Mobile tracking and desktop tracking are VERY different from each other and we need to consider the behavioural and technological changes to accurately track new buyer behaviour.
  • Even though both advertisers and publishers would benefit from transparency around attribution data, both affiliates and merchants tend to keep the information to themselves. This mindset will eventually need to shift if the affiliate industry is going to be successful long term.
  • How do we bring offline data into the mix? This is an ongoing challenge people are still trying to understand industry wide.

What are your thoughts on attribution tracking and affiliate/merchant participation in data sharing?

Why Impact Radius is Impacting Tracking

An integrated marketing suite. That’s what they are. They are an affiliate marketing platform, tag management system, media measurement tool, pay per call solution and much much more. Why is this important to internet retailers? Because with their system you can make and save more money.

Here are 5 cool features Impact Radius has to offer.

 

1. Tag Management

One of Impact Radius’s main features is extensive and flexible tag management. You can add and remove tags anywhere you want. You can manage multiple affiliate networks within it so you don’t get hit by double pay outs. You can track re-targeting ads. You can track and measure all media. If your ad campaigns look anything like this then Impact Radius is right for you:

  • Organic Google
  • Affiliate Program
  • PPC Ads
  • Re-targeting Ads
  • Email Campaigns
  • Social Media Campaigns
  • Shopping Feeds

The tagging system then calculates all your costs and ROI metrics in one place, plus it’s more accurate than Google analytics by correcting the discrepancies between marketing channels reported in analytics. It’s best to use both. Google analytics can’t capture the level and depth in accuracy that Impact Radius can. For example, analytics do not have rules that match up with your program terms in your affiliates program (ex. 30 day cookie period) and consequently do not accurately credit the affiliate channel, but can help give the user a better understanding of on site issues Impact Radius can’t.

 

2. Set Up Marketing Channels and Properly Measure Them

Impact Radius STARTS with accurate data tracking. They do not replace analytics, but they give you a stronger idea of how your marketing channels work outside of your website performance. You can set up rules within the platform specific to each channel, such as “I want to track click throughs with a 14 day window from this source”.

Merchants can credit affiliates properly based on rules set in the platform. This means you can create a system that says “if these two things happen, affiliate X gets paid” or “if these two things happen, I know to credit it to my re-targeting ads” or email campaigns, or SEO efforts and so on. Analytics alone is not able to understand that. This means, Impact Radius is all about successful attribution tracking down to every dollar spent.

 

3. Partner Management Solution

Impact Radius offers a lower cost tracking solution than most of the affiliate networks out there including CJ, Linkshare or Google Affiliate Network.  For example, if you are paying out $100,000 per month in affiliate commissions, your network could be adding an additional 30% ($30,000) fee. Tracking those same partners on Impact Radius might only cost you $1,000 – $3,000 resulting in a significant cost savings. This allows you to then spend the savings on ad buys, hiring a good outsourced affiliate program manager, or put it back into profits.

Strategy Tip: Take your top 10% of affiliate performers driving 90% of your profits and work with them directly through Impact Radius instead of the network. You’ll get better tracking and at a much lower cost.

Impact Radius is generally 15-40% more accurate in affiliate tracking than other affiliate networks because of its unique tracking methodologies. It has the ability to  cross check standard cookie tracking with “fingerprint” tracking which means sales are not lost when cookies are not set.  For internet retailers, Impact Radius helps with coupon management as well. You can assign promo codes and set rules around them so coupon codes will stop getting credited to the wrong affiliates and people who should be credited for sales using an exclusive code regardless of the affiliate tracking link will get credited accordingly. Impact Radius coupon tracking also works in direct mail, social channels such as Facebook and Twitter and across any other touch point on or offline.

 

4. Attribution Reporting

Impact Radius shows the exact touch points associated with every sale, including every touch point within the affiliate marketing channels. For example, if Affiliate A is the first touch point, Affiliate B gets touched half way and Affiliate C closes the sale – you can model the media costs and sales revenues across all three partners so you get a more accurate representation of each partner’s contribution. This works across multiple channels and with every touch point, so you can assess the true cost of acquisition and which channel contributed the most value to the sale.  By being able to determine your true CPA per touch point, you will be able to  determine how and where to spend future marketing dollars for greater ROI.

 

5. Pay Per Call Solution

If you need an alternative to Ring Revenue for pay per call tracking, Impact Radius offers a tracking solution as well. If you’d like to use this within marketing channels where you are buying media, or within your own affiliate program, this will give you a complete integrated solution to track calls and sales from phone number tracking as well.

 

What’s the bottom line? if you need a fully comprehensive tool that allows you to track your efforts more accurately for smarter marketing and higher ROI then Impact Radius is it.

Performance Horizon Group Wins ‘Best New Entrant’ at 2012 Performance Marketing Awards

Performance Horizon Group wins at 2012 Performance Marketing AwardsA few weeks ago I wrote a post called  “What is ExactView Affiliate Management Tracking Technology?” that outlined the incredible new technology of Performance Horizon Group and how it might change how merchants and internet retailers manage their online marketing programs.

A press release recently released explains how and why Performance Horizon Group’s advanced affiliate management tracking technology just won this year’s “Best New Entrant” at the 2012 Performance Marketing Awards.

New York, NY, May 23, 2012 – Performance Horizon Group (PHG), a leading provider of performance marketing technology, secured a win for ‘Best New Entrant’ at the 2012 annual Performance Marketing Awards at the Grosvernor House Hotel in London on May 15, 2012.

In its sixth year, the affiliates4u Performance Marketing Awards showcase companies and individuals for their achievements and contributions to the performance marketing industry. The ‘Best New Entrant’ award was open to individuals and companies who entered (or re-entered) the performance marketing sector in the past year and made an immediate and significant industry impact.

This year’s 22 judges, including executives from Yahoo and American Express, recognized PHG as ‘Best New Entrant’ out of five shortlisted companies based on innovation, scalability, market disruption and commercial opportunity size. Judges commented that PHG’s ExactView product had the potential to “overhaul” the industry.

Since PHG launched ExactView, its platform that provides brands with a fully customized white-label solution to manage large partners globally on a performance basis, the company has experienced 20 percent month-over-month revenue growth (1000 percent in 2011) grew its staff to 25 in the U.S. and U.K. and serves 35 brand name clients in 24 countries.

Commenting on PHG’s award, CEO Malcolm Cowley remarked: “Major brands today tell us they require performance marketing technology that offers real-time access to centralized data, scalability, flexibility, reliability and enterprise-level local technical support and payment solutions at a global level.”

Cowley added: “This award reflects our ongoing commitment to position PHG as a company that meets these needs and helps brands through this transitional period to plan for growth and long-term success in performance marketing related channels.”

 

About Performance Horizon Group

Performance Horizon Group (PHG) is disrupting the multi-billion dollar performance marketing space with its patent pending global technology. The company’s flagship product, ExactView, is a leading platform for brands and their agencies to manage key revenue, drive relationships in-house, make critical decisions through data analysis and limit risk across their web, social and mobile strategies. ExactView’s tracking, analytics and management tools offer customers the needed platform to increase sales and reduce costs across multiple digital media channels, including affiliate marketing and lead generation. With offices in the U.K. and U.S., PHG is currently monitoring sales and making payments for brands in 24 countries. For further information visit please visit www.performancehorizon.com or follow us @tweetphg.

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