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Solve Attribution Woes: Adjust Your Settings & Expectations for a More Comprehensive Marketing Strategy

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Very rarely in my PPC life do I bring up the subject of attribution with clients, colleagues, or industry friends without seeing a look of pain cross a face that may have been perfectly congenial a moment ago. Much teeth-sucking and drink sipping ensues when the difficult topic of attribution enters the discussion.

We all fear we aren’t properly attributing our conversions to each platform, be it paid or organic. Namely, this frustration stems from 3 main factors:

  1. The customer journey is more complex than ever before. Customer journeys are not linear, between multiple devices, long sales cycles, and mere impressions (view-throughs) that may or may not have encouraged the user to convert. Facebook and YouTube now have brand-lift studies to close some of the gap, but the cost for these kinds of prove-the-brand-is-improving tests is often beyond the financial reach of smaller brands.
  2. There are more attribution platforms, both free and paid, offered in the digital marketing space. And we have no idea which one has the true data. We are at full saturation and everyone has a solution, including the new Amazon Attribution Beta, and Facebook Attribution, which became available to all advertisers in October 2018 after testing for a year in beta. Third-party attribution vendors crowd the market too, and marketers have decision fatigue.
  3. Getting any attribution source to play nice and line up with another seems like an impossible task, in a world of walled gardens. In the /r/PPC subreddit, it’s common to see cries for help every week regarding two reporting sources misaligning – most commonly, Google Ads and Google Analytics failing to align.

So what can we do to make more educated attribution choices? There are a few main things every marketer must take into account.

1: Pick Your Windows Wisely

Aligning your attribution with the truth starts with the windows you choose in each ad platform. A conversion window is a defined period of time in which a publisher can claim that a click or impression led to a conversion (be it a lead, app install, purchase, or otherwise.) You can set your conversion windows in every single ad platform except Google Analytics, which has reports specifically built for comparing windows.

The Google Analytics Time Lag report is a good place to start if you want to understand how long it takes a user to move from consideration to conversion:

The Google Analytics Time Lag report counts number of days between first touch and conversion

You can use the Path Length report in Google Analytics and segment by specific goals:

The Google Analytics Path Length report counts the number of interactions a user takes before converting

Which window do you choose? 30-day impression, 7-day click? 7-day impression, 1-day click? There are several ways to find out! Your window will depend on:

  1. The Nature of your Business
    • You’ll want to pick longer windows for your conversion settings when your products are more expensive, high-consideration products such as software as a service, home remodeling, etc. Comparison shoppers take their time. This is where tracking different movements of users from trial to paid subscription, email signup to quote request are vital so you can track the entire journey of the user. Each movement – from a potential customer learning about your brand to putting money in your pocket, must be tracked in all the platforms you can, from Facebook Analytics Event Source Groups to training salesmen to properly label leads in your CRM software.
    • You’ll want to set your windows to a short period of time if most of your customers are buying with their gut. This is true for those random products you buy from Instagram without much thought. Pony-Os Instagram ads, I’m looking at you! (I swear, it felt like a good purchase in the 7 minutes it took for me to consider it, toss it in my cart, and purchase it!) If your windows are short, you’ll want to align them with the settings of each and every platform you use, as well as your reporting software.
  2. You’ll want to consider the purpose of the advertising channel. Are you advertising for a conversion result, or a lift in brand awareness? For example:
    • Search tends to be a low-funnel channel and results in more direct conversions due to search intent.
    • Social channels tend to suffer from misguided budget cuts, due to marketers not recognizing that these channels are often first-touch or awareness-based. For example, we have a B2B client who runs LinkedIn campaigns to grow brand awareness among a highly specific, professional audience. Just having these high-quality audiences visit their site is improving the quality of their retargeting audiences and will be worth the investment in the long run. But by no means do we treat these campaigns as a conversion-producing, direct channel.
Pony-O low consideration productPony-Os are the fastest I’ve ever gone from watching an Instagram video ad to tossing my money at an advertiser. If you have a product with a short window like this, consider changing your attribution windows to more accurately reflect your buyers!

2: Learn How Different Platforms Attribute Conversions Differently

For Google Ads, the Attribution Playbook is a good place to start. Google also is helpful enough to provide an attribution tool that allows you to compare different search attribution models before taking the plunge and adjusting your conversion attribution settings:

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If you haven’t picked through the Google Attribution modeling tool in a while, you’re missing out. You can model cross-device activity, paths and time-lags (similar to what you’ll find in Google Analytics), and first and last click analysis, among other handy tools to slice and dice your data.

Most marketers agree that “Last click” or “Final click” attribution does not even begin to tell the truth and it is no longer recommended. Industry leaders agree, and this Invoca blog on how Google last-click attribution leads marketers astray clearly lays out the reasons why.

It’s easy to look up how each platform uses attribution modeling. A quick search turns up these resources:

3: Appreciate Lag & LTV when Testing a New Channel or Campaign

One of the biggest mistakes that marketers make is deciding a strategy isn’t working too soon. When testing, make sure you have a specific statistical significance you’re shooting for or even a time period in which you’re willing to stick it out and test. If you need a refresher, this post on calculating statistical significance from our own Carrie Albright is a great place to start! Once you have concrete goals, it will make your analysis a lot easier, although patience is always needed when testing any new channel or initiative.

4: The Source of Truth is Beyond the Platforms: It’s in Your Sales Data

This should go without saying. But I’m going to say it anyway! Your salespeople are sure to know more about lead quality than your marketing team. Train your team to gauge lead quality in their CRM. If you’re an e-commerce company, use internal resources to understand revenue and lifetime value. It is vital to have complete clarity between each marketing dollar spent and trendlines of success in your company.

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As an agency, Hanapin is always pushing to get more internal information and reporting transparency because if leads do not lead to revenue, we want to know about those failures as quickly as possible. The same for successes – Have regular meetings between all teams to make sure your marketing dollar is balanced between first-touch and bottom-funnel, brand and non-brand. The ultimate source of truth will be money in your pocket. For new clients, often the process of clarifying attribution is working hard to ensure all tracking flows smoothly from campaigns into whatever system is being used to measure success, be it Bizible, HubSpot, Marketo, Salesforce, Pardot, Shopify, BigCommerce, or any number of propriety systems.

The Best Time to Fix Your Attribution was Yesterday. The Second Best Time is Today

We are having more conversations with our clients about attribution every day. This is natural. The rise of automated systems within platforms (Google’s automated bidding settings, Facebook’s mysterious way of using their algorithm to find potential customers) is going to depend on your attribution settings being correct. So if they aren’t correct, fix them today. Look at your attribution windows. Check your settings. Talk to your agency, and get your sales reports in line.

The marketing stack is more complex today than it was yesterday. But there is no time like the present to evaluate your attribution within and without your digital marketing platforms. Review often, and review thoroughly. And make use of absolutely free tools like Facebook Attribution, which uses advertisers in similar verticals and products in the same price points to inform your attribution choices, and Amazon Attribution – they’re free and comprehensive, why not use them?

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I hope this blog has given you some places to start auditing your own attribution settings and systems to cut through to the truth and pave the way for a more informed marketing strategy.

MARKETING

5 Reasons You Should Start Using Influencers to Create Content for You

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5 Reasons You Should Start Using Influencers to Create Content for You


Imagine spending 3, 5, 7, 10 years creating content about topics you love out of pure passion. Working through decision fatigue on what to create, what platform to focus on building, and not knowing the latest marketing monetization strategies to actually make money. Only creating from a place of inspiration because you care and have a message to share for years before making a dime. The dedication and consistency is what builds audiences that LOVE your media channels, listening, watching, liking, and sharing your content on a regular basis. That’s what majority of influencers have done to build their channels. 

So why work with influencers to create content for you: 

Reason #1: Audience  

If you are looking to break into a new audience and build brand awareness working with an influencer is a good path to explore. An influencer knows it’s audience better than any SEO search so they know what content to create that will motivate, inspire, and trigger to get a response. They’ve built trust through years of content creation and testing out new ideas to engage their audience.    

Reason #2: Creative 

When you find the right influencer to work with they can be an extension to your business adding to the creative content department. Creative content is a pain point in a lot businesses and why organizations for years have paid big buck to marketing agencies to take this off their hands to make the commercial, promo video, and ads. When you have someone who’s outside of the organization, who’s built an audience, and can play in their strength it will be an added value to any brand and business.  

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Reason #3: Dynamic 

It’s not just any content that’s being created from influencers, it’s dynamic! Ideally, working with an influencer they are coming to the table with ideas for videos, social media, and ad content that will seamlessly incorporate the brand into their audience. Since they know their audience best let them lead this conversation and find a common working ground to let them move forward on their ideas. This type of content is the win-win-win for the brand, the audience, and the influencer’s media channels. 

Reason #4: Consistency 

Consistent content with any media channel is key to creating brand awareness for a business. When you have an influencer who’s outside of the organization not distracted by the day to day operations of a company, leaving them to create consistent dynamic content is something most brands didn’t even know they needed. 

Reason #5: Strategic 

It’s a strategic move for an organization to outsource content creation to an influencer who’s put in the creative work to build an audience. It’s an immediate traffic source to tap into and create brand awareness. There’s an opportunity to put paid marketing dollars behind the content and boost it’s engagement creating more opportunity for a brand. 

On average it takes a person 5-7 impressions to link a brand’s logo to the company. Add in another 7 impressions for them to remember it in the abyss of brands that are being marketed to them daily. When you work with an influencer to create dynamic consistent content you’re increasing your odds of your brand being recognized faster and identified by a trusted source. Good luck on your road to content creation with influencers!   

Valerie Viramontes

Valerie Viramontes is a purpose-driven entrepreneur, women’s and girls empowerment leader, conscious marketing expert, media strategist, and founder of V2 Solutions & Girl Hacks.

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Valerie created her boutique agency specializing in product launches and sponsorships for health conscious podcasters, influencers, and wellness companies. She uses her experience to create win-win-win deals for her clients, brands, and audiences. This has put her behind launches of companies and products with sales into the millions working with brands like Spartan Races, Barbell Shurgged, The Strong Coach, Complete Human and so many more! 

In Valerie’s free time she is a catalyst to remind young women of their inherent wisdom, intuition and power, and guide them to access the confidence within to make healthy choices in their lives. Add in hiking, dancing, reading, exploring new places to eat and she’s in her happy place!



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Data and privacy concerns grow among consumers

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Data and privacy concerns grow among consumers


Consumers are showing greater concern over how data is gathered online and in apps and smart devices, according to a new study by GroupM, the media investment arm of WPP. The research was conducted in December by GroupM’s Audience Origin (formerly LivePanel) and included 1,000 U.S. consumers.

The findings indicated a decline in the number of consumers who feel comfortable sharing their data on health tracker apps or to allow smart home devices to automatically order refills for household items.

Sharing info. Over three quarters (77%) of respondents strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement: “I worry about how companies use my personal data online.” This was up from 72% in last year’s report.

Also, only a small percentage of consumers believe that the company who makes a device in the home, or its software, should have access to the data. That number is 5.4% in the current study, down from 6.9% in the previous one.

Read more: Predictions 2022: Data strategy and privacy

New tech. Consumers are less enamored with new technology in their house. Only 51% of respondents in the survey agreed with the statement: “It’s important my household is equipped with the latest technology.” The survey the previous year had 54% agree.

Also, 32% somewhat or completely agreed that new tech “confuses me,” up from 28% the year before.

Why we care. In this study, the numbers appear to be consistently in the 5% range for drop in consumer sentiment around privacy, data and new technology.

It’s not a massive drop, but it’s not nothing either. Individual brands can overcome this barrier by managing a better conversation with their customers about their privacy and data practices.

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Take, for instance, the wide disparity in the way email subscriptions are managed. Some brands offer a one-click unsubscribe, while others hide the option behind a number of additional screens and questions. Marketers can cut through with transparency, and the ones that do will be ahead of the game as privacy law catches up in the states.

About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.



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Trending in Marketing: Content Marketing Trends to Carry You Through 2022

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Trending in Marketing: What Trends Are Coming in 2022


  1. We all know that women stereotypically shop more, but what about men? 75% of men are planning to spend more in 2022, Pinterest explains their study on why.
  2. Vertical scrolling is a feature on almost every social media platform, it’s what the common consumer is most familiar with. Instagram plans on taking their story feed vertical as well, giving the app a more “TikTok feel.”
  3. The graphic design niche isn’t for everyone, it’s hard to keep up with what’s what in the field. Here are 12 upcoming graphic design trends to keep you at the top of your game all 2022.
  4. The rules of SEO seem to change more than the Instagram algorithm, making it feel more like there are no rules at all. Could there be a “Best Word Count for SEO?”



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