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Marketers who use last ad attribution to measure Facebook’s brand impact as part of a multi-channel campaign are devaluing the social network’s impact and making flawed marketing decisions, a new report claims.
According to the Quantifying the Impact of Multi-touch Attribution research paper from digital marketing technology company, Kenshoo, the last ad model undervalues Facebook advertising by 12-30 per cent compared to five other industry standard alternative attribution models: First only, prefer first, divide equally, prefer last and U-Shaped.
While criticism of last ad attribution has grown in recent years, it remains widely used by marketers globally. There has also been insufficient data to backup the flaws in such an approach, the Kenshoo report stated.
Kenshoo analysed campaign performance data across its clients managing ads across multiple digital marketing channels between March and May. The company employed a cost-per-acquisition metric across all advertisers, which was calculated by aggregating all recorded conversions and dividing that number in the total media cost of the ads which drove them.
Kenshoo’s clients include Expedia, Hitwise, John Lewis, Starcom MediaVest Group, Tesco and Travelocity.
The research found Facebook was undervalued by 30 per cent using a last ad technique compared with a first only approach, where credit is only given to the first customer interaction. It was also undervalued by 20 per cent in a last ad model when contrasted with a prefer first approach, where the first customer touch gets the majority of the credit, and each following interaction is credited less in a rules-based, linear way.
Looking at Facebook’s worth using last-click attribution was also undervalued by 16 per cent against a divide equally technique, where the value of each touch is equal to the rest; and 15 per cent undervalued compared with a u-shaped approach, which uses an 80:20 rule to give the first and last click majority weighting and the middle clicks less credit.
A prefer last approach gives the last click most credit, followed in a linear fashion by the second-last touch. Against this example, Facebook was undervalued by 12 per cent in a last ad approach.
“Marketers relying on last ad attribution to optimise their campaigns could be making million-dollar decisions based on flawed data; so they can expect to achieve flawed results,” said Josh Dreller, director of marketing research at Kenshoo. “Multi-touch techniques better reflect the reality of consumer behaviour and enable marketers to improve budget allocation and campaign performance.”
Kenshoo’s findings echo those of a review of Google US Analytics ecommerce tracking accounts earlier this year, which claimed social media was the second most used channel after display ads in the earlier part of the purchasing process.
It is also backed up by the findings of a recent Aggregate Knowledge report, which found social continues to deliver the highest quality users.