Tracking Hotel Marketing with Advanced Attribution
By Andy Fisher Chief Analytics Officer, Merkle, Inc. | November 2014
Co-authored by Shirli Zelcer Vice President, Travel, Media & Entertainment Analytics Lead
What is Advanced Attribution?
Advanced attribution is one of the most popular topics in the analytics world today. While marketers have been generating substantial incremental ROI with attribution, there have also been numerous situations where pricey attribution solutions have not delivered the promised value.
Advanced attribution is the act of taking a desired event (such as an online hotel booking) and assigning value to each of the marketing touchpoints that drove that event. For example, suppose a guest sees a banner ad for a hotel. Later, that customer uses Google to search for that hotel, clicks on a paid link, arrives at the hotel's website and books a stay. In that case, advanced attribution assigns value to the banner view and the clicked-on search keyword that drove the website visit and transaction. Getting this right is important! By adding up all of the value assigned to the banner ad and all of the value assigned to the keyword, we can calculate the ROI of the overall banner ad campaign or keyword buy. Once we have the ROI, we can make optimization decisions. It is also worth noting that this calculation happens "under the hood"-a function provided by most ad technology available today. For example, an ad server, such as DoubleClick offered by Google, produces these types of reports automatically. These reports then influence a majority of media buying decisions. While this approach has tremendous benefits, there's a problem with how it has actually been implemented historically.
Advanced Attribution Gives Credit Where it's Due
The biggest challenge is simple-most tools use last touch attribution. This means that the tools assign all of the value to the last touch. Using the above example, the search keyword click would get 100% of the credit and the banner ad would get zero percent of the credit. Hypothetically, the search keyword should get more credit than the banner, but the banner should still receive a portion of the credit. Advanced attribution can algorithmically determine the right amount of credit to give to each of the touchpoints, thus allowing for better optimization.