Ad Industry Needs To Get Collective Head Out Of Sand And Create Full-Funnel Attribution Ad Strategy


Online search marketing agencies and publishers need to step up and create full funnel attribution models that help advertisers combine online and offline media buys. That's the plea from Matt Van Dalsem, vice president at Blackrock, during a fireside keynote discussion led by Chris Copeland, CEO at GroupM Search.

Search and display media only contribute 12% to the full funnel analysis, and there are many other funnels that marketers need to analyze, Dalsem says. "You guys have a huge opportunity to break out and help offline media come of age," he said, addressing the MediaPost Search Insider Summit audience in Park City, Utah, Friday. "That won't become a threat to digital media or search. It will all work better if we can make actual insights happen across the whole funnel, not just search and display."



The ability for the right hand to know what the left is doing is an age-old sore spot for marketers. It's all about optimizing the funnel to determine the types of media buy-display, search, mobile, video-that works best for each campaign.

The keynote conversation followed a presentation by David Zinman, vice president and general manager for display advertising at Yahoo, who explained how search can integrate with display.

Calling it "full-funnel attribution," Zinman told the packed room of marketers, that advertisers must insist that search and display teams collaborate and coordinate media buys to ensure that budgets are allocated correctly. The alternative risks creating a "cacophony" that costs the client money. It's no secret that different disciplines of buying both media exist, so publishers like Yahoo and Google need to take responsibility too, and step up to double-check media plans and optimize budgets.

Search marketers must know the basics of buying display; media buyers must know the basics of search. "The industry isn't there yet, but platforms are being built to offer these capabilities to manage the free flow of dollars back and forth," Zinman says, suggesting that marketers that lack the knowledge on how search and display complement the other can fail. "Spending money better, drives better results."

Supporting the theory that display provides a lift to search, Zinman points to an experiment, Yahoo ran with 60 clients in eight verticals where display drove a 155% lift in search activity. Not too shabby. The tests suggest that display drives the beat for both brand and generic terms. It drives greater category search-term spikes more than brand terms. In a rebranding launch for Quaker Oats, the results produced 70 million impressions across half-day events, and search volume increased on brand terms by 28% and 21% in two days, respectively.

Zinman described a campaign where the advertiser began with baseline data and what it perceived as the revenue derived from the budget. The unnamed company tapped a full funnel attribution strategy to reduce the spend they thought was not driving results. In the end, the company saw a 25% increase in revenue without spending more for the campaign. When the company spent 12% more from the baseline the following year, it generated 75% more revenue, according to a study by C3 Metrics, which has been working with Yahoo. The results they generated came solely from online, but some advertisers want collaboration with offline marketing and advertising channels, too.

Some of the companies helping support advertisers with full funnel attribution include Atlas, Coremetrics, Clearsaleing, Visual IQ, Trueffect, X+1 and Theorem, according to Zinman, citing a 2009 Forrester briefing.

4 comments about "Ad Industry Needs To Get Collective Head Out Of Sand And Create Full-Funnel Attribution Ad Strategy".
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  1. Mark Hughes from C3 Metrics, December 10, 2010 at 4:41 p.m.

    Amen. David used some data provided by us on the longest running client case study (2 yrs) for full funnel attribution. A hint of it here:

  2. Christopher Brinkworth from Ensighten inc (acquired TagMan), December 13, 2010 at 12:17 p.m.

    It takes a very brave agency to put it's hand up and say I want 100% transparency and full view of attribution for my client - as you may suddenly see a lot of your budget placed elsewhere. As does it take a brave advertiser to say I want to use a tool provided by a vendor who also owns the media that I buy across... You really need an agnostic solution to this problem. Of course - the plug: TagMan does that for you all with our Tag Management System with real-time attribution.

    Lots of free whitepapers and case-studies at

    As a side note: That Forrester report is pretty dated now and there is a lot more growth in this space.
    Im happy to walk anyone through the various in/out of the techs - but also; do reach out to Forrester as they are doing a lot of new work in this area.

  3. Ken Nicholas from VideoAmp, December 14, 2010 at 7:54 p.m.

    With all of the 'tech' out there right now; tagging, RT, BT, verification, Impression-based buying, and on & on across the spectrum; it does strike me as odd that this is not fully developed yet.

    Good thing I know a few VCs out there, and...

  4. Jeff Greenfield from C3 Metrics, December 15, 2010 at 12:21 p.m.

    Ken -

    Full Funnel Attribution is not only already developed, but its been around for the last 2 years.

    I recommend you check out

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