Commentary

Will Google Make Attribution Models Less Important In 2013?

Pick up a mobile device. Open the Google voice app. Speak your query: "bloomingdale's south coast plaza." It took 6 seconds from the time I opened the app to when Google returned results, both audio and text. You get similar results when typing the keywords into the URL on the Chrome browser, but unless you have an app that provides a click-to-call feature you will need to type that number into the keypad on your phone.

Google AdWords' legacy clearly sits on the desktop and does not naturally accommodate mobile search campaigns. That's the reason for recent changes to Enhanced Campaigns as consumers increasingly pick up smartphones and tablets to search for information, according to a report from Baird Equity Research published Monday.

What advice would you give? With Enhanced Campaigns, the shift is toward enabling greater targeting control and audience inclusivity within individual campaigns as opposed to achieving these effects through the creation of multiple device-centric campaigns, Baird Analysts Colin Sebastian and Gregor Schauer write in a research note after a discussion with the folks over at Covario.

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We all know this, but the elimination of "device-centric campaigns" makes me wonder whether in the future we will see less emphasis on cross-channel attribution, or rather less emphasis on cross-channel attribution by device, not media.

"We believe that the objective of EC is to simplify the creation of ad campaigns that will have maximum reach and conversion (ROI) measurability," according to the report. "One of the key changes with EC is the ability for advertisers to adjust bids on a multiplier basis -- i.e., in relative terms, across attributes, including location, time of day and device type, among others. The final bid will reflect a product, or multiplication, of all the bid-adjusted attributes considered in the campaign. While not all of the EC changes are device specific, smartphones were clearly a key consideration in the redesign."

How do you view the changes in Enhanced Campaigns? Do you consider voice search or click-to-call on mobile devices a valuable tool? Do you think attribution modeling contributes to declining budgets from search into display, rich media, or video?

2 comments about "Will Google Make Attribution Models Less Important In 2013?".
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  1. John Dietz from Adometry, March 19, 2013 at 8:22 p.m.

    Laurie - You make good points and ask some compelling questions. With Google now blending devices you could argue that it doesn't make sense to view mobile as a different channel, but I don't see how that lessens the need for cross-channel attribution. Attribution is more than measuring across devices.

    Take your example of searching for a local Bloomindale’s, what if before doing that search you received an email from Bloomingdale’s, then saw an ad on Facebook for a pair of shoes, then clicked on a link from Twitter before asking your phone about the local Bloomindale’s and walking into the store to make a purchase. Attribution becomes more important, not less important, with the merging of devices. Advertisers still need to understand which of their messages are effective in reaching consumers.

  2. Arnold Sandoval from Revana Digital, March 28, 2013 at 2:38 p.m.

    I think attribution will become even more important. While we might be losing out in terms of controlling the media to a certain extent, the data is still there and will help drive attribution further as users continue to adopt mobile and tablet technologies. The data will continue guiding segmentation strategies when creating campaigns and the fragmentation of devices will push us harder to figure out how budgets will be distributed between devices and channels. As savvy marketers our jobs might become more difficult, but the game has not changed. Segmentation and data are the key drivers and will keep propelling integrated attribution models and how our marketing dollars should be distributed. Our job will be to find micro conversions and to give greater weight to media based on these metrics. Another great thing coming down the pipeline is the ability to track user behavior across devices, which will give better empower us to make smarter decisions and break through the fragmentation problem with more transparency.

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