Back to basics !
The MixCommander product meets a number of objectives:
- Tracking the overall performance of your campaigns.
- Understanding your customers’ journeys before they convert on your site.
- Simulating new attribution models and comparing their impact on your ROI (return on investment) analysis.
- Analyzing the ROI of your campaigns and understanding what the most effective paid or natural levers are.
Before a visitor converts on your site, they come into contact with it through campaigns or natural levers. The total sum of these points of contact (or touchpoints) is called the customer journey. Each touchpoint contains a “channel“, a “source” and a “lookback window“.
The conversion can be attributed to different touchpoints depending on which attribution model is selected.
The “customer journey” contains all the touchpoints concerning a visitor until they convert on the site.
The above diagram represents a visitor’s customer journey. It consists of 5 touchpoints leading the user to conversion on the site:
- 1.Display Hi-Media
- 2.SEM Google
- 3.Retargeting Criteo
- 4.SEO Bing
- 5.Direct access
The visitor has seen a display banner without going to the site, then clicked on an SEM link, a Retargeting banner, or an SEO link without converting to the site, and, in the end, accessed the site directly to finalize the conversion. The visitor came into contact with the brand 5 times and went to the site 4 times before converting.
Please note: A touchpoint always contains a Channel and may contain a Source.
The Channel denotes the type of traffic source. There are two types of channels:
1) – Paid channels: these types of traffic sources generate traffic on your site through campaigns. A budget is thus allocated to them.
The paid channels offered in the MixCommander product by default are:
- Affiliation: “Affiliation” is also called “performance-based marketing”. In this system the affiliates are often paid for each generated conversion (purchase or lead).
- Display: “Display” is a channel that displays banners, links, logos, etc. to promote a brand.
- ShopBot: the “ShopBot” channel denotes shopping robots (a.k.a. price comparison services, shopping robots or smart shopping agents).
- SEM: the “SEM” channel denotes sponsored links on search engines.
- Branded SEM: the “Branded SEM” channel denotes sponsored links on search engines for which the keyword is the brand name.
- Email: the “Email” channel denotes commercial emails sent to a group of people.
- Retargeting: “Retargeting” denotes the retargeting of visitors who have already been in contact with the brand or visited the site without converting.
- Ad Exchange: “Ad Exchange” is a channel that aggregates RTB (Real Time Bidding) display campaigns.
- Social ads: “Social Ads” are ads displayed on social media.
- Mobile channel: the “Mobile channel” denotes ads displayed on mobile apps (smartphones and tablets).
- Partners: the “Partners” channel aggregates traffic generated by partner sites.
2) – Organic (or Natural) Channels: these are types of traffic sources that are not bound by purchasing advertising space in a given medium.
Please note: You may need to allocate a non-media budget to organic channels (e.g.: SEO firm fees for improving your site’s search engine listing, email routing fees, etc.).
The natural channels offered in the MixCommander product by default are:
- SEO: the “SEO” channel denotes natural searches on search engines (unsponsored links).
- Brand: the “Brand” channel denotes natural searches (SEO) on search engines when the search keyword is the brand name.
- Direct Access: “Direct access” denotes access to the site via the browser’s navigation bar or “favorites” menu.
- Referrer: the “Referrer” denotes traffic from sites containing a link to your site.
- Social Networks: the “Social Networks” channel aggregates traffic generated by free campaigns on social media.
- Loyalty email: the “Loyalty email” channel aggregates emails sent to visitors already in the company’s contacts database.
- Service emailing: the “Service emailing” channel denotes service emails sent to visitors (e.g.: notifications, passwords resent, etc.).
- Social media animation: the “Social media animation” channel denotes traffic from social media that is not included in “Social Ads” or “Social Networks”. This may for instance concern a dedicated campaign run on social media by your community manager.
The Source denotes the partner who generated traffic on the site. A channel may not have a source (that is the case for direct access, which is not generated by any outside provider).
Here are a few examples of sources: Google, Criteo, Tradedoubler, Zanox, Facebook, YouTube, etc.
In the above diagram the visitor went through 5 different channels before converting:
- 5.Direct access
Again in the above diagram, the visitor went through 4 sources before converting:
When a visitor gets to a site, they go through certain steps called touchpoints. These touchpoints can correspond to 2 types of actions:
- A click
- An impression or a view (means a banner posted on a third-party site)
It defines the period of validity of a channel click/impression and a source in the customer journey and is specific to an attribution model. If a channel’s lookback window is exceeded, the touchpoint is ignored when the conversion is attributed.
The lookback window is thus specific to the type of action (click/impression), the channel/source and depends on the selected attribution model.
The most commonly used lookback window for impression is “24 hours Post–Impression“. This means that if the banner impression occurred 24 hours before the conversion, it is taken into account by the attribution model. It is ignored otherwise.
The most commonly used lookback window for click is “30 days Post–Click“. This means that if the banner impression occurred 30 days before the conversion, it is taken into account by the attribution model, otherwise it is ignored.
In the above diagram, if the lookback window is the same for all channels, namely “30 days Post-Click” and “24 hours Post-Impression”:
- The touchpoints whose action type is the click (namely “SEM Google”, “Retargeting Criteo”, “SEO Bing”, “Direct Access”) are deemed valid because they were all made less than 30 days before the sale.
- The touchpoint whose action type is the impression (namely “Display – Hi-Media”) on the other hand is deemed invalid because it was made more than 24 hours before the sale.
It is then the attribution model that defines which channel(s) and source(s) will be attributed the sale.
An “attribution model” is a particular “view” of the customer journeys of the site’s visitors.
It attributes the conversion to one or more channels that played a part in the conversion.
The most commonly used attribution model nowadays is the “Last paid click” model. This model consists in attributing the sale to the last channel in the customer journey before conversion.
Commanders Act’s MixCommander product lets you transcend the “Last click” model and analyze other attribution models, such as “First click“, which consists in attributing the sale to the first touchpoint on the customer journey, the “U Model“, or the “linear model“, which consist in attributing the conversion to all the touchpoints that played a part and vary the conversion amount attributed to each touchpoint.
Eleven databases for creating your attribution models are available in MixCommander, including the “U model“, the “First Click“, the “Last Click“, the “Linear” and the “Exponential“, among others.
Scenario 1: the selected attribution model is “Last Paid Click”, so the conversion is attributed to the last click on a paid channel before conversion.
In our example, the conversion is attributed to Retargeting for the 3 represented conversions, and Retargeting recovers 100% of the conversion amount.
Scenario 2: the selected attribution model is “First touchpoint” (click or impression/paid or natural), so the conversion is attributed to the first paid or natural channel on the customer journey. In our example, 2 conversions are attributed to Display, and one conversion is attributed to Social Ads. Each winning channel recovers 100% of the conversion amount.
Scenario 3: the selected attribution model is one that focuses on the contribution conversion levers: each channel is thus taken into account as long as it played a part in the customer journey.
In our example, the conversion is attributed to all the channels on the 3 customer journeys, and the conversion amount share attributed to each of them depends on the type of attribution model selected (with the attribution model “U model“, the first and last touchpoint receive a bigger share of the sale than the others; with the linear attribution model, each touchpoint gets the same share of the sale, etc.).
These 3 diagrams show that the customer journey is interpreted in a totally different way depending on which attribution model is selected:
- In the first scenario the most effective one appears to be Retargeting.
- In the second scenario the impression is exploited and the Display and Social Ads channels appear to be more effective.
- In the third scenario, each channel that at some point played a part in the conversion is taken into account.
So it is important to test as many attribution models as possible to fully understand your users’ journeys before conversion and the role your partner solutions play.