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    Attribution modeling – Discovery and last click #blogg100

    March 3, 2017

March 3, 2017

Attribution modeling – Discovery and last click #blogg100

For those of you who are trying to figure out where to spend your media money in 2017, this article might have some insights for you.

Summary of a very long article

You need to purchase traffic using different bidding techniques in order to lower costs and have the best kinds of incentives throughout the whole user journey.

In the discovery phase of a user journey, you should buy on CPO or CPC as these two methods will bring you the most visibility in the discovery channels, for the lowest possible cost.

In the consideration phase you should try to work with PR, content marketing and inbound marketing in order to get steady placements with many different publishers in order to cover more of the user journey and the increase in trust that comes with an editorial piece.

In the last-click phase and on those platforms delivering last-click to transaction dense traffic, you should purchase on CPM as it will give you the proper incentive to optimize your advertising for clicks and your landing pages for conversion.

Understanding the user journey

We know that most of our online transactions come through a user journey that consist of more than one visit to one website, through one source. People understand how to use the web these days and so they do proper research before buying. Even when they are making small purchases.

If one would pay for all placements needed to appear on all the touch points a user goes through, I think most of us wouldn’t be that profitable.

So, where should we buy advertising?

Well, everywhere.

At first.

Programmatic and why I like it

See, we need to understand what path our users take until they reach their final destination where they make a transaction. Whether or not it is a download of a facts sheet or a purchase of a lipstick. We need to understand what went through the minds of our users before they decided to act.

This can possibly only be achieved if you have a ton of scripts on a ton of websites, covering all the steps that a user goes through before making a purchase. Such banks of cookie data are very difficult to build on your own and so you’ll probably have to resort to buying traffic from either someone like Google Display Network or through some kind of predictive marketing platform such as Rocket Fuel.

What they can give you is a hint on where a user has been, when they aren’t on your site, or clicked a link to end up at your site.

We know that we can see user actions that have resulted in a visit to one of our own domains. We can use User-ID in Google to determine whether or not a user, is the same user, between several different sessions. Then use the multi-channel funnels report in Google Analytics, or the cross-device report, in order to find out how a user moves between our website and other sources of traffic until they eventually make a transaction.

However, we don’t know what they do when our website is not a destination. Ie. if a user doesn’t klick a link that makes them arrive on our website, but rather someone else’s website. Then we don’t have the ability to record that path of the user journey.

This is probably the best use of programmatic that I have found so far. Yes, it gives me value in other areas as well. But in terms of being able to understand user journeys from discovery, through planning to transaction, and to save money as a result, I like these systems more as a insights tool, rather than a bidding system.

How to buy in discovery

Once I have figured out where my users generally discover me (which can be done using the MCF-report in GA), I know where I should greet the people I meet with a nice introduction, setting my brand in the right kind of light. This is a placement I am willing to pay for as I know that it is important that new people see my stuff.

Usually, I cannot use the programmatic systems for these kind of purchases as they target people who are likely to buy from me, and thus, won’t grow my market share. However, I can use several other types of ads systems to reach out. Most of the time, I use affiliate systems for this kind of reach.

Not only because they allow me to end up in places where I otherwise wouldn’t have been visible, but also because I can purchase ads on CPO – meaning – I only pay when someone makes an order from me.

This will save me a ton of money if I do it right and set the cookie to time out within a short timeframe. Ie, since the users are discovering my product, and probably need some time before making their first purchase, I buy all the traffic I can get my hands on using CPO, if I understand that the website is in the discovery phase of a purchase funnel.

Second to CPO, I like to pay per click and press the price per click to a level where I am still profitable from the traffic generated.

How to buy consideration

I generally don’t want to buy anything but native advertising or editorials, or preferably, work with PR, to take care of the consideration phase of a purchase funnel. The reason for this is that people tend to trust editorial content more than they do ads, and so if they are deciding, and my objective is to get the highest possible conversion rate, I know that I need to try and get as many visible, related footprints along the user journey as possible.

Since I know I cannot afford to buy all of the steps, my best other option, is to work with editorial content to actually reach the users at this point in time.

Given that I have harvested keywords, non-buyers have used on my website, and from keyword systems such as Wordstream, I know how to find suitable websites to try and get mentioned on. Or in other words; I can Google those words I know that my users will use during their research/consideration period and look what sites rank for those keywords. I should then try to rank my own website organically for those keywords as well as get guest posts, editorials and reviews on websites that rank well in places that I cannot get my organic visibility to outshine the rest.

That way, I can find a sustainable, long term, way of being present during the consideration phase. IF I am forced to pay, I pay per post, Ie, I don’t pay for actions or for visibility, but rather for the work a blogger or a publisher has to do when they create the content that ranks well in Google.

Considering the corrupt nature of much of the “publishing world”, there is no difficulty, finding publishers who are willing to stick my content on their website, for a small sum of cash.

Last click to conversion

The last click a user does from another website to mine, before they make a transaction, is what most advertisers focus on. We are used to looking at cost per visitor, rather than revenue per user journey (or basket value optimization). Thus, there is a widespread misconception about what purchasing model you should use for these sources of traffic.

I believe that you should only buy on CPM (meaning buy targeted traffic and pay per thousand views) from these sources as the traffic from them have shown evidence to convert. Many people like the predictable outcome of buying CPO or CPC from these sources as the traffic looks very profitable, however, both of those models cost more if you are good at your job, so the long term effect of such payment structures are awful.

If that was a confusing statement, then consider a situation where you buy traffic on a CPC basis – meaning, you pay per click. If you improve your copy so that you pull more clicks on your ad, you will have to pay more as you go. And although Google Adwords and Facebook Ads, offer premiums to ads with high click through rates, it is still a bad incentive for working hard to improve beyond the steady state of that function. Thus, the more clicks, the higher or equal the cost per purchase. At best, your cost function remains the same at every given conversion rate.

Now consider a situation where you buy traffic on CPO. This means that regardless of how much you work on your ad, your cost per purchase will remain the same. As you work on increasing your conversion rate, you will not experience lower cost, but rather you’ll experience the same cost, and so the more you work, the higher the total cost for the same sale or transaction.

I mean, if you work with an affiliate who has a website, and they do nothing, whilst you improve your conversion rate, then they earn more without doing work. Your cost per acquisition actually increases as you are doing all the work for them.

If you however, purchase this traffic on a CPM basis, you have all the incentives in the world to build a highly clickable ad and will earn more for every fraction you’ll increase your conversion rate. Thus, you will have the right incentive to constantly improve when you are buying CPM from your last click to transaction sources.

To summarize what I have been trying to say

You need to purchase traffic using different bidding techniques in order to lower costs and have the best kinds of incentives throughout the whole user journey.

In the discovery phase of a user journey, you should buy on CPO or CPC as these two methods will bring you the most visibility in the discovery channels, for the lowest possible cost.

In the consideration phase you should try to work with PR, content marketing and inbound marketing in order to get steady placements with many different publishers in order to cover more of the user journey and the increase in trust that comes with an editorial piece.

In the last-click phase and on those platforms delivering last-click to transaction dense traffic, you should purchase on CPM as it will give you the proper incentive to optimize your advertising for clicks and your landing pages for conversion.

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