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How to Use Attribution Data to Make Ad Changes

Shae Henrie

Content Strategist @ AdRoll

Attribution data is indispensable for advertisers aiming to optimize their campaigns, offering insights into customer journeys and pinpointing valuable touchpoints that drive conversions. This critical information empowers advertisers to refine their ad strategies effectively, resulting in revenue growth. By leveraging attribution data, companies can accurately assess marketing performance and fine-tune campaigns to maximize return on investment (ROI).

The importance of attribution data lies in its ability to inspire informed ad changes by identifying high-performing channels, optimizing ad spend, understanding customer behavior, refining ad messaging, and measuring campaign effectiveness. Through attribution data, advertisers can discern which channels are most effective in driving sales or conversions, enabling them to reallocate budgets from underperforming channels to those with the highest ROI. This strategic reallocation facilitates more efficient resource utilization.

Attribution data facilitates a comprehensive understanding of consumer engagement across various channels before purchase decisions are made. Armed with this data, advertisers can tailor their campaigns to resonate better with their target audience, enhancing campaign success. It unveils which ad creatives and messaging resonate most effectively with consumers, driving conversions and improving campaign outcomes.

Understanding Attribution Data

Selecting the right attribution model for analysis guarantees that marketing initiatives are appropriately assessed and credited. Various models reflect different facets of the customer journey by assigning different weights to each touchpoint in the journey to conversion. There are many different models, such as first-click, last-click, multi-touch, and more. Selecting the right model is essential because it enhances the advertiser’s campaign analysis, optimizing resource allocation to achieve better results.

If you’re wondering how to choose the right model for your analysis, we want to let you know there is no one correct approach to attribution. It is an ongoing process and a conversation that will evolve with your business’s advertising endeavors. Testing, iterating and growing are all necessary for effective attribution. By toggling between different models, you’ll see different cuts of your data.

There isn’t a set goal advertisers should place for themselves with attribution. If you're unsure about which model to choose, AdRoll offers a helpful guide to help you make the right decision for your organization.

Analyzing Attribution Data

Be in the know

There are several key metrics advertisers can use to analyze for better attribution: click-through and conversion rate, ROI, cost per acquisition (CPA), customer lifetime value (CLV), attribution lift, and return on ad spend (ROAS)

Identifying trends and patterns in attribution data requires advertisers to analyze information to understand how different factors contribute to outcomes, like a conversion. This helps businesses make more informed marketing decisions now that they better understand how customers engage with them. By analyzing attribution data, advertisers can review the entire customer journey and truly determine how effective their marketing efforts are. 

Data visualization for improvement

Advertisers can use data visualization to understand their customers better. For example, they can create bar, line, or pie charts, scatter plots, or heat maps to comprehend and interpret what their customers are like, expect, or are passionate about. The ultimate goal of these visualization techniques is to have advertisers implement more informed decision-making that will increase their ROI. 

Making Informed Decisions

As an advertiser, you should be asking yourself and your team the following questions:

  • Which channels are driving the most conversions and the highest average order value (AOV)?

The channels that are driving the most conversions are going to vary based on your business. Factors including target audience demographics, product/service offerings, geographic location, and marketing budget all contribute to determining which ones are the most effective for driving conversions. 

  • Are there any touchpoints that consistently contribute to conversions? What about touchpoint combos? Which channels are working together to drive conversions?

If you find a touchpoint constantly contributing to conversions, you should be directing your time, money, and effort to capitalize on its effectiveness. By doing so, you can maximize ROI and enhance overall conversion rates. 

  • Is there a significant drop-off in conversions at certain stages of the funnel?

If you find one of your stages less effective than others, it’s time to try something new. Consider experimenting with different messaging, targeting methods, or channels to see if you can improve results. You could also ask your customers to leave feedback through a form, allowing you to refine your approach based on their insights. Being adaptable in refining your methods is crucial, as marketing is all about staying responsive to ongoing changes in the competitive landscape.

  • Are there any outliers or anomalies in the data?

If you find an abnormality in your data, examine it closely using data visualization techniques such as a scatter plot. ​​Since outliers can potentially distort analysis results and lead to false insights, it’s crucial to identify them ahead of time.

To be strategic with your marketing resources, prioritize your time, money, and efforts on high-converting channels and touchpoints. These are the types proven to drive conversions. Doing so allows you to capitalize on your strengths and target your efforts more effectively for desirable results. 

Refine your content for better engagement

Once these high-performers have been identified and selected, it’s time to address your low-performing channels and touchpoints. Adjust your existing ad messaging or creative based on the insights received. The first step we recommend you take is to revisit and refine existing content. This will allow you to update anything that may not be resonating with your audience or revise messaging that aligns more with your business’s objectives. Your marketing efforts will perform better overall if you refine your content to ensure it engages your target audience and successfully conveys your authentic message.

Implementing A/B testing to validate attribution insights

The ability to validate your business’s attribution insights to compare the effectiveness of your different channels and touchpoints is possible with A/B testing. It’s a very powerful method because it allows you to compare two different user experiences against each other to determine which one drives better results. 

We have some helpful tips if you want to start implementing your A/B testing. First, you’ll want to define your goals, helping ensure your test is actionable. Next, you’ll want to identify your channels. Focus your testing on the high-performing channels. Then, you’ll want to create your test. You should create different variations of your test to help you compare the variables and determine the most effective. After this, you can go ahead and get started on running them. Good luck!

By implementing A/B testing into your attribution validation, marketing analytics become more robust, thus giving you more confidence in making data-driven decisions.

Red Flags and Challenges

Signs that your attribution data may be flawed or incomplete

Selecting the appropriate attribution model for your company, marketing plan, and website is essential. Though, no just one is the answer. By toggling between models and seeing how that affects your data, you can get the most important information.

Several signs you’re using the incorrect model could be that you’re experiencing an overemphasis on single touchpoints or not having a strong correlation with actual outcomes. The attribution model does not capture a holistic view of the customer journey if it only favors a small number of touchpoints while ignoring the rest, which could lead to inaccurate insights. Another sign for you to tell if your attribution model is flawed is its recommendations or projections don’t match up properly with actual results. 

Addressing common challenges in attribution analysis

Understanding how customers interact with your business across various devices (such as desktops, tablets, and smartphones) and channels (such as social media, email, and websites) is essential to managing cross-device and cross-channel attribution. The main obstacle in managing attribution across various devices and channels is the complexity of monitoring and precisely attributing client interactions across multiple platforms. Many times, advertisers will struggle with cookie limitations, budget constraints, changing consumer behavior, and the most prominent one being device fragmentation. 

With increased consumer privacy concerns and stricter privacy laws, certain collection methods are becoming less accessible and require companies to get specific authorization before collecting data. Advertisers must prioritize trust with consumers in this environment of heightened data protection. This not only helps mitigate legal risks, but also ensures responsible data utilization within their marketing efforts. 

AdRoll vs. Google Analytics

Google Analytics (GA) is a helpful tool for marketers seeking to comprehend their customer journey and assess the contribution of each channel to conversions on their site. However, it does have notable limitations. GA fails to incorporate ad impressions as an event in its attribution analysis and cannot ingest cost information from ad campaigns, hindering users' ability to evaluate and compare ROI across marketing channels. Moreover, GA lacks integration with platforms other than Google Ads. This is where AdRoll steps in, providing solutions to help marketers overcome these challenges. 

AdRoll offers a comprehensive platform that consolidates all aspects of a marketer's endeavors into one user-friendly tool. Our technologies simplify analytics, reporting, and refining, minimizing the effort required by marketing teams. Our Cross-Channel Attribution distinguishes itself from GA's Multi-Channel Funnels report through its integrated dashboard, enabling marketers to delve into the cross-channel customer journey. This gives a thorough overview of the complete buying path, making it easy to see essential touchpoints and how they affect total sales and conversion rates.

A number of attribution models, such as last-click attribution, may unintentionally provide blind spots that prevent marketers from comprehending the effect of their campaigns. Last-click attribution doesn't offer a holistic view of the customer journey as it assigns all credit for a conversion to the final touchpoint, often overlooking the influence of earlier touchpoints in the customer's decision-making process. This causes marketers to overestimate the effectiveness of their marketing and potentially undervalue important channels.

Strategies for Effective Attribution Management

Consistently review and update

Several strategies for effective attribution management include regularly reviewing and updating your attribution models. This will help you stay on top of changes in how customers interact with your business. The ultimate goal is to help ensure the company's ongoing marketing strategies are up-to-date and effective. 

Incorporate customer feedback and qualitative data into attribution analysis

Another strategy to achieve effective attribution management is regularly seeking customer feedback and qualitative data and incorporating them into your analysis. Using this method, you can be confident that your attribution models are based on first-hand observations from your target audience. This will enable you to better understand their preferences and habits and adjust your tactics accordingly.

Leverage advanced analytics for deeper insights

The final strategy we have to share to achieve effective attribution management is to leverage advanced analytics. This can help you improve your attribution models and make more educated judgments about your marketing strategies by automatically identifying trends in your data that may not be initially obvious.

Harnessing Attribution for Enhanced Campaign Measurement

Attribution data is becoming increasingly crucial for implementing ad changes as it provides valuable insights into customer behavior, allowing advertisers to paint a better picture of their target audience. By comprehending the value of different touchpoints and channels, advertisers can allocate resources effectively to optimize ad campaigns. Once high-performing channels are identified, businesses must focus their efforts and allocate resources to achieve the best results.

Attribution gives advertisers a holistic view of the customer journey, allowing them to meet their demands more precisely at every funnel stage. This holistic view is exceptionally beneficial to advertisers because it leads to more target and customized marketing, consequently increasing conversion rates. 

Attribute With AdRoll

At AdRoll, we advocate for attribution data and believe it provides invaluable business insights. We encourage advertisers to continuously experiment and improve their current attribution strategies to understand customers’ journeys better and optimize efforts effectively. 

If you’re interested in harnessing the power of attribution data to elevate your marketing strategies, get started with AdRoll today!

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