Posts Tagged ‘attribution’

OMMA Social Video: Bridging the Gap – Linking Social Media to ROI

September 12th, 2011

 

Encore founder and CEO Steve Latham recently moderated a panel discussion at OMMA Social 2011 NY on June 9, 2011.

Few can answer the question “what’s the ROI?” in any definitive fashion for social media. Lacking standard metrics, methodologies and tracking capabilities, the challenge is daunting: how do you attribute credit to social as an integrated channel in your overall marketing mix? This video addresses the art and science of social media attribution, through the discussion of strategies, solutions, and concrete examples.

As always, feel free to comment and share!

The Encore Team

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OMMA Metrics Interview: Multichannel Attribution and Insights

August 30th, 2011

Encore founder and CEO Steve Latham was recently interviewed by Erick Mott from Creatorbase at OMMA Metrics 2011.

Key questions answered:
  • What is attribution?
  • What does Encore Media Metrics do?
  • How do “last-click” models compare to attribution analysis?
  • How can media spend be optimized by using attribution analysis?

As always, feel free to comment and share!

The Encore Team

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OMMA Metrics Panel Video: Predicting Future Behavior

August 5th, 2011

Encore founder and CEO Steve Latham recently participated in an OMMA Metrics Panel discussion in San Francisco on July 15, 2011.

While many people talk a lot about “predictive analytics,” few actually successful deliver business value by telling business people about their fat tailed, stochastic, and autoregressive conditional heteroskedastic volatility model for online advertising in ad exchanges. Yet, high-order mathematics and statistics exist in many companies.

In this video, you’ll hear from experts who create and use verifiable and statistically-valid quantitative methods. You will learn from professionals who have successfully crossed the academic chasm of mathematical research ideals to the other side: using statistics and modeling to generate quantifiable profit.

Moderator:
Jason Harper, VP, Analytics & Marketing Intelligence, Organic, Inc.

Panelists:
Matt Butner, VP and Director, Brand & Media Research, InsightExpress
Andy Fisher, EVP, Global Data & Analytics Director, Starcom MediaVest Group
Steve Latham, Founder and CEO, Encore Media Metrics
Tim McAtee, Research Director, IPG Emerging Media Lab
Leon Zemel, Chief Analytics Officer, [x+1]

A video of the panel is embedded for viewing above.  You may also view it on ustream.

As always, feel free to comment and share!

The Encore Team

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The Five Forces Driving Attribution: Media Measurement Comes of Age

May 27th, 2011

Advertisers are (finally) looking beyond the last click.  Here is an overview of the Five Forces that are driving adoption (also published by MediaPost in May 2011)

It’s been 3 years since measurement buzzwords “attribution” and “engagement mapping” emerged with great anticipation and excitement in online advertising.  The idea of looking across digital channels and beyond the last click to measure media throughout the funnel was thought to be the holy grail in online marketing.  Recognizing that “last-click wins” is insufficient for measuring the brand-building attributes of display media, brands, agencies and media vendors saw Attribution as the next big thing in digital advertising.

Yet as we entered 2011, very few marketers were using Attribution to measure and optimize online media spend.  Despite the universal desire for better measurement, most were still using old metrics (click-through rates, cost per click and direct cost per action) to analyze paid media.  Greg Papaleoni, who develops Analytics and Insights for Yahoo! Advertising Solutions, sums it up well: “While Full Funnel Attribution is the future of the ever-evolving digital media measurement landscape – it should be the present.  Those advertisers who embrace and implement this logic, methodology and technology sooner rather than later will enjoy a massive advantage over their competition.”

While adoption has been slow to date, this is changing quickly due to the convergence of numerous factors.  Borrowing on Michael Porter’s “Five Forces” model for analyzing industries, here is my take on the Five Forces that are driving digital media attribution (author note – I received permission from Professor Porter to adopt his model to this category):

1. The continuing shift of media budgets from traditional to digital.

While total U.S. media spend will grow only 3% in 2011, digital spend will grow 14%, surpassing Newspaper as the #2 medium.  Accounting for almost 30% of daily media consumption, Digital spend will continue to outpace all other channels for the foreseeable future.

2. The resurgence of display advertising

Per eMarketer, Display media spend will grow 14% in 2011, outpacing 10.5% growth in paid search.  While there are many reasons behind the growth (consumption of social, video and mobile content, better targeting capabilities, real-time bidding, richer formats, etc.) I believe the resurgence of display is driven by two primary factors:

  • The maturing of search: There are only so many searches every day, and most marketers have optimized their paid search efforts.  For the big advertisers, there are no more keywords to buy.  As one search exec was recently quoted “paid search inventory is maxed out.” Incremental dollars will have to go elsewhere.  Display is the obvious choice.
  • The return of branding:  As the economy recovers, marketers are re-investing in their brands.  During lean times, online dollars focused on harvesting existing demand (via search).  But with the improving economy, brand-building is once again a strategic priority.  In the digital realm, display media offers the most efficient, effective and scalable way to create awareness, consideration and preference for brands, products and services.

3. Increasing focus on accountability

While marketing budgets may have loosened, the focus on results has not.  As a result, marketers are keeping a very close eye on ROI from “brand-building” media.  With the ever-increasing need to show ROI, brands now want branding plus performance.  To properly measure brand-building media, we need to measure engagement, not clicks.

4. Evolution of web architecture

Recent forays by IBM and Oracle into the marketing arena signal a new wave in convergence of IT and Marketing.  As the IT behemoths push technology-based marketing solutions, CIOs are becoming more attentive to the needs of the marketing department.  The deployment of Data Management and Universal Tagging Platforms enable advanced analytics and media measurement that were off-limits to marketers in the past.  With this roadblock removed, the stage is set for new measurement tools to be deployed across their digital infrastructure.

5. The emergence of better Attribution solutions.

While early Attribution solutions were expensive and limited in capabilities (e.g. couldn’t attribute credit for organic conversions), a new breed of point-solution vendors (including my company Encore Media Metrics), are now offering more effective, flexible and affordable solutions.  For a very modest investment (as low as 1-2% of media spend), advertisers can now have a much more holistic and accurate view into the performance of each channel, vendor, format, placement and keyword.  These insights are enabling advertisers to optimize media budgets, yielding 20-40% gains in revenue.  The immediate return on investment in Attribution solutions may exceed 1-20x (100%-2,000%).

The Five Forces Driving Attribution are illustrated below:

Five Forces Driving Attribution

As our business objectives change, so must the manner in which we measure results.  As dollars continue to flow into digital, brands and their agencies must use more efficient, accurate and effective metrics for measuring media throughout the funnel.  The emergence of more advanced and affordable Attribution solutions, supported by growing support from IT departments is paving the way for Attribution to become a foundational component within the digital marketing ecosystem.

Matt Miller, SVP of Strategy & Analytics at Performics, agrees, stating “Attribution is one of the top priorities for us and our advertisers.  Focus on attribution will only increase as advertisers build and implement strategies to maximize ROI across all digital channels.”

As always, comments are encouraged. And please feel free to share!

Steve Latham (@stevelatham)

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Attribution 101: Full Funnel Media Measurement

March 17th, 2011

The What, Why and How of Online Media Attribution
[if you like presentations, view “Attribution 101” on slideshare]

Anyone who has ever bought (or sold) display ads is painfully aware of the need for new metrics for online media.  While “last-click wins” may work for paid search, it fails miserably in measuring the impact of display and other media at the top of the funnel.  Hence, the need for full-funnel Attribution, which allocates credit for “assists” in the customer engagement cycle.

By attributing credit to contributing impressions and clicks that precede subsequent visits and conversions, marketers can have a much more accurate and holistic view into the performance of each channel and vendor.  While most interactive marketers are familiar with Attribution, many are still trying to understand what it is and how it works.

The Need for New Metrics

While digital is the most measurable medium, the “one-size fits all” approach to online media measurement needs to be re-evaluated.  While click-through rates (CTRs), cost per click (CPC), direct conversion rates and cost per action (CPA) may be applicable for search and other “bottom-of-the-funnel” media, these metrics are not appropriate or insightful for measuring performance at the top of the funnel, where demand is created.

Display ads can be very effective in achieving their objectives (driving awareness) without any clicks or direct conversions.  A recent Media Math study showed that 80% of post-impression conversions are the result of viewing display ads without clicking and only 20% of conversions are the result of a click.  In other words, for every conversion that follows a click on a display ad, there are four (4) post-impression conversions without clicks.  The upshot: we need better tools and methodologies for measuring the performance of media at the top of the funnel.  This is where attribution comes into the picture.

Defining Attribution

Attribution is the art and science of allocating credit to all interactions that play a supporting role in the customer engagement process.  In other words, it’s the act of giving credit for assists.  Rather than viewing results from each digital channel in its own silo (a la traditional web analytics platforms), Attribution requires you to take a holistic approach to analyzing how each touch-point contributes to the overall goal (visits, conversions, etc.).

With the resurgence of display advertising, Attribution is becoming increasingly important for optimizing media budgets.  As shown in the Google trends chart below show, searches for “online attribution” have increased 150% over the past 36 months.

Approaches to Attribution

Generally speaking, there are two types of Attribution: Operational and Algorithmic / Media Mix Modeling.

  • Operational attribution consists of creating detailed records of every impression, click, visit and action for each visitor to your site, regardless of the source or channel (e.g. display, paid search, natural search, direct navigation, email, social, affiliate, etc.).  Data is then organized and reported in such a way that visitor paths and media placements can be effectively (and efficiently) analyzed.  By understanding which paid, owned and earned media placements are driving the most effective engagement, you can optimize spend and marketing efforts to boost ROI.
  • Media-Mix / Algorithmic Modeling consists of analyzing impression data, search data, email data and web log files to statistically correlate patterns and trends to fine tune campaigns.  This “black box” approach is useful but it depends entirely on the hard-coded assumptions and calculations in the model.

We believe operational attribution is the foundation for advanced measurement and analysis of media.  The operational approach of giving credit for assists is intuitive, logical and easy to understand.  Once the operational attribution model is defined, algorithmic modeling can be used to further optimize the media mix.

Channel Level Attribution

Channel level attribution addresses the relative roles of each media channel in driving traffic and conversions.  Attribution requires an algorithm that attributes partial credit to display impressions and clicks that precede visits and conversions.  The weighting of impressions relative to clicks will vary based on the type of ad, format, placement and other issues.  For example, highly-targeted rich media placements should have higher weighting than Run-of-network animated .gifs.  Weightings should be customizable for each vendor and placement.

The channel attribution report below shows the relative impact (last click vs. attributed) of each channel: direct navigation, natural search, referring sites, email, paid search, display advertising and 3rd party email.  As shown, attributable credit for display ads may be 50-400% higher than a last-click report would show. It should also be noted that paid search generally sees a net increase in attributable actions as short-tail keywords often play contributing roles in the customer engagement process.

After attributing credit for actions for each channel, spend data can be imported to show the adjusted cost per action for each channel, as shown below. As illustrated, we typically see a 30-80% decrease in attributable cost per action (CPA) for Display, and a slight drop in CPA for paid search (resulting from keyword assists)

Attribution chart

Vendor Level Attribution

Looking beyond channel level, we use the same approach to assess the performance of each media buy.  Shown below is a sample report showing the cost per action for each media vendor, both last-click and attributable.  As shown, some media buys can appear to be very poor performers on a last-click basis, but are in fact very effective for creating demand that is subsequently satisfied through other channels.

 

Keyword Attribution

Short-tail keywords (category terms, product terms, etc.) often play “assist” roles in the customer engagement process.  Just as it’s important to know which display ads precede visits and conversions, assist keywords should also be identified.  In many cases, assist keywords may perform poorly on a last-click basis, but perform very well in an attribution report.

The Business Case for Attribution

Attribution is more than just a buzzword – it is an essential part of campaign measurement and a requirement for optimizing media spend.  As illustrated below, moving “loser” budgets to the “winning” vendors can produce a dramatic improvement in revenue and return on spend.

Beyond the improvement in media efficiency and ROS, the economic benefits also accrue to:

  • Media planners: save wasted time and energy trying to replace ostensibly “bad” buys that are actually quite effective
  • Ad Ops and analytics teams who are tasked with aggregating silos of data into massive .xls workbooks (attribution vendors will do this for you)
  • Media vendors whose ads are actually engaging customers and creating demand that is satisfied through other channels.

As an industry, we have to do better.  We can’t use yesterday’s tools to measure tomorrow’s media. Attribution should no longer be an aspirational goal, but rather a key part of your 2011 digital marketing strategy.  The economic returns are compelling and there are numerous vendors (including us!) who would be happy to assist you in taking a more holistic approach to digital media measurement and optimization.

As always, comments are encouraged.  And please feel free to share!

@stevelatham

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Media Attribution Demystified

March 4th, 2011

Attribution is quickly becoming a hot-topic among brands, agencies, publishers, networks and DSPs.  Fueled by the resurgence in Display Advertising, there is a new pressure to measure the impact of video, rich media and banner ads in a way that is appropriate and insightful.  While we all intuitively realize that traditional metrics for measuring online ad performance (click-through rates, cost per click, direct conversion rates, direct cost per conversion, etc.) may work well for search, but not for media at the top of the funnel.  To properly measuring performance of display media, we need a new approach.  And while everyone agrees Attribution is the answer, not everyone agrees on how to go about it.

While most think Attribution is only for those with big budgets, there are many affordable ways to attribute credit to each media channel while learning how to optimize your digital media mix.   In the presentation below, we define attribution, discuss the differences between Operational Attribution and Media Mix Modeling, and provide some tips on how you can determine what is working and what is not, even without an Attribution solution.

The following presentation “Media Attribution and Measurement” was recently presented at the 2011 Online Marketing Summit.  It was written for marketers of all levels, but preferably those who are scratching their heads trying to answer the following questions:

1. What is Attribution?
2. How do we do it?
3. What should I expect to find?

Media Attribution and Measurement – OMS 2011  

I hope you find this to be informative and insightful.  If you like it, share it!
Steve Latham, Founder and ceo
@stevelatham

Welcome to Our Blog!

March 3rd, 2011

Attribution101 – the Encore Blog was created to share perspectives, case studies and insights into digital media strategy and measurement (you can’t succeed in either without the other). The Attributon101 is the official blog of Encore Media Metrics, a leading provider of campaign measurement, attribution and reporting services.

While may be in a “wonky” business, we come from a different perspective than most practitioners in web analytics and online marketing metrics.  As reformed digital agency principals and Big 4 consultants (meet our team), we’re using both sides of our brains to help brands, agencies and publishers make sense of campaign results, optimize media spend and maximize ROI from their marketing efforts.  We hope you find our content insightful and intriguing, and that you’ll feel free to share with others.

Thanks for stopping by!

The Encore Team

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