The dark art of programmatic attribution
The truth is…top tier brands with mega advertising budgets shouldn’t have a problem with attributing programmatic. They have the money and resource to explore lots of different models and can even afford expensive cross-channel solutions such as Google Analytics 360.
SMEs on the other hand, with lower budgets and often access to less sophisticated technology, can struggle to understand the true impact programmatic has on conversion.
Why aren’t their agencies helping them solve this problem?
Because, for some agencies, programmatic is a real cash cow. It benefits them to attribute as many conversions as possible to the channel. More attributed conversions = more investment and potentially greater mark-ups and bigger kickbacks.
So what does this dark art of attribution look like in practice? 100% post-click and post-view attribution, for 30 days.
This type of ‘model’ works on the assumption that a user will not only remember an ad for up to 30 days, but convert solely as a result.
With users bombarded by thousands of messages each day, that’s possible…but in reality, not very feasible.
Agencies using this form of attribution are taking advantage of their client’s lesser understanding of analytics to prove the worth of programmatic.
Fortunately, there’s a much better (and very accessible) alternative…
For our programmatic campaigns, we apply a simple time-decay attribution model, based on the type of targeting (prospecting vs. remarketing) and the time between the ad exposure and the conversion.
Naturally, it makes sense that a remarketing conversion is worth less than a prospecting one — always at least 50% less in our model.
Furthermore, the model is phased per hour to ensure that the maximum a conversion is worth, after 23 hours, is 9%, with click-through conversions allocated a higher value than their post-view counterparts.
So, will conversions attributed to programmatic decrease pretty dramatically using this model? Yes, around 80% are lost…
But the truth is, this is a much more honest way to prove the value of programmatic activity. It is by no means a perfect solution, but rather a more pragmatic approach.
Instead of using attribution and data to inflate our programmatic revenues, we use it to help our clients understand the impact their activity is having. How revolutionary!
And in reality, an advertiser who has true clarity over the impact of programmatic will feel more confident increasing their budget when the time is right.