Attribution challenges throughout the purchase funnel

TechCrunch covers new data from IBM (sourced from a Black Friday Report) that exposes the weakness of last-click attribution models:

Twitter and Facebook usually aren’t the last click before an ecommerce buy, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t inspire or influence the purchase. Yet IBM’s Black Friday report says Twitter delivered 0 percent of referral traffic and Facebook sent just 0.68 percent.

Retargeting companies face a similar challenge, choosing to handle upstream attribution with the concept of view-through conversions (as opposed to click-through):

In retargeting, view-through conversions are tracked whenever a member of your audience sees a retargeted ad, and then visits your site and converts without actually clicking on your ad.

As an advertiser, you have control over who is targeted, so it’s straightforward to run an A/B test to measure incremental lift in repeat visit conversion rate for visitors served retargeted ads. Facebook is now testing “view tags” and Google Analytics has multi-channel funnel tracking but the shift toward sophisticated attribution models will take years to play out.