21 Nov 2012

How Winston Churchill Solved the View-Thru Attribution Argument


View-through attribution modeling is probably the one topic I am asked to speak about at events or with clients the most. It is distrusted, misunderstood and confusing, yet is CRITICAL for all forms of advertising.

In my white paper 'view-thru attribution exposed: what last touch isn't telling you', I explained that:

The primary argument against VT is that there is no correlation between the ad- vertisment that ran and the action that took place. Even if the pixel fired and the user was cookied, a different ad that generated a click was responsible for that conversion. in short, a lack of clear measurement drives the lack of a clear answer. 
I actually think it goes further than that, and includes questionable tactics in use by media owners who are trying to inflate their real value, and given that occurs, I sympathize with the marketer who is being encouraged to give credit for it.

And went on to discuss how cookie-stuffing, a lack of true attribution modeling and unrealistic measurement windows have contributed to this problem.

But the reality, as demonstrated in the paper, is that not only is VTa valid metric, it is the only metric that makes sense for digital display, given that the click is proved to be irrelevant!

Recently I have been mis-quoting the film Indecent Proposal to help address this problem, and it turns out it was actually Winston Churchill! Easy mistake - Churchill / Demi Moore - Demi Moore / Churchill... give a guy a break!

Anyway, what Winston Churchill did was offer a woman a large amount of money to have sex with him, to which she agreed.

He then asked if she would have sex with him for $20. She responded, "What do you think I am, a prostitute?"

"Ma'am, we've already established that you are a prostitute. Now we are just negotiating the price." Bam!

So when a marketer tells me they don't believe in VT at all, I usually respond that I agree that 100% credit would be false, and that we accept other forms of advertising and simple brand equity will be at play too.

But likewise, 0% VT would also be incorrect because we know advertising can influence an individual, otherwise why are they investing in it at all?

So, now we have established what sort of measurement the marketer should use, it's simply a case of bartering on the % credit.

And that's how Winston Churchill, not Demi Moore, solved the problem of View-Through.

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