Attribution Models: Disassembling the Last Click

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ANALYTICS · 27 / 09 / 2016

Last click is the most widespread attribution model in the sector and at the same time one of the worst representing the real performance of our campaigns. 

First of all, if you need to refresh concepts, check out this post by my colleague Veronica where she explains what they are and how the main attribution models work.

My brand campaigns work great!

Brand campaigns have exceptional performance compared to generic campaigns, which have a very low return on investment. This is something totally logical. But this performance gap widens artificially when we use a last-click attribution model, passing the metrics to reflect a reality not as real as it should.

And if my brand campaigns work so well, so I was going to invest in generics, right? Try to pause all your generic campaigns to see what happens. Surely your brand campaigns worsen their performance immediately.

How do you explain this?

It would be like playing a game without midfielders, the ball would reach the striker less, receive fewer passes, score less goals. What is happening is that your brand campaigns are “stealing” conversions from other campaigns. There are pre-click interactions in the brand campaign that the system is not taking into account when making the sale attribution for using a last click model.

Let’s go on a trip…

Let’s stop for a second and think about how the consumer of our product behaves. Let’s say summer is coming and I want to go on vacation to Mallorca (how original). In this type of products whose purchase is very reflective and that requires a long decision time, the “deception” is more clearly seen.

The decision process is much more complex than it seems [/ caption]

The complex decision process

Sometimes users directly perform brand searches and enter the web through our ads. This can happen if the user is already clear that he will buy in your e-commerce. If this is not the case, which is the most common in a purchase of this type, the search will probably begin with a generic concept such as “hotels in Mallorca”. You look, you see that there is a lot of offer: comparators, travel agencies, the hotel chains themselves, offer aggregators, discount pages.

Everyone fights to get the best deal. You don’t want to overpay and compare who doesn’t compare in these cases? Something more expensive, something cheaper, free cancellation, free access to the spa, room upgrade. The conditions and prices are different from one page to another; It should be well informed.

The documented user

And you compare, you compare… You compare! Without realizing it, you have clicked on all the search ads and a good part of the organic results. You have spent 2 hours browsing a lot of pages and you still don’t have your clear decision. In a moment you have won quite a few bucks to Google. I’ll look at it …

Search results for “mallorca hotels” [/ caption]

Today’s internet user is intelligent, it is very well documented that its decision process is generally long for these types of products. From the beginning of the holiday search process until the reservation is made, weeks may have passed.

Probably ends in the brand

When you finally have it clear, your last search is not generic anymore. You do not look up as “hotels in Mallorca.” again. You know where the perfect offer is for you. You know that you are going to go to that four stars of Alcudia with that great offer you saw on the website of the travel agency of the red logo. You are looking directly for the brand name. It is easier to search the web through Google’s own search engine than to type the complete url in the address bar. Surely click on an ad to access the website and make the reservation.

A path that began with a generic search “hotels in Mallorca” has ended in a purchase that has entered through a brand keyword; The name of the travel agency. According to the last click model, which is the one that AdWords uses by default, the merit of this sale has been from the brand campaign. It has been forgotten who started the game.

The last click lie

For me this attribution model is misleading. It corrupts the data and does not reflect the actual performance of the campaigns. It would make sense to give most of the merit to the search that initiated the interest. That through which your client, already real, found out about your offer. For this there are other attribution models. At the end of the day if the ball is not put into play, there is no goal, however good the forward is.

What is the alternative?

There are many other attribution models. Personally I opt for the attribution model known as “prefer first attribution” (an attribution model that neither Adwords nor Analytics integrate.) This model attributes most of the conversion to that search that made you begin to exist for your client, and reduces the importance progressively in the following impacts.

Attribution model “prefer first interaction” [/ caption]

In Digital Menta, we have tools that allow us to use advanced attribution models like this, so the campaign optimisation process is much more in line with reality and you can focus your work on increasing the number of new customers while maintaining existing ones.

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