EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The last action taken by consumers towards a purchase or brand engagement is to navigate to a website.  37% of the time, that navigation is from a paid brand search advertisement.

Introduction

Digital marketers need an exit strategy — a purchase funnel exit strategy to be more exact. That’s one of the takeaways from the latest C3 Metrics’ Labs report. C3 Metrics analyzed a subset of data across its client base totaling 50,000 online transactions to define the last interaction before a consumer exits the purchase funnel and transacts online. The data showed that 37% of all transactions ended with a brand term search as the very last action before purchase.

Advertisers still using last click attribution models for ad measurement would attribute more than a third of media credit to search based on these results. However, when a purchase funnel finishes with a brand term search, it’s not causal to revenue…it’s simply navigational.

“Real causal influence comes from upper-funnel and mid-funnel marketing stimuli driving more consumer transactions all the way through the funnel, as seen with Full-Funnel Attribution™,” according to C3 Metrics CEO Mark Hughes.

Methodology

C3 Metrics examined 50,000 transactions across a subset of clients. C3 Metrics’ proprietary decision engine provides full-funnel attribution modeling, capturing all online media sources from the top of the funnel, where sales are originated, to the conversion at the bottom of the funnel. Across all 50,000 transactions analyzed, C3 Metrics determined originators, assists and last-position converters for each transaction at a granular level.

Results

The C3 Metrics’ Labs study found that in 37% of all online transactions analyzed, brand search was the very last media source as the consumer exited the purchase funnel.

C3 Metrics CEO Mark Hughes elaborated, “If an advertiser is still using last click analytics, they would mistakenly think that brand search was responsible for a third of their results. But even if they wanted to scale that by tripling brand search budget, they couldn’t achieve revenue growth by increasing budget for non-causal media sources.”

Conclusion

Brand search is a mandatory must-have in online media, preventing competitors from conquesting customers away—but it’s often the exit point in a journey, not the starting point.

C3 Metrics CEO added, “Imagine an Olympic relay race…if you gave a gold medal to just the last runner, the first three runners would be reduced to the same status as someone watching from the sidelines. In C3 Metrics’ attribution model, we record the last click, but when a brand term is the last position, we can deploy an algorithm attributing credit to the media source prior to the brand search. In our attribution model, not only can we track upper and mid-funnel insights, but we can attribute a truly actionable converter—not just a navigational endpoint.”