Mastering Digital Marketing with Advanced Attribution: A Tactical Guide

Mastering Digital Marketing with Advanced Attribution: A Tactical Guide

The transition from modeling and measurement to tactical action within digital marketing is often riddled with challenges. The final numbers—those showing effectiveness, reach, and return—may prompt a daunting realization that past strategies need a revamp. Today we’ll navigate through the complexities of applying advanced attribution methods to overhaul marketing strategies, using detailed examples to illustrate these points.

The Realities of Marketing Attribution

Marketing attribution is an essential, though sometimes convoluted, aspect of any marketer's playbook. It's the process that connects the dots between the spend on marketing channels and the resulting business outcomes. In digital marketing, where the terrain shifts as rapidly as the online audience's attention, the right attribution model can mean the difference between a profitable campaign and a costly misstep.

From Insights to Action

For many direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands, Facebook prospecting is a cornerstone of their digital strategy. The process usually starts with a solid understanding of the attributed metrics provided by the platform—these are the self-attributed ROAS figures that Facebook provides based on its tracking. However, these numbers often tell an inflated story. By applying a multiplier that corrects for various biases and external factors, we arrive at a more accurate measure of Facebook's actual contribution to revenue.

For instance, suppose a brand has been attributing $800,000 in revenue to Facebook prospecting. Upon applying an advanced attribution model that accounts for overlaps and cross-channel influence, the brand might find that Facebook's true contribution is only 70% of that amount. The 'haircut' this revenue takes would mean adjusting the figure down to $560,000. This new number—when divided by the same media spend—yields a more modest, yet more realistic ROAS. These adjusted figures force a strategic shift, prompting marketers to reassess the scale and efficiency of their Facebook spend.

Non-brand search is another critical area, but one where brands often under-invest due to misleading data from traditional last-click attribution models. A test showing the true value of non-brand search can justify shifting more budget into this underestimated channel. For example, a Google platform might report $200,000 in revenue from non-brand search. By applying a larger multiplier based on incremental value—say, 80%—the adjusted revenue figure would be $160,000. When this new figure is set against the actual spend, the resulting ROAS could inform a more strategic deployment of search ad budgets.

Emotions and Economics: Setting Marketing Goals

The emotional attachment to certain channels can cloud judgment. When confronted with data that challenges long-held beliefs, marketers must navigate the emotional response to strategic change. In setting marketing goals, many teams rely on a variety of rationale—from intricate spreadsheets to goals inherited from past campaigns or even finance department mandates. The key is to establish goals that can adapt as new attribution data comes to light, ensuring strategies stay aligned with the most current and accurate picture of performance.

Step by Step: The Road to Optimization

Optimizing a digital marketing campaign can be distilled into three primary steps:

  • Applying Results to Attribution: After adjusting platform reporting with multipliers, you obtain advanced attributed ROAS, which serves as a truer performance indicator.
  • Comparison Against Goals: Align the new data with organizational goals to make informed decisions about where to scale back or invest more heavily.
  • Budget Optimization: Allocate resources across the campaign portfolio, considering both large-scale and micro-optimizations within each platform.

The granular details of optimizing within platforms like Facebook and Google Ads are where strategic decisions come to life. On Facebook, optimization may involve adjusting campaign settings to better align with advanced attribution findings. This could include setting caps on daily ad spend, tweaking CPM bids, or expanding target audience definitions to scale up prospecting efforts.

For non-brand search, the optimization may start with refining keyword strategies within Google Ads but extend to enhancing the landing page experience to improve conversion rates. From adjusting CPC bids to optimizing ad formats and even iterating on website design, every tweak is aimed at squeezing out incremental performance gains.

Organizing campaigns with granularity ensures that future optimizations are possible. By setting up separate campaigns for different audience segments, marketers can more accurately measure and compare performance, making it easier to allocate budgets and tailor strategies to each segment's unique behaviors and responses.

The Advanced Attribution Advantage

Advanced attribution isn't just about better measurement—it's a holistic approach to marketing strategy. It empowers marketers to make decisions grounded in data and devoid of the biases that often skew perception. Whether it's scaling a Facebook campaign or refining a keyword strategy for non-brand search, the aim is to employ a methodical, data-driven approach to every marketing decision.

As we continue our evolving journey in the digital marketing domain, let's leverage advanced attribution not just as a tool for measurement, but as a strategic ally in our quest for marketing efficiency and effectiveness. With this approach, digital marketing stops being a gamble and becomes a calculated, continuously improving enterprise.

Learn more through our Advanced Attribution Foundations short course.