Attribution Model ~ Yes, I am Sleeping with an Attribution Model

Confessions of a C3 Metrics CEO

I’m sleeping with an attribution model. It’s not just me. Girls, guys…media buyers.

I began sleeping better. Now I have this…glow. But it was hard to explain to my wife.

I’ll never forget the look on her face when I told her.

“Honey, what if everything you knew to be true…was actually wrong?”

Concern came over her.

I continued, “It began several years ago…”

Her brow furrowed, and I knew this was going to be difficult explaining, even painful.

“I’m with an attribution model.” I saw the look on her face, and had to unload the full story.

“Everything we know to be true—just isn’t so. We’ve been looking at it all wrong. Today’s outdated online ad tracking systems are giving 100% transaction credit to the very last clicked or last viewed ad before an online transaction.”

She looked puzzled.

“Here’s an example…if four Internet ads contribute to a transaction; today’s outdated systems allocate entire credit to the very last ad–ignoring the first three ads, which actually drove the revenue. Zero credit to revenue drivers, and 100% credit to the last ad placed!!”

Her face began to lighten up.

“Attribution models recognize credit should be assigned to a team of Internet ads versus the very last ad!”

She asked, “So…you’re not sleeping with a model?”

“Honey, you thought I was sleeping with a model! No no no, of course not. I sleeping much better because of our attribution model!”

“Thank heavens!”

Now perhaps I’ve sprinkled some Shakespearian license in revealing this–but no matter who you tell (your wife, your boss, your industry) it’s startling to discover that how we define the success of $70 billion spent on Internet advertising worldwide each year…is wrong.

Woefully wrong.

When you discover that zero credit is given to revenue drivers, and 100% credit is given to the very last ad–you should be worried.

But enter the full funnel media attribution model (disclosure…my plug for C3 Metrics). Robust media attribution systems like this recognize credit should be assigned to a team of Internet ads versus the last ad.

So how does attribution modeling work?

At a basic level, C3 assigns credit to Originators, Assists, and Converters within a transaction.

An attribution model should capture all online media sources from the top of the funnel where sales are originate…down to the very bottom of the funnel. So in a $100 transaction, an Originator would receive a fraction of $100 attributed to them—and the Assist and Converter also receive fractional credit of the $100 amount attributed to them respectively.

100% of revenue credit is thus attributed and split among Originators, Assists, and Converters—accounting for the actual drivers of revenue, and matched to media cost to then determine, you guessed it, return on investment (a simple ratio C3 calls, Attributed Revenue-to-Spend Ratio).

Not all attribution models are created equal. Read here for seven key details you should know before using any attribution system.

But if you’re using a robust attribution model–online advertisers and media buyers will sleep better at night. A lot better.

Rather than facing weeks of analysis to analyze days worth of data, C3’s trademark ARSR ratio reduces reams of data to simplicity, taking less than an hour to evaluate and reallocate spend from sources with low ratios to high ratios.

Results from the longest running attribution study of its kind (2 yrs) are jaw-dropping:

a) Seven-figures in profit from the advertiser’s higher ROI online ad spend
b) Display ROI improvement of 160%
c) Search ROI improvement of 98%
d) Accurate economic model to measure affiliate performance

Bottom line: millions of dollars in profit.

And when you show millions in profit, everyone sleeps better.

Attribution…is bringing sexy back.