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Click-based attribution models have long been a staple of digital advertising. These legacy models have endured despite mounting research against their validity, thanks to issues associated with click fraud and because so few conversions are influenced by a single channel or touchpoint.
New data shows that times are changing. A recent survey of marketing professionals in the US and Europe conducted by Qualtrics for AdRoll found that although 65% of respondents said they use single-click attribution, 57% plan on changing their model.
Consumer engagement on platforms that marketers increasingly rely on to drive conversions are not necessarily click-based anymore. “Just a few years ago, we were in a search-dominated market,” said Shane Murphy, vice president of marketing at AdRoll. “If consumers wanted to buy something, they would search for a product, see some search ads, click on them and convert. In that world, a click-based model makes sense.”
But the prevalence of visual social platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat have changed the way consumers shop.
“These new platforms aren’t oriented around a click,” Murphy said. “Instagram, for example, is all about building a brand and targeting people across multiple different platforms in order to drive conversion. Given how much the customer journey has changed, marketers can’t just measure clicks anymore.”
As the survey suggests, this has many keen to turn to blended attribution models, which the firm defines as models that take clicks and viewthroughs into account.
Thanks to that growing recognition, marketers appear to be placing greater emphasis on conversions generated by viewthroughs, or instances when consumers see ads but don’t actually click on them. Findings from the same survey examined a three-year period, finding that the importance or weight assigned to viewthrough conversions has increased over that timeframe.
In 2014, only 14% of marketers polled in the US and Europe assigned 50% or more conversion influence to viewthroughs. But in 2016, nearly half (46%) of respondents said they attributed at least 50% of the weight to viewthrough conversions.
Overall, only 1% of respondents said they didn’t count viewthrough conversions at all in 2016, down from 8% in 2014.
Across the broader industry, others are also looking to enhance their viewthrough capabilities.
Google, for example, announced recently that it will decrease the viewthrough conversion window in its AdWords tool from 30 days to one day, because ads are more likely to drive a purchase on the day they’re seen. For marketers using Google AdWords to measure ad effectiveness, that means that only sales that take place within 24 hours of an ad view will be counted as a conversion.
US paid media ad spending will grow steadily in 2017, on the heels of a strong 2016 boosted by the Rio Olympics and the presidential election. A focus on mobile will fuel growth, pushing total media spend to more than $206 billion this year—a moderate increase of 6.1%.
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