Pay Per Click Attribution Modeling

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with yet another great question set titled “PPC Attribution Modeling.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: How do you define PPC conversion attribution modeling?

  • PPC conversion attribution modeling is identifying the behaviors that lead to conversions involving PPC at some point. – Harris Neifield (@HarrisNeifield)
  • The impact PPC has on a consumer purchase in relation to all channels used. – Rich Brown (@rich_d_brown)
  • The complete paths that visitors take in order to complete a conversion. – Matt Umbro
  • Analyzing how different attribution set-ups shift credit to different parts of the PPC funnel (i.e. brand vs non). – Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
  • When you look at conversion path analysis that includes PPC beyond last click and then take action. – Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
  • Giving credit where credit is due. Every link in the chain provides strength and value to each conversion. – Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
  • Identifying where in the funnel each segment/target of PPC delivers customers to & optimizing accordingly. – Gil Hong (@ghong_ssm)
  • I don’t necessarily divide up conversion credit. More like show all channels that contributed. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
    • Straight division is mathematically easy, but not necessarily the best way to divide conversion credit. – Harris Neifield
  • Attribution models are different perspectives on the same truth about conversion influence of multiple keyword and channel touches. – Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
  • Attribution reporting is only the first step. Need to act on the data. Splitting conversion credit is key. – Jeremy Brown
  • Analyzing and understanding the paths and touch points that PPC visitors take and make that qualify as Converted Visits. Attirbution Models work best when they are consitently hold true, or mostly over time. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)

Q2: How will you use the new attribution modeling tool within the AdWords Search Funnels report?

  • Have played with it a bit but have not yet put into practical use. Curious to see others’ tips. – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
  • I won’t. Unless it helps me predict the impact of doing/not doing something. – Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
  • Analyze past data for new accounts for insights into sales funnel. Then set up Kenshoo attribution. – Jeremy Brown
  • The same way I’ve used MCF’s in Google Analytics since it came out. Until impressions are included, nothing new here. – Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
    • Exactly. I’m not making decisions without being able to see all the data.Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)
  • I won’t. MCF is where I live for this, no offense to the AdWords team. – Michael Wiegand (@mwiegand)
    • The problem is that the AdWords and Analytics cookie tracking is different. GA is good for all sources. – Matt Umbro
  • It’s still a good tool to see a ‘gist’ of the value of keywords. Assisted XYZ really is the meat but Attribution helps analysis. – Mark Jensen (@Just_Markus)
  • I wish time decay was done in reverse – first clicks get more credit, rather than what it is (lat clicks get more credit). – Harris Neifield
    • Agree. Getting visitors *into* the funnel is the critical piece. – Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
  • I believe the main benefit is showing how your branded and PLA campaigns impact everything else. – Matt Umbro
  • What’s important is knowing what non-brand is drving brand conversions. I don’t need to know that brand converts. – Jeremy Brown
    • How do you know they didn’t know about the brand before they did the non-brand search? – Richard Fergie
      • You don’t always. But they did a non-brand search before your brand search and that’s important. – Jeremy Brown
        • I guess you use this as evidence that the non brand search caused the brand search and then the purchase occurs? But a certain amount of those purchases would have happened anyway without the non brand click. But current attribution tools don’t really help you figure it out. – Richard Fergie
          • Some, but the point is that you need to know what non-brand keywords do better than other non-brand keywords. Depends on your cookie length. You can see some of that. That’s also why splitting conversions is important. – Jeremy Brown
  • Attribution modeling is far more complex than these Google reports would suggest it is. – Nick Viggiano (@Nick_Vigg)
  • I’ve seen the “Kleenex” problem lately (brand converts at lower rates for industry giants) so search funnels attribution is great. – Harris Neifield
    • Interesting, problematic when a “brand” search doesn’t necessarily mean someone was looking for YOUR brand. – Timothy Jensen
      • Exactly. Befuddling to see such great terms convert so poorly on good landing pages. – Harris Neifield
  • I am happy that Google is trying to give us more clarity – plus, it also helps Google. – Matt Umbro
  • Helpful to see assisted conversion data for *dare I say* broad match kws that don’t convert on last click. – Michael Henderson (@innuHendo)
  • Quick poll – Which source do you use for conversions AND revenue – Analytics or AdWords?
    • Analytics – 13
    • AdWords – 5

Q3: How do you report assisted conversions and the associated funnels to clients?

  • Show multi-channel report as as a cooperative venn diagram to focus on the overlaps rather than the usual zero-sum pie chart. – Chris Haleua
  • We don’t report assisted conversions to clients in reports. we’ll use them in analyses only. – Harris Neifield
  • Those usually go over most client’s heads. I often don’t. – Mark Jensen
  • Assisted Conversions get their own seat at the PPC reporting table. – James Svoboda
    • People seem to be undervaluing assists. If I click on non-brand today, convert on brand 2 days later, that’s valuable. – Jeremy Brown
      • It is valuable for the agency’s strategy, but for reporting and client facing purposes it may be too much. – Harris Neifield
        • Dissagree about keeping them out of reports. They can be weighted differently, but include to paint full picture. – James Svoboda
        • Depends on the client. Many are often interested in attribution. – Jeremy Brown
        • Honestly, I find this little “taste” of the behind-the-scenes complexity of data fascinates most clients. – Theresa Zook
        • And validates that we know what we are talking about. – Matt Umbro
  • Show which keywords did not have conversions in the primary attribution model but did from another perspective. – Chris Haleua
  • Assisted conversions tend to be for me to optimize on. Not usually something reported on unless there’s a grander plan in place. – Michelle Morehouse (@michellemsem)
  • We split conversion credit based on a diferent attribution set-ups in Kenshoo. – Jeremy Brown
  • Depends on the performance of the campaign. If remarketing is driving only assisted conversions… Talk about it! – Ben Cohen (@Benjam2150)
    • Remarketing is “assisted” by definition, though. – Theresa Zook
      • By definition it is. But in reality how many of those would have converted without the campaign? – Ben Cohen
        • Now we’re into the imponderables…. But seeing another ad does give them a quick way to get back to your website. – Theresa Zook
  • Clients don’t understand that assisted conversions aren’t view through conversions. Sometimes think assisted is view though. – Harris Neifield
  • Assists are worth showing because they are the ultimate micro-conversion. Even above cart adds or leads started. – Chris Haleua
  • I do use it as justification to continue spending on campaigns w/high assists & low conversions. – Melissa Mackey
  • Generally, I’ll report Last Click Conversions (*shudder*) and Assisted Conversions. Add them together for Total Contribution and then take a Blended CPA on the Total Contribution stat. – Michael Wiegand
    • Good point. But rather than adding them together do you ever try segmenting for KW without last that still had assists? – Chris Haleua
  • The only time I bring up assisted conversions with a client is if they are thinking about shutting down a top of funnel campaign. – Joseph Drury (@drurytheelder)
    • Better that they should have known all along that this campaign was the source of their funnel? – Theresa Zook
      • Can’t disagree. I do call out campaigns as top of funnel & explain conv path. But assists are often too complex. – Joseph Drury
  • Usually keep that internal. If they are a household brand, assisted and view-throughs can get misrepresented. – Sean Dolan (@_seandolan)
  • Depends on the specificity/goal of the channel. We normally use conversions over clickthroughs, etc. – Gil Hong
  • We only show assisted conversion reports if there are kw’s we want to keep live that assist but don’t convert on last click. – Kristin Pribble (@kristinpribble)
  • FWIW, I think only reporting on assists when you have top-funnel keywords to justify is a mistake. Clients will base their ROI on your relationship factoring in your mgmt. fees. So why would you not report full value of paid? – Michael Wiegand

Q4: Do you run loss leading text ads, KWs, ad groups, and campaigns because they assist in the conversion process? Why or why not?

  • Yes on my apparel accts. Simply due to the competition. Hard to stand up to 70% off from competitors! – Heather Cooan
  • Yes, I’ll take an unprofitable last click CPA for a particular keyword or ad group if we’re making money based on later activity. – Harris Neifield
  • Yes. But fewer than 5ish% of KW can justify their existence merely through a pile of assists without any last click conversions. – Chris Haleua
  • Yes, but not always. Depends on client and goals. More important for growth and testing focused clients. – Jeremy Brown
  • I do for AG & KW. Ashamed to say I never thought of analyzing by ad messaging. – Theresa Zook
  • I try not to run at a loss. But sometimes I spend more in some areas then I otherwise would if I believe it is upper funnel. – Richard Fergie
  • Yes, budget permitting. Last click conv > attributed conv > no conv. – Melissa Mackey
  • My clients wouldn’t care but I think I might experiment with a or two & hopefully push to increase budget. – Saidul Hassan (@SaidulHassan)
  • Always. It’s unavoidable until you have enough data to disqualify them. After that sometimes. – James Svoboda
  • Absolutely. But only to drive awareness when the better campaigns are saturated, as budget permits. – Sam Mazaheri (@sammmer)
  • Yes, but solid data on what really assists is exp. to test. If remarketing efforts from loss leaders are offset – all day long. – Mark Jensen
  • Yes. If buget permits. Get additional value from exposure in the market. – Brady Roundy (@BradyRoundy)
  • No… even with display ads, we cut off placements if they don’t contribute to *normal* conversions. – Sean Dolan
  • ROI has to be there at some point in the process. If it’s not profitable for last or first click, or some attribution, cut it. – Harris Neifield
  • It depends on your goals too. I have some clients with dedicated branding budgets where Share of Voice is the KPI. – Michael Wiegand
  • Always no. Can’t say have thought much about it but I think mostly because of budget constrains. – Saidul Hassan

Q5: What are some examples of how you act on attribution data?

  • Raise bids for informational queries that create first but not last click conversions. – Harris Neifield
  • Showing the value of running PPC even if a brand has a strong organic presence. Can see what % of conversions use both. – Timothy Jensen
  • I’ll keep a campaign running if it’s not converting but is generating assists (budget permitting of course). – Melissa Mackey
  • I use labeling in AdW to tag kw that don’t “seem” to convert but are otherwise important. – Theresa Zook
  • We split conversion credit and use that for bidding decisions and more. Kenshoo is great for this. – Jeremy Brown
  • By showing how non branded terms and PLAs lead to last click brand conversions. – Matt Umbro
  • Often see Low Volume or Niche campaigns needing attribution and assisted conversions to paint any picture. – James Svoboda
  • Mostly for bidding & budgeting. 0 conv but low cost per assist, bid KW up. High last CPA but low first CPA, maintain cmp budget. – Chris Haleua
  • I like to use the attribution method, but remember that data is not perfect. – Derek Ostler (@DerekOstler)
  • Obvious answer is bid, but I use it more for budget. If you’re bidding up on assist-heavy kws & throttling the campaign. – Michael Wiegand
  • Attribution is good for looking at landing page opportunities, restructuring plans, opts, etc. – Mark Jensen
  • To determine value of kw’s for bidding, pausing or keep live. Also, look at path ppl take to convert. – Kristin Pribble

Q6: What not yet enabled feature and/or metric would be most beneficial for you to see in a PPC conversion attribution report?

  • Impressions. Man, if I could include impressions into full attribution then I could really sell the GDN! Assisted rev on impr. – Heather Cooan
  • An estimator for CPA & conversions dependent on what attribution method you had chosen (backward looking). It won’t be perfect for the future but it’ll help dedice whether to bid based on first click, last, assist, time decay etc. – Harris Neifield
  • Cross device attribution models. – Martin Rottgerding (@bloomarty)
    • Estimated conversions in adwords gives us some cross device guesses, probably as best as can currently be done. – Harris Neifield
  • Offline assists & cross-device assists. – Chris Haleua
  • Phone calls. – Matt Umbro
  • Agree on impressions. Especially for Display. Let me look at the details (i.e. – view through within an hour). – Jeremy Brown
  • It would be huge, to bridge the gap between assisted clicks and viewthroughs. – Heather Cooan
  • Images and Content that assist in conversions, no matter where they are hosted or what page they reside on. – James Svoboda
  • I would like automated varying of budgets/bids plus interpretations of the change in sales along different dimensions. – Richard Fergie
  • Impressions from KWs where people DIDN’T click. – Timothy Jensen
  • “Number of ads that were accidentally clicked on a mobile phone” – If they bounce from mobile after half-second. – Sean Dolan

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Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.

Participants

Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Ben Cohen (@Benjam2150)
• Brady Roundy (@BradyRoundy)
• Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
• Derek Ostler (@DerekOstler)
• Gil Hong (@ghong_ssm)
• Harris Neifield (@HarrisNeifield)
• Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
• Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
• Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)
• Joseph Drury (@drurytheelder)
• Kristin Pribble (@kristinpribble)
• Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
• Mark Jensen (@Just_Markus)
• Martin Rottgerding (@bloomarty)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Michael Wiegand (@mwiegand)
• Michelle Morehouse (@michellemsem)
• Nick Viggiano (@Nick_Vigg)
• Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
• Rich Brown (@rich_d_brown)
• Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
• Saidul Hassan (@SaidulHassan)
• Sam Mazaheri (@sammmer)
• Sean Dolan (@_seandolan)
• Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
• Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
 

Attributing Streamcaps to Tweeters

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; WebRanking SEM Manager in Minneapolis, Minnesota, #PPCChat Streamcap Grabber, SEO Blog Author. Connect with me @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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