Advertising Attribution: The place to Get Began

Appetizer written on a red building

PHOTO: Artem Gavrysh | spray out

Anytime a major platform outage occurs, like the six-hour Facebook and Instagram blackout in early October, it serves as a reminder for marketers to diversify their referral traffic sources. However, it remains a challenge to understand how traffic sources contribute to broader marketing goals, especially with new audience opportunities like social commercial and live streaming.

Proper attribution has plagued marketers for years. As new audience channels emerge, they can provide a starting point for reevaluating what type of traffic will ultimately lead the customer journey to sale. Does the data reveal a pattern in the campaign media where certain assets and channels lead to higher conversions? Does it also correspond to the customer’s wish to experience a brand?

Attribution concerns continue to haunt marketers

Marketers appreciate the importance of attribution, but questions remain how best to approach it. A 2016 Econsultancy survey found that nearly three-quarters of respondents felt that matching customers across devices was a strategic priority, but “only 14% of marketers in the same survey said their company is able to carry out such a comparison ”.

Since then, various consumer trends have emerged that are being carried by increasingly powerful mobile devices. Retailers saw the rise in showrooming, a consumer behavior that involves researching products and services in a store before making a purchase online, and webrooming, where customers do an initial online research before seeing the product in person at a retail store . Competition has increased, especially as Amazon is casting an ever-widening shadow to get customers’ attention and make a purchase.

The advent of social commerce will introduce even more new consumer behaviors to marketers. Social commerce will only be the newest challenge for marketers to determine an attribution when evaluating recommendation data in the analysis. Proper attribution can help marketers allocate resources where they are needed and will influence the development of your customer journey maps.

Related Article: Multi-Touch Attribution has come a long way

Where do you start with social media attribution?

People use social media to research brands and their offerings, so social media can be a useful attribution point to start with.

To start setting up the attribution measurement, map out which social media platforms refer visits that result in regular conversions.

Ranking can show how strongly external influences have influenced various social media platforms. For example, the impact of Apple’s ATT privacy protocol on social media platforms has changed, according to the latest quarterly earnings reports. We found that Facebook was affected, while Twitter and YouTube were relatively unaffected by the protocol. By examining the level of your brand’s commitments to these platforms, you can determine whether any concerns about disclosure of data are warranted.

The next question to ask is whether the referral traffic you provided matches your desired audience demographics. You might get a number of visits and conversions from Twitter, but if your strategy calls for a younger demographic, it might be better to increase your investments in TikTok over Twitter.

Related article: What the Game of Thrones Finale Can Teach Us About the Future of Marketing Attribution

Start by analyzing attribution

The next step is to think about how multi-touch attribution can be measured. With social media, you investigate what is used besides social media to drive the conversion.

You can use analytics or regression modeling to support indicators in your data. For example, Google Analytics enables conversion path analysis. It ranks conversion events into three touchpoint categories to help analysts determine the channel that delivers the greatest attribution.

As we discussed in a previous post on regressions, marketers can examine data for correlation, in this case data from streaming programs and conversions on channels. This can be equivalent to the value of second screens, as in many cases customers use social media platforms such as Twitter and YouTube to learn more about a product that is seen on a streaming program or mentioned on a podcast. Such an analysis may be able to determine if there is a significant increase in conversions while streaming.

Keeping social media traffic clean

As a side note, social media audits are essential to keep data out of automated bots in the number of followers and to assess who has re-shared branded content on a regular basis. It’s impossible to completely separate real human activity from bot activity, but a clean channel can protect downstream analytics like sentiment analytics from bad social outcomes, such as:

Orchestrating attribution to a customer journey is complex. However, some basic starting points can simplify a brand’s ability to connect with customers and gain insight into which channels through those connections are driving the most conversions. Choosing a starting point like social media can provide a competitive advantage and reduce attribution fears.

Pierre DeBois is the founder of Zimana, a digital analytics consultancy for small businesses. He reviews data from web analytics and social media dashboard solutions and then gives recommendations and web development actions that improve marketing strategy and business profitability.