The Power of View-Through Attribution

A few months back Triggit wrote a great blog post on why view-through attribution matters. Based on their findings and with support of the March 2009 comScore study they concluded that: “Although the click is a bad indicator of conversion activity within a 15 or 30-day window, it is NOT a completely useless metric in display. The key to understanding the utility of the click in display is removing the thought that it is a good measure of long term conversion activity and accepting the click for what is is: an indicator of immediate intent and interest generation.”

In the past two years of building audiences for our clients and running their campaigns, we’ve found a lot of truth in Triggit’s words. Clicks are able to show immediate interest and provide a metric for direct response marketers, while view-through attribution helps shows the power of display for brand and direct response marketers alike.

How can we claim the great successes of view-though attribution? The proof is in the pudding, of course!

Recently we pulled together a case study of one of our online education clients who had run a few months of campaigns with us.

To manage the campaign we used a Demand Side Platform (DSP) to enable real-time bidding and we employed response-optimization tools throughout the campaign to determine patterns of geography, ad copy and creatives, day parting, ad exchanges and publishers that would elicit the highest response rates from our client’s pre-screened, high potential audience.

Campaign performance was measured in two ways: first, by last-click attribution (people who were shown and clicked directly on the ad) and second, by view-through attribution (people who saw the ad, and subsequently went straight to the branded web site or conducted branded keyword searches — allowing for a 20 day attribution window). Additionally, we implemented a closed-loop conversion tracking process that enabled the capture of data throughout the funnel for a 360-degree view of attribution.

Interestingly, only 1 in every 7 inquiries from the campaign came from people who directly clicked on the ad. Because of the closed-loop reporting, the advertiser recognized that 6 times as many people followed up after seeing the ad by going directly to the URL or typing in the college’s name into a search engine. Over half of these occurred within 5 days of first seeing the targeted advertising.

By moving beyond last-click metrics and factoring in view-through attribution, the college’s marketing team was able to quantify the benefits of directly engaging consumers with their brand. In the end, over three-quarters of new enrollments from the campaign came not from a person clicking directly on the ad, but from an ad viewers’ subsequent direct URL traffic and branded keyword searches. In this way, the college was able to find synergy between targeted display advertising and their search campaigns.

This story isn’t unique, time and time again we’re seeing the benefits of view-through attribution and closed-loop reporting. Last click is still an important metric, it’s an immediate metric, but everything that happens in between is where the real magic lies. And, the combination of display and search continues to show synergistic value.

Together, they are delivering high value prospects and resulting in high quality inquiries for online marketers.

David Dowhan

About David Dowhan

As CEO and founder of TruSignal, David leads business strategy and product development efforts and is keen to create innovative, customer-centric solutions using data and analytics.
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