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Attribution Technology: What's Best For Your Needs?

A few months ago, I wrote an article titled Attribution: What It Is And Why It’s Important where I discussed two types of attribution: operational and project based attribution.

For this post, I want to go one step further and explain how you can use several different types of technologies for operational and project-based attribution. The tables below should help you select the most appropriate technology based on your own attribution needs.

Operational attribution allows an advertiser to see all the steps or clicks that led to conversion in real-time and continuously attributes conversion credit across the team of ads. The three most common technologies used for operational attribution are display ad servers, website analytics and advertising analytics.

Technology Pros Cons Audience

Display Ad Servers

Low level implementation; see how display clicks and impressions work alongside PPC. Focused more heavily on paid traffic sources such as display and PPC, and typically excludes other ad sources; revenue focus on ad delivery with limited insight into organic channels. Those with mainly display focus in marketing mix; focus on paid channel overlap.

Website Analytics

Strong digital channel coverage; ability to data mine against site traffic and CRM data. Heavy implementation effort; limited ability to de-duplicate post-impression data at user level. Current users of site analytics; those who have a limited desire to understand post-impression data.

Advertising Analytics

High level of accuracy due to consistent tracking methodology; ability to manage large volumes of data from internal and external systems. Moderate implementation effort; incremental investment to site analytics or ad serving. Those who desire complete channel coverage of digital landscape; those who seek to tie in product, customer and ad creative analytics into the overall value equation.

Project based attribution focuses on your overall marketing program and produces an optimized marketing spend plan, and its solutions include both technology and service providers. For project-based attribution, there are two commonly used technologies: business intelligence and advertising analytics.

Technology Pros Cons Audience
Business Intelligence Ability to pull in and interpret data from disparate sources; manage large volumes of data. Incremental expense to ad serving and site analytics; data from disparate sources can create accuracy and de-duplication concerns. Those who don’t have access to production site; those who are confident in “lift” metrics as opposed to actual metrics at the most granular level.
Advertising Analytics Accurate dataset to conduct comprehensive statistical modeling; ability to translate statistical analysis into day-to-day channel management. Requires code on site; incremental investment to site analytics or ad serving. Those who seek day-to-day dash boarding of their attribution efforts; those who seek to tie in granular data as well as larger econometric data into the equation.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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