1 From Search to Conversion: The Next Step in Keyword and Channel Attribution,,
2 2 What is Keyword Attribution? Keyword Attribution is the process of accurately valuing the search engine keywords used by visitors as they find and explore - and ultimately take action on - a given website. With the evolution of Internet Marketing and Search Engine Marketing over the last decade, various Web Analytics software applications have emerged that have provided some insight into keyword attribution and allowed marketers and webmasters to better understand visitor behavior as they move from search engines to destination websites to onsite conversions of one type or another. The Problem with Most Keyword Attribution Models The problem with most keyword attribution models is that they place too much value on last-click keywords. For example, most analytics packages will only tell you which keyword phrase was used by a visitor when they converted on your website. There is no mention of the various keyword searches that were performed earlier, which are often broader, less specific search terms. These are the keywords that introduced your website to the visitor and helped to bring them in the door, so to speak. From here, it s typical for users to employ slightly more detailed searches before refining their queries to the lastclick specificity. Web user behavior is rarely as simple as a single search leading to a conversion. Rather, online consumers tend to search in patterns that gradually become more specific as they understand more about the products and services they are seeking. An effective keyword 1 attribution management system will properly identify the search patterns employed by users, providing the data necessary to optimally position your website in each stage of the search process. First Search (Introducer Keyword): Salon Supplies Second Search (Influencer Keyword): Salon Apparel Third Search (Closer Keyword): XYZ Professional Salon Capes
3 CURRENT ATTRIBUTION MODELS WHAT YOU ARE MISSING Current models only track the sweet dunk, but miss all the plays that lead to it. 3 Understanding the Game In the game of basketball, the ball going through the hoop during a slam dunk is only the final act in a series of complex movements and scenarios that result in a score. In much the same way, the keywords used during a website conversion represent the final act in a complex process that lead to that conversion. In order to have an understanding of how the game of keyword attribution is played, we need to see all of the players and grasp how each one contributes to a scoring play the conversion. A Brief Look at Various Attribution Models Last-Click We ve already touched on the last-click approach to keyword attribution. While identifying the keyword that was last used by a visitor before making a purchase is important, it only tells us the end of the story. Without a better understanding of the actions taken prior to the final search and conversion, there is an inherent and erroneous over-emphasis on the final keyword search or last click.
4 4 First-Click In a first-click attribution model, tracking is used to determine the first click that was used by a visitor who eventually converted after subsequent searches and visits to a site. In much the same way that last-click attribution is flawed, first-click attribution has similar shortcomings. Yes, the first or introductory visit to a website is very important without it no further action could occur. But it only tells the beginning of the story and places too much weight on the first keyword phrase used by the customer. Linear Linear attribution models partially address the shortcomings of both first-click and lastclick models by assigning an equal value to every keyword search/click used by a visitor during their interactions with a website prior to conversion. And while this method is a step forward in that it recognizes multiple searches/keywords as factors in a single conversion, it doesn t assign the proper value to each search in the string. By weighting each search equally, the model fails to adequately address the subtle differences in user behavior and keyword impact that exist within every conversion event on a website. Time Weighted A time weighted attribution model attempts to assign the appropriate value to each keyword in a conversion chain. In this model, each keyword is assigned a value based on its individual contribution to the conversion event. In any conversion event, certain keywords are going to play a greater role than others, and a time weighted model attributes value based on the impact of each term. Typically, this is achieved through the application of complex algorithms that weight each keyword phrase by an array of factors, including the elapsed time before the next visitor action and the impact of similar keyword phrases in prior conversion events. Custom Attribution A custom attribution model delivers the best of all worlds, assigning accurate values to all keywords within a search funnel and appropriately identifying keywords as Introducers, Influencers or Closers. These distinctions are necessary in order to achieve maximum value and efficiency in your PPC advertising campaigns. A custom attribution model is built around the exact specifications of a given website or business model and the subtleties associated with online customer behavior. A custom attribution model requires an in-depth knowledge of attribution modeling as well as powerful analytics software.
5 Understand How and Why Your Customers Make Purchasing Decisions Attribution Management software also provides valuable information about the searching, browsing and purchasing patterns of your customers and clients. Most small and mid-sized businesses do not have a clear understanding of the buying cycles associated with their products or services. Attribution management software analyzes consumer behavior on your website and tracks would-be customers after they leave your site to continue shopping and seeking information elsewhere. When customers revisit your site through a different channel via a banner ad or newsletter or text ad on a social media site it is commonly referred to as a multi-touch customer interaction. Correctly identifying and measuring the impact of each touch is just one important component of effective attribution management and one that is often overlooked or misunderstood. Actionable data from the time required for your customers to make purchasing decisions to the number of times a client visits your website is provided by attribution management software that can make the difference between advertising success and failure. 5 Apply Attribution Technology to Social Media and Your Entire Media Mix Outside of PPC search engine marketing campaigns, the applications and implications of attribution management technology are vast. Within social media marketing, independent purchasing funnels exist that overlap and interact with purchasing funnels from other forms of online and offline advertising. Even in the offline world, attribution management technology can be utilized to provide insights into customer behavior that can be tracked and extrapolated using online analytics. Maximize Profits with Proper PPC Keyword Attribution Management Armed with an accurate measure of the value of various advertising strategies and PPC marketing campaign tactics, you can focus the maximum amount of resources in the areas that create the most profit for your business. This is the real power of effective attribution management, whether it s for PPC search engine marketing campaigns or other advertising initiatives both online and off. Understanding multi-touch attribution models and the advanced concepts that form the foundation of effective attribution management technology can greatly enhance a business ability to market itself and its products or services.
6 As online and offline advertising campaigns become more advanced, integrated and measurable, companies employing effective attribution management software and strategies will possess a clear and significant advantage over their competitors. 6 Moving Forward Companies who have an online presence designed to create and grow online revenue streams have a few options in their approach to attribution management: Maintain Status Quo Keyword attribution management may be a new concept to you and something that you believe your company can do without. It is quite possible that you are running successful PPC search engine marketing campaigns with little or no understanding of keyword attribution management. If that s the case, then you may be hesitant to explore the advantages that effective attribution technology can bring to your operation. The simple fact is that attribution management technology will provide insights into your business online sales cycle and customer behavior that you never thought possible. Effective attribution models can greatly enhance your profits and grow your online business even more efficiently. Attempt In-house Attribution Management There are several attribution management software packages available today, each of which offers a slightly different approach and return on investment. In order to effectively implement attribution management software, it s essential to have an in-depth understanding of the concepts and the metrics associated with the keyword and conversion analyses. For dedicated in-house marketing professionals, it is possible to acquire the necessary knowledge through structured classes and seminars, as well as independent research. However, it is likely to be time-consuming and costprohibitive to do so. Engage a Marketing Partner who Offers Attribution Management Services For most companies, best possible approach to the issue of attribution management is to engage an online marketing firm that offers comprehensive attribution management as part of its suite of services. In such an arrangement, your company gains the knowledge and competitive advantage that attribution management provides, but you re freed from the significant burdens of purchasing, implementing and understanding the technology.
7 A Comprehensive Keyword Attribution Solution As an established and well-respected leader in the Internet marketing industry, Vector Media Group is your collaborative partner in successful keyword attribution. We work closely with you - our client - to help you gain a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your existing online marketing strategies. Our proprietary technology and expertise can help you understand the benefits of accurate keyword attribution modeling and how the concepts of keyword attribution can be applied to grow your company s sales and increase profits. About Vector Media Group Vector Media Group is a full-service Internet marketing, SEO and web development company. We consistently deliver excellent results for our clients, which range from industryleading firms to up-and-coming small businesses. 7 Please visit us online at or call us today at
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